It’s been said that a tech company hasn’t made it big until it has its own bespoke font. Actually, no one has said that, but that won’t stop Netflix from unveiling Netflix Sans, its own custom typeface (via It’s Nice That). The font was created by the company’s in-house design team with type foundry Dalton Maag. Netflix will be using it for branding and marketing purposes going forward.
That brings Netflix into a shockingly large league of big technology companies with their own custom fonts, alongside Apple (San Francisco), Samsung (SamsungOne), Google (Roboto and Product Sans, because naturally Google has font fragmentation), and Microsoft (sort of, depending on how you score Segoe).
Netflix has previously used Gotham for its branding efforts, but Netflix brand design lead Noah Nathan explained in an interview with It’s Nice That that the company chose to create its own font for two reasons: to give Netflix its own unique identity (technically, anyone willing to pay a licensing fee can use Gotham), and because licensing Gotham for all of Netflix’s international marketing campaigns was getting expensive. Netflix Sans is poised to save the company “millions of dollars a year.”
As for the font itself, Netflix Sans looks... not great? There are a bunch of design notes about the logic that went into the font over at It’s Nice That (Nathan’s site showcasing the font is currently offline) emphasizing the focus on “cinematic” uppercase letters and curves that borrow from the existing Netflix logo, but mostly it just looks like a knock-off Helvetica. Some of the sample cards look better than others, but images like this House of Cards example, for instance, just looks really boring.
Then again, I’m not a typography expert or graphic designer, so maybe I’m completely wrong and this is a typographic masterpiece the likes of which we’ve never seen before. But from where I’m sitting, maybe Netflix could have invested a few more of those saved millions into a better font.