Font Choice – Video Typography Essentials


Although the font choice on the left certainly says American Southwest, it does not capture the same emotional sensitivity as the choice on the right. Always take the time to explore several options when choosing a font family.

Selecting the right font can be a tough choice (of course it might already be made for you by an art director, producer, or client). Chances are your computer has hundreds if not thousands of fonts. You can easily become overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of options. To simplify the process, you need to approach this decision with a triage mentality and consider a few guiding questions:

  • Readability. Is the font easy to read at the point size you are using? Are all the characters in the line readable? If you look at it quickly and then close your eyes, what do you remember about the text block?
  • Style. Does the font convey the right emotion for your video? Type is a like wardrobe; picking the right font is essential to the success of the design.
  • Flexibility. Does the font mix well with others? Does it come in various weights (such as bold, italic, and semibold) that make it easier to convey significance when using that font?

How you answer the questions for each of the three guiding principles will steer you towards good design. It’s also a good idea to work with your clients, producer, or art director. Instead of scrolling through a list of fonts for hours, interview your clients about the style and mood they want to invoke. If they suggest a boring font, direct them towards an alternative that looks similar but may be better optimized for video.

If you have too many fonts loaded, it can make it difficult to find the right font. It also can lead to serious performance issues, such as an unstable operating system and slow launch times. Consider using a font manager to group fonts into sets for clients as well as activate and deactivate fonts on the fly (without having to relaunch a program).

Finding Fonts Online

Here are a few of our favorite Web sites that offer free and affordable fonts:

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