An Easy Recipe for Making Text Overlay Images | Beth's Blog

An Easy Recipe for Making Text Overlay Images

Digital Strategy

Photo Source: Mlaraevski on Flickr

As part of your organization’s digital strategy, you need to create engaging content for your web site, email newsletter, or blog.    This content can be easily optimized for social channels like Facebook or Twitter – with a focus on making it visual.    And, of course, there are benefits to visual content like increased engagement.     A popular type of DIY (do-it-yourself) visual is “text overlay,”  used to illustrate a blog post or shared on Facebook.      Here’s a simple recipe for creating one.

1.   High Quality Ingredients

If you cook, you know that your dishes are only as good as your ingredients.      For text overlay images,  you need the following ingredients:  text, photo, and branding.   Your text should be short, clear, and support your key messaging.   Your photos should not only resonate with your audience, it should tell a story, not be copyrighted, and be a decent photo (not blurry or poorly composed).     You can take your own photos or use stock photography.     Don’t forget to add your URL or logo.

2.   Kitchen Equipment

For many of your text overlay needs, you can easily create them in PowerPoint and save as a jpg.    You will also need to resize your image depending on what channel and how you plan to use it.   My favorite free tool for this is PicMonkey because it is very easy to use.  (You could compose the text overlay using PicMonkey if you want more elaborate design and graphic elements than PowerPoint)

3.   Measuring Tools

You will need a cheat sheet that gives you the up to date image sizes for different social channels.     “The Ridiculously Exhaustive Social Media Dimensions Blueprint”  from TentSocial is kept up to date and downloadable as a PDF.    If you plan to use the image as a promoted post on Facebook, make sure you understand the 20% rule so you time isn’t wasted.

4.   Presentation

All great cooks know how to present their dishes on the plate so they look appetizing and beautiful.    Remember some basic rules of graphics design:  Simplicity
Balance, Font Readability, and Contrast

With this simple recipe, you can create a great text overlay image to illustrate a blog post and use on social channels in less than 15-30 minutes.

Have you incorporated text image overlays into your content strategy?   What’s your recipe?  Any secret sauce?

7 Responses

  1. Beth, love your formula for presenting your content beautifully. We are also inspired by the power of simplicity and strong visuals, and I would be delighted for you to give our free app a try and let us know your feedback. I think Haiku Deck would actually cut a couple of steps out of your process and save you more time for creation! Here’s an example:

    You can also visit, or contact me directly at for more ideas.
    Catherine from Haiku Deck

  2. Brian Sol says:

    Great post with awesome advice, thanks for sharing Beth!

  3. Even though I own the bells and whistles version of the Adobe Creative Suite CS6, Picmonkey is my favorite way to create my ‘graphic’ images. It is so simple and easy to use and the yearly subscription fee is dirt cheap to get to their premium package. Even without it it, you can do TONS of photo editing tricks for free.
    Great article!

  4. LaDonna Coy says:

    Hi Beth — this is great and you know how I love the links you always provide to great resources 🙂 I’m reminded of Dr. John Medina’s Brain Rules ( where, among other things, he describes how “vision trumps all other senses”. Perhaps that’s at least part of the reason these amazing visual networks have had such incredible growth? Our brain responds so well and so quickly to visuals AND I’ll add intriguing questions to the mix – together a powerful combination. Thx for the succinct and spot on advice for visual content — oh, and Pic Monkey rocks.

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  7. Michael Hopf says:

    Hi Beth, very helpful, thanks. You may want to try the social media image maker. It makes it very easy to get the image size right for a lot of channels. It’s a great tool that saves you time and annoying work.