5 Ways To Use Text And Graphic Overlays – Canva Tutorial

This site may contain affiliate links for which a small commission is received.

text image overlaysMaking stunning graphics for a website, blog or social media need is much easier with all the online resources available. One really good method of making professional looking graphics is to incorporate either text, color or additional graphics as an overlaid element on top of the current image or graphic. There’s multiple ways to do this. Some require coding with CSS or html and examples are easily found, but there are much easier and quicker ways to make great looking graphics using overlay techniques. I cover 5 Ways To Use Text And Graphic Overlays below. Looking for more easy ways to make cool graphics for your blog and social media? Just sign up and get the techniques you want.

Color Overlay Text Overlay Image Overlay Picture Overlay Inside Text Photo Merge Overlays

WP Rocket - WordPress Caching Plugin

The easiest and simplest overlay is semi-transparent color on top of an image. Adding color as an overlay can be used to bring focus to text placed on a complex or busy image. Let me show how easy it is to do with two different online editors (Canva and Picmonkey). First, I’ll select my work space design area in Canva and make it 600 x 220 pixel. Then I upload my free image; in this case I’ve selected a cool looking car.

Canvaninja Imgs1
using canva with pixabay
color overlays on images in canva


My graphic is nice but a bit plain looking.  To give it life I’m going to add the red overlay. I chose to add a geometric square and color it deep red (#bf0000). The square is modified to completely cover the image. By selecting the square “grid-like” icon in the upper right next to “Position” I can lower the opaqueness or increase the transparency of the object of focus. In this case its the color. The result is shown.

By playing the color and amount of transparency I change how the overlay and image look.

5 Ways To Use Text And Graphic Overlays - Canva Tutorial

selecting color in canva
adding color overlay to canva image

That’s starting to look better. Now I will employ the second technique; that is to overlay text on top of my current composite graphic. I simply add text where I want. When adding multiple text lines, using complementary text fonts can help highlight the message while looking very professional. In this case, I’ve used a Playfair Display Black Bold and a smaller, lighter Rosario text overlay on my graphic. The result looks good.

Using text overlay on graphic image in canva
Using text overlay on graphic image in canva


This technique is so easy it literally takes a few minutes to achieve. The hard part might be getting the starting image in the correct size and that’s not so bad with all the free resources online these days. The color overlay combined with text can make stunning graphics for any need. But the order of overlays can effect how the final graphic looks. Let’s take another example.

While I previously overlaid the text on top of a composite graphic made from an image and color, now I’m overlaying a graphic on top of text. I’ll use Picmonkey this time as an example. For this to work in Picmonkey I’ll need to start with a white canvas. My starting image will be 1800 x 600 and I’ll crop when finished. I add my black text to my white canvas.



overlay graphic image into text canva
overlay graphic image into text canva

The cool part is that Picmonkey offers a lot of different overlay looks (I’m not going to cover them all here but you will see those in upcoming articles).  The overlay I use is the “lighten”.  Notice the graphic now fits within the text.  Wow, now that’s really eye catching.  Here’s the final result.

overlaid graphics inside into text
overlaid graphics inside into text


The final technique is to blend two images with either online tool.  This effect that merges two photos by combining pictures into a composite image can be quite dramatic when done well. I show how to combine photo online with the techniques previous shown but except now I’m using pictures or photo images. A full overlay with transparency or a partial overlay with no transparency gives two very different results. The first is similiar to earlier examples where as the second provides a collage effect. Which ever is used depends on the selected images and the end goal.

Take a look at the difference here. I created a very subtle highlight effect by adding the overlay.   I show the two images side by side in a collage as well as the light image overlaid on top of the bridge. Transparency is set to about 50%.

image overlays canva
image overlays canva
2nd image to overlay 1st image -canva
2nd image to overlay 1st image -canva
bridge-overlaid-with-lighted-woods-image -canva image overlay effect

It’s best just to play with overlays to see what can be done.  You’ll be amazed how easy it is and how well it ends up looking. This is just the two original images shrunk in size for this post. The second is the overlaid result of the two images together.

This 5 ways to use text and graphic overlays present many opportunities to build unique and stunning graphics, logos, banners and social media images for all kinds of situations. The end result is limited only on what you start with and how creative you decide to get.

Want more tips?

Check out my other articles on building eye catching graphics:

Create Social Media Graphics With Canva Using 5 Simple Techniques

How To Use Canva – Design Your Own Graphics The Easy DIY Way

If you loved this post consider sharing it.  Thanks!


5 Ways To Use Text And Graphic Overlays - Canva Tutorial

If you found this useful, consider sharing. Thanks

Make a cool logo in less than 5 minutes with Inkscape. Here's 24 ways to do it. >>> 24 Inkscape Filter Effects With Text

Scroll to Top