Text on background-need suggestions

I have series of packaging that all contain a tone on tone background (mountains with color overlay in yellow - red - blue), with white text over top, but the legibility is difficult. Need to figure out a way to make more readable, without sacrificing design esthetic of the packaging… any ideas??

Also, brand new to this forum, so need to figure out how to post an image for reference…

Thanks in advance,

Welcome to the forum.

Uploading images is easy, and it’s doable in a couple of different ways.

For example, there’s the upload button I’ve circled below. Click it, then choose and upload a JPEG or PNG file.

Alternatively, you can just drag and drop the image onto the text entry window. You can even paste an image into the window directly from a screen capture, which is how I usually do it.

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Text looks more legible in this images than when printed IRL… white on yellow/red is hard to read… and due to size constraints and content, the font is rather small, and due to branding guidelines ,the font is dainty… any ideas???

Do these print in spot colors or 4-color process? If 4-color process, I’d be concerned with registration issues using small type.

As for the positioning of the text over the background, I don’t think that’s going to work. If it were me, I’d find another solution.

For example, I might move all the imagery a little higher while moving the socks higher in relationship to the background. This would free up space beneath the socks to place the text, which might work well and look legible inside a black box.

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printed overseas, so probably 4-color process. Here is the full layout for better understanding of the overall look

First of all, this is a nice looking package and nice illustration work. Good job!

Possible solutions for the issue you are experiencing.

– Subtle drop shadow on the text to add contrast to the background.

– Add a horizontal band behind the text that is black, set the layer to multiply, then dial back the opacity to strike a balance between legibility and subtleness.

– Reduce the opacity on the mountains. The type over the solid color is pretty legible; it gets tougher to read where the type is over the busy, craggy mountain image.

– Fade the top of the mountains only so the top is lighter but the bottom stays the same.

– Dodge the darkest areas on the top of the mountain to reduce contrast of the mountain image and, therefore, increase contrast with the copy.


It doesn’t look so bad from here. 7 point, right?

The challenge is to create a high-contrast structure on top of a high-contrast structure.
The one in the background would have to go one way or another.
Is it possible that the white font is partially transparent?

You could reduce the contrast of the background in those areas where the copy is.
For example with a partial gaussian blur or an extremely soft shadow.

(I’m afraid) it’s been 20 years since I’ve seen register inaccuracies in offset printing - at least in the print works I’ve seen (Germany and Austria).

I like the socks, especially the trail sock. :blush:

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I’d look at different manners of transparency or handling the mountains over the colored background. Perhaps less of “black on color” and more “tone on tone”.

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But with printing on card stock from an unknown Chinese source where one has no control over the printing method, I’d still have concerns about minimizing the possibilities for registration problems. With the printers I work directly with here in the U.S., I’d have fewer concerns. Sometimes, I’m overly cautious.

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For reversed text in litho print - you should use a slightly bolder version than you’d use normally. If brand guidelines are regular, then try a semi-bold or bold version.
With this - you should increase the tracking slightly.
And I wouldn’t go below 8pt.

And may I ask - why no bleed?

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this is not the final working file, but will for sure have bleed to ensure edge to edge print. I can up the boldness of the font, but it gets chunky really quick. and if i up the point size, it takes too much room

It might look chunky on screen but in print it will look good.
And legible.

If you can’t go to 8pt then 7pt might be ok.

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I’ve seen registration shift on some of our stuff. It’s rare but it does still happen. I’ve also seen diecuts shift and that seems to happen more often.

You could always stroke the smallest and most worrisome text with pure magenta or pure yellow as a precaution but these guys gave you great advice for solving the legibility issue.

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I really like Steve_O’s ideas!

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WOW, you are all amazing. Thank you for the great feedback and ideas. I will for sure work some of them into the design. So glad I found this forum!! Thank you all.

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