How the Stranger Things identity lured the Netflix generation

If you’ve been on another planet, you probably won’t have heard of Stranger Things, the Duffer Brother’s enigmatic, spooky, 1980s adventurethon that has taken Netfix by storm. For everyone else, you’re probably aware that it is uncompromisingly and unapologetically a Netflix original, and has all the attributes that lure in a certain generation with looming visuals, a lurking soundtrack, swear-down bromance and enough adventures to last a lifetime. Why is it, however, that a certain generation seem to be sucked in by such well placed nostalgia within today’s dramas?

From its appearance in The New Yorker and Rolling Stone magazine, to the soundtrack’s release and its championing by the most trusted high-brow voice in music, Pitchfork Magazine, Stranger Things has certainly had its fair share of attention from some of the higher echelons of popular culture. Well received by both critics and viewers, the creativity of the programme has been praised, with attention to detail and subtle hints to times gone by drawing the viewer into an ever tangled web of horror, crime, violence, subverted government activity and the complex web of family relationships. Here are my thoughts on why the Netflix generation can’t get enough of the Stranger Things identity and why it captures our imagination to such a degree.


We were all kids once

We all knew how it felt to believe so strongly in something – to know that what you think and how you feel is real, even if your interpretations are off the mark and how you relate it to everything else is missing a vital hit of reality. But, somewhere, we all still want to believe all those things we did as a kid, because it made us happy, and that still means a lot to all of us.

It’s straight from the heart

Stranger Things doesn’t mess around with how it feels, how its characters feel or how it wants you to feel. It’s emotive and emotional and invests itself in the story – something that we can all react to and something that doesn’t require any thought. It wears its heart on its sleeve and many of us feel there’s a lot of that missing from today’s world.

It’s homely

Family homes of course play a huge part in the series, and as part of the Netflix generation whose memories of being looked after by mum and dad are only ever feeling like they’re getting further away, Stranger Things does well to capture the comforting, everyday homeliness that many people are probably thinking about as they eat their microwave meal in their shared accommodation.

It portrays real family life

The families in Stranger Things aren’t dressed up and they’re not sugar-coated – it portrays real family life – with all the features and little idiosyncrasies that we remember being children of that decade. It brings to life our perception of the environment, making each interaction within these families believable and unique.

Stories of our childhood

Stranger Things makes us want to dig out the old VHS tapes and go through all the stories that we remember growing up. There are so many references to, and similarities to films such as ET, Home Alone, Stand By Me, The X-Files and The Goonies. Our generation loved ‘em, but just because we’ve grown up, doesn’t mean we still don’t.

The lure of adventure

The lure of travel and adventure is never far away for our generation, it has been bred into us from an early age, and when watching Stranger Things you can see why. The generation that grew up in the late 1980s and 1990s had to adapt to technology, we weren’t born with phones or tablets in our hand and there are a lot of those old instincts still left in us, where old-school adventures with our mates and not a screen in sight is the pinnacle of happy days and enjoyment.

The look & feel

Stranger Things is designed with a keen eye on today’s trends and what those of a certain generation look for. In everything from what everyone wears to the decor in the houses and the neighborhood everyone roams around in, the look and feel captures our imagination, takes us back to a fading era before convenience, online shopping and cheap high street supermarkets. The opening sequence itself is pure atmosphere, with appropriate typography and the old VHS haze we are so familiar with. As Sarah Gless writes in her article on Stranger Things on Creative Review, ‘The Stranger Things logo probably looks strangely familiar, taking you back to an era when Stephen King reigned supreme.’

However you feel about it, nostalgia plays a big part in the dramas we watch, how we’re marketed to, the lifestyle we lead and the products we buy. Nostalgia has also found its way into lifestyle design in both print and digital, and it’s easy to see how Stranger Things appeals by fitting firmly into this remit. Not that we’re complaining. Bring on Season 2….

Unexpectedly lured by the Stranger Things identity and can’t get enough? Join in the conversation on Twitter & Facebook, or head to our work page to learn more about our latest design work.

