Commonly, I fall asleep to Netflix. I don’t just nod off casually in front of a TV. I go to bed, plug in my iPhone, and set an episode to stream off of my wifi. Maybe it can count as the grown-up version of a bedtime story? Although, maybe not, because my favourite show to do this with was Babar (until it was taken off). Netflix is a part of my routine, and I love it.
Recently, I opened up the app to start an episode of Community, and... Netflix was gone. The Netflix I knew was gone. A rebrand had snatched away what I knew, and put a doppelgänger in its place. My first reaction was simply indignation that they had made this change in the night without me knowing. It is, after all, difficult to say goodbye to a familiar face.
Next, I approached it with design in mind. The new look is beautifully clean, and the logo is pretty much a simplified version of its predecessor. The red still stands prominent, but often not as the background colour. Instead, the Netflix logo stands red on a white or black background.
So why am I not impressed?
I don’t see the point of the rebrand.
Apparently, the original Netflix logo was not legible at a small size or from a great distance. I struggle to think of this as an issue. In whatever size and from whatever distance, Netflix was recognizable. The unapologetic red background spoke for miles, and was reminiscent of a theatre curtain. The mark itself had an identifiable shape, due mostly to the curvature exclusive to the bottom half. The curvature gives the logo presence through an illusionistic perspective. It is similar to a large movie theatre screen taking up so much of your vision that it almost curves around you. The white letters had weight from the bold black shadow. To me, it did not look clunky or outdated. It was uniquely theatrical, especially when compared to its competitors.
In its current iteration, the logo is somewhat cinematic, but only because of the elements they kept from the original like the curvature and the red. Even then, the red is not used in a meaningful manner, past maintaining some brand recognition. The letterforms are a technical improvement, but are flat. The combination of the red and the simple letterforms, as one blogger mentioned, has the aesthetic of the horror genre (the Dexter wordmark was given as an example). I don't find the logo special or unique anymore.
What once stood out is now lost in the crowd. This is the case on my iPhone screen. I can no longer immediately click on the app. I have to find it first. I don’t see much of an improvement here. What do you think? When is a rebrand a bad choice?