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How Stranger Things got its retro title sequence

Behind the old-school style in the opening credits.

Christophe Haubursin is a senior producer for the Vox video team. Since joining the team in 2016, he has produced for Vox’s YouTube channel and Emmy-nominated shows Glad You Asked and Explained.

Back for a highly anticipated second season, Netflix’s Stranger Things does an impressive job remixing and referencing a whole lot of ’80s classics. But the show’s tone owes a lot to the striking credits sequence that follows every episode’s cold open.

To give the show its retro opening look, production studio Imaginary Forces actually went back to an old-fashioned credits-making process. The team printed out the main logo on a type of film called Kodalith and set up camera tests to see what it looked like when light passed through the film sheet. Using those shots as references, they then animated the sequence digitally.

The logo itself (designed by the content agency Contend) was based off novel covers that Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer collected. The final result — riffing somewhere between Stephen King’s The Dead Zone and Nick Sharman’s The Cats — uses ITC Benguiat, a vaguely art nouveau font that has appeared on everything from Choose Your Own Adventure books to a 1987 album by the Smiths.

And if you want to make your own, you can use this customized title tool by the creative studio Nelson Cash to write anything in the Stranger Things style.

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