Creating great video content is about more than simply recording a compelling video. You also need to ensure that you reach your target audience. One way to do this is to add high-quality, readable subtitles and closed captions.
But, with so many font choices available, how do you know which font to choose?
This blog post will discuss the 10 best fonts to make your subtitles and closed captions look fantastic. We'll explain the factors to consider when choosing fonts and show you where to find them.
1. They provide accessibility.
Subtitles and closed captions are vital for the deaf or hard of hearing and allow foreign language speakers to watch your content.
2. Many users watch with the sound off.
Research conducted by marketing firm Digiday in 2016 showed that 85% of Facebook users sometimes watched videos with the sound turned down.
In 2019, Verizon Media and Publicis Media published a survey showing that 69 % of people viewed videos with the sound off in public places, and 25 % did so in private.
3. Subtitles & captions increase average watch time.
Facebook's research revealed that high-quality subtitles increase viewing time by up to 12 percent.
4. Improve SEO.
Search-engine-optimization is a vital component in growing your video's reach. Video transcriptions involving subtitles and close captions will help search engines index your content using keywords and search phrases.
Without the addition of subtitles and captions, your video would only be indexed by title and metadata, meaning many valuable references that would help your video get found would be missed.
5. Online video is growing massively.
Cisco estimates that in 2022, 82% of global internet traffic will come from video. In addition, more than 70% of YouTube's video traffic now comes via mobile.
Optimizing your video with high-quality captioning and subtitles has never been more critical.
Use standard sizes to ensure your text is large enough to be readable but not so large that it becomes distracting. Consider the font choice in light of the content and tone of the video. But do not compromise readability for stylistic effect.
Don’t place the font in an area of the screen that creates readability issues; ensure it doesn’t blend into the backdrop.
Use a font that is already installed on most computers. This will ensure that the font displays correctly for all viewers.
Test the font before using it in your final video. Make sure that it’s legible and has good readability on all devices.
If supported by your video ratio, consider adding your text in the black border space underneath. This process is called Letterboxing.
Place a subtle drop shadow on your text to increase its legibility.
Place a colored box around your subtitles to help differentiate them.
Times New Roman
Futura is a geometric sans-serif typeface developed by designer Paul Renner in 1927. It is known for its clean spacing, elegant geometry, and Bauhaus-influenced design.
Easily readable when displayed on a small screen, Futura includes a variety of dingbat symbols that can be used to add visual interest to subtitles and closed captions.
Clean, modern lines and geometric forms.
A variety of styles and weights.
Unique character set.
Combination of dingbat symbols.
Some may find it a bit sterile.
Futura is free for personal use.
Futura’s high clarity, versatility, and variations create a typeface that offers a retro-futurist blending of the traditional and the modern.
Released in 1983, Helvetica Neue is a modern, screen readable sans serif and a reworking of the iconic 1950s Helvetica, created by Swiss designer Max Miedinger.
Helvetica’s Neue's clean lines, vertical symmetry, and neutral shaping make it both subtle and easy to read. It offers a wide range of weights and styles that help convey critical information with clarity and distinctiveness.
Amongst the most popular typefaces in the world, it has been called “the little black dress” of typefaces.
Easy to read, sculpted, formal, and solid.
Available in a variety of styles and weights.
History as a modern design classic.
Some designers dislike it for its ubiquity.
Helvetica Neue is free for personal use. You will need to purchase the font to use it commercially.
Helvetica Neue offers clean lines, unified widths and heights, simple shapes, and a modern twist to timeless design principles. Its history as a modern classic makes it a dependable choice for almost any type of video subtitling.
STIXGeneral is a comprehensive sans-serif font set explicitly designed for scientific, engineering, and technical applications.
Formal, versatile, and easily legible, it is suitable for both body copy and headlines. The font family includes various weights and styles and a unique character set, ideal for use in subtitles and closed captions.
It can be used for body copy and headlines.
High readability & legibility on small screens.
Special character easy to read character set. A variety of weights and styles.
Some critics find it to be plain.
STIXGeneral is published under a SIL open source license and is free for personal and commercial use.
STIXGeneral is an excellent choice for subtitle and caption work because of its legible nature and variety of weights and styles.
Lucida Grande is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes. It achieved global prominence when it became the main interface font for macOS from 1999 to 2014.
Spacious, playful, versatile, and minimalist, Lucida Grande was one of the first typefaces created specifically for light-emitting screens. Its exceptional legibility and simple, unadorned style has made it an outstanding choice for subtitles and closed captions.
Flowing contours, based on Renaissance handwriting.
Highly regarded for legibility.
Eight fonts with various weights and matching italics.
Reads exceptionally well at small sizes.
Not well supported on Windows platforms.
Lucida Grande is free for personal use.
A clean, highly legible, and playful font with a wide variety of weights and styles.
Arial is a sans-serif typeface designed in 1982 by Robin Nicholas, and Patricia Saunders for use with a long-since vanished HP printer. It has shipped continuously with the Windows OS since 1992 and is considered one of the world’s most recognizable typefaces.
