In previous articles, we’ve covered how to shoot video backgrounds that will go well with text on screen, and today we’re looking at what makes a good photo background for a graphic design. You can follow these guidelines to take better photos yourself for ads or know what to look for when searching stock imagery services. And feel free to grab any of the Adobe Spark Post designs (just click or tap to edit) or images in this article to jumpstart your design process.
Go for Minimalism
Or go for clean and light with this succulent picture by Scott Webb on Unsplash.
Look for Open Space
Busy backgrounds make the design process a bit trickier. While not impossible to work with, especially given the colored backgrounds you can combine with images, but a good rule of thumb is to choose photos with lots of empty space and use the least busy part of your image to place your message, like the designs below do.
Add Shapes for Readability
Shapes can help you work with busy backgrounds or make your text stand out more. Adjust the opacity to hint at the photo beneath.
Use the Photo’s Focal Point to Guide Design
The best designs show text and imagery working together. Instead of just slapping words on a photo, create depth and intrigue by having the text interact with your background in some way. You might do this by lining up the focal point of the image with a word you want to visually punctuate.
Color is another way to create a relationship between text and imagery. Spark Post suggests color palettes based on the colors of the photo, so you don’t need to have a degree in color science to land on a good combo. (Although, following a few color principles helps.) Cycle through the options by tapping a palette until you land on a color combination you like.
This design not only uses a complementary color, but the alignment of the text with the architecture in the photo helps create a relationship between type and photo.
Embrace Abstract Imagery
Abstract imagery can help make the text the focal point of your design, since faces tend to dominate an image. And abstract designs or imagery work beautifully as text cutouts to create texture.
Use People to Evoke Emotion
While abstract imagery and solid background colors can be great for making text pop, studies show people are most drawn to images that feature human faces. Using smiling faces in your advertisements and on your website can also increase trust and, likely, conversions. The following people-focused imagery is ready for your message:
Free Stock Imagery Services We Love
- Pixabay – We partner with Pixabay to bring Adobe Spark a curated library of images to choose from when you search for free photos in any of the three tools. Pixabay curates a vast collection from a variety of smaller services, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for or would like to search by collections for inspiration, we also like…
- Unsplash – Unsplash has a modern, sometimes hipster, quality to many of their images, making it perfect for brands speaking to a young, artsy audience on social media. You’ll find many Unsplash imagery within the Adobe Spark photo search, but we also love the image collections they offer on their own site for when we’re looking for inspiration. The photography is high quality and often relevant photo collections make it easy for marketers to speak to current events without spending big bucks.
- Gratisography – If you’re looking for humorous or whimsical imagery, we love this service that specializes in quirk.
- Superfamous – This library is especially great for nature and abstract imagery.Give these tips a whirl for your next graphic and tag #AdobeSpark on social for a chance to get featured.