Make It Stranger

It is a sure sign of my age that (finally) watching Stranger Things was an exercise in Nostalgia For Days. The music! The clothing! The cars! So much wood paneling!

And then I found out even more fascinating things about the production of this series that made me love it even more. The (two-volume) soundtrack. The poster art. Team Barb. And, apparently, the actor who plays Steve is a chill dude who might join you for a beer.

The exquisite way that (nearly) everything about the series settles it firmly into 1983 is what really gets me, reflected even in the title sequence. If you’ve ever seen the cover of an old Stephen King paperback or a Choose Your Own Adventure book, you know what I mean. As you watch the letters come together, there’s bit of film grain if you look closely, and some speckles to make it look as if your VCR needed a good cleaning. Be kind, rewind!

I mean, I’m not the most up-to-date on my television-viewing; I most often end up really getting into a show just before or after it’s been canceled. (Which is fantastic for binge-watching.) I’d heard of Stranger Things, but there are so many other shows I’m behind on watching that it wasn’t high on my list yet.

However,  this typographically nerdy blog post convinced me to push it to the front of the queue. Written by a designer so enthused about this title sequence that she had to gush about it before she’d even finished watching the first season, this up-close look at the care that went into something that lasts less than a minute on screen made me reconsider my mental when-to-watch ranking.

I keep stumbling across more and more factoids that honestly make me want to go back and re-watch the season for the details I’ve missed. I’m hooked, and hoping for a second season.

And then yesterday, Nelson Cash shared this fantastic type generator so you can make your own Stranger Things title:


It’s not perfect; the letters don’t join their serifs together in beautiful ligatures and the G doesn’t do that lovely squishy thing against adjacent verticals, but I certainly wouldn’t expect that from a near-instantaneous type generator and it’s plenty good for funsies. You even get floating dust motes dancing around your chosen phrase, just like in The Upside Down.

What in your life needs strangify-ing? Go forth and make it stranger!

Beth Voigt

Beth is a graphic designer in Chicago, a superhero in her own mind, and absolutely nothing on TV. She wrangles fonts professionally, pummels code amateurishly, and has been known to shove fire in her face for fun. Fond of volunteering, late-night bursts of productivity, and making snacks, she dislikes grocery shopping and sticky public transit and is only on her second smartphone. Her opinion is that you should try everything twice; if you don't like it, you were probably doing it wrong the first time around. If external links are your thing, here are links to Twitter and Instagram, and you can support her ongoing weirdness by buying her a coffee or six.

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