Mastering Text Overlay, Right On Your Phone

Learn how to add text overlay to your images and completely transform your photos directly on your phone.

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Often times, our own creativity can be stunted by resources that are not available to us. Or, we can feel limited by our perception of popular, creative standards. Luckily, art can be a cannibalization from several inspirations, on our own terms. And the best part: it can be executed with surprisingly low tech methods.

Ever wondered how you can add beautiful text overlay to your images? Don’t sweat if you don’t have expensive equipment at your disposal, you can easily achieve professional level work with something as simple as a mobile device and a few cheap and free apps. Creativity is not bound by expensive resources, however discovering innovative and low cost methods will further stimulate creativity.  

REMIX : Composing designs remixed from existing mediums.

Acquiring a taste for design will definitely affect your creative motivations. If your technique is not as refined as your creative taste, spend time practicing what you like. Eventually, you’ll develop your own flavor, and the decisions you make will Remix those ideas you originally liked.

Taking photos on my phone, I typically search for architectural compositions. An urban landscape like Chicago can easily provide Symmetry, Balance, and Lines that pull the eye into the image. Using a Moment Wide lens can also exaggerate those features for an even more dramatic style. This is the way I haved remixed existing methods of typical Chicago Architectural Photography in my own aesthetic.

Free Photo App recommendations: VSCOCAM, SKRWT, LIGHTROOM
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MASHUP: Combining shit you like. (JK, Combining designs from multiple mediums.)

Taking an interest in design can also lead to new interests within the scope of the visual arts and even outside of it. Fortunately, there’s nothing stopping you from incorporating all these interests in your work, into a mashup of very different concepts. Presenting the connection you find between these ideas is a unique creative work in itself.

When composing my designs, I take from multiple inspirations, including music, film, graphic design, typography, and photography. Sometimes I take from a few; sometimes I pull from all my interests and incorporate them into a work. A song title, or a film quote, can easily be informed by an image I take. Callbacks to previous moods can reflect how I compose a design or select a Typeface. All these inspirations are perpetually affecting each other and work their way into these design vignettes.

Photo App recommendations: OVER
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MASTER : Mastering and refining design work.

The ability to constantly refine and be critical about a project is arguably the hardest part of producing design work. Essentially, you (or sometimes a deadline) will decide when a work is completed. Since a work can constantly be developed, it's always difficult to draw a finish line. Practicing rigorous editing will also feed back into your own design taste, and will continue to act as a feedback loop that slowly heightens your attention to detail and design workflow.

When combining many mediums into a single image, refining so many moving pieces can seem like chaos. The real task is to have all these moving parts work for each other, so it gives the impression that they exist in the same universe. The colors, depth, background, and foreground can all be manipulated to provide a visual dialog between these elements.

Masking off a few segments from the foreground type to reveal portions of the background is a great way to integrate the TypeWork into the image. Also, lightly masking (or erasing) portions of the type design with a large feathered brush can also add the illusion of shadow, further grounding the type into the context of the image. This can be done with almost any image blender type application, using layer and masking features.

Photo App recommendations: IMAGE BLENDER
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