I have white text that’s been extruded a little bit, and the sides always look gray. To get them to look white requires several lights, which mess around with the rendering engines lighting system and makes it have a really “cheap” look. Any way to get the text a little more white?
that’s really a material (shader) issue. have you seen the different shader combinations and starting settings in the wiki? Each has a very dramatic effect on the way the sides of the text will react to the light. Each of those balls was lit with the same standard three-point light rig; and only the shader was changed. You might want to use a Toon diffuse shader wtih the Cook-Torr specular shader.
A cheap trick is to turn up Emit on the Material setting too.
If you wanted to make titles (3D “2D”) titles you could have no lights at all and the text self iluminated (Materials > Shaders > Emit) - there is also a 2D Title Presets .blend file that I uploaded a while ago in case you want to have a look at this.