A picture can set the tone for a story or a brand, but the best way to send a visual message is to use a strong image along with an overlay of text. You can tell an impactful visual story this way, especially if you use similar imaging and fonts on a variety of materials, including social media posts, flyers, and postcards. We’ve made it easy to create this kind of package with our graphic design tool, Shutterstock Editor.
Creating White Space to Help Your Message Stand Out
If you find an image with just the right amount of white space to add text that stands out and doesn’t compete with the background, run with that design. However, you’ll often find that backgrounds are busy, dark, or abstract, with no white space to speak of. This type of background is easy to work with once you know the secret to creating your own whitespace by adding shapes in an image editor.
First, use Shutterstock’s graphic design tool to open the template or pre-set canvas size you want to work with. Next, add your background image and use the toggle in the lower right-hand corner of your Editor workspace to turn on preview mode. Now you have a better idea of how your image looks when cropped to size.
Adding Shapes as Text Background
Click on the shapes icon in the canvas toolbar and select a shape to add to your project. Use the handles to rotate and resize the shape until you like the way it looks. You can also use the flip option in the object toolbar to flip the shape vertically or horizontally.
What color do you want your shape to be? To pull a specific color from your background image, sample that color and apply it to the shape by clicking on the color icon (the solid circle) in the object toolbar (with the shape selected), then click on the custom tab, then on the eyedropper icon. Click the eyedropper cursor on your preferred color within the image to select that color for your shape.
If you prefer a white background for your text, consider adding some energy by creating a border or a drop shadow around your shape. With the shape selected, click on the outline color icon (hollow circle) in the object toolbar. From there, you can change the line’s style, weight, and color. Use a pre-set color or a custom color here, too. The drop shadow icon in the object toolbar looks like a triangle. Click on it to toggle drop shadow on or off, choose a color, and adjust the blur, vertical offset, and horizontal offset of the shadow.
Now that you know how to use special effects like color picker, drop shadow, and outline with shapes, you can apply the same tools to your text. First, click on the text icon in the canvas toolbar and add your text, then manipulate it using the same tools you used for your shape. To find the drop shadow, alignment, line spacing, bullets, and numbering menus, you may need to click the three dots on the far right of the object menu with your text selected.
That’s how you use special effects on your shapes and text in Shutterstock Editor. The best way to come up with a design you like is to experiment and see what works. You can also browse our premade templates for inspiration that will get your creativity flowing.