Subtitles help viewers understand the video even without any sound. The right subtitle font ensures that viewers don’t face trouble understanding the text. That’s why adding subtitles with the right font is the key to creating a rich video experience.
Subtitles are a proven way to increase engagement of the content you’re creating. On YouTube, subtitles provide you with strong SEO benefits, helping you reach a massive audience by ranking on both Google and YouTube search.
They’re also great for anyone hard of hearing and who wants to follow what you’re saying. But even if that weren’t the case, you simply cannot do without subtitles if you’re doing video marketing.
85% of people who watch a video on Facebook do so with no sound on. Let that sink in for a minute. On Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, videos tend to autoplay in the feed and are muted by default.
This is interesting. The numbers give us plenty of insights into how people consume videos on social media. And how you can create the right kind of content. This not only underscores the importance of subtitles but also turns them into a primary medium of communication for your social media videos.
As content creators, not all of us are on board with the idea of cluttering our videos by adding subtitles to them. Or maybe we just feel like we don’t have time to add them. And in doing so, we turn down the benefits of added engagement to our content.
I’m going to cover how to use subtitles in a way that helps you reflect the personality of your brand, while also ensuring viewers can easily understand the text. I won’t attempt to lead you to the best font for subtitles. This guide is more of an attempt to present all possible options before you and show you their pros and cons so you can pick the best match for your brand.
It’s a good idea to customize subtitles with fonts, colors, sizes of your liking. Always remember this: Subtitles or captions are not there to distract people from the video but enhance the video-watching experience.
As such keep these things in mind:
- Use an easy-to-read font
- Use an accessible font
- Choose the font position carefully
- Format the videos for different places you’re submitting to
Creating Subtitles That Work for Different Types of Audiences and Content
Captions and subtitles both can provide information that enriches the viewing experience. To serve the best performance, the subtitles you add should be high-quality providing all relevant information. At the same time, they cannot be distracting or inaccurate.
Ideally, they should know the pace for subtitles and match video subtitles to match the pace and tone of the video. Choose the right video frames to start and end the subtitles.
- Every second of the video has 24 frames. A person who has knowledge of subtitles should know which frames are most suited for each subtitle to appear on.
- The timing determines when the text appears and when it disappears. It needs to be paced well for readability, while also moving with the action on-screen.
- Subtitles need to be shortened but convey the same meaning as the words that are spoken so that nothing is lost.
1. Use an Easy-to-Read font
Commonly available fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, and Times are the standard fonts we see being thrown around a lot and these document-style fonts have long been ingrained in people’s memories. They’re just about everywhere.
That’s why rarely anyone struggles when reading the text when subtitles are in these fonts.
Most places that let you create subtitles allow you to use any standard font types(free font types). You’re free to pick the ones that work best for you.
The problem is: the selection is sparse. Adding a bit of variety doesn’t have to compromise readability. If you use the same fonts everyone else in the world uses, what’s there to differentiate your brand from countless others? Think of what you can do to build a unique brand identity. You can always pick a font that looks pleasing to the eye, is easy to read but is also unique. Premium fonts help you cement that gap.
If you want the video project to show more character you can opt for a premium font that’s different from the traditional fonts I listed above. You can choose from hundreds of different fonts, zeroing down to the one that shows viewers what your brand is. Don’t worry, you don’t have to browse through hundreds. We picked the best few. Upload a video or copy-paste a link in the subtitle maker to customize all aspects of the video.
2. Choose your Subtitle Position Carefully
A persistent thought is: subtitles appear at the bottom of the screen when a video plays but that doesn’t always have to be the case. Sometimes the edge of the video places scrolling headlines, names, and locations as information. This is especially true on Twitter.
The bottom portion of the screen contains important information so that means you shouldn’t cover it with subtitles. Instead, remember there’s always the option of moving the subtitles to the top of the screen or below the video frame by adding extra blank padding.
3. Format Videos for the Places You’ll Share Them to
In addition, you must ensure that the subtitles don’t interfere with your video or get cropped out. You want to avoid the subtitles covering important parts of your video. But also you need to be mindful of where the video is posted to in order to determine where to best place your subtitles. For example, it's critical that you understand Instagram's different video formats so you know where to center your subtitles. If you were to place captions at the very top or very bottom of an IGTV or Instagram Reel, they text would not display in the feed preview as the video is cropped to 4:5 portrait ratio.
