When it comes to television shows, many of us follow whatever hot new show is trending. Netflix makes it easy to figure out what these “hot shows” are with their list of trending “Top 10” shows. And our friends make it easy by making it feel like if we don’t watch a certain show we will be socially exiled and left out. One of those shows that both Netflix and your friends have surely highlighted is Stranger Things.
Even if you are unaware of what the show is about, you have likely heard of the science-fiction/horror-drama series, and you can likely also recognize the show’s signature logo.
Just like with other binge-worthy shows on Netflix, Stranger Things has developed a loyal following and has created decorations, accessories, clothes, and toys that enthusiasts continuously purchase. And one of the things Stranger Things has to thank for its success is a logo that makes the brand stand out.
If you’re intrigued about what makes this show’s logo so unique, and how a television show has become so iconic that an entire brand has been built around it, then you came to the right place. Keep reading below to learn all of this and more.
Meet Stranger Things
Inspired by 1980s novels and created by Matt and Ross Duffer, the quick synopsis of Stranger Things is that it is a show that revolves around Hawkins National Laboratory in Hawkins, Indiana during the 1980s. Hawkins National Laboratory is believed to be carrying out scientific research for the Department of Energy, while also conducting independent research experiments focused on the supernatural and paranormal in secret. These experiments are sometimes conducted on human subjects and through this, they have created an entrance into an alternate dimension called “Upside Down.” By creating this gateway, the laboratory team has disastrously affected the unknowing Hawkins neighborhood residents.
The best way to become acquainted with Stranger Things is to learn more about the show’s all-star cast. The show’s ensemble cast helps bring the show to life and their acting is what has helped make this show take off.
While we won’t highlight the entire cast, below we introduce you to some of the characters that make this show what it is.
Eleven (Jane Hopper)
Played by Millie Bobby Brown, Eleven is an adolescent with telepathic and psychokinetic capabilities. Eleven has a limited vocabulary and after running away from Hawkins National Laboratory, she becomes friends with Lucas Sinclair, Dustin Henderson, and Mike Wheeler (who she develops a crush on). Eleven’s father is Terry Ives but during the Season 2 finale, Eleven is adopted by Jim Hopper who she becomes close to, especially during Season 3.
Portrayed by Noah Schnapp, Will is the younger brother of Jonathan Byers. His parents are Lonnie and Joyce Byers. Will is notable because he was abducted by a creature from “Upside Down,” an alternative dimension that the scientists from Hawkins National Library discovered. Eleven’s friends are Will’s former friends.
One of Will’s friends that Eleven befriends, Lucas is played by Caleb McLaughlin. Lucas is one of Will’s friends that doesn’t trust Eleven at first. Lucas develops a crush on Max Mayfield in Season 2 and later dates her in Season 3.
Gaten Matarazzo is the actor behind Dustin’s character. Dustin has cleidocranial dysplasia which causes a lisp when he speaks. Like Lucas, Dustin also develops a crush on Max, but he instead starts dating Suzie in Season 3, after he meets her at “Camp Know Where.”
The third friend that Eleven befriends is Mike Wheeler, played by Finn Wolfhard. Mike is a loyal friend and a smart and meticulous student. His siblings are Holly and Nancy, and his parents are Ted and Karen. Unlike his other friends, Mike develops feelings for Eleven.
Played by Sadie Sink, Max is a tomboy and the younger stepsister of Billy Hargrove. Both Lucas and Dustin have a crush on her, but she has feelings for only Lucas.
As mentioned before, Jim is played by David Harbour and is Eleven’s adoptive father. Jim is the head of the Hawkins Police Department. His daughter, Sara, passed away from cancer, which resulted in him getting a divorce and him becoming an alcoholic. He gets his life back on track after he rescues Will and adopts Eleven.
One of the more famous actresses in the ensemble is Winona Ryder, who portrays this character. She is the mother of not only Will Byers, but also Jonathan. She is divorced from Lonnie Byers and begins to date her high school classmate, Bob Newby. After Bob passes away, Joyce and Jim are believed to like one another.
Will’s older brother, and Joyce’s other son, is Jonathan, who is played by Charlie Heaton. Unlike Will, Jonathan is more reserved and quieter. He has dreams of being a photographer and eventually begins to date Nancy Wheeler.
