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The Stranger Side of Compass

17 August 2016
FULL SCREEN SHOT
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Ed Benguiat – Font Creator

This year’s breakout summer hit, the Netflix original series: Stranger Things, transports viewers through time to a familiar 80s sci-fi setting – loaded with retro music, clothing, themes, and characters. The show relies heavily on the styling and sentiment of the era it portrays, which is remarkably extended into its design elements that in-part define 80s sci- fi mania. From the opening moments of the show’s intro, a classic and subconsciously familiar font, ITC Benguiat, unveils the title. The primary display font deliberately begins to introduce the mysterious and adventurous atmosphere that is, almost, a main character of the show. However, this is not the font’s first rodeo. Allow us to take you on a journey through the life and many applications of the chillingly eclectic font: ITC Benguiat, named after its creator, Ed Benguiat.

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Despite the excellence and popularity of Stranger Things and its phenomenal cast, a simple typography decision in the show’s title sequence has fascinated designers worldwide. Numerous forum threads imploring the font’s name and applications sprang up days after the Netflix premiere, ultimately resulting in a wide-spread familiarity and understanding behind a font choice. The Duffer Brothers (creators of Stranger Things), were questioned recently on the show’s title sequence. They enthusiastically acknowledged that the title font is a “super important” aspect of the show and that they ideally sought to capture the look and feel of many iconic book covers from that time period.StephenKing-large_trans++9nR5rZ1XXouEycP-TeINgwgOC2evmouZtjp6jJTM11k

 

They sent fifteen of such covers as a reference to the designers of the show’s title. The wonder and suspense of the sci-fi literary genre shine through in every scene, essentially turning each episode into a virtual “page-turner.”


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Brought to you by an infatuation and otherwise amazement of such an epic and accurate reproduction of a unique and iconic period of time, we present to you:

The Stranger Side of Compass.

In an attempt to create a likeness to the audio intro of the show, our Social Media
Strategist Austin quickly dusted off his audio production skills and got to work in Logic
Pro. Relying heavily on an imitation analog synthesizer instrumentation, arpeggiators,
and distorted bass drops, a synthy snippet was created to accompany our reiteration of the
the title sequence, reminiscent of the era from which it spawns.

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After receiving the audio track, our Digital Designer Tony began laying out each individual letter in the composition in the style of the Stranger Things title sequence. One of the most iconic features of the title sequence is the camera zoom and pan. After creating his animated title, Tony set up the camera zoom to give that up-close effect the intro pans away from. Taking cues on the animations in the original, he then constructed
his timeline animations to be smooth and trigger on sonic peaks in our audio track.
Through multiple run-throughs and edits, a final product was constructed that represents
Compass Marketing’s unique branding through the lens of Stranger Things.

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Ultimately, this project served as an educational opportunity; to enhance skills in animation and font creation, understanding the conceptualization of a design, and the emotional stimulation something as simple as a font can create. That’s the strange thing about #teamcompass, we learn while we’re having fun!