August 30, 2014

Text in images: how much is too much?

Bloggers many times put text inside images with different things in mind. At times it works to their advantage while many times it makes the blog look childish.

Take the example of small sayings superimposed tastefully on images. In such cases, the entire piece looks like a piece of art and gives the text an iconic identity. You can see some examples of this in these two posts: 1 , 2. But this, like a special effect, should not be overdone in blog posts.

Text works fine as an image or inside an image, when put as the title of the blog. It helps in recall of the blog’s identity.

Poet bloggers often use a background image to enhance intensity of their poems. Some blogs excel in beautifully composing their small posts of quotations etc with appropriate images. This all is fine but only if the basics of readability, design etc are kept in mind. We have earlier dealt with this and other related aspects at this link on placing images on blogs.

We have seen a good number of blogs with background images that run behind some columns or the entire blog. Sometimes a picture is repeated (tiled) over and over to cover the entire screen. Bloggers also apply ready-made beautiful themes to their blogs. When you do any of these, keep in mind its readability. When your blog has a lot of text, avoid using images with too much variation in color and contrast as background behind the text. Also avoid tiling an image behind the text. A better way is to use the image on the margins and corners or in the top / bottom portions of the blog where you have only some links, very bold text or no text.

Image embedded text: is it copy-proof?

A number of bloggers put text into an image just to make copying the text difficult. This does make the life of the plagiarist difficult to that extent, but it is no guarantee that a dogged plagiarist will not type out the text and use it. An innocent blogger told us once that she had applied a colorful background to her blog so that others would not be able to print her poems directly. But we showed her, how a slight change in contrast could remove the background from the image!

If your content is so precious that you don’t want people to use it, do not make it public on the web rather than trying to use pictures or colors to mask it. Pictures behind text will, in most cases, irritate genuine visitors without protecting the content.

Embedding text into image is bad SEO

From search engine point of view, if text is embedded in an image, it is not readable, at least at present. So, search engines do not know the importance or relevance of such text content. 

If some text must go with an image, e.g. to describe it, give the text as caption or title or alt tag (You can see here a detailed post on applying alt attribute to images). 

The final word...

You can use image behind the text content but take care that the image adds value to the content and does not compromise the readability of the text and does not spoil the overall design of the blog. Also take care that you don't overdo it.