Mike and Holly’s older sister is Nancy Wheeler, who Natalia Dyer plays. She is extremely obedient and is a star student. After her friend, Barbara, passes away, Nancy begins to investigate the Hawkins National Laboratory and unveils another side of herself. During the first two seasons, Nancy dates Steve Harrington but she ultimately ends up dating Jonathan Byers.
As referenced above, Steve Harrington is Nancy’s boyfriend during the first two seasons. The character is portrayed by Joe Keery. While Steve wasn’t friends with Jonathan Byers in the earlier seasons, they become friends later.
Portrayed by Sean Astin and highlighted earlier in this article, Bob went to high school with both Joyce and Hopper. He manages the town’s RadioShack and begins to date Joyce before he dies later in the show.
Played by Paul Reiser, Sam formally worked at the Department of Energy before becoming the director of Hawkins National Laboratory. Sam has two different sides to his personality. On one hand, he is passionate about scientific research and the laboratory’s mission, and on the other hand, he is incredibly empathetic to the residents of the laboratory.
Another Hawkins National Laboratory employee is Martin, who is played by Matthew Modine. Unlike Sam, Martin is the lead scientist who comes off as being highly manipulative. He is the driving force behind the search for Eleven, leading his team to track down her whereabouts.
Stranger Things’ Evolution
July 15, 2016: Season 1 of Stranger Things premieres
Exclusive to Netflix, Stranger Things premiered on the streaming platform on July 15, 2016. While the show was first released in 2016, it was actually set in November of 1983 in Hawkins, Indiana. During this season’s launch, viewers are introduced to Will Byers. Will is kidnapped and captured by a monstrous creature from the “Upside Down” world. To find Will, Hawkins’ Chief-of-Police, Jim Hopper, and Will’s mother, Joyce, launch a search. All while this is unfolding, viewers are also introduced to Eleven who runs away from Hawkins National Laboratory. Eleven has both psychokinetic and telepathic abilities. She launches a separate search party with Will’s close friends, Lucas Sinclair, Dustin Henderson, and Mike Wheeler.
October 27, 2017: Season 2 of Stranger Things premieres
After the first season was critically acclaimed by viewers across the world, Season 2 was released on October 27, 2017, on Netflix. This season took place the following year, in October 1984. This season focuses on the aftermath of Will’s saving. While Will has been saved, many residents don’t know what caused his abduction and don’t know that the creatures that abducted him still influence him. This leads Will, his family, and his close friends to realize that “Upside Down” is still a large threat to their lives.
July 4, 2019: Season 3 of Stranger Things premieres
Just like the first two seasons, Season 3 is set in the ’80s, specifically a few months after Season 2, around July 4th in 1985. During this season, viewers are introduced to Starcourt Mall which is newly opened and a top attraction for the residents of Hawkins. Additionally, this season looks at the damaging side effects that Will’s time in “Upside Down” has on the world. Beneath Starcourt Mall is a secret Soviet lab that is trying to also find a gateway into “Upside Down” so that they can let those creatures invade Hawkins.
Relationship-wise, this season highlights the romantic relationship between Mike Wheeler and Eleven all the while they continue to fight the creatures in “Upside Down.” As Mike and Eleven grow closer, Eleven’s adoptive father, Jim Hopper, becomes worried about their relationship while he is also dating and taking care of Will’s mother, Joyce.
May 27, 2022: Season 4 of Stranger Things premieres
Divided into two parts, Season 4 was released on Netflix on May 27, 2022, and July 1, 2022. Since many have not watched this final season yet, we’ll spare you any spoilers in this article!
Roadblocks Along the Way
With a show that has developed a loyal, international fanbase and has continuously attracted a record-setting number of viewers on Netflix, it’s hard to believe that the franchise has run into any roadblocks – but they have. While their share of roadblocks hasn’t been substantial or detrimental, the series has not been immune to critics and has had to navigate some challenges.
