Top 5 Easy Type Tricks

Five quick ideas to get you out of the rut using Adobe Photoshop.

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Here are five simple ways to increase the readability of your type using Adobe Photoshop without wasting production time:

  1. Use contrasting colors: Try a color that contrasts with the color of the background or pick another color from elsewhere in the image. Type Color Wheel into Google images and you can see samples of color theory wheels.
  2. Go bolder: Add thickness to a font with the Stroke effect under the Layer Effects option. To alter the stroke size, you can use the slider or type in a number. If you need just a little thickness added, try a low number such as 3 for the size.
  3. Glow: Using another effect from Layers Effect, select your type and choose Glow. The default setting is a pale yellow, which at times may be just what you need. You can change the glow color, the strength, or even the style, which are all easy to adjust within this window.
  4. Band-aid: Create a band of color (or even black or white) to lay the type on top to increase readability. A solid, wide stripe might seem too invasive within your design, so try lowering the opacity down to 65 percent. Create the bar on a separate layer so you can adjust not only the color, but also the opacity. Experiment with hues and the opacity amounts to find what fits right for the project. You could even use a texture or pattern for the band.  
  5. Drop shadow: The Drop Shadow effect is another option in the Layers Effects palette. Drop Shadow is good to use especially when you are using white text to separate it from the background and bring the type visually to the foreground. However, when taken to extreme in strength and length, drop shadows can come off more fake than effective. Place your hand flat but floating above your desk. Look at how the shadow appears under your hand. When your hand is lower, the shadow is dark, close with a harder edge line. If you slowly raise your hand while keeping it flat, you will notice the shadow spreads out softer and appears lighter.

Typographic skills require practice and attention to detail, but many of the rules of typography are simple and consistent. With a few ?tricks, you can impress your customers and keep? them coming back for more customized, full-color products.

-Jennifer Foy, Unisub

Jennifer Foy

Jennifer Foy has over 12 years of experience using Adobe Photoshop. She has received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. Her years of teaching experience include numerous software and design classes in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, QuarkXPress, Freehand and InDesign for Colleges in Atlanta, Georgia; and Louisville, Kentucky. Jennifer is currently working as the Creative Director and Universal Woods with the Unisub and Chromaluxe brands. Jennifer can be reached by email at

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