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That's a Wrap

Text wrap... something everyone who is using graphics should think about. “Text wrap” describes what happens when text surrounds any type of graphic. It can be done very tastefully or very poorly – but it’s so easy to do it tastefully that we want to make sure you know what to look for. Take this for example (pay no mind to the gibberish - it's just placeholder text). This is what can happen when a photo is thrown in with some text and there are no special attributes applied:

Got to love Walmart orange juice. Obviously the photo is covering up the words and this is definitely not what you want to happen. Then there's this, which is commonly seen:

Right now, there is still no actual text wrap applied (at least not visually). The picture sits all by itself on a line, and all the text appears above and below. Sometimes this is appropriate if you want to draw attention to a graphic and make sure nothing distracts from it. But more often than not, you'll want something like this:

Here, we have the text "wrapping" around the photo. You might also notice that the picture has been resized slightly in order to fit nice and neatly within the text - this is an important visual component that should not be overlooked. Make sure your graphic and text have balance.

In this example, the photo has moved to the right side. Depending on your text, you may want to play around with right or justified alignment to see what is more visually appealing. Regardless of position, what you don't want is this:

Notice that there is no empty space between the picture and the words? Not good. What's needed here is "padding." You can have a little bit like in a few of the above images, or a lot, like this:

You might even experiment with something other than square text wrap. You might have a special effect on a picture like a dropshadow or have the edges "feathered" to give it a soft look. That opens up infinite possibilities:

Not that this particular example is actually recommended, but you get the idea. When you're using graphic design programs such as Adobe InDesign, the options are extremely customizable, allowing for a lot of different effects and outcomes. All of the above though, was accomplished in Microsoft Word. If all you have access to is a word processing application like Word, you can still produce some fine looking designs as long as you don't mind taking a little bit of time. What was done for these examples was right-clicking (control-click on a Mac) on the picture itself. In the menu that pops up, there are basic options under "Wrap Text," or you can go to "More Layout Options" and really start playing around with more advanced settings. (In Word, they call padding "Distance from Text.")

So there you have it. Nothing too in-depth, but maybe this will give you some ideas next time you need to throw together that quick flyer or announcement.


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