It’s 2022. You cannot go around and claim you’re doing your best with your video marketing if you aren’t using captions. Full stop.
It used to be difficult. OK. Time-consuming - couldn’t agree more. There were more urgent things to do…well..OK.
But, today?! All those excuses are nothing more than that - excuses.
You have a way to add subtitles to videos in a matter of minutes, so you definitely need to go on and do that for all your videos. So, not doing it is just as convincing as this:
However, you’re not about to spend that (little) time adding subtitles to videos just because it’s trendy. Or just because somebody told you so in a blog post. You need to do it for these reasons.
- People won’t watch your videos without subtitles
You already know that an increasing number of people watch videos on mute.
So, if there’s no sound, they only have subtitles to rely on. If there’s no subtitles - they just skip. Don’t get skipped! Add captions.
- You’re doing some good SEO
Repeat after us - Google. Can’t. Read. From. Your. Video! So, all those amazing keywords and phrases you used in your script - useless.
BUT, if you upload your SRT or VTT to YouTube, for example - the search engine can read it and understand what the video is about. BAM! You’re ranking!
- It’s becoming a requirement
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) are suing some podcasting platforms for not adding subtitles to their podcast. If that’s the case, how long until they are required in videos?
- You’re signaling good brand vibes
You want your content to be accessible, readable, and available to everyone. Subtitling helps you with that. It helps A LOT. Make good subtitles a part of your brand.
For this to work, it’s always a good idea to follow some of the unwritten rules of captioning and subtitling. But, that’s a much wider topic. For now, let’s work out the basics.
How to Choose a Good Subtitle Font?
Less is more when it comes to captions font. You want a neat, readable, accessible font. Keep in mind these couple of rules.
Keep it Simple
You wouldn’t wear white to somebody else’s wedding, would you? Of course not! You don’t want to steal the show! The same is with the fonts.
The message is the centre of this party, not the font. And for the love of everything that’s holy to you - never use Comic Sans. Promise!!
Readability Is a Must
Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) has an extensive list of recommendations when it comes to captioning. For improved readability, they recommend using white characters in a translucent box. Fonts should be medium weight, sans serif, and with a drop or rim shadow.
Try to Stay On-Brand
Use the simplest and the most readable font from your brand book. Stay away from that lovely, curvy accent font. We know you like it. We understand the urge - but don’t use it.
You know that common paragraph font that you have in your style guide?
Yeah, the one you think is boring. That one. Use that one. This is its time to shine!
What Are the Best Fonts for Subtitles
If you don’t want to overthink this and you just want to get it over with, listen to BBC. They recommend using Helvetica for iOS and Roboto for Android. Whatever your style may be, it’s best to stick to the basics when it comes to captions font. Here are top 5 subtitle font recommendations for you.
BBC loves it for iOS, it even has its own documentary - what’s not to love about Helvetica? It has this specific strong look. It’s a sans serif font that’s neutral, so it has so many uses.
Subtitling is one of them. It’s readable, doesn't interfere with the message and it’s simple and recognisable. Today, it has a new, improved version, especially used for iOS - Helvetica Now.
What’s Helvetica for iOS, that’s Roboto for Android. It’s been developed to make Android more readable and to create a font that’s readable on all devices, equally.
If your main use of video is on social media, this is an essential quality for you. Social media is viewed on so many different screens and devices. So, you can use Roboto and cover them all.
If there is default font on this planet, then it would be Arial. What’s distinctive about it is….well..nothing.
It’s just not distinctive at all and that’s what makes it one of the best fonts for subtitles. However! There’s this entire Arial font controversy! Font drama!
You feel like this isn’t that much different than Helvetica? You’re right these two fonts are super-similar.
The main difference is that Helvetica is meant for traditional print, while Arial is for laser print. That’s why Helvetica has some cleaner, straight cut lines while Arial sometimes has some slated cuts at the same places (notice the top of a lower case T, or F).
No, not Times New Roman. Just Times. This font looks as if somebody insisted they should be using Times New Roman as their captions font, so their designer caved and created a simplified version of it.
This is not a real origin story and it’s something that I’ve just made up, but it might as well be true. Times is your go-to font if you have a deep and unexplained desire to use a serif typeface subtitle font.
You can hardly go wrong with Open Sans, given that Google uses it, as well. It has many versions and character sets that make it super-versatile for many languages and uses. If you choose this as your captions font, you’ll hardly go wrong.
You don’t have to pick one among the best fonts for subtitles right away. You can upload your video to Subly and have it transcribe the video (or audio) automatically. Once you do that, you’ll be able to change your subtitle font and see which one you like the most.
All your social media videos can have just the right subtitle text at the bottom of the screen - and it will take you minutes to make it. Without using a different video editor.
Once you have your font styles all nailed down, you can even save it as a template that includes your font size, font types and even font color, and reuse it over and over again for all your videos. Imagine the time saved! So, that’s it. It’s time - start subtitling your videos!