Netflix Logo History – Hyelin Kim

Netflix, a subscription-based streaming platform with over 150 million worldwide users, has distinctive logo history over the recent twenty-two years. It all started in 1997 when Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph got together to build a DVD rental business.

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Fig. 1 Netflix 1st logo, 1997-2000

The very first logo Netflix had was a very generic black text in a serif font with a spiral, representing a celluloid film, dividing the words “net” and “flix.” It has a poor representation of the company as it is hard to recognize Netflix’s identity without recognizing the film reel. Although it does manifest an aspect of what the business offers, it was not enough. The logo only lasted three years until the replacement came in in 2000.

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Fig. 2 Netflix 2nd logo, 2000-2014

Unlike the first one, the second logo did perform quite a successful remark. It was eyecatching and full of bold characteristics: A clear, white, long and narrow typeface framed with black casting shadows laid on top of the notable red background. The arched bottom of the text, possibly an influence derived from the round film reel of the previous logo, paid an additional flavour to its characteristics (“The Evolution of the Netflix Logo”).

This design was successful as it remained for fourteen years; however, it had to give up its place due to the big shift in Netflix’s business model. Although they started as a disc distribution rental company, the evolution of media and emerging technologies like smartphones and tablets eventually replaced the DVD with online streaming services. Netflix quickly grasped on to the change and began to mainly offer online subscription-based streaming services that we know today. 

The revision in the logo was necessary as the typographic style and bold black outlines reminded “too much of old Hollywood posters to properly represent Netflix’s growing model of streaming TV shows, and even personally licensed Netflix series” (“Learning from Netflix’s New Logo Design”). Moreover, the growing use of smaller devices, like tablets, had to be considered since the logo had to be rendered into smaller sizes fit for smaller screens.

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Fig. 3 Netflix current logo, 2014-present

With all the aforesaid factors considered, the current logo that we know now came to the surface in 2014. The significant colour red and the arched text persisted; however, they were utilized differently. The red coloured the type laid on top of the black background to create a vivid contrast and to emanate a “premium cinematic feel” (“Symbol”). They maintained san-serif typography but in a Gothic font, which stands less narrow with higher legibility than the previous design. Removing the bold, black outlines and replacing with bold, yet balanced, san-serif font enabled a more versatile and well-defined design.

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Fig. 4 Netflix symbol, 2016-present

In 2016, Netflix stretched further and revealed another logo for the main use in a smaller-size application, such as an app icon, by bringing the initial “N” into the model. Maintaining its recognizable black and red colour palette, a drop shadow is pronounced to give out a simple 3D design in the letter (Marateck). The logo embodies a “z-axis design element,” endowing the “N” with the subtle depth. This clean yet distinct logo design has taken a critical part in representing the company on mobile devices.

The type of design approach made in the symbol for Netflix is notable. The official Netflix website says that N represents “connection and a never-ending stream of stories” (“Symbol”). Some add to that it almost reminds of a “red carpet” or a folded “ribbon that is streaming” (Marateck). This metaphorical design approach is currently prevailing in logo designs compared to the dying trends of skeuomorphism, a design concept that represents the items to “resemble their real-world counterparts” (Marateck). Now that enough time has passed for the consumers to get a profound insight into the digitals, less literal and less “hand-holding” in the design framework can be done (Marateck). This shift in consumer perception became another factor that enabled today’s Netflix logo design in the current design market.

In conclusion, the Netflix logo is an example of a successful rebranding of a company. Over the twenty-two years of period, it could reflect the company’s identity through constructing a proper and strong logo design.

 

Works Cited

“Learning from Netflix’s New Logo Design.” Nxtbook Media, 23 July 2019, www.nxtbookmedia.com/blog/learning-netflixs-new-logo-design/. Accessed 13 Feb. 2020.

Marateck, Julie. “Netflix Logo Design: The Sequel.” Medium, Theuxblog.com, 27 Jan. 2017, medium.theuxblog.com/netflix-logo-design-the-sequel-991607927b78. Accessed 13 Feb. 2020.

“Netflix Logo Design – History and Evolution.” Turbologo, 27 Aug. 2019, turbologo.com/articles/netflix-logo/. Accessed 13 Feb. 2020.

“Symbol.” Netflix Brand Site, Netflix, brand.netflix.com/en/assets/brand-symbol/. Accessed 13 Feb. 2020.

“The Evolution of the Netflix Logo.” WordPress, 7 Dec. 2016, johnuhlemanngraphics.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/the-evolution-of-the-netflix-logo/. Accessed 13 Feb. 2020.

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