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Pick Me, Pick Me: Analyzing the Semantic Connotations of Typography Deployed in Genre Categories of the Netflix Catalogue

Typography observed in the genre classifications of the Netflix catalogue intentionally conveys the conventions of genre styles rendered to attract audience selection of film and television titles. Much has been written about the treatment of typography in the title sequences of films and television shows, yet an examination of typography as a collective enterprise within such a prominent global catalogue has eluded researchers. With over 160 million Netflix subscribers, typography deployed in the catalogue is a highly visible feature that assists in communicating the narrative of content for audiences. With hundreds of films and television titles vying for audience selection, key typography attributes are deployed and made visible through genres coded as science fiction, romance, or horror. The aim of this paper is to reflect on the collection of typography deployed here. This permits a review of how typography is used to express both genre representations and distinct points of view while collectively allowing various typography presentations to coexist within one visual language grouping. These distinctions are typified through behaviors and attributes of typeface characteristics designed to actively exploit both embedded meanings and pre-existing public and traditional value systems of subscribers. This paper introduces the notion of a heteroglossia of typography in the context of the Netflix catalogue. Examining ways that the streaming giant deploys typography for subscribers allows a lens to focus on how contemporary audiences are active participants in dominant conventions of genre, and highlights the powerful role that typography performs in the Netflix catalogue.

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Tonya Meyrick