Choosing The Best Font for Captions! (5+ Options Compared)

Thanks to technological advances video marketing is flourishing like never before! Studies suggest 87% of marketers claim video has helped increase website traffic. Also, over 94% say video content has contributed to spreading brand awareness. One reason videos have grown so popular is the variety of techniques that turn them into advanced promotional tools for businesses. These techniques include adding captions, a.k.a subtitles, to business videos. From expressive font types to evocative backgrounds, every detail matters as much as providing quality content. Today's article will cover ways to choose the best font for captions and clear subtitles, and help you navigate the latest font trends!

Captions Defined

Before we proceed, let's understand a few key terms. Captions are open or closed text passages superimposed over a video. Open captions are visible to everyone watching the video, while closed ones can be turned on or off by viewers.

The key difference between the two is that closed captions are adjustable. This means that most of the time, such captions can be personalized according to the viewer's specific needs. Open captions cannot be removed or altered. These are an integral part of the video airing on the screens. Nevertheless, both are essential in making your video content accessible to a broader audience.

Captions vs Subtitles

Image Source: TED TALKS

Even though the two terms are often interchangeable, there is a crucial distinction between captions and subtitles. Both text types are meant to provide essential information about the content to the viewers. However, there are also subtitles for people with hearing impairment. Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH) offer additional information about sound effects, tone of voice and other non-speech elements essential to helping the hearing-impaired understand the overall mood.

Foreign film subtitles translate the dialogues into the viewer's native language. As a rule, such text units reflect the conversations and may include on-screen information like written messages, signs, etc.

The Role of Captioning in Video Marketing

Neglecting the benefits of captioning for a company's marketing campaign may mean overlooking an extra opportunity to increase engagement with your digital content. One survey found that approximately 92% of US consumers watch mobile videos with the sound off. Thus, businesses should think of actionable techniques to communicate their message without relying on audio.

Secondly, adding video captions ensures that the target audience receives the intended message loud and clear regardless of surrounding noise, various accents, or the viewer's ability to hear.

Lastly, captioned videos tend to have a significantly higher search engine ranking. In fact, captions provide text information for Google to index. Consequently, this makes video content easily discoverable by users and search engine crawlers.

If a company invests in a video marketing strategy, captioning should become an integral part of the pre-production stage. So let's leave theory aside and see what practical tips we can apply to make sure your captions are on point!

Setting It Straight - What's the Best Font for Captions?

First impressions matter. So does choosing the right font for captions, since it is the first thing your viewer's eyes will land on. What font is the best for captions? There is no final answer to this question. However, we can still identify which fonts would be more appealing for video captions.

From the perspective of typography, there are a few key characteristics creators need to focus on while picking the most suitable font style.

#1 Readability

Readability determines how easily a reader understands a piece of text. Choose a highly readable font to avoid any comprehension issues. Moreover, the text should be easily distinguishable from the background to ensure viewers don't struggle to catch every word.

#2 Personalization

A video caption font should help creators deliver the message in the appropriate tone. Consider the feelings you want to evoke while choosing the best font for captions.

For instance, a more playful font style would work great for promoting kids' products. In contrast, a sleek and straightforward font may work wonders while presenting business reports.

#3 Consistency

Note that the font should be in line with the overall video aesthetic. This means it should match the video's graphics, colors, and other major design elements.

Pro Tip: There are 24 frames for each second of the video. Thus, a creator should be aware of the captioning process to get the timing right.

Generally it's advisable to ensure each caption frame doesn't appear on the screen for less than one second and more than four seconds.

Podcastle's Favorite Picks: Best Fonts for Video Captions

Before we suggest some of our favorite fonts, answer the following question: Do you have a professional caption editing tool to create the most accurate video captions? If not, sign up for a free trial of Podcastle. It is an AI-powered tool with an integrated voice detector that automatically generates content captions.

Originally designed to be a podcast recording and editing tool, Podcastle has a lot to offer to visual content creators! There is also a rich blog library with tips and tricks on content creation to help you decide whether or not captioning is for you.

So what fonts, in our experience, will provide your audience with the best user experience?

#1 Helvetica

Helvetica is a widely used sans-serif font created in 1957. This classic font is often described as one of the cleanest and simplest modern fonts. It has even been used for movie posters and logos (Apple Inc., Toyota, BMW, Microsoft, etc.). The Helvetica font family includes 33 different styles ranging from light to black.

#2 Arial

Arial is another sans-serif font that comes in a great variety of styles - from Regular and Bold to Light and Thin. This typeface was designed in 1982 and has become one of the world's most used fonts.

The main difference between Helvetica and Arial is that the former was initially designed for laser printers. Arial is relatively more rounded. Its curves are softer and fuller.

#3 Verdana

This font was created specifically for screens. It has six different styles - from Regular to Bold. The spacing between letters is relatively wide to help viewers read the on-screen text from a distance. Verdana is probably the best font for closed captions.

#4 Merriweather

Merriweather is a great serif font that looks great in both headlines and body text. It is an accessible font in several styles, including Light Italic, Bold Italic, Utrabold, etc. This font is slightly more curved as compared to the previous options. Merriweather is a low-contrast font, i.e., it's pleasant to read in small sizes, making it an excellent font for captions.

#5 Lucida Grande

Lucida Grande is another sans-serif typeface with three weights - Normal, Bold, and Black. This font is best known for being Apple's macOS interface font from 1999 to 2014. Charles Bigelow, the designer, described it as "humanist" and "transitional" due to its modern proportions and slightly condensed letterforms.

#6 Comic Sans MS

Comic Sans is a casual sans-serif script typeface. Although some people find this font too playful, it can look great in the proper context. Initially inspired by comic book lettering, Comic Sans designer Vincent Connare created it for children's materials, informal documents, and education software. This font was designed for Microsoft and included in the Windows 95 plus pack.

Summing up, font selection is critical when creating subtitles and captions. The best font for captions will be easy to read on a variety of devices and clear enough to help the viewer follow along with the video. The tips in this article will surely help you create quality content for your audience and reach your video marketing goals!

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