If Stranger Things, Netflix’s new horror-nostalgia joint, sucked you in this weekend, chances are you also became entranced with the show’s credits. At first, all that appears are neon red lines, eventually zooming out to form the title in a distinctively Stephen King-esque font. Just as the show has garnered critical acclaim, the titles have also won over their share of fans. Decider even deemed them “the best thing on TV right now.” When The A.V. Club spoke to the show’s creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, we asked them to share their thinking behind the sequence, which was ultimately designed by Imaginary Forces.
There was never a question that the Duffers wanted to use a version of the typography so clearly associated with King, even sending Imaginary Forces books—mostly King paperbacks, with some others mixed in—as reference points.
But the Duffers were also aiming to buck a trend. “These title sequences on television shows are awesome, and it’s almost like they’re getting more and more elaborate,” Ross said. “People keep trying to one-up one another other on these, and like who can make the craziest title sequence. And I love stuff like that, I love True Detective, I love Game Of Thrones. But we wanted something that would convey a simpler type of storytelling we were trying to experience.”
So they went for something more straightforward, looking to the work of designer Richard Greenberg, who made titles for movies like Superman, Alien, and The Untouchables. “Pretty much every awesome title sequence back in the day,” Ross noted. The brothers honed in on just how basic their favorites were. “It’s something very very simple, but very very memorable,” Ross added. “Like Alien, just those little lines forming. That is so effective and so memorable, but is something that is so ridiculously simple.”
As Matt explained, less can sometimes be more. “You see that with big movies nowadays: When it’s so huge and pure spectacle it actually ends up somehow feeling smaller,” he said. “Sometimes scaling back makes things feel actually more epic and more enormous.” So while you can’t mine the Stranger Things titles for hints that might help you solve the season’s mystery or use them to orient yourself, you can marvel in them. And that’s quite enough.