The mystery of Netflix's new logo

It's out there. But Netflix doesn't want to talk about it. Might this be a test? Or might this be a very fine strategy?

There it is. Right at the beginning of the "Derek" trailer. Netflix/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Have you done something to your hair?

What? No. I've got no idea what you're talking about.

This seems to be the current dialogue between Netflix and its customers.

You see, certain real people began to notice that Netflix had slipped a new logo into certain trailers. Look, here it is at the very beginning of the teaser for season 2 of "Derek."

It's well, different. Gone is the drama of shadow on the old logo (see below). Now it looks like Jony Ive's picked up a little freelance work.

It's all flat and unashamedly plastic. Or something.

As CNN reports, consternation has reigned. Garments have been rended. Hair has been pulled out and tossed from penthouse balconies.

Why didn't they tell us?

Why didn't they prepare the masses for this wild alteration?

This is worse that when they became Qwikster for a day. Even then, they made a fanfare about it. A very, very bad video, too.

Yes, not only has Netflix slipped a new logo out into the world, like an unwanted three-legged kitten, but the company's not commenting either. (I've tried to ask, beg, and plead. Just for you.)

This is just no way to treat your customers, is it? Or perhaps it is.

Logos when released with all the lights and ballast of PR tend to force real people (and the media) to have an opinion. Suddenly, everyone is declaring it the worst change since branding began.

Often, though, logos become a part of everything else that goes on around the brand, rather than some separate entity that designers will say is sacrosanct in its glory.

When something merely emerges by stealth, there's a certain playful tease. It might even invite an "Oh, by the way. Did you see?"

This new logo may just be a test. It doesn't appear on the Netflix Web site. I can't see it on any other promotional materials.

But if it's some sort of macabre scheme to baffle, confuse, and enervate, there can only be one answer: Blame Frank Underwood.

The old logo, on the first "Derek" trailer. Netflix/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
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