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Old 05-09-2006, 11:39 AM   #1
marlene
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Default Making type stand out on a photo background

I produce a monthly magazine that has a color photo on the cover (a different photo every month). It's nearly full-page size, and is always of a landscape (exterior or interior). Lots of leaves, trees, flowers, rocks, etc.

The photos are almost always very busy -- lots of different colors, light and dark areas. The client recently decided to add a couple of blocks of type to the cover (on top of the photo). The type size ranges from 13.5 pt to 36 pt. It's Interstate bold, so at least it's got some heft. But very month we have a huge problem finding a type color that stands out against the busy background.

White type isn't readable where it overlaps light areas of the photo, black type isn't readable where it overlaps dark areas, various colors of type aren't readable where they overlap certain colored sections. Etc. We aren't restricted as to type color.

I can (and do) use a small drop shadow (in Quark), which usually helps -- somewhat. They do not want the type in a solid-colored box, or even in a semi-transparent box.

They seem to think that other designers could make this work. They've given me samples of other magazines that use type on top of photos on their covers, but every sample uses a photo that includes enough "solid" areas to place the type without having it overlap a busy area.

Any suggestions? Every month I have to create proofs of the cover in a dozen different colors, since they don't take my word for it when I tell them certain colors are not going to be readable.

TIA,

mxh
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Old 05-09-2006, 11:42 AM   #2
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The drop shadow is one idea that helps. Try out the other effects in Photoshop, like embossing, glow, etc.

Another idea is to selectively darken or reduce the contrast on the bits of the image behind the type. You will have to do it carefully, so that it is not noticeable, but you should be able to reduce the intensity of the background to about 50%. This will be about the same as having a 50% background layer, without being as jarring.
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:23 PM   #3
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Marlene
When u have the answer let me know - I design and print about 200 different property brochures a month - all for million pound houses 4pp cover + 4/8 pages and they all to follow the corporate style - Property name - white out.
Perhaps the answer is to let them make the descision- and charge them when they get it wrong _ I kinow some will use a different colour for the type say purple or yellow
Etc
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:33 PM   #4
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Oooh, the idea about the Photoshop glow is a good one. I've done that before when I've had to put type on a floral background. Not sure I can get away with it on the magazine cover, but I'll give it a shot.

Quote:
Another idea is to selectively darken or reduce the contrast on the bits of the image behind the type.
I'm intrigued with that idea. How would I do it? In my bumbling way, I'd probably select an area behind the type and give it a fill of 50% (give or take) with a feathered edge (assuming I can remember how to feather the edge). But there must be a more high-tech method.

mxh
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:35 PM   #5
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Peter,

When I have the answer, I will probably have gotten it in this thread, so you'll know. <g>

At least I don't have to conform to a strict corporate style. I just have to make these clients happy, which can be difficult.

mxh
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:56 PM   #6
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Why not an outline like this.

(sorry about the size of the thing...)
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Old 05-09-2006, 01:40 PM   #7
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I have used an outline for this purpose, either black type with white outline or the other way 'round. But I was dealing with black-and-white photos at the time, and even then I would sometimes have to either use a box/banner or selectively lighten the background. All good suggestions here - which ones you use at any given time will depend on the cover photos chosen.

   
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Old 05-09-2006, 02:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
marlene: I'm intrigued with that idea. How would I do it? In my bumbling way, I'd probably select an area behind the type and give it a fill of 50% (give or take) with a feathered edge (assuming I can remember how to feather the edge). But there must be a more high-tech method.
Probably the way I'd do it is:

1. use the Marquee tool to select the area under where the type is to go

2. Select > Feather as appropriate (although you can also set the feathering up in the Options box)

3. Ctrl-J which will put the selection on its own layer (it will not cut out the area of the original layer)

4. then I'd probably use perhaps a Levels Adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels and then checkmark "group with previous layer" so that it just affects the ctrl-j'd layer) and adjust as needed. You may also find that you can just adjust the ctrl-j's layer opacity or dup it and change the dup'd layer blend mode to darken or multiply...

Hope that helps...

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Old 05-09-2006, 10:33 PM   #9
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Terrie,

Thanks for the detailed instructions -- I'm gonna try it when I get time. But I already showed the client a version with the outer glow and a thin drop shadow, and she liked it. So I'm gonna go with that unless she changes her mind.

mxh
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:34 PM   #10
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Some of the text is probably too small to outline. And I think I have sold the client on Don's outer glow idea.

mxh
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