Video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo have transformed how we communicate, and rising platforms like Instagram or TikTok ensure this trend is here to stay. And with the increase in work and study from home, the importance of well-made videos has never been more critical.
Many elements go into the creation of a good video: composition, lighting, sound quality. But what many creators overlook is the very real need for eye-catching fonts.
We’ve gone beyond simple captioning, and an unreadable or unattractive font will turn your audience away. Rather than try and understand what you’re trying to say, they’ll just close the tab and look for something else to watch.
With that in mind, here’s a collection of some of the best fonts to use when creating a video.
One of the simplest and best sans-serif fonts, Helvetica has been popular since it was first designed in 1957. It’s streamlined, readable, and lends itself well to being outlined, shadowed, or otherwise altered.
This is an attractive font for when you want something that looks like Comic Sans but isn’t. The rounded corners give this font a whimsical quality, making it a less imposing font than many of the others on this list.
A great font for when you want something with a little texture but also readability. Hansief letters appear to have been created by a sponge brush or spray paint. The dappled quality easily draws the eye, making this a great font choice for title cards.
One of the more elegant Serif fonts available, Georgia has slightly closer kerning than Times New Roman. And with closer kerning, you can fit more words on the screen without sacrificing readability.
Goudy’s barely-there serifs make this as readable as any Sans Serif font, while still giving it the elegance of a traditional Serif font. And Goudy has a whole host of variations, such as Goudy Stout or Goudy SSI, which give creators some extra flexibility.
Of course, readability is the main concern when picking the right font. But how to properly evaluate if a font is readable or not?
Using a single font can make your work seem stagnant and boring. Viewers might miss important information as their eyes skip over the sameness of using the same font for everything. But use too many fonts, and your work risks looking cluttered and disorganized.
Industry veterans recommend using no more than two or three fonts. For best results, pick one Serif and one Sans-Serif font. Use your Serif font for headers and titles, and use the Sans-Serif font for body text. And if you choose the third font, use that one sparingly.
If your project is meant to seem professional, like a lecture or business presentation, you wouldn’t want to use a jokey font like Comic Sans. Whereas if you’re making something like reviews of Disney movies, you’d want a font that properly reflected the whimsical, playful nature of these films.
Think about the design elements of your video. Is it meant to be elegant? Informative? Fun? Polished? Choose fonts that have similar attributes in common with the overall feel of your production.
You don’t know how your viewers will take in your videos. Will they watch on a wide-screen desktop monitor? A six-inch mobile screen? A table that’s somewhere in between? Whatever they use, you don’t want your font to be either too overwhelming or too small.
You also should consider how your title or thumbnail screen appears. To attract viewers, your thumbnail needs to pop, so they stop scrolling and click on your video.
This is called responsive design – making sure your work looks good no matter how big or small it is. Many online tools are available so you can test how your videos or website look on a variety of different browsers and screens.
While using the right font is important, collecting all these fonts can be a bit of a pain. Especially if the fonts aren’t free, or have restrictions on how they can be used. But, there’s some good news here!
Rather than having to sift through infinite font libraries (many of which don’t differentiate between paid, restricted, or free fonts), you can download a free filmmaker – FilmForth. This powerful video software comes packaged with dozens of free fonts, in a variety of styles.
Even better, FilmForth comes with flexible text manipulation tools. Your titles can dance across the screen, bounce joyfully, or even fade mysteriously. And captions can easily fade in and fade out as you need them to.
And you don’t need to be a video expert to use this program. FilmForth is designed with beginners in mind, so you don’t have to worry about wrangling a complicated or arcane user interface.
So give it a try and start creating!
Karen is a professional writer with a background in column writing who enjoys resolving complex topics and explaining them in interesting ways.