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How & Why: Keep Your Video Titles Clear and Simple

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Start your film with a bang by nailing those all-important titles. It's usually best to keep them simple, and in this article I'll explain why, and how you can do that.

Why Simple Titles Are Better

Maybe it’s our dwindling attention span in this ‘on-demand’ world but, as an audience, we just don’t have the patience to tolerate long intros anymore—not unless you’re working on something really epic, like the Game of Thrones titles, which are 92 seconds long!

Make a Good Impression

Your titles are your first chance to grab the attention of your audience and get them excited for your film. If your titles go on for too long or are hard to read, it won’t be a great indication of what’s still to come.

Your audience is there to see your film and if the titles don’t form part of the narrative, they can be more of an annoyance and can in fact, get in the way. The titles should set the mood for your film but shouldn’t be a roadblock to getting on with it!

Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash
Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

How to Keep Your Titles Simple

Placing Your Text

Use guides to help you keep everything in line and neat, and try spreading out any smaller text or words. You can increase the tracking number, which will put greater spaces between letters.  

Keep the Size Right

If you’re editing on a monitor, even a large one, it can be easy to forget that you’ll potentially be showing your film on a much bigger screen. Fonts that take up a big chunk of that space can be really off-putting. Using all uppercase letters rather than a mix is usually visually pleasing and easier to read.

Fonts, Fonts and More Fonts

We’re spoiled for choice with fonts available on the market, but remember to keep it simple. Aim to use a sans-serif font – one without the little bars that stick up from the ends of letters. We find it easier to read sans-serif, so when your text is appearing then disappearing soon after, it makes sense that your audience be able to read it quickly and clearly.

Avoid using more than one font, as it can look messy, but instead try changing the weight of your main word, making it bolder than any sub-titles or additional information. You might use one font in bold for the title, and a ‘thin’ version for the sub.

Colour

Consistency is always key, try to remember that less is often more, so stick with just a few colours in your palette and make sure that they fit with the colouring and tone of your film.

Movement and Animation

Movement draws the eye, which is great, but it comes back to whether that then impacts on how easy the words are to read. Most filmmakers advise avoiding too much animation in your titles, but if you do choose to use it, just plan the movement deliberately and keep it in style with your movie.

Final Note

If you’re recreating a style from a particular era or you're going for a deliberate outlandish look, then you can ignore a lot of this! Though the fundamentals still stand and it's always wise to know and understand the 'rules' before you can effectively break them.

Try a Template

A great place to start with titles is to experiment with a template pack. They’re already professionally designed, to a high standard, so you can see what looks good and works well. Here’s a neat pack from Envato Elements, where you can download unlimited resources for a monthly subscription.

Modern Titles Pack II for Premiere Pro

This pack for Premiere Pro has tons of modern, minimal titles to choose from. They’re easy to use with clean styles and smooth animation. They’re also handy to use for lower thirds and promo films too!

Modern Titles Pack II for Premiere Pro
Modern Titles Pack II for Premiere Pro

Learn More About Making Great Video

OK, so you've got the titles nailed now. What next? Well, there's lots more to learn about making great video, and our guide to video marketing will teach you everything you need to know. You'll discover:

  • how to set objectives and track progress for a video marketing campaign
  • the best tools to use for video and how much they cost
  • the video production process and how to do it more efficiently
  • how to make the most of the different video channels
  • and much more
Video Marketing Guide

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