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Familiar Things

In 1983, I was in 7th grade. When we weren’t playing sports, my friends and I would listen to our cassette tapes, go to the video game parlor and shuffle through our trading card collections together. We would go to the mall and to the movies, invent games to play and dream up all kinds of adventures. The world was as big as our BMX bikes would take us. I would spend hours drawing whatever our adventure of the day was…or try to perfect a band logo from a cassette, capture the action from the photo on a baseball card or imagine what the monster looked like that we believed lived in the nearby woods. The days just felt longer back then, like everything was possible and anything could be real.

Fast forward to 2016 and seeing the opening sequence of the Netflix Series Stranger Things; Season One. It was like being transported through time, it felt so familiar and nostalgic. The neon light effect and the font matched up with the spooky lo-fi synth theme. I immediately felt 13 years old again. As I watched the show, they didn't need to tell me that this was set in 1983, and that the kids were 12 and 13 years old…I just knew. From the very beginning, every detail about the presentation of the show further embedded that nostalgic feeling, nothing more so than watching the group of kids use their bikes to explore the town of Hawkins; they covered a lot of ground and seemed so free to roam just like we were, and did, in 1983.

When we sat down to design a collection of FiGPiNS for Stranger Things, it felt like one of those opportunities to connect something personal for me with the world that Netflix created for the Stranger Things story. The official show poster (a real fan favorite) by artist Kyle Lambert was so well done. It conjured up that perfect mood and styling of the classic 80’s movie posters and of course, there they were, the kids on their bikes, front and center. Bringing the 5 kids together as a FiGPiN Collectible Box Set seemed so obvious and it felt like we could tell their story by giving them a unified setting while also paying homage to the beloved poster.  
Designing FiGPiNS is hard