Based on Monotype Grotesque, Arial has become almost a surrogate for Helvetica. Its rounded curves, sharp diagonals, subtle humanist appearance, and similarity to Helvetica’s proportions have led many to critique it as a ‘Helvetica clone.’
Neutral humanist font with high legibility & readability.
Wide usage & familiarity.
Functional similarity to Helvetica.
Similarity to Helvetica.
Overuse leads some to claim it lacks personality.
Arial is free for personal and commercial use.
A contemporary adaptation of industrial sans-serif typefaces such as Grotesque, Arial maintains the heights and weights of Helvetica.
Legible on a variety of screen sizes, it offers a wide variety of different weights and styles. It is a safe, neutral choice for subtitles.
Trebuchet MS is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed for Microsoft by US type designer Vincent Connare. Inspired by the sans-serif stylings of the 1930s and named after a medieval catapult, Trebuchet was designed as a font that ‘fires your messages across the Internet.’
Notable for its curved embellishments, screen-friendly design, and overall elegance.
Considered a standard interface font on most screens.
Highly legible, with excellent readability.
Modern, open, humanistic feel.
Trebuchet MS bears a solid resemblance to the Clarendon designs of the 19th century. It may not be modern enough for all uses.
Trebuchet MS is covered by Microsoft’s standard licensing, and is free for personal and commercial use.
A highly legible and well-crafted typeface with clean lines and high legibility. Trebuchet MS has incorporated geometric and humanist design elements to both pleasing and widespread effect.
Verdana is a humanist sans-serif typeface, designed as a screen readable font for Microsoft by Matthew and Tom Rickner in 1996. It has been included in all Windows and MS Office versions.
Verdana makes use of open, bold, and rather broad characters. This has the advantage of improving legibility and ensuring it will fit nicely into the space available for subtitles and captions at the bottom of the screen.
Wide, open shapes provide excellent legibility.
Works well with videos that have a technology or future-focus.
Some feel the font is overused and does not work well at higher resolution.
Verdana is free for personal and commercial use.
A high-quality, readable option for subtitles and captions, particularly suitable for video with large amounts of text on a screen.
Georgia is a serif typeface designed by Matthew Carter for Microsoft in 19993. It was created to be an elegant, legible typeface with small screens and print. It draws inspiration from 19th-century Scotch Roman designs.
This formal, practical, and mature appearance. It shares elements of both traditional and modern serif typeface designs, giving it a regal and casual style.
Wide support across Mac and Windows platforms.
‘Classic’ charm, with simple aesthetic flourishes and subtle rounded edges.
Enhanced visibility and ample spacing increase readability at small sizes.
The appearance of some characters has been considered inconsistent by some critics. This applies particularly to the letter O and the numeral 0, which look very similar.
It is free for personal and commercial use if Georgia is supplied on your computer.
A warm well-rounded font that works well against backgrounds. Georgia is a perfect font for many types of subtitle and closed-caption projects.
In 1929, The Times newspaper of London commissioned type designer Stanley Morrison to update its chunky, serif font after Morrison publicly criticized its printing quality.
Times New Roman was the result and became the official font of the newspaper in 1932. There remains some controversy regarding the true origins of the typeface. (Link)
A versatile, highly readable serif, Times New Roman is generally considered amongst the most recognizable typefaces in the world. It was the default font in Microsoft Word for nearly a decade and has become a standard on computers and printers worldwide.
Functional, highly legible, slightly narrow, and with a subtle, almost archaic feel.
In 2016, a public survey found Times New Roman to be the UK’s most trusted typeface.
A highly legible, workhorse font with instant recognisability.
A lack of ‘personality’ enables it to fulfill many functions.
Stable, mature, and formal.
Critics lambast the font for its sterility, claiming its usage is a default.
Times New Roman is free for personal and commercial use if supplied on your computer.
If you’re looking for a font with high legibility, space-saving economy, and instant familiarity, Times New Roman works well for subtitles and captions.
Roboto is a neo-grotesque sans-serif typeface family developed in-house by Google designer Christian Robertson for its 2011 Android OS release.
Designed for a wide range of screens and resolutions, Roboto has gentle curves, highly readable shapes, and 12 different weights. It supports Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts, and Roboto Regular can be used in combination with Roboto Condensed and Roboto Slab.
Excellent readability, combined with pleasing shapes and contrast.
A comprehensive font family optimized for readability.
Googles alternative to Helvetica!
Some critics derided the first release of the font for serious design inconsistencies. Google’s 2014 has addressed some (but not all) of these concerns.
Roboto is free for personal and commercial use.
If you’re looking for a font that has an inviting modern feel, works brilliantly on the screen, and is easy on the eye, Roboto is an excellent choice.
Make your captions white text and select a sans-serif font. Try adding a dark outline, and use light transparency. Now your text will be readable regardless of the background.
It depends on the platform:
Google (YouTube) uses Roboto as its default subtitle font.
Netflix’s default is Consolas. You can customize these settings in the "Profile and Parental Controls" area. Tips: You can get subtitles from Netflix!