Top tips on photo, text and graphic design legibility
You've crafted the perfect offer. Perhaps you're running a Facebook page or Instagram account and you want to develop a few motivational quotes. Great! You've found a photo and you're ready to tackle the task in Canva, Illustrator or the software of your choice. Before you go any further, here are the Hello Lovely tips I want to share with you to make sure that your offer is seen. It doesn't matter how much you've planned the social media marketing campaign, if your audience can't read the words or the photo doesn't tell a story, then it's your time and money badly spent.
The tips below can easily apply to a motivational meme or an update to a Facebook group. The principle of legibility, text and design are all relevant.
This first attempt above is an example of one I see very often, especially on websites, marketing (print and online), book jacket covers and Facebook page headers. There are a few errors.
- The photo represents the product, but does it inspire me to act?
- Can I read what I'm meant to do? The font, Myriad Pro is perfectly acceptable but it's all in one weight. By weight I mean the thickness, for example light, regular, bold, black are all weights.
- Neither back or white text will work here because of the shadows and the white mug.
- The creator could apply a drop shadow or a white outline but these are poor solutions that we left behind in the 90s when images libraries mean spending lots of money. Now there's no excuse for a poor photo with free libraries, low cost stock images, mobile cameras and talented photographers.
This works better.
- A change of image makes the text more legible so customers at least know where they are going and what they are getting.
- The typography is still flat, different weights lead the reader through the text.
- I don't know anything about the cafe apart from it's lovely.
In the next step the text is edited to suit the image to show more of the background.
- The font has changed to Source Sans Pro. Why? Source Sans and sans serif fonts in general are hard to set badly (a sans serif font is one without serif flourishes, Times is a serif).
- Script or hand fonts need to be carefully selected for legibility and appropriateness. What might work for a nursery will look unsophisticated for a cafe.
- Source Sans is free to download from Google, so it's easy to access and has a range of weights.
- It's an improvement but I know what a coffee cup looks like. I don't know much about the cafe.
The image now shows a cafe but the image has made the text hard to read again. And there's nobody in the photo. Is that the right message here?
Using opaque boxes and placing them between the image and the text is a great solution.
- This image is a little top heavy and it's really important to keep the text proportional.
- Here the last line of the text is too close to the edge of the opaque box. Always watch this when you're designing.
- The image shows the inside of the coffee shop and it has copy space. If you're using an image site like Getty you can type in copy space into your search term and the result will be images with space for words.
- If you are commissioning a photographer to work on location shoots, then discuss how you want to use the images so they can keep this in mind.
By getting creative with the text, thinking about imagery and typography, putting together a set of images for your business can be made much easier. Designers can offer you guidance on this so you can get the best from the software you're using. Your logo should also work with your marketing, so you'll have PNG or EPS file formats for white, black and core colours.
How I can help you?
- The branding packages I offer can include advice on images and I can set up a library of images and text in Canva or Adobe Illustrator... in fact almost any free software.
- I have extensive photographic experience and I trained with the Publishing Training Centre in picture editing. I don't specialise in photography now, but I'm very happy to recommend photographers whose style would work with your business.
- I can also help you to build a portfolio of images from paid or free stock sites if you need to work with in a budget.
To find out more about drop me a line by clicking right here.