Lower-thirds and Text Slates... they're a small element of video that you see all the time. They might seem inocuous but adding a little style to these spots are a quick and easy way to really bring a more professional look to your videos.
Here's 3 steps to making great graphics:
FULL FRONTAL FONT-AGE
Nothing keys says BORING to a viewer than stale fonts so steer away from the standard font sets like Times New Roman and Verdana and use something unique. Handwritten fonts are great for a creative look while fine sans-serif fonts can make things look really clean. Google Web Fonts is a great source for freebies. Here's some more tips from Larry Jordan on how to format fonts for video.
Using drop shadows between your text and background is a great way to may a graphic pop. Similarly you can format your fonts to display with an outline, the contrasting edge will set it off from whatever you're displaying the text on.
BEAUTIFY YOUR BACKDROP
Using a color gradient over a solid is a simple way to spruce up the background of your graphic. One of our favorite techniques is to slow down a clip (or just use a still image) and combine it with a blur filter, a much more expressionistic look.
Best of all is that you can accomplish this look within your NLE so no need to jump over to a separate graphics program