Mastering the Art of Text Over Images: A Guide to Find Balance Between Aesthetics and Readability in Design

Mastering the Art of Text Over Images: A Guide to Find Balance Between Aesthetics and Readability in Design

Mastering the Art of Text Over Images: A Guide to Find Balance Between Aesthetics and Readability in Design

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As the digital landscape continues to evolve, web and graphic design is steadily revamping to keep pace. A technique that is increasingly prevalent in the modern design world is what’s known as the ‘text over image’ design pattern. This technique practically combines typography and images to lend more visual appeal to any graphic or web content. Yet, one might face the challenge of maintaining a balance between aesthetics and readability.

The Hurdle: Dissecting Contrast Ratio and Placement

This style often presents a problem: how do you strike the right balance between the beauty of an image and the readability of text? When the contrast ratio between text and image is too high or too low, it may lead to a clash, hampering legibility. Aurora Harley, a Senior User Experience Specialist at Nielson Norman Group, recounted the same when she said, “Low-contrast text may look good, but in terms of delivering information, it’s a failure.”

Further complexity lies in text placement. Just as contrast ratio matters, knowing where to place your text in the image makes a staggering difference. Ideally, the text needs lower visual activity to ensure easy decipherability.

Practical Solutions: Resourceful References

To manage these challenges and effectively use a text over images design pattern, resources containing hands-on examples are beneficial. Four such resources that outline its application with HTML/CSS include:

  1. ‘CSS Text Over Image’ by W3Schools: Helps understand how to have text and images appear together.
  2. ‘’s Image Text Block’: Discusses smart techniques for pairing images with texts for better aesthetics.
  3. ‘MD Bootstrap’s Card Overlays’: Provides a tutorial on how to apply overlays for readable text.
  4. ‘Codrops CSS Reference’: Offers diverse methods for combining text and images while enhancing the look of the web design.

Accessibility, Not an Afterthought

Reflecting on my own journey, there have been instances where I compromised accessibility due to insufficient knowledge. Igor Ovsyannykov, founder of Inspirationfeed, echoed this sentiment, stating, “Typography is a crucial component of great designs involving text, so knowing as much as possible about it is an important step to becoming a great designer.”

This comment highlights the importance of typography from a design perspective, yet we can’t overlook its role in maintaining accessibility. The right font style, color, size, and line spacing can enhance readability, leading to a better user experience (UX).

The Perfect Harmony: Typography and UX Design

By honing typography principles, one can enhance UX design without compromising accessibility. To effectively employ the text over images design technique, selecting an appropriate font style, size, and color that doesn’t merge with the image’s color scheme is critical.

Having achieved this, sticking to the WCAG Success Criteria 1.4.3 ensures that the design meets the contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal text. Following these steps can effectively enhance the visual experience while preserving the coherent readability of the content.

In the grand scheme of mastering the balance between aesthetics and readability, bridging the text over images gap requires a thoughtful and understanding approach. By incorporating typographic principles and prioritizing user accessibility, designers can truly translate their creative vision into a usable reality.

Casey Jones Avatar
Casey Jones
9 months ago

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