N is the fourteenth letter of the alphabet. It is the symbol for Nitrogen on the periodic table and the symbol for Newton in physics. It was also at the center of much controversy last week. Why? What’s all the fuss about the letter N these days?
Now…. N = Netflix.
Last Monday, Netflix quietly unveiled their new logo design to the world: a simple red ‘N’ made with sharp lines, drop shadows and a rounded bottom. Within hours of the announcement, social media platforms like Twitter blew up with commentaries as the new Netflix logo design had the entire design community was up in arms. Never before has a solitary ‘N’ created such a fuss. It later came became clear that Netflix didn’t actually change their logo. They will continue to use their old logo design, the simple ‘Netflix’ wordmark that we are all familiar with. This new ‘N’ was designed to be used more as an icon and it will be what the company uses on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as well as for mobile apps.
The new Netflix ‘N’ is simple, bold and eye-catching. It is minimal but not flat in the slightest. The narrow and tall capital ‘N’ pops out of the page as it sits over an all black background. It is simple, memorable, contemporary and versatile, all elements of effective logo design. So, why all the fuss?
One reason is that most people can’t seem to figure out what it is that they are actually seeing. What is this abstract ‘N’? Is it a ribbon folded over itself? Is it a red carpet? Is it a celluloid film print? These are just a few of the recent comments being made as people struggle to make sense of Netflix’s new visual identity.
The other reason that the new logo has attracted so much attention lately is that by using two logos, Netflix is taking an unconventional approach to its branding. A logo is the face of a company. It is a combination of colors, fonts and shapes that are designed to be instantly recognizable by a company’s customers. Some people believe that having two logos could be risky for Netflix as it might lead to confusion among its users. Do you agree? Personally, I don’t. I think that we will be seeing both the old Netflix logo design and the new Netflix icon often enough that we will quickly become familiar with both. Most people are already quite familiar with the old Netflix logo and most also already have the Netflix app on our phone or iPad. This pretty much guarantees that they will be seeing the new Netflix ‘N’ icon design most days, doesn’t it?
I read an article on Wired.com last week that said that this move by Netflix is “the latest in a spate of redesigns by tech companies looking to update their visual brand for the mobile age.” I think that this article is 100% correct. The article goes on to say that Twitter, Air BnB, Snapchat, Uber and Instagram have all changed their logos to fit with smaller screens over the past two years. I believe that as more and more companies around the world are forced to cope with the rising popularity of small screens worldwide, we might actually start seeing more companies like Netflix that decide to use a logos as well as an icon to represent their business.
So, what do I think of the new Netflix logo (icon) design? Is it worthy or worthless? I think that it is worthy. It is a modern logo designed to fit into our contemporary, fast-paced lifestyles. It is catchy, distinct and timeless. Also, considering all the noise that it has made in the news lately, I would venture to say that the new Netflix ‘N’ has already become memorable amongst most Netflix users. Congratulations Netflix on a successful logo design that also managed to turn itself into a successful marketing campaign. Thumbs up!
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