Netflix has a new logo. It’s flatter, red, and, for the time being, appears only on the trailers for Netflix’s original content.
So is it the new Netflix logo? As in, will it engulf the old Netflix logo we know so well? A company spokesperson has opted to “pass” on commenting, meaning that we can only speculate on why Netflix is introducing a new logo now.
First, a word on the original Netflix logo: It is a rare and wonderful piece of work. The typography evokes the feeling of a major Hollywood studio, featuring a thick, 3-D extrusion you see in logos for Universal, Fox, and Warner Bros. For a movie startup launched in 1997, the decision to associate itself with classic cinema was just smart positioning. (Plus, these extrusions didn’t just make old Hollywood logos appear larger than life; they had a practical purpose, too, increasing legibility of text on a screen. That likely served Netflix well as they began streaming videos in low definition.)
Coupled with its infamous red envelope (inspired by a movie stub, maybe?), Netflix’s red branding is the antithesis of the old-guard brick-and-mortar movie rental stores dominated by Blockbuster, which featured blue backdrops everywhere from the logo to VHS tape.
The updated logo isn’t offensive. Like so many logos, it’s too quiet to offend anyone. The new design retains the original logo’s silhouette, but it has been muted considerably without the extrusion. Instead you have a light drop shadow (see it in the trailer for Orange Is The New Black). The typography still appears in white, but it also shyly incorporates some of the bold red that now makes up the Netflix logo's blinding backdrop—a red that burns so intensely on screens, it could flood your whole living room (how's that for branding?).
The new Netflix logo’s only real crime is that it has no excuse to exist. Though, sure, graphics are trending flat, so thick extrusions are out of fashion. And Netflix’s business is less and less about the boisterous red envelope that slayed Blockbuster than it is about easy digital streaming.
Who knows why Netflix refuses to talk about the new logo. Maybe it leaked in a few promotions before Netflix was ready to shape a nuanced corporate narrative around the update. Maybe Netflix is afraid that loyal customers will be disgusted by the new design, like what happened with the Gap a few years back, so they'd like to pass the baton from one logo to another slowly and quietly. Or maybe Netflix just isn't all that organized and hasn't made a decision as to what it's doing yet.
But the existing logo is fantastic. And I hope it's not going anywhere. With a wordmark that pops out at the audience from an overwhelming sea of red, it embodies Netflix. There's no mistaking it for YouTube, Hulu, Vine, or any other digital entertainment service that’s arrived since.
[Hat tip: Reddit]