TL; DR: BeLight is leveling the playing field with Art Text, a lettering and typography design tool for amateurs and professional designers alike. Whether you’re aiming for a whimsical or sophisticated feel, the intuitive software has everything you need for adding a creative touch to your logos, cards, fliers, and presentations. As for what the future holds, BeLight’s small team of tech enthusiasts is working on updating Art Text with additional realistic features, including a spray tool with multiple adjustment options.
I’ve dabbled in site-building and can make my way around Photoshop, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no graphic design expert. So when I had the chance to toy around with BeLight Software’s Art Text 3, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
At the same time, my mouth was watering. The opportunity to transform my text into delicious digital goodies — glossy chocolate cake, iced donuts with rainbow sprinkles, pale yellow Swiss cheese — certainly drew me in. But the built-in templates and intuitive, easy-to-use interface are what made me stay.
After a quick install on my MacBook Pro, I began to play around with the platform’s customizable templates. Thanks to countless effects, materials, masks, and geometric tools, the opportunities are endless — yet somehow easily accessible.
Tanya Vert, PR Manager at Art Text, told us this is by design. “Art Text features a wide variety of presets throughout the app,” she said. “Not only does it have a collection of templates, but every tool comes with the choice of hundreds of pre-designed options.”
If, for example, you select a 2D or 3D template and want to customize it by applying a gradient, you’ll have the choice of more than 50 refined gradients predesigned for aesthetic balance. “I believe this structure makes users feel that we took care of them, in advance, every step of the way,” Tanya said.
For me, the abundance of presets flattened the learning curve, making for a feature-rich but frustration-free experience. The software isn’t foolproof — I took a few wrong turns here and there when experimenting with different masks and effects — but my design sins were easily washed away with a simple Command+Z.
Create Stunning Lettering and Typography Illustrations
Whether you’re looking to design a website, business card, or PowerPoint presentation, design is critical in making a good first impression. A slick design will clearly communicate your brand and reinforce your messaging, helping you stand out among the competition. A sloppy, unprofessional one, on the other hand, can make you appear out of touch, damage your credibility, and even affect your bottom line.
Research on web design shows that 38% of visitors will leave a site that’s not visually appealing — and it takes them just 10 seconds to form that opinion. So, if you’re going to add artistic text to your site (or any design piece, for that matter), you better make it good.
Art Text is useful in this respect because it features a considered set of guardrails in the form of ready-made templates and finely detailed presets that make it possible for amateurs to create crowd-pleasing word art without fiddling around for days on end. These days, no one has that kind of time — a fact that BeLight’s developers recognized from the start.
“One of our lead developers saw a designer from our team creating a simple effect in Photoshop for one of our existing apps (we already had a few at that time),” Tanya said. “To achieve that embossing effect, the designer had to make multiple layers and add light before creating one shadow, then another, then a third, and so on. The developer said that he could create an app to achieve this effect easily, and that’s how Art Text began.”
A Feature-Rich Menu of Styles and Materials
Today, Art Text’s design library features a diverse catalog of ready-made templates, realistic effects, geometry tools, and graphic content that the user can mix and match as desired. Tanya said the company made the mistake of trying to pare down the selection a few years back before quickly changing course.
“Customers want to have a wide choice of templates to choose from and the ability to customize them with minimum effort,” Tanya said. “We were surprised when we got rid of some outdated templates and received a storm of customers telling us they used those templates for their projects — they were quite happy with them.”
In response, BeLight released Letters, which the company considers Art Text’s younger brother. The software includes a wide range of pre-designed templates and some customization options, but not nearly as many as Art Text, which comes packed with a variety of styles, materials, textures, icons, fonts, backgrounds, special designed effects, and shape transformations. Let’s take a tour of just a few:
Hundreds of Ready-Made Templates
Art Text comes preloaded with more than 70 customizable templates grouped into four categories: Basic, 2D Text, 3D Text, and Buttons & Icons.
No matter how convincing your sweet tooth is, not every piece of word art should be coated in chocolate. Browse the Basic category for more subtle templates featuring simple colors, minimalistic patterns, and delicate gradients. Remember, all templates can represent a final product or a starting point, depending on how many additional effects you add.
The 2D category, on the other hand, is big on texture, with flat templates that simulate stamps, metal, wood, and glass. This is also where you’ll find a bevy of crafty templates that mimic watercolors, calligraphy, chalk, markers, paper, and stencils, among other creative effects.
If you have the opportunity to go all out, the 3D Text section is your best bet. From natural materials — such as wood, rust, stone, and water — to foam, fabric, and plastic, these realistic templates can add a distinctive punch when used in the right setting.
As a bonus, Art Text also includes a range of useful buttons and icons that could be used to instruct website visitors to download, buy, or like items, among other purposes — and they’re all customizable.
Realistic Effects and Masks
Templates are just the beginning. With Art Text, you can add several additional elements to your creation, including more than 750 vector icons, symbols, and shapes; 32 flash, flare, sparkle, and light objects; and more than 570 backgrounds and textures.
Customizing templates with effects is easy, especially compared with Photoshop. Users can adjust a variety of elements, including opacity, shadow, and glow, with just a few clicks, or choose from more than 30 masks to add a textural overlay to word art. All customizations can be added as separate layers that are easy to toggle off and on when determining the best possible combination of effects.
Geometric Transformations and Graphical Content
In addition to word art templates, Art Text features a wide range of smart shapes — circles, squares, arrows, a moon, chat bubbles, stars, you name it — that are customizable using any effect or mask.
In addition, Art Text’s geometric tools allow you to take any graphical element to the next level, adjusting position, width, height, and angle. One of my favorite features is the Transform tool, which shifts your word art or smart shape into a variety of 3D geometrical forms with one click. Between all these tools and elements, what you create is limited only by your imagination.
Tanya told us Art Text’s diverse feature set is a reflection of input from both users and in-house designers.
“We do collect and analyze our users’ feedback and try to include their suggestions into new releases,” she said. “What’s more, the whole app is built around real designers’ needs. Our in-house designers use the app to create new templates based on current trends and request features they need.”
For example, the company added a projection option for 3D text to achieve the isometric style effect featured in Art Text’s Retro template collection.
Design-Driven Products from a Team of Tech Enthusiasts
Tanya told us that the Art Text team strives to provide powerful and easy-to-use apps that ultimately make people’s lives easier. To that end, the company would much rather take its time designing quality projects from the start than quickly release clunky apps with limited functionality.
“Our products are design-driven, which makes them great for users, but also slows down the development process and makes our products expensive,” she said. At $29.99 a license, Art Text isn’t cheap, but the frustration-free experience makes up for the price tag.
Moving forward, BeLight’s small but dedicated team of tech enthusiasts is working on updating Art Text with additional realistic features, including a spray tool with multiple adjustment options. Tanya said the Art Text team is constantly supportive of new ideas like this, even if it means a little more work.
“We value our positive organizational climate,” she said. “Once a person joins the BeLight family, they’re typically with the team for years, and I believe that says a lot about the company. The same happens with our users: Once they buy our app, they become our fans. They know we always listen to them and are ready to help.”