How Netflix Taps Into Font Psychology to Tell a Story and Find Its Audience

Netflix/Screenshot
Netflix/Screenshot

Netflix knows that its ever-expanding subscriber base is made up of countless personalities and preferences, and its library of original content reflects that. There are comedies, dramas, sci-fi epics, mysteries, and action romps all just a click away—but with so many different shows to choose from, these series need a unique look to hook an audience right from the main menu.

Whether you realize it or not, one of Netflix’s main tools to grab your attention is its choice of font. Just take a look through Netflix’s original programming menu and you’ll see dozens of different fonts used for their shows, each one designed to give you a specific feel that’s consistent with the series's tone.

Sara McGuire, editor for the data visualization website Venngage, broke down the streaming giant’s use of eclectic fonts and how they influence the psychology of a viewer as they browse through the menus. She first listed the four categories of fonts: Decorative (quirky, fun); Headline (bold, dramatic); Modern (forward-thinking, efficient); and Handwritten (personal, playful). Then she explained that a font could either be Serif or Sans Serif style—the former utilizes embellishments on the end of letters while the latter is more minimalist and less formal.

McGuire says “design plays a big role in how we perceive the value of a product,” and that extends to how these fonts remain faithful to what you'll experience when watching each show. 

The Crown, for example, has a font that McGuire describes as a Headline with a Serif style, which gives it a “traditional and respectable” feel, much like the Royal Family itself. Meanwhile, Luke Cage has a decorative font, serving as a callback to the bold, in-your-face lettering found on a comic book cover. And if you watched the show, you’ll know the font’s granite lettering is a perfect fit for the bulletproof superhero from Harlem.

Then there are some that are a bit more obvious, like GLOW’s decorative neon font establishing an ‘80s setting, Altered Carbon’s futuristic lettering, or Ozark’s signature Z masquerading as a money sign. While these fonts do give a feel for the show, they're more upfront with the information they're looking to convey. 

To get a better sense of what McGuire is going for, try to imagine a series like Chef's Table or Master of None using the rigid font of The Crown or Medici: Masters of Florence. For people basing their opinion solely on the menu picture and font, they would likely have a completely different set of expectations for the series.

Along with posters, trailers, and all the other promotional material, fonts are just one tool Netflix uses to get its content noticed. As McGuire points out, the streaming giant has a firm understanding of a font’s power and its ability to give people a feel for a new series. Next time you're browsing Netflix's selection, take an extra moment to examine the fonts used for each option—it might help you find your next favorite show.

Target Has Launched a Harry Potter Line of Clothing, Accessories, and Home Goods

Target
Target

No more blending in with the mediocre Muggles—now wizards can decorate and accessorize like the magical creatures they are with Target's brand-new line of Harry Potter clothing and home goods.

Target shoppers will feel like they’ve stepped through Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station as they wander the Harry Potter-stuffed aisles. Popsugar reports that Target will carry more than 500 Harry Potter-themed items, including socks, lanterns, pillows, dolls and much more.

You’ll be able to wake up in your Hogwarts sheets, have your morning coffee in a Slytherin mug, and take a ride on a foam Nimbus 2000 replica while rocking a Potter t-shirt. Not sure what house you’re in? No sweat! Target is even carrying a real-life sorting hat.

Whether you need a gift for the kiddos, or just want to treat your inner witch, Target is sure to have the perfect find in its Wizarding World line.

House Boasting a ‘Harry Potter Room’ Under the Stairs Hits the Market in San Diego

Cupboard under the stairs featured on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter in London.
Cupboard under the stairs featured on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter in London.
Matt Robinson, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When Harry Potter fans dream of living like the boy wizard, they may picture Harry's cozy quarters in the Gryffindor dormitory at Hogwarts. One home owner in San Diego, California is trying to spin one of Harry's much less idyllic living situations as a magical feature. As The San Diego Union-Tribune reports, a listing of a three-bedroom house for sale in the city's Logan Heights neighborhood boasts a "Harry Potter room"—a.k.a storage room under the stairs.

In the Harry Potter books, the cupboard under the stairs of the Dursley residence served as Harry's bedroom before he enrolled in Hogwarts. Harry was eager to escape the cramped, dusty space, but thanks to the series' massive success, a similar feature in a real-world home may be a selling point for Harry Potter fans.

Kristin Rye, the seller of the San Diego house, told The Union-Tribune she would read Harry Potter books to her son, though she wouldn't describe herself as a super fan. As for why she characterized her closet as a “large ‘Harry Potter’ storage room underneath stairs" in her real estate listing, she said it was the most accurate description she could think of. “It’s just this closet under the stairs that goes back and is pretty much like a Harry Potter room. I don’t know how else to describe it," she told the newspaper.

Beyond the cupboard under the stairs, Rye's listing doesn't bear much resemblance to the cookie-cutter, suburban home of 4 Privet Drive. Nearly a century old, the San Diego house has the same cobwebs and a musty smells you might expect from the Hogwarts dungeons, the newspaper reports. But there are some perks, including a parking spot and backyard space for a garden or pull-up bar. The 1322-square-foot home is listed at $425,000—cheaper than the median price of $620,000 for a resale single-family home in the area.

If you want to live like a wizard, you don't necessarily need to start by moving under a staircase. In North Yorkshire, England, a cottage modeled after Hagrid's Hut is available to rent on a nightly basis.

[h/t The San Diego Union-Tribune]

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