Photo from underconsideration.com
The new Netflix logo appeared on their website a few days ago.
I have to say, this an instance where I don’t think flat is a good choice. There is a place for designs with more depth and I think Netflix fits the bill.
The presentation of the Netflix logotype prior to the change said “movies.”
Think 20th Century Fox, and classic, epic films like Ben-Hur.
The old Netflix logo captured the glamor of the blocky, 3D look without appearing dated. When presented over a red backdrop reminiscent of a theater curtain, with the text baseline arcing slightly, the cap line remaining constant—it said, “Welcome to the movies”. And the cool thing was, “the movies” could be found in your mailbox and enjoyed in your own home. Of course now it’s more about what you get online, but the same idea applies.
The New York Times recently published an article, written by Nick Bilton, who stated,
The company has apps for almost every Internet-connected device with a screen, including computers, game consoles, tablets and smartphones. In these cases, the Netflix logo is either too small and illegible, or too bright and jarring. (In a former life, when I designed film titles, the first lesson my boss taught me was, “Never use red on a screen with text as it pulsates too much.”)
Compared with ABC, CBS and HBO, which all have flat, simple and clean logos, the Netflix iconography is difficult to read on a billboard from 100 feet away. The Netflix logo is equally illegible when it is scaled down to fit in the bottom right or left corner of a screen.
Although the narrow black and white text may have limited legibility at smaller sizes or greater distances, I wonder how many would struggle with identifying Netflix as Netflix on a billboard that appeared anything like the famous red envelopes they’ve been sending to mailboxes for years. Black and white lettering jumping out at you, augmented by a bright red background—pretty hard to miss, or misidentify. (And when it was presented over a deeper red backdrop with a subtle linear gradient, the logo was quite stunning.)
A huge part of brand identity is taking recognizable shapes and colors usually presented with the logo and translating them onto other mediums. A lot of times, recognition and cohesion are maintained by simply presenting a color by itself, even without the logo; or perhaps, retaining a small, identifiable portion of the logo. Netflix definitely had something unique—however “bright and jarring”. Rather than go flat like “ABC, CBS and HBO” (which are all three-letter acronyms and thus have little to be compared to “Netflix”), why not continue to be different?
However debatable the previous design was, no one else has one like it.