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The Design and Typography of Netflix Originals

August 13, 2016 - Fifteen

In a recent survey, it has been shown that online streaming is more popular than TV. Services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime and Now TV are slowly starting to overpower the more traditional ways of consuming media. In an age where less time is spent watching tv and more time is spent online , it’s hardly surprising!

However there is one service that seems to dominating, Netflix. As a Netflix consumer myself, I would put this down to several things. Firstly, their extensive collection. Netflix UK currently holds over 3,000 titles at the time of writing this. Second, the user interface across all devices is really simple to use and intuitive to the user. I can use it on desktop, PS4, iPad and my phone with little differences throughout. Third, Netflix Originals…

Over the past few years, Netflix have been investing heavily in their content with ‘Netflix Originals’, programming commissioned or picked up by the service. You’re sure to have heard of the titles, such as the award winning Orange is the New Black, or the ever popular House of Cards. The shows are incredibly successful, and I don’t think it’s just down to the content itself. I’ve found myself engaging with the brands that the shows have become. Have a look at these examples:




Daredevil, which has now been picked up for it’s 3rd season, is a long way away from the Ben Affleck movie we all want to forget. The Netflix Original is gritty and a more ‘realistic’ take on the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. The open titles are a work of art, with a blood like substance coating iconic images that echo the key elements of the Daredevil series. It goes in guns blazing, showing the viewer that the show itself isn’t holding back. There’s blood, there’s violence and there’s some serious themes. That said, the logo itself doesn’t shy away from Daredevil’s comic book roots. Netflix have completely captured the feel of the show in it’s visual delivery, from the intro to the promotional ads.



Jessica Jones

Another Marvel collaboration, Netflix released Jessica Jones in late 2015. The story revolves around Jessica, who is trying to shy away from her previous superhero status and focus on her career as a private investigator. When Kilgrave, a man from her past comes back to haunt her, it’s clear she’ll have to take him down. In the comic books, Kilgrave is known as ‘The Purple Man’, and it’s with this theme that Netflix have kickstarted the branding for the Jessica Jones series. Alongside the theme of her P.I. career and the comic book roots, the branding is a masterpiece. Using watercolour and illustration throughout, it gives this series a style of it’s own, doused in purple.



F is for Family

One of the less popular Netflix Originals, F is for Family is an adult cartoon comedy starring Bill Burr as the main character Frank. I found this series completely by accident, but I’m glad I did! The series is set in the 70s, and all the visuals completely set the tone. The logo is like something from a rollerdisco, and the titles immerse you into the setting from the word go. Plus the dull tones used across the show are a real reflection on the attitudes of some of the shows main characters. Check this one out if you’re looking for something different.



House of Cards

I can’t say that I’ve watched House of Cards yet, but I’ve definitely been enticed by the visuals I’ve seen. Now being picked up for it’s 5th season, House of Cards is a political drama set in present day Washington DC. What draws my attention to this series is the upside down stars and stripes. Usually this is a symbol of respect or distress. I’m going to bet it’s the latter. Alongside some pretty iconic images of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey’s main character) echoing old presidential imagery, it evokes some intense feelings that really make you want to binge watch!



Stranger Things

One of the most recent Netflix Originals to hit our screens is ‘Stranger Things’. It’s a sci-fi, horror series set in the 80s. I believe that the excitement around this series before it’s release is the visuals that preceeded it’s launch. The logo itself is a complete nostalgia trip for those who enjoyed horror in it’s 80s glory days, if you’ve read any old copies of Stephen King’s work then you’ll know exactly what I mean! The creators of the show directly cite Stephen King has an influence on the logo and made sure the studio behind the opening titles were completely familiar with his work! My main draw into the series however, was the cover artwork used to promote Stranger Things. Created by UK artist, Kyle Lambert, the poster is heavily influenced by the artwork of Drew Stuzan, who is known for his artwork for Star Wars, Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, Hook and more. This style is so appropriate for Stranger Things, as the show itself really throws you in the 80s feel of movies such as E.T., The Goonies and Poltergeist all rolled into one!



Other honourable mentions from the Netflix Original’s roster include:
Orange is the New Black – I bet you can guess the overarching colour scheme with this one(!)
Sense8 – SciFi series from the creators of The Matrix, can’t go wrong.
Marco Polo – A modern twist on a classic story.

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