‘Stranger Things’: The Story Behind That Gorgeous Retro Font

     August 14, 2016


There’s no shortage of things to obsess about in Stranger Thingsthe Winona Ryder renaissance, the addictive soundtrack, the possibilities of what’s to come in the (somehow still unconfirmed) Season 2—but perhaps the biggest surprise of Netflix’s breakout hit is the massive outpouring of love for the retro font featured in the title sequence.

Or maybe it’s not such a surprise when you consider that font, called ITC Benguiat, is a hallmark of the era Stranger Things so dotingly pays reverence to. It graced the cover of countless Stephen King novels, The Smiths used it on the cover of their album ‘Strangeways’, and it was the title font for those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books you probably loved as a kid.

stephen-king-book-covers-fontObviously, that’s no accident, as the entire Stranger Things aesthetic is deeply rooted in the pulpy genre of the 80s, and creators Matt and Ross Duffer put a lot of thought into their title sequence font, which they described to THR as “super important.” To create the opening titles, The Duffer Brothers collaborated with the company Imaginary Forces (the very same behind Mad Men‘s iconic title sequence) sending them about 15 different book covers, most, but not all, Stephen King paperbacks. Ultimately, they landed on ITC Benguiat, the glowing red typeface we’ve all come to love that so immediately evokes the nostalgia the series was gunning for.

But the folks at Imaginary Forces weren’t content to slap a static logo on the screen and call it a day, instead giving the title sequence movement and framing that slowly reveals the ITC Benguiat title all its glory. Imaginary Forces’ Creative Director Michelle Dougherty, who oversaw the project, explained to Wired that they kept the title sequence simple to focus on that reveal. “We could concentrate on the type—the counter of the A and the serifs,” She said. “We had to find the most beautiful combinations.”