I'm designing a name overlay for a series of videos and I'm curious how long of a name I should budget for without knowing what ones might come my way.

As it's for a video it should be reasonably large, so I can't just make it tiny. If there's something ridiculously long, I could go and scale it, but the lesser the better. If only there was a 90th percentile for name length...

  • My name full is 15 characters long (with space) :D
    – Hanna
    Feb 11, 2011 at 18:33
  • Whatever you do, don't forget to test it against something with more "M"s and "W"s and fewer "i"s and "l"s
    – horatio
    Feb 18, 2011 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


This is going to be somewhat dependent:

  • on the parts of the world you are targeting
  • what parts of a name you need to include (middle names/initials?)
  • any other abbreviations that might be needed (Mrs, Dr, PhD, MSc?)
  • characters used in names, unless of course you're using a monospaced font

I don't think there's any substitute for sample test data from your intended markets, from which you should indeed be able to derive a 90th percentile, although failing to fit 1 in 10 seems problematic; I'd be tempted to go for 95th percentile or higher.

I happen to have a long list of first and last names here. Difficult to sort them all by actual length in mm, but if I sort them by number of characters, including spaces, the 95th percentile is 19 characters long, including a space.

I can then set all of my 19-character names in my chosen font size, visually check which is the longest and measure it in pixels or mm.

But that's just an example with mostly British data, and I didn't include middle names or initials, or titles; you should definitely do abit of research.

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