Home Brand Logos History, Meaning and Evolution Netflix Logo – The Phenomenal Journey of a Design Masterpiece

Netflix Logo – The Phenomenal Journey of a Design Masterpiece

by Mark Stephens

What do you do when you’re happy or even stressed? Watch TV, surf the internet, play basketball, workout, or simply binge-watch Netflix? For many of us, Netflix is an easy, convenient way to relax our tired brain before we can start afresh. While too much screen time can be harmful to your eyes and health in general, a little (especially on weekends) doesn’t hurt. ​​

An online entertainment service started by two business associates Marc Bernays Randolph and Wilmot Reed Hastings Jr. in 1997, Netflix quickly became one of the easiest and most popular platforms to watch some of your favorite shows. While many factors contribute to the brand’s success, such as no ads, great user experience, and customization (via the Netflix recommendation engine), there’s nothing as gripping and intuitive as the Netflix logo.

An eclectic mix of text and visual elements, the Netflix logo perfectly represents the company’s objective to become the world’s #1 video streaming service. It’s all over the brand’s official website, on all their original series, and in your screen’s corner when you open the app. Strategically placed across all the marketing channels and touchpoints, the iconic logo design is forever etched in our heads. While the original Netflix logo was nowhere close to the current one, the company’s design team only got better with time.

The Beginning and Growth of Netflix

Netflix had its beginning in 2008, and there were only 30 employees and under a thousand DVDs available then. Nevertheless, their luck clicked and the company was quickly on its way to success. It has also gained its foothold in the film and television production industry since 2013. Presently, it has a team of over 3,500 people.

Taking things further, Netflix received almost 20 million additional viewers in the very first month of quarantining! This whopping figure stands testimony to the enormous effect that globalization can have on the entertainment industry, motivating them to explore previously inaccessible areas. Now, let’s take a detailed look at how the iconic Netflix gained its fame.

History of the Netflix Logo

1997 – 2000

Netflix Logo – The Phenomenal Journey of a Design Masterpiece

Featuring a dark, basic ringlet of celluloid film with some bluish shades, the original Netflix logo was seemingly dull and unassuming. It featured the name of the company “Netflix”, with the ringlet separating the wordmark into two halves – Net and flix. While this split catered for better memorizing of the brand name, the celluloid film made it obvious that the company works with media content. The original Netflix logo design was an artifact of its time, carrying the typical “90s” flavor with its gradient movie reel.

2000 – 2001

Netflix Logo – The Phenomenal Journey of a Design Masterpiece

The first logo design lasted for only one year until a new version was launched in 2000. This time, It was a solid black elliptical emblem, extended horizontally and surrounded by two thick yellow brackets. The wordmark in the lowercase featured thin white lines in a contemporary square sans-serif font. The most interesting feature about this typeface is the dot in the letter “I”, which is a yellow square with curved angles resembling a television screen. The block-like font reminds us of old movie theatre marquis, reinforcing the idea of bringing the cinema experience to your home and mailbox.

2001 – 2014

Netflix Logo – The Phenomenal Journey of a Design Masterpiece

This logo was introduced only three years after the launch of Netflix, which featured the brand name in a sans-serif font on a red backdrop. The word “Netflix” is slightly arched and the designers borrowed this idea from the classic CinemaScope. The font style appears to be “Graphique”, with a thick black shadow on the right side of the letters that give them a 3D effect. Thanks to such a striking color contrast, the wordmark easily stands out against the red background. This logo design was used until 2014 when Netflix decided to bring another change.

2014 – Present

Netflix Logo – The Phenomenal Journey of a Design Masterpiece

The present Netflix logo was introduced in 2014 and the company also launched a new website during this time. A New York-based design firm, named Gretel, was hired to create a new brand identity. This time, the main visual theme for their logo was a stack. Supposedly, it conveys two messages that are crucial and relevant to the Netflix brand: a huge catalog and personalized selections.

Although the new wordmark in the logo looks quite similar to the previous version, it uses a modern font minus the drop shadowing. The letters turned bolder and the color palette was also changed, although red has remained as the most dominant color. The only difference is that it has graduated from the backdrop into the letters.

While the red color takes us back to the armchair upholstery in traditional movies, the noble letter fading reminds us of a dark movie hall and prepares us to watch a show or film. The NetFlix logo uses a combination of red and white colors, both of which have their significance. Red signifies power, passion, and energy, whereas white stands for perfection and completion.

Overall, the Netflix logo is an apt example of a well-designed logo that’s versatile, timeless, and stands out amongst competitors. The brand’s key objective is to produce quality online streaming content on a wide range of topics and video-on-demand for their customers. The logo perfectly conveys this message using unique design features that are detailed yet easy to decipher.

The Netflix Icon

Netflix Logo – The Phenomenal Journey of a Design Masterpiece

Over the last couple of years, both the logo and the icon have become the most identifiable visual elements of Netflix. The primary logo design on a black background uses the arc of a vintage CinemaScope to create a premium cinematic feel for the audience.

The icon, on the other hand, drops the wordmark for the initial N to establish a connection and suggest an infinite stream of stories to their subscribers. Thanks to social media and the increasing popularity of streaming videos, Netflix decided to come up with a sleek and simple version of their logo that looks equally impressive on every device.

Simple yet striking, the icon instantly catches the audience’s attention. The dual-tone color palette helps to give it a unique dimension that distinguishes it from the N within the regular Netflix logo. Much like the arc, the primary black background emulates a premium cinematic experience. This icon is particularly meant for use in Netflix mobile applications, social networks, official website, and are rarely seen in teasers and print materials.

Netflix Logo Font

The current logo features a customized Graphique font, which was created by combining two fonts – Gotham Bold and Gotham Book. It was originally fabricated by Hermann Eidenbenz in 1945, which was then digitized and expanded by Ralph M. Unger.

Netflix Logo Color

The popular streaming media company used the red and white combination as a standard for its logo. While red symbolizes passion and positive energy, white was possibly used as a neutral background to highlight the wordmark. Or, it could also symbolize perfection and infinity.

Both the letter “N” in the icon and the word “Netflix” in the actual logo share the same palette. Most of the inscriptions are made in the typical shade of Netflix Red. However, if they are used as a watermark, white is acceptable in place of red. Although the preferred logo background is black, other options are available: for instance, white and light, non-contrasting shades. The typical red and black palette emphasizes the cinematic flavor of the premium class.

The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, had rightly said that change is the only constant in life. To stay relevant and popular, one needs to adapt to the changes in their surroundings. And Netflix is a master of this adaptation – first with its brand name that changed from Kibble to Netflix, and secondly, with its video streaming services and logo design.

Netflix is considered as one of the prime instances of corporate innovation and branding. It will be quite exciting to witness how they continue to bring big changes and challenges to their brand identity in the following years.

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