Note: This article is a reaction piece to Netflix's logo change back in 2016. For more up-to-date insights on all things branding, check out our blog.
On June 20 2016, Netflix quietly introduced a new logo. Or did they? Not really. Their new ‘logo’ turns out to be an icon, referred to by the world’s leading internet subscription service for movies and TV shows as a “a new piece of our overall look”.
We are introducing a new element into our branding with an N icon. The current Netflix logo will still remain, and the icon will start to be incorporated into our mobile apps along with other product integrations in the near future.
The logo is not going anywhere. Instead, the icon will be an addition to the logo, used mainly on social channels and apps for now.
The 'new creative element', as Netflix calls it, also seems better fitted to square format, used by social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. As more and more people access social apps via mobile devices, visual branding adapts to the shift. The Netflix icon will be better displayed, taking up less space and being more vertical than the website’s logo, which displays its full name on a horizontal template.
So Netflix now has a primary logo and special logo, or icon, mainly for mobile and social use. This makes perfect sense from a user experience point of view.
But what does this rather unusual approach to branding mean for brand consistency? Using two different logos could be risky and lead to brand confusion. While the Netflix logo is unique and stands out, the fact that it now has variations and is therefore not being used consistently could put logo recognition at stake.
As a brand is a set of perceptions and images that represent a company, changing these perceptions or images might lead to loss of awareness. Frequent changes might even seriously affect the brand image due to an identity crisis. A clear brand image is imperative to a successful marketing and branding strategy and consistency is key in that.
Time will tell whether Netflix’s daredevil branding approach is a house of cards. In the meantime, grab your popcorn while the internet decides whether or not it likes the new icon.