In order to avoid your subtitle text getting cropped on IGTV or Reels you would need to center your subtitles a much as possible within your 9:16 vertical video. It's almost as if you're visualizing an imaginary square in the cetner of your video where all the key elements need to be.
The 9 Best Free Fonts for Subtitles and Closed Captions in Video
In this section, we’re going to talk about the best free fonts and best-paid fonts you can choose for your subtitles. Premium fonts are ideal if you want to add a touch of professionalism as well as a distinctive unique feel to your videos. And next, we’re going to talk about SEO best practices towards the end of the article.
Until a few years ago, you couldn’t get anything more than a combination of Arial, or Times New Roman. This has completely changed now. We’ll go through all possible options next:
Arial is a modern sans serif-style font. It was designed for monotype by Robin Nicholas and Patritica Saunders in 1982.
The standout feature with Arial font is that it's something that’s equally good for a whole range of different purposes.
Arial belongs to a versatile family and is great for writing reports with, creating presentations, for use on magazines, for use in newspapers as well as for running advertisements and promotions. Arial is a Swiss font. A country that specializes in efficiency and neutrality. No wonder the Arial font embodies these characteristics.
If you want a simple font, Arial might just be a perfect choice, because it’s so commonplace.
For captions and subtitles, you ideally don’t want anything that distracts people from the goal. You can also use Arial Black but it can feel a little heavy with letters placed so close together when you have longer sentences on the subtitles. Microsoft first shipped with the default font set as Arial. Even today the default on Microsoft products is Arial and that’s the reason most people are familiar with the font, with Windows powering most of the personal computers in the world.
Other versions of this font include Arial Regular, Arial Narrow, Arial Italic, Arial Bold, and Arial Bold Italic.
Helvetica continues to grow in popularity as one of the most used fonts of all time. It’s available in three sizes: micro, text, and display. Over time, every character in Helvetica was updated and useful alternatives have replaced the originals. The font consists of all things that we love about typography.
Here’s a bit of history around the font. Max Miedinger designed the Helvetica font in 1957 and the font since then has been extensively used for logo design work and web design.
It’s popular among designers. Designers say Helvetica is like water. The description fits the font owing to the versatility it offers. Designers love it because it imparts a unique look and feels to the design in addition to making the work much more attractive as well as stylish.
Since Helvetica was first launched in 1957 new weights and sizes were introduced to meet growing demand. Minor touches like a hairline version, a bold weight, and more kept being added and extras led to inconsistencies. In 1982, a new version called Helvetica Neue was introduced to smoothen over these inconsistencies.
The latest version of Helvetica called Helvetica Now has updated each of the 40000 characters so that the font is more legible when used in small size. The original Helvetica font can hold on its own for billboards and large advertisements. By reengineering letters, Helvetica presented itself in a new light. That makes it an apt choice for an even higher range of choices. It’s like you’re looking at the font from a new light.
It gives a fresh feel to all your design work.
Plenty of major brands across the world use Helvetica for the design of their logos. Major brands include Nestle American Apparel, tech companies like Intel and Apple, and others tend to overwhelmingly use Helvetica.
The font has set and defined brand identity for close to half a century and still goes strong. Time and again, it has proven to be a font you can rely on to convey a sense of concreteness, clarity, and distinctiveness.
Roboto is a distinct font with a mechanical structure that comes with geometric forms. The font offers friendly curves. Roboto doesn’t force letterforms to a rigid structure rather gives them the freedom to express their natural width. This gives you a more apt reading rhythm found in humanist and serif types.
Roboto is a relatively new font in the list. It was first released in 2011 and designed by Christian Robertson for Google’s Android interface. The objective? The font had to make letters look equally good on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile screens.
Roboto as a whole is responsive. On Roboto letters get the freedom to take as much space as they need. This improves the reading experience for users.
Roboto was an instant hit. In 2014, Roboto worked through some criticisms to the design and the new version is even more modern and approachable as a typeface than before.
The Verdana typeface consists of four fonts that were the first to address issues around on-screen display and reading. The various weights in the family offer contrast and ensure great dreading at small sizes like 8 ppm.
It’s designed by Matthew Carter and hand-hinted by hitting expert Agfa Monotype’s Tom Rickner. These sans serif fonts are designed for the computer screen. The font’s characteristics originate from the idea of writing for the pixel rather than for the pen. The straight, curved, and diagonal strokes in the font express themselves as clear pixel patterns that are legible and pleasing to the eye.
The best thing about Verdana is it looks legible even when the text is very small.
