All you need is overlay: 3 great examples of text-overlay videos

The Pocket Guide to Social Video

Text-overlay is one of the most important components of social video. With users watching videos on many different devices while on the go, they may be listening or checking out your content with the sound off. If your video can’t work without sound, it’s going to have a tough time on social. That’s where text-overlay comes in.

When you can’t rely on voiceover to relay your story, text does the job. It frames your visual assets and guides your audience’s understanding of your piece, informing and enhancing their takeaway. This doesn’t mean just throwing big block paragraphs over top of your video, though. There are a few simple rules to follow when pulling together text-overlay:

1. Keep your word count low, so viewers don’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of text on-screen at any one time.

2. Leave the text on screen for long enough to be read, so viewers aren’t rushed to catch it all.

3. Make it stand out by using colorful, bold, all-caps text that can’t be ignored.

4. Align your text design with your identity and animate it in eye-catching ways.

To illustrate these points, let’s take a look at 3 stellar examples of text-overlay as used in videos produced using Wochit.

E! News makes truly masterful use of text-overlay here. They keep each block of text short, while utilizing all-caps and varying colors to make the text more eye-catching. While the video moves at a steady pace, you never feel rushed to read any of the info on screen.

Having the text animate onto and off of the screen in varying ways assures that viewers’ short attention spans are being regularly stimulated. Additionally, the color palette of the text matches directly with E!’s branding.

Here, Slate.fr takes an effective, straighforward approach to text. The all-caps, white text pops throughout the video, regardless of the background imagery. It also ties well to their ever-present logo in the upper-right. The text is large enough to be read, even on a small screen, and the word count is low enough that it never feels overwhelming.

While we recommend using all caps, as it helps your text pop out even more, it isn’t an absolute must. This video from Women’s Health does a great job with text without capitalizing everything:

The text occupies the top and bottom of the frame, offering up information on the visuals while still giving them center-stage. Consistently changing the color of the fruit on each slide to match its natural color is a playful way to visually connect the text and the imagery, while also making the text pop.
Take a cue from these great social clips and beware of these common mistakes when crafting your text overlay. Your audience will be glad you did!

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