Queue is the new journal from the global streaming service Netflix, launching in August 2019. Presented in an oversized format, the publication offers a place for the diverse Netflix family to share their stories and give readers insight into the process of creating great entertainment for the platform and beyond. Pentagram worked closely with Netflix to create the look and feel of the journal, including the name, brand identity and editorial design, as well as art direction and messaging.
Pentagram collaborated with a team at Netflix to create Queue. The challenge for the team of editors and designers was extending the Netflix experience to a journal that would engage audiences and showcase talent in a way that felt true to the brand. Netflix produces and presents a wide range of content across different categories––everything from signature series like “Orange Is the New Black,” “Stranger Things” and “The Crown,” to original films like “Roma,” documentaries like “Our Planet,” and music and comedy specials––and the publication had to find a way to accommodate this variety while still feeling cohesive.
The journal highlights this diversity right from the start. Pentagram and Netflix developed the name “Queue,” a call back to when the company first went into streaming and members would add shows to their lineup of what to watch next on the platform. The journal’s tone of voice and visual personality is smart, engaging and universal, in line with Netflix and its programming. For inspiration, the team looked at stylish journals as well as classic movie magazines of the 1950s and 1960s, which gave readers insider, behind-the-scenes access to stars and production, but in a fun, glamorous way. Netflix viewers love to talk about their favorite shows, and Queue gives them a water cooler in magazine form, a place to start, encourage and inform the conversation.
Netflix wanted Queue to set itself apart yet still feel like part of the Netflix brand universe. The design has just a hint of the branding, but establishes its own presence. The iconic red Netflix monogram shows on the spine, and the brand colors of red, black and white are subtly integrated into the cover and table of contents. The cover design features a large letter “Q” with the new “Queue” logotype as the tail. The letter doubles as a portrait frame and a window into the world of Netflix. (The first cover features Eddie Murphy photographed by Mark Seliger.)
The Pentagram team helped shape the journal, working on the structure and pacing and creating features and departments to showcase all sorts of content. The page map evolves the hierarchy of a traditional magazine structure––where a defined front-of-book leads into a glossy well—for something more organic and free-flowing. Quick, unexpected pieces are mixed in with longer takes, creating a Netflix-like variety of options that readers can browse and sample, then settle in for longer articles and interviews.
Pentagram also worked with the Netflix team creating headlines and decks that helped set the tone for language throughout the magazine. The table of contents is titled “In the Queue,” and headlines include “On Repeat,” about the music in “Russian Doll”; and “Dead to None,” an interview with Christina Applegate, the Emmy-nominated star of “Dead to Me,” highlighting her rich career and continued relevance.
Like the programming on Netflix, the journal is filled with striking visuals, many specially commissioned for the issue, including cast portraits and behind-the-scenes photos, as well as a wealth of illustrations. Pentagram partner Giorgia Lupi contributes a data visualization (called “Film Strips”) that maps the network of credits among a “constellation” of stars who have worked together across multiple projects in multidisciplinary roles, both inside and outside the world of Netflix.