Verdana font was released in 1996 so it's much more modern than Arial or Times New Roman. It was created with the goal of improving legibility on a computer screen.
Microsoft added Verdana to its Windows OS. So did Mac.Even today 99% of Windows machines run Verdana. Verdana’s primary goal as a typeface is to produce writing that’s still readable at very small sizes. Due to that, all flourishes were removed.
Even otherwise flourishes get lost at small sizes.
In addition, the letters have a large x-height which is the vertical space between the baseline letters and the top of lower-case letters.
In addition, there’s more space between letters so that when typefaces are reduced to small text the letters blur together until they’re spaced out.
Looking at it realistically, if you compare Helvetica and Verdana at small text sizes, Verdana immediately stands out as a better choice.
In that spirit, Verdana is similar to Georgia in that it looks screen compatible and good in print.
Because it looks good at small sizes Retailer IKEA had switched both print catalog and signage to the font.
Microsoft has created some of the most used and indelible fonts in history. One of these is the Tahoma font created by British designer Matthew Carter who also created the Georgia font and Verdana font. You can install Tahoma in different forms with a narrow body structure with little space between letters. The sans-serif classification was released in 1994.
Tahoma fonts like Wine Tahoma bold and Wine Tahoma regular are some of its other forms. You can also create textbase designs with the Tahoma font generator. Microsoft released this typeface as the default font in 1994 and started employing the same in different applications. The font is popularly used in several Windows applications. Another interesting bit is that Tahoma was initially released as a bitmap font before it finally became a TrueType font.
The Linotype version called Times is optimized for line-casting technology. The font was designed by Stanley Morrison. The typeface was used for the Times of London which used much better quality newsprint than most other newspapers. The better white paper enhanced the typeface's degree of contrast sharpened the serifs and created a modern look.
This sturdy version was designed to answer the demands of newspaper printing which used faster printing machines and cheaper paper. The Times font family continues to be popular because it's readable, and at the same time is highly versatile. That offers a world of opportunities for the font.
It's the standard font on most computers today.
The technical and beautifying characteristics of the Archivo font were crafted for high-performance typography. Archivo font was designed by Héctor Gatti and Omnibus-Type Team.
The typeface was designed for use in both print platforms as well as online publishing. It supports 200 plus languages.
Archivo is a grotesque sans serif typeface family designed to be used for headlines and highlights.
When you look at the font, you feel you’re drawn back to late nineteenth-century American typefaces.
Archivo has both Black and Narrow styles. Also, the font is free for personal and commercial use.
8. Open Sans
Open Sans, a humanist sans serif typeface, was originally designed by Steve Matteston. The version includes 867 character sets and includes standard ISO Latin 1, Latin Cen, and Cyrillic character sets. Its characteristics are upright stress, open forms, and neutral but approachable appearance. It’s optimized for publishing online, for print, and for mobile. It presents excellent legibility and readability in its type forms.
Open Sans finds its use in flat-styled web design.
Open Sans is used on some of Google’s web pages and also for online advertisements. Mozilla uses Open Sans as its default typeface for sites until 2019 and for the Telegram desktop app. It’s also the font that UK’s Labor, Co-operative and Liberal Democrat parties use.
Lato is a typeface belonging to the sans serif typeface family that started in 2010 by Lukasz Dziedzic.
In the last ten years during which Lukasz has been designing types, most projects were around a design task he wanted to solve. The font was originally thought of and planned for corporate-level large clients. Who then decided to choose the stylistic direction so the font family could take a public release.
The idea behind this font was to create something transparent that when used as part of body text would still display the original characteristics of the typeface even with large typefaces.
Classical proportions visible in uppercase gave letterforms both harmony and elegance. At the same time, he created a sleek sans serif look as well, which made the fact that Lato designed it two decades ago doesn’t follow any current design trend.
The semi-rounded letterings give Lato a feeling of warmth. That coupled with the strong structure conveys stability and seriousness.
Our Top 3 Best Paid Fonts for Subtitles and Closed Captions in Video
Futura is a geometric sans-serif typeface created by Paul Renner and released in 1927. It was designed as a contribution to the New Frankfurt project.
The primary geometric shape in use is the circle. This is similar to the Bauhaus design style. It was designed as a typeface by Bauer Type Foundry
Futura is a font that represents both efficiency and forwardness. Renner wasn’t associated with Bauhaus but he shared many of the idioms and believed a modern typeface should be a revival of the old design. Renner’s design rejected the approach of previous sans-serif fonts called grotesques which were modeled on sign painting, condensed lettering, and nineteenth-century serif typefaces.