Some critics rave about Stranger Things’ usage of 80’s references and stylistic components, other critics have disagreed the show did a good job with this. Additionally, just like with any other multi-series show, Stranger Things has had to continuously develop a storyline that attracts viewers and keeps them engaged, while also deciding when it was time to put an end to the show – which many loyal viewers disagreed with the timing of. We can’t blame them though; we’d love to not have to bid goodbye to the show after Season 4 too!
The Meaning of Stranger Things’ Logo and Stranger Things’ Logo History:
When you think of a television show, the show’s logo is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. But like other shows, Stranger Things’ logo is a critical part of their branding and marketing strategy. When you buy Stranger Things merchandise, and as the show is advertised more, the logo has become the face of the brand.
Designed by the Duffer brother (Matt and Ross), Jacob Boghosian, and Imaginary Forces in 2016 with the show’s launch, this Stranger Things graphic design team did due diligence on becoming familiar with 1980’s graphic design stylistic elements. Imaginary Forces was no stranger to designing Netflix logos, so they seemed like a good fit for the project. As the logo was developed, the team was focused on making it attention-grabbing with unique features, while also honoring the 1980s. To gather inspiration for the logo design, the Duffer brothers provided the designers with Stephen King novels and over twenty symbol options for them to explore.
2016-2017: The first version of the Stranger Things logo
When the show was launched on July 15, 2016, the first version of Stranger Things’ logo was also launched. This logo simply featured a wordmark with no accompanying graphics. This wordmark was written in ITC Benguiat, and the font was chosen because it conveyed feelings of 1980’s horror and phantom, which the show was built around.
As you look at this logo, you’ll notice that the show’s title is written in two rows with two lines below the word “Stranger,” highlighting two letters. This emphasizes that the show will be just that, strange. The “S” and “R” are written larger than the other characters and as viewers look at the logo, viewers can get a sense of what they are getting themselves into with watching.
2017-2019: The second version of the Stranger Things logo
With the show’s second season, also came the second version of the franchise’s logo. This one includes a new feature, the numeral “2.” Keeping some of the same stylistic elements of the first logo, this one also conveys feelings of horror, mystery, and phantom.
2019-2021: The third version of the Stranger Things logo
Just like with the prior seasons, Season 3 also had an updated logo with it. This iteration included a repainted wordmark, with a red outline, that emphasized the tragedy that will continue to unfold with the show. This version has the numeral “3” to highlight the third season and uses the same font as prior logos with the “S” and “R” accentuated yet again.
2021-Present: The fourth (and current) version of the Stranger Things logo
With the final season’s release, also came the final version of the logo. Just like with the prior iterations, the Season 4 logo was not drastically updated beyond including some changes in color and updating the numeral to reflect the fourth season.
Stranger Things logo font:
As a font was selected, the design team was focused on finding a font that conveyed the elements of the show. The designers mixed elements from the title fonts of the movie, Alien, and a font from a Stephen King novel. The resulting font that was developed was called ITC Benguiat which is a bold font with decorative features. The typography is serif-style and highly legible, yet it also has retro elements that highlight the 80s.
Unlike a usual serif-style font, this one is different with some features. For example, the “S” and “R” in the word, “Stranger,” has lines that are extended and more stylized, while the overall shape of all the letters is also a bit different than the serif fonts many of us are used to.
Stranger Things logo color:
One stylistic area that saw many variations through the years is the logo’s coloring. Each season’s logo had different colors featured. Sometimes it included a white background with red letters, and other times it was black. The color choices were meant to give viewers the nostalgia of a 1980s neon hotel sign.
Stranger Things logo symbols:
The Stranger Things logo never included any symbols, just the wordmark of the show’s title. The only variation in the lettering was that each subsequent season after Season 1 included a numeral to highlight what season it was.
Stranger Things Today
Today, Stranger Things has viewers sad that the final season was just released in May 2022 and July 2022. While many would love for there to be a Season 5, the Duffer brothers have announced that the series will come to an end with this season.
Lessons Learned from Stranger Things
As we mentioned at the start of this article, it’s hard to believe that a logo can become just as popular as a television show, but Stranger Things proves that is possible. The show’s logo has become the symbol of the brand and if there is one key lesson, we all can learn, it’s that if you keep your logo simple, and straightforward, and add stylistic elements that go together with the brand, your logo will resonate with your consumers.