Mother Sticks It To Netflix Joke Fest

Swiss Modernism With A Pricing Gun

For this year’s Netflix Is A Joke Fest — a live tand-up comedy festival featuring 400+ artists that took place in early May — the service partnered with Mother Design to create the visual system. The ichallenge: build on Netflix’s existing festival brand system, as well as represent Los Angeles and exude a very specific humor and clearly disseminate a massive amount of information.



The team began by tapping into the city’s guerilla sticker-bombing culture to create a versatile system that could be applied on top of, and in harmony with, the existing NIAJ brand identity. Entitled “Slap, Stick” and described as “self-vandalistic design” the visual system is “Swiss modernism with a pricing gun”— anchored in the core palette of black and white, but semi-chaotically layered in colorful “stickers.” Stickers act not only as the vehicle for disseminating information — schedules, wayfinding and merch — but as a tool for situational humor. They adorn performers, façades and even a garbage truck.



And then there’s the tongue-in-cheek tagline: “You can’t spell ‘laugh’ without LA and ugh.” The team embraced the brand’s dry, self-aware humor while trying not to sound pandering or fraudulent to LA natives. The writing, led by Mother’s Betsy Dickenson, has an Angeleno tone but foregoes location-based “inside jokes” in favor of resonating with “generally conscious people anywhere.”



“The answer to most questions about design is obvious,” comments Elliot Vredenburg, associate creative director at Mother Design. “But Netflix posed a question we hadn’t been asked before: Is graphic design funny? By attacking Swiss modernism with a pricing gun, we made the system deadpan, dead simple, and dead easy to use.”