These were replaced in favor of geometric forms like circles, triangles, and squares. It’s based on strokes of near-even weight that are low in contrast. The lower case comes with tall ascenders rising above the cap line.
The single-cap line uses near-circular, single-story geometric forms for a and g and the former is more common in people’s handwriting than for printed text. The uppercase letters are in similar proportion to classic Roman capitals.
Futura offers a lot of versatility and that’s why you can use it in a number of ways in design. It’s a typeface used in logos of Dolce + Gabbana and Calvin Klein. The variety stems from the variations it has to offer: several shades of light and book versions, medium, medium oblique, and more to name a few.
You can also use the font in body copy as a replacement for Times New Roman, Verdana, or Arial. Futura harks back to the past and is something that has survived for so many years.
The typeface is simple while also being artistic enough to meet expanded uses.
Due to its retro look, Futura is great for retro and vintage designs for artwork and jewelry themes. Perhaps Futura will also look good as a movie documentary font.
Where to Buy It: MyFonts.com
Merriweather font was designed to be a text face that was to be pleasant on the screen. It features a large height and condensed letterforms, with diagonal stress, and sturdy serifs with open forms.
The Merriweather sans is a sans-serif version that harmonizes with the weights and styles of the serif family.
It’s a low-contrast font which is extremely pleasant to read at small sizes. That’s why it’s ideal for computer screens. Merriweather Sans gives you the feeling that it’s something old even with the modern shapes adopted for the screen.
Currently, there are 8 styles ranging from Light, Regular, Bold, Extrabold in both Roman an5d Italic styles.
Designed by Eben Sorkin, in a design foundry in Western Massachusetts USA, the creators say that this is a work in progress and the font will be updated regularly. If you request improvements there’s a high likelihood you’re going to be heard.
Price: Free with Adobe CC Subscription starting at $52.99/month}
Where to Buy It: Adobe CC
3. Pluto Sans
The Pluto font family was designed by Hannes von Dohren in 2012. The clear Sans serif family is based on Pluto architecture and has a friendly feel over the quirky bits that Pluto conveys. Compared to Pluto, Pluto Sans feels less loud.
The geometric forms and the large height is great for long texts in small sizes and usage in print and on-screen. But Pluto Sans and Pluto have the same range of weights and styles.
Pluto Sans is great for complex professional typography and the open type fonts have an extended character set to support central and eastern European as well as Western European language. Each font has alternate letters, fractions, lining, tabular numbers, and more.
The fonts are all manually hinted for best performance on all screens.
Where to Buy It: Myfonts.com
Best Practices to Format Readable Subtitle Fonts for Video
Picking the right font is only half the work. The next thing you need to do is format things so that what’s written is easy to read without being too distracting or fading into the background.
- Alignment: Align the subtitle text to the left.
- Font size: The captions should be big enough to be understandable to the viewer. Just remember that you’re not supposed to make them squint. It shouldn’t affect the viewing experience. The same holds true for subtitles being too big. If too big, subtitles can take away a good slice of the video.
- Font color: Offer contrast. White captions are not the best for a predominantly white video. The font should be in a color that offers easy reading. Contrasting color choices are perfect.
- Caption resolution: This is important if captions start playing automatically. The captions and subtitles should be readable and accessible even on low-resolution screens. That’s why closed captions that the viewers can activate independently of the video player is a better choice. The letters in the text shouldn’t be too squished together. Adjust letter spacing or line spacing with VEED.
- Video background: The video background shouldn’t clash with the font color. Hide distractions behind the text. You can also add a background color to fix this.
How to Add Custom Subtitle Fonts with VEED
This is the step-by-step guide to help you with subtitles and translations inside VEED. VEED helps you to automatically add closed captions with the subtitle generator in just a few clicks.
1. Unzip the SRT file
If the font file is zipped, start by unzipping it first. Here’s a screenshot for reference:
2. Use VEED’s PRO plan
The advantage of VEED’s PRO plan is that you can load custom fonts and assemble your brand kit. If you go for the PRO plan (pricing $24/mo) you can get custom fonts. Or you can use the top free 7 fonts available with the free version of VEED.
3. Access the Brand Kit
Click on ‘Brand Kit’ to the right-hand side of your workspace.
