Typography in Pop Culture | Entry 1:
Stranger Things Title Sequence
The intro of the immensely popular Netflix original series Stranger Things has become one of the most recognizable pop culture references of 2016. This 52 second sequence is strictly typographic yet brilliantly effective. It not only is unmistakably identifiable but also suggestive of the show’s content. The Stranger Things title sequence is worth analyzing because it demonstrates the power of typography.
The title sequence starts off with glowing red lines shifting about a black plane as sinister music plays. Eventually it becomes clear that these lines make letters and after 40 seconds the title of the show is revealed. The intro was made by Imaginary Forces. It uses the font ITC Benguiat but in all capitals and with kerning so tight that the serifs touch in some places. This is not ITC Benguiat’s first appearance in pop culture. It has been featured on many cultural artifacts such as Star Trek, the Choose Your Own Adventure book series, a Smiths album, and Stephen King’s novels. What do all these things have in common? They are all from the 80s — which is the setting of Stranger Things. The creators of the show have even credited Stephen King as part of the title sequence’s inspiration. Not only that, but having a simple intro with bold lettering is reminiscent of older shows as well. Think MASH or Twin Peaks. Before even seeing the first scene the viewer is already thinking about the 80s, perhaps even subconsciously. That’s the power of typography.
Also you may have noticed that this particular font has a history in sci-fi and mysteries. That is also suggestive of the content. Stranger Things is classified as science-fiction horror and the whole thing is a mystery. You really don’t even know what’s going until the season finale. Not only does the font predict the genre but also the way the letters shift together like puzzle pieces creates a feeling of suspense. The whole thing is tremendously thrilling.
Watch the Stranger Things title sequence here.