Co.Design

Netflix Has A Boring New Logo It Doesn't Want To Talk About

Does Netflix have a new logo that could take over their branding? It appears so. But all we’ve heard is no comment.

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]

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37 Comments

  • Unless they are planning to stop mailing cd's, the Netflix envelopes will get thrown out in the trash with my junk mail if the background of their envelope is white like the new logo instead of bright red so it can be easily spotted. The new version is flat and boring and nondescript. Certainly not a corporate identity.

  • What's with the pale blue font on the bright white background? I have 20/20 vision but my eyes go blurry trying to make out the text. Couple this foolish design element with the uninspired, soulless logo and you have...what? A site designed by robots? By a committee?

  • Mark Olson

    Why does anyone feel compelled to comment on such a minor matter? Especially, with no insights into what Netflix may, or may not, be up to. It appears to be a relatively tame refinement of the original design that may afford better reproduction in certain processes, as noted in previous posts. This phenomenon of asking folks whether they "love" or "hate" a company's new logo is one of social media's least desirable activities. Who cares?

  • To me, it looks the way Warner Bros. and other studios modify their logo to fit the aesthetic of the films and shows they precede. They haven't updated my streaming apps with a new logo, so I don't think the original is going away.

  • Dan Frye

    I wouldn't consider this logo a new logo. It's a revisioning of the old logo. I hate it when companies make a big PR campaign about nothing. In this case Netflix is wise not to comment. It's not a big enough difference to warrant a discussion.

  • Dan Frye

    I wouldn't consider this a new logo but rather a revisioning of the old logo. I hate it when a big PR campaign is made out of nothing. In this case I think Netflix is wise to say nothing.

  • I've always loved the Netflix logo for the very reasons mentioned in the article. I don't mind the new version, but I agree with the author that it seems to have no reason for existing. However, perhaps there is a larger branding initiative afoot that we just aren't privy to yet, and it will make sense soon enough. In any case, I'll miss the old Hollywood nostalgia that the original evoked.

    As a great companion to this article, here is a link to a piece on logo design.

    http://www.nocturnaldesign.com/blog/?p=129

  • Another "change for the sake of change" brand refresh... The old logo was classic and communicated "movies" better than some movie studios. It's sad to see all these companies updating their brands/logos to follow this flat trend and losing their unique personality. It's like everything is helvetica....

  • Sierra Jenkins

    I think this is a good example of the minimal trend going too far. While for some brands it works, others like Netflix, it looks boring. Netflix had a great logo, one that if you typed anything in that font and style it would still remind you of Netflix. The new logo does nothing to set it apart from other brands, it's like how everyone uses Helvetica. It looks nice some places, but it's not going to set you apart from anyone.

  • Eric Hsia

    Needed or not, the new word mark is nice. And it's trading on the equity the old logo has built up. It looks new, but it's absolutely Netflix. I like it.

  • Some "fun" facts:

    • The original logo was a pain to fit into small spaces. When reduced, the edges of the letterforms closed up significantly. Something that was problematic in the early days of online advertising but was resolved by breaking out the N.

    • The red background was a brand decision to "own" that color within the category. We used it everywhere. Much like Coke "owns" red in beverages and Target in retail. It did cause problems when translated for TV UIs but that was mitigated by the brilliant product UX team's translation.

    • The DVD/envelope graphic was created because we constantly had trouble getting evergreen rights to use actual DVD art in graphics. There were different ones to demonstrate different genres. The one shown here was the generic.

    I do hope the new mark shown here is not the new logo. Not for nostalgic reasons but because it's a weak, half-step away from it. If you're going to walk away from brand equity, make something truly new.

  • Oldstale Negative

    from a designer's standpoint, if you've ever tried compressing a vibrant red for video streaming you know EXACTLY why this switch was needed. The darker red and the white-off-black versions will both compress much better with significantly less artifacting.