4. Go to Font Assets
Scroll to where it says ‘Font Assets’ and click on the (+) plus symbol to add a font. Here’s a screenshot for reference:
5. Upload your Video
To add subtitles, upload the video that you want to add subtitles to. You can simply drop in a Dropbox link, upload files to your PC or add YouTube video links.
6. Pick Between Auto, Manual, and File
Go to the subtitle button in the left-hand toolbar and choose from automatic subtitles, manual subtitles, or subtitles from an external file. VEED accepts these filetypes: SRT, ASS, VTT, and SSA.
7. Verify and Check Accuracy of the Subtitles
Once you pick the subtitle or the closed captions you need to verify them for accuracy. You can also translate your subtitles to any language with VEED. In the Translate tab, you can see the language drop-down menu. Choose your language and VEED translates these subtitles for you.
8. Download the Final File
Hit the export button on the top right-hand corner to download your video.
How To Style Subtitles with VEED
1) Under Subtitles in the Left Toolbar, go to Styles
Once you have generated the subtitles, click on Styles under the subtitle editing panel. You get a drop-down menu to choose your custom font from.
At this point, you customize your subtitle color, backdrop, line height, and letter spacing for better readability. In the next section, we’ll talk about formatting.
Here are advanced VEED subtitle editing tools, go to the subtitle button in the left-hand toolbar and click on styles.
You get to choose from a number of options, beginning with fonts to letter spacing.
2) Change Font from Choices on VEED or Upload your Branded Fonts
To get the best subtitle you need to compare different fonts. The good news is: VEED supports a number of fonts. All you need to do is test them out with a PRO account.Another option is to upload custom fonts. You can use branded fonts as well.
Regardless of choice for subtitles, the text must be easy to follow especially on lower resolution screens.
You need a balance between aesthetic fonts and readable fonts.
Tap the drop-down menu that suits the project best. I’d recommend exporting a few videos with a few fonts to find out what you ideally want.
3) Font Size and Color
On the styles menu, you can choose the sizing for the font. Go to the T-shaped icon right next to the font size drop-down menu. Pick a color from the palette, add a hex color code or use the pipette tool to select a color from your video.
To add the alignment of the text, go to the styles tab once more and then access the second row.
You get three options to adjust the alignment. Choose the desired option.
5) Letter Spacing, Case, and Line Height
To adjust letter-spacing or line height add the desired numbers and VEED does that for you automatically. You can also choose from lower case, capitals, or camel case.
6) Add Different Effects
To add effects go to the effect selector under the text styling options
Just tap on the chosen effect to apply.
Remember that the ability to add subtitles is just one feature that VEED has. It’s an easy-to-use but powerful video editor on the cloud with which you can:
- Translate subtitles
- Add music and audio visualizers
- Add progress bars
- Resize video for all major social platforms
- and even create, edit and share screen recordings
Frequently Asked Questions About Video Subtitles and Fonts
How do I add subtitles to my YouTube videos?
There are two different ways with which you can add subtitles to your YouTube videos. The first thing you can do is use auto-generated captions or spend time creating subtitles manually.
Here’s the step-by-step breakdown of how to add subtitles. You can use VEED to add subtitles to your social media videos like those posted on YouTube.
- Upload the created YouTube video to VEED
- Once the video is uploaded go to subtitle options and click on auto-generated subtitles to get your subtitles.
- This will generate the subtitles and add them to the video
- Click on export to get the final video
How can I translate my video subtitles?
Here’s how to translate video subtitles:
- For starters, upload the video to VEED.IO
- Click on ‘subtitles’ and then ‘auto transcribe'
- Select the language for the original video
- Once you’ve rendered the subtitles click on the translate tab
- Click on the plus sign and this will let you add a new language subtitle track of your choice to the video. You can pick and choose which language you want to translate things to.
What font is used in yellow subtitles?
The classic yellow subtitle that you see so commonly is Helvetica Medium Italic.
What's the best overall subtitle font?
There’s no one particular subtitle font that can be called the best. It boils down to personal tastes, preferences, and readability of the font.
Quick Summary of the 12 Best Subtitle Fonts
What do you think of the subtitle selection we covered and how important they are to videos today? The post offers a general guideline regarding the fonts you can use for subtitles. This is by no means an exhaustive collection, but a good starting point.
The best thing to do is pick a few of these fonts and try creating subtitles with them. Once you do, you’ll know what you want. If you struggle, go over this post once again and you will be closer to what you want.
Do let us know in the comments below.