Warning: Undefined variable $postID in /www/fiascodesign_482/public/wp-content/themes/fd/parts/old-post-content.php on line 58
Apps & Art: How Digital Design Helps Immersive Gallery Experience

7 Mins

Apps & Art: How Digital Design Helps Immersive Gallery ExperienceFor years, exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world were standalone offerings. They took place between certain dates, at certain times, in one place, and once you’d paid your money and visited, the experience was over. They were one time events showcasing work and exhibits to only those who came through the door. However, […]

The American Election: Designing a Presidential Campaign

5 Mins

The American Election: Designing a Presidential CampaignAmerican elections inevitably attract attention from across the world, and this year’s intoxicating and occasionally offensive juggernaut has finally reached its dramatic conclusion. It feels as if the collective political anxiety of the world is concentrated on a few hours and one, potentially world changing announcement. But, we all know that a successful election campaign, […]

Learning to be a 'Yes' Man

3 Mins

Learning to be a ‘Yes’ ManI was drinking my morning cup of coffee and realised that rather than feeling excited about what the day might bring, I was feeling anxious. As I get older I’m learning more and more about myself. One thing that I’ve learnt, in what would seem like quite a sad epiphany, is that I’m not the […]

The Rebranding of the British Countryside

5 Mins

The Rebranding of the British CountrysideThe way we view the British countryside has changed. The identity of our green and pleasant lands have shifted, and over the past few years the digital and print design communities have transformed the outdoor lifestyle sector, bringing it into the 21st century and revolutionising our experience of this growing market. Here are a few […]

Why Words Matter for Brands

4 Mins

Why Words Matter for BrandsOn the 7th of September we were luckily enough to attend West of England Design Forum’s most recent event – and it left us at Fiasco Design feeling very inspired and even more in love with words than we were before. This is without a doubt the most intimidating post that we’re going to do. Non-copywriters […]

3 Mins

Teamwork Creates the DreamworkOver the past couple of years the team here at Fiasco Design has been steadily growing – and more importantly evolving. We started as a partnership back in 2010 and since then we have organically grown into a creative, and passionate, team of like-minded individuals that I’m personally very proud of. As a creative agency […]

3 Mins

What is it like to work within Client services?“An idea can only become reality once it is broken down into organised, actionable elements.” – Scott Belsky. In my naivety, I thought that to work within the creative industry I’d have to be a ‘creative’ myself. I wasn’t graced with the creative talents that my colleagues exude on a daily basis. This posed itself […]

3 Mins

Brand identity projects: why communication is keyAs illustrators, designers, coders and artists, we perpetually live in a visual world at Fiasco Design HQ. New ideas are part of our day to day life, and we often get asked to provide advice and designs that help small and medium businesses establish their visual identity or help with the process of rebranding. With […]

3 Mins

Why we decided to incorporate CodePen into our workflowIn the last few months my development technique and processes have changed. In fact, it’s constantly changing. I am always chopping and changing certain developer tools and apps trying to create the most functional, efficient workflow I can. Enter CodePen, the self-proclaimed playground for the front end web. The small team at CodePen have created […]

fiasco design why we need to change creativity in education

3 Mins

Do we need to radically change our perception of creativity in education?Choosing a Career I was first asked ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ when I was in primary school. It seems somewhat incomprehensible that we’re asked to form a decision on want we want to do with our lives at such a young age. This question is almost always met with […]

fiasco design studio

5 Mins

Advice and insight on setting up an agency after six years in businessThis May marks our sixth year in business. In 2010, myself and fellow co-founder Jason Smith embarked on a journey to start our own design agency with no client base and a total of zero combined years’ experience either working in or running an agency. With no experience of running a business and no business […]

3 Mins

Improving UX through the use of animationI have always had a love of the moving image, whether that be in blockbuster films, indy shorts, animation or stop motion and gifs. This continues to be an inspiration to me and since getting more into coding, I have found a place for my interest to expand, which has since grown into an opportunity […]

3 Mins

Small fish in a big ocean: My advice to illustration graduatesI’m not going to lie, it’s going to be a rocky ride initially. At college you are a big fish in a small pond, after graduation you become a rather small fish in a rather large ocean. So stay classy ladies and gents. A lot of it is about longevity and trial and error. It’s not […]

3 Mins

Hello pen and paper my old friend, good to see you againOne of my favourite things to do when I was younger was draw. I’d lose myself for hours freely sketching whatever ideas came into my head. I didn’t care when or where. Whether it was at the kitchen table, on the living room floor or in the middle of a family gathering, I was as […]

4 Mins

Perfectionism and 12 steps to recovery“God saw what he had made and it was good… …next time, it will be perfect!” Imagine this… your massive project is coming to an end. It’s cost you blood, sweat and tears. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for: the pay off. “Yes!” it finally launches! But instead of pride, satisfaction and closure…it’s […]

3 Mins

The great escape: Why getting out into the great outdoors is good for the mind, body and soulI am very fortunate to have grown up in the countryside of the South West. It is something that has helped to mould me as a person, giving me an appreciation for the outdoors and the wildlife that resides within. The importance of taking time out and escaping at the weekends is very important, with […]