Netflix Sans As a Designer I spend a lot of time working with fonts. I have some personal favourites and I have some I would use just sparingly. Because fonts have a huge role to play in branding, the right choice has to take careful…
As a Designer I spend a lot of time working with fonts. I have some personal favourites and I have some I would use just sparingly. Because fonts have a huge role to play in branding, the right choice has to take careful consideration and I have had times where I have gone through several choices before hitting on the right combination.
What I have never really considered is ‘inventing’ a brand new font.
That is precisely what the marketing team at the online entertainment streaming company Netflix did. They developed their bespoke font and even named it Netflix Sans. It is a san serif font and for those who do not know what serif is, it’s the fancy little curls and knobs that appear on classic fonts. When there is no serif on a font, it is considers sans serif (no serif).
The inspiration behind Netflix Sans was multi-leveled. It grew from the existing logo used in the Netflix branding and it is truly economical. Using certain fonts costs money in the form of royalties and well, you don’t have to pay to use a font you developed for your own brand.
Noah Nathan, the design lead behind the Netflix Sans confirms this in an interview that appeared in Ad Week. He laid it out saying that font licensing “can get quite expensive” and so being able to create an actual ownable and unique font basically eliminated that cost. By the way, the font that Netflix had been using was called Gotham. It is a commonly used font in the entertainment industry so clearly a rebranding with a new, never-before-seen font set Netflix apart from the other entertainment industry brands.
The company was established in 1997 and the original logo got a slight update in 2014. A nod to the original shows up clearly in the Netflix Sans font. It’s the curve that appears on the top of the letter ‘t’ which was first developed to honour the logo of the brand of movie lens used in the 1950’s and 60’s known by the name of CinemaScope.
I still find it amazing that such an iconic brand as Netflix chose to create their own font. As a designer I understand the economics behind it but it does give me food for thought. What better way to firmly solidify your place in the marketplace than with a brand that contains your own font?
Don’t worry, you won’t be seeing anything named Marino Sans anytime soon but it really does open up the possibilities. We live in a world where new technology continues to bring us tools to make things easier. In my career, I have several of them I use daily. Creating my own font has
never been on my radar but you can bet it does broaden the scope one can use for branding purposes.
I actually expect to see more custom fonts developed in the next few years as businesses shift away from using products that require regular licensing fees to permit use. A custom font is just the tip of the iceberg, if you ask me.
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