How To Add A Background Soft Shadow To Text

Some text effects on images can really make that subtle change more noticeable. It’s certainly true when it comes to creating a logo as you want your logo to stand out on the page. Branding, top features and new information page elements are reasons to use headings that stand out. While CSS is a good choice for accomplishing this, I can also recommend a nice effect in Photoshop which is really simple to create and results in a very small file.

Sometime referred to as back shading or halo effects, what we will do is apply a background color shading to a line of text. For this example, it’s branding for an art gallery. We shall call the art gallery the ‘Wonder Wall’ (why not?).

So, for the effect; this can be done in versions 5 to CS4.

  1. Create a new window, 300px by 100px.

  1. Click the text type tool and enter the text into the window. I used the studio font as it presents that crisp arty effect sought by the theme:

  1. Control and click the text to select all the text:

  1. Now create a new layer and place it below the text layer in the Layers panel.

  2. Go to edit, then fill, choose a darker color but a similar shade.

  1. With the second layer selected using control and click, go to Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur. Set the Blur radius to 4.0 or 5.0.

  1. Now you have a nice effective soft shadow effect. You can expand the shadow a little more if desired using edit, then transform, but I like the soft effect produced as it now appears.

  1. To intensify the shadow, you could right click the layer 1, select blending options, and then click drop shadow.

This is better than applying text effects to the text layer and so having to go through with rasterizing the text. You can alter the text this way and change the soft shadow colors as per your web site color set.

Simple effects can make a profound difference when applied to certain page elements. Logos and headings can catch the eye with a basic effect such as this one.

Here is the PSD file for you if you want just the result.

By Stephen Davies

Stephen Davies MSc is a content writer/copywriter and director of, which offers SEO writing and marketing services to the SMB market.

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