A big part of those designs is the fonts used on each thumbnail.
Fonts are a detail in graphic design and UI design that might seem small and simple, but can completely change the tone and effectiveness of a design.
Every font has its own characteristics that can reflect a certain mood or personality trait.
The folks over at Venngage, an infographic design tool, decided to dive a little deeper into this idea by analyzing the fonts used on 50 of Netflix’s most popular shows (most of which I have binged) and breaking down how the style of each font may affect our perception of the show.
They compiled this data into a super informative infographic that groups each font into one of six main types of fonts:
It can be easy to mix up serif and sans serif fonts. The simplest way to describe a serif font is any font that has little embellishments (or feet as some people like to call them). Think fonts like Times New Roman or Georgia.
Serifs tend to feel more traditional, respectable, and regal.
The Crown, for example, is a thumbnail that made use of a serif font. The show is a period piece that chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II so using a serif font helps reinforce the feeling of royalty and high class.
Because of its ability to make content look prominent and important, brands may want to use this headline font on both their print materials and website to draw the eye.
It can also be used for brands trying to exude a “tough” or industrial mood like a construction or fitness company.
Modern fonts tend to be more clean and geometric. They can be used in a variety of ways but when people see modern fonts they get the feeling of being more forward-thinking and efficient.
Chef’s Table uses a modern font to capture the essence of the show which is all about highlighting the most innovative chefs in the world and their unique styles that are pushing the culinary industry forward.
Due to their more imperfect nature, brands will likely want to use these fonts more sparingly in elements such as illustrations or short testimonials, where they won’t distract from other messaging, but add to it.
In the example below from the eMyth website, they use a handwritten font to make their testimonials feel more personal and human.
Decorative fonts are bold and often custom fonts designed for a specific use-case.
These fonts are made to stand out but their playful nature makes them not as legible as other fonts. That’s why they’re not great for any type of body copy.
The thumbnail for Glow is a perfect example of a decorative font.
It was designed specifically for the show to give the title the feeling of a neon sign. It does a great job of showcasing the loud, high-energy feeling that you can expect while watching the show.
Brands may want to reserve decorative fonts for logos or on promotional artwork for events as they are more effective at attracting the eye than delivering important content.
Seeing the different types of fonts Netflix uses to influence how we perceive different shows can serve a useful roadmap for when it comes to selecting a font for your brand’s designs
Whether it’s a bigger project like a website redesign or something small like a Google Ad, your font selection shouldn’t be a detail you overlook.
It’s important to make sure you’re choosing a font that will not only resonate with your target audience but also evoke the right emotions.
You can check out the full breakdown of shows and their font types in the infographic below.
The folks over at Venngage also included a link to their datasheet which includes similar fonts to the ones used in the thumbnails for anyone looking to capture a similar effect.
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