I'm certianly not a master typographer. I see fonts used on television and wonder how they settled on using that particular font. Which font is it? Was it already a corporate branding mandate to use such a font?
A font is supposed to help convey a message and emotion. It should be easy to read within the context of the spot and whatever it is superimposed over.
Here's a little secret. Sit back and watch any pharmaceutical company advert and see how cleanly and clearly they layout text to explain VERY IMPORTANT information. Look up Nexium, Lyrica, Celebrex, Lipitor, and Restatis on YouTube to get started. Consider it an Introduction to Broadcast Typography.
Can you adapt these techniques for your next project? For extra credit, sit back and watch a News network. How are they conveying information? In my opinion, most fail because they try to push too much information at once.
Broadcast promos usually fit a branding package as well and a clean font to display show name, time and date. See this Spike TV Promo for example. If you are a regular viewer of the network, you are already trained where to look for that information because they follow the same formula on every promo. Every broadcast promo has a tag block to convey important information and is always abided by a style guide.
The logo in this Chiller spot has an interesting but everything else is a sans serif font. Nothing fancy about the font, however, they took the time to animate the text in an interesting way.
A common theme in font usage for video is the use of ALL CAPS sans serif fonts, and the use of Condensed and Narrow versions of fonts to provide more space if restricted to a certain area of the frame because of composition.
So what are the best fonts to use? In my opinion, if it looks good, then it is good. If you like a special effect font in a particular spot and the client approves, the only reason not to use it is if it's not legible on screen. Thin and script typefaces should be avoided. I especially like font families with lots of weights and choices so you have variety to work with.
I particularly don't have a large font library. Adobe TypeKit does afford the use of more fonts, but it's nothing to get too excited about. I edit a lot of sales video presentations and there
Fonts I like to use are:
- Helvetica Neue
One final note, most of the time in the professional world the font choice has already been made by the client or ad agency so its just your duty to load it on your computer and tap away at the keyboard.
Tip: Can't name a font by just looking at it? Try WhatTheFont!, by MyFonts.com, to load a screen grab of the letters and it will do a pretty good job a guessing the font being used.