3 Ways YouTube’s New Subscribe Button Is Subliminally Brainwashing Us

At the Google headquarters in Northern California, upon adding his last eye of newt to the magical cauldron of future-telling, Larry Page whispered the secret YouTube incantation. The cauldron boiled and bubbled then a message appeared written in rat bones: “Make a new subscribe button.” So it was written, so it was done.

YouTube has a new subscribe button, and as expected, some people are pissed about it. This kind of knee-jerk YouTube layout bashing is too common among creators as, in the past, everything from site redesigns to Google+ integration has had folks up in arms.

Here’s the new sub button:


So, it’s a little smaller and a lot redder; not a big deal, right? Well, it depends on who you are asking. To some, this new sub button is just one step further from the “classic” YouTube layout of 2009 that creators worldwide still pine for four years later. This updated sub button is yet another reminder that YouTube, no matter how much you rage, is never going back to that old school style.

A new subscribe button does mean more than just the death of classic YouTube, its design also suggest several interesting messages Google is subliminally sending viewers and creators.

Redder is Better


There are few natural-ish colors that grab people’s’ attention more than red. While the size of the sub button is shrinking considerably, that bright red colorway is a literal red flag for most viewers.

Aside from the video itself, the most significant piece of retail on a video page is now the subscribe button. Backed by YouTube’s standard grey interface, the sub button is able to pop out and scream: “Hey, CLICK ME!” To make it more enticing, YouTube should make it circular, bright red with text that reads “DO NOT CLICK.” I know I would click it.

Get Ready for a New Layout


As a preface, this is all speculation. However, if we look at the last subscribe button YouTube rolled out, it complemented the newest layout and was specifically built to match it. This new red sub button, while eye-catching, doesn’t necessarily mesh well with the current layout color scheme.

This new button could just be a harbinger to something much greater like a new colorway for YouTube. Perhaps something darker grey with brighter accents?

YouTube is Keeping it Classy


By now we can all agree that YouTube is shifting away one-shot videos to focus on a longer, more television-style experience. With that knowledge, one can theorize that YouTube is on a conquest to try and grab that 35-60 age demographic it is so sorely missing. Sure, a bright gold subscribe button was fun and crazy looking, but, more than anything, it solidified that this was a platform for a younger generation.

The new sub button, in all of its slim, classy glory gives off the impression of a professional and sleek experience. YouTube, being at time the Walmart of online video is attempting to shake off that bargin-bin look for something a bit more Pottery Barn, which as well all know, only rich older folks can afford. It’s all about the illusion of class; forget the fact that parody rap songs about pizza make up about 90 percent of YouTube videos.


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