Saturday, June 18, 2011

How to make coloured text stand out on the same colour background.

We can’t write white on white or black on black, can we?

Here is the trick I’ve used to make text stand out even when it has the same colour as the dominating colour of the background. The text needs to be put inside a box with a semiopaque colour fill. Above is the card I designed for a relative’s jubilee. Cherries in the background have the same colour theme as the message inside the box. This technique is also useful for magazine design.

This is how it works:

– open a blank document, choose landscape (horizontal) layout if it is going to be a card, vertical if you are making a poster of a flyer;

– drag and drop the photo into the Pages document from iPhoto or Desktop, resize and position as needed;

– next insert a Text Box (or a rectangle, it doesn’t matter). Text Box by default doesn’t have a colour fill, go to Graphic Inspector and add Colour fill to the Text Box. Here I chose a custom grey colour (CMYK: 14, 10, 8, 0), but Silver from the Crayon Box in the Colour Viewer would work as well. Text box sits ‘on top’ of the background photo, resize the box so that the photo can be seen in wide margins all around the box;

– next type your text in the box as you would in a word processing document;
Click on colour well

– formatt the text in Text Inspector: here I centred the text, then aligned it to the centre of the box. Then highlight all text (Command+A), make it bigger and change colour to one that is similar to the main colour theme of the background photo. Here a preset colour from the Crayon Box – Cayenne – works well (CMYK: 11, 85, 96, 33);

Drag slider to reduce opacity
– next, click away, somewhere in the document, and then click again on the Text Box to select it as an object. Go to Graphic Inspector and click on the colour chooser (well) under the drop–down menu bar. Then in Colour Well reduce opacity to around 75 percent. Now you see that the background photo is just visible through the coloured Text Box and the text, which has the same main colour as the background, stands out and is clear and readable.

It’s a simple trick that adds striking effect to your designs. If you design a cover for a magazine or a brochure with a large photo that covers all space and goes over the edges(bleeds), this is one good way to make straplines (text) on the cover clear and visible. For print publications, including posters and cards, it is very important – passersby or people browsing in a news agent need to see instantly what’s in the magazine, or what the card is about.

Please read about 'Cover Design Tricks: Making Text Stand Out'. Note the semiopaque box in the bottom left corner of the cover. And also 'How to Outline Text in Pages' and 'Fading Out Background Image'.

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