Adding Text Over Images? Don’t Forget Headlines!


The unfortunate trend of adding text over images continues in blogging. But beware: it can cause design issues. I’ll show you why.

I do understand why people insist on putting text over images in blogs. In many cases, you can blame social media.

Some sites, like Facebook and Twitter, allow you to have your headlines and images side by side. But sites like Instagram and Pinterest don’t. Those “image-centric” sites want you to just display an image. They don’t necessarily give you the chance to even include a URL people can click if an image alone entices them. So your only option becomes writing all over images.

I told you in the past that it’s a pet peeve of mine from a design standpoint. I especially dislike it when we’re talking about your post’s featured image. Most blog designs give you the option of where to place your headline with respect to your image. My blog’s design allows me to place the headline above, below, or on top of the image.

If you’re going to add text to your featured image, you need to make sure your headline doesn’t go across your image. If you ignore this little detail, you have a readability problem.

Let me give you an example.

I saw a perfect example of this the other day at a blog site I visited. I’m not going to link to that site because I don’t want to embarrass anyone. And I’m not going to copy and past their image here, since I don’t have rights to it.

But instead, I’ll recreate what I saw to give you an idea of what I’m talking about.

First, I’ll start with the image itself. It appeared to be a pleasant stock image. (I don’t have a problem with stock images at all.) The blogger added a color stripe to separate text from the image. That can help your text stand out. The image the blogger began with looked something like this:

The text does punch thanks to the color stripe.

But when the blogger selected that graphic to be the post’s featured image, it caused a problem. That blogger’s design places the post’s category and headline across the featured image. So in addition to the perfectly readable text in the graphic itself, you suddenly have text on top of that.

So when I went to the actual post, I saw something that looked like this:

The “Blog Design” was the category in which the post sits. The “Let me transform your blog!” text interferes with the text in the base image itself. It’s distracting and cluttered.

And worse, if you’re trying to attract customers from a blog design standpoint, it puts your own design abilities into question right off the bat!

Yes, it’s more work to create two versions of a graphic so you have one for social and one for your post.

But if that’s how your blog deals with images and headlines, it’s more than worth the extra time!

Full disclosure: Not only did I change the image, I also changed the text and headline. So a Google search designed to find the “offender” won’t help in this case. I didn’t set out to shame anyone; I just wanted to point out the potential problem this practice can cause you!

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.