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Little Texts on the Screen

In 1903, Edwin S. Porter’s film Uncle Tom’s Cabin created subtitles for the first time in media history. It was a big deal because the story content and dialogue could be fully explained for silent movies without audio. Today, subtitles are still widely used which is great news. However, some subtitles on TV cables are not designed accurately. The design of typography for subtitles needs to be functional—readable. The choice of distance, stroke, size, color, and speed can make subtitles functional.

Here are some problems: the background on TV is changing all the time and can be too dark or light, making captions hard to read. In this situation, the typography design can fixed with stroke, background, and color. Letter stoke needs to be thinner and in black, so the letters can have more positive space inside. If the stroke is thick, the letters will have less positive space that subtitles will look strange. The opacity background of texts works well for some people. Important of all, the best choice of color for subtitles is white or yellow. For distance, there should be different size options of subtitles for people sitting a few feet away from their screens.

Who knew the typography of subtitles can change people’s lives?