How to Add a Text Overlay in Canva - Make For Business

How to Add a Text Overlay in Canva

Add a text overlay to your product photos to create great looking promotional graphics. It’s a great way to add some information about your products or to highlight some features. It’s also a great way to turn your photos into social media graphics. By adding text, for example, a quote or saying, to your product photos, you are getting your products in front of your followers, but not in a salesy way.

However, the challenge is to do this in such a way that it doesn’t detract from your product image. Without a little care, an image which combines products and text can become very confusing and it can end up that neither the text or the product image are clear.

Add Transparency to Your Text Overlay

So, here’s a tip from the pros. Add transparency to your overlay. This helps the overlay to blend into the image below. It creates a cohesive look, and allows the text overlay to melt into the product image without completely obscuring it.

While this sounds complicated, it’s actually really straightforward using Canva. The online image editing app, Canva, is great for adding overlays. Here’s a short tutorial which shows you how to do it.

How to Add a Text Overlay to Your Product Images Using Canva

Go to and open the app. The size of graphic you will want to make will depend on how you are going to use it. Add the dimensions you require. For ease of use, I choose a graphic of 1000 x 1000 as this will work well on the main social media channels and my blog. If I had more time, and this was an important graphic, it would be better to create a graphic for each social media channel.

Either select a preset template or choose the ‘Use custom dimensions’ option and type in the size of the image you want to create:


Click on ‘Design’ and this will open up a page with a canvas the size of the graphic you are creating. Now look on the lefthand side of the page and click the ‘UPLOADS’ tab. You will see you have an option to upload an image:


Upload your product image and click on it to add it to the canvas. You can use the dots on each corner of the photo to resize it. Resize the image as you require and drag it into the correct position.

To add the text overlay we’re going to add a block of color and add the text to this. Click on the ‘ELEMENTS’ tab and then click the ‘Shapes’ icon. Click the white square shape and you’ll see the shape is added to your canvas:


Again, use the dots on each corner to reshape the square into a rectangle as required. Drag it into place.

Depending on your computer and browser, you will either see a floating dark gray toolbar above the square or a fixed white toolbar at the top of the workspace.

To change the color simply click on the small white box in the toolbar and select a color. If you have the fixed white toolbar, the white box to open the color picker should be just visible on the left hand side. As you will see in the image below, when the color is fully opaque, it covers up the image. This could be fine for some designs, however we want the design to be more cohesive. Click on the little arrow next to the color box:


Select the transparency option and set the transparency level to the level which works best with your image. Just drag the slider left and right to change the transparency. You can change this after you have added the text if needs be. If you have the fixed white toolbar, the transparency button will be displayed on the right hand side, using the same icon as in the image above.

Add Text to Your Graphic

To add the text, click the ‘TEXT’ tab and click ‘Add heading” to add a text box. Now type in the text you require and change the font, size and color as desired:


Play around with the different options and see what works best. You could also try some of the ready made text graphics if you don’t want to choose your own fonts. If you need to move your text, first click outside of the canvas to deselect it and then click and drag it to the new position. You have to be fairly quick dragging after you click as otherwise the text becomes editable again and you can’t move it. This becomes easy with a little practice.

When you click on the text you have added and the text edit box appears, you can click on the little arrow on the righthand side and you’ll find more options for editing the text. If you have the fixed white toolbar, these options will be displayed there. These options include how you want the text justified (right, left or center) and also line and letter spacing:



And that’s it!

When you are happy with the finished image, click on download. Pick the PNG option as this will give you better quality images.

Tips for Creating Great Looking Graphics – Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

When you are creating graphics for social media it’s important to remember your target market. You want your graphics to appeal to them. Therefore choose fonts, color and any other elements which will resonate with your target market.

It doesn’t matter if it’s not to your personal taste. It’s your target market that really matters in promotional graphics. Take a look at popular graphics from brands that appeal to your target market and see what it is that makes these graphics stand out. Browse your favorite social media venues and see what works well and what doesn’t work so well. This will help you better fine tune your own promotional graphics.

Have fun creating great looking graphics using your product photos as the base!

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About the author

Kate Pullen

Kate is a long term marketing professional who made a lifestyle change and moved to Spain to follow her dream. She learned how to apply her business skills to her creative skills to grow a business. Her goal is to help others follow their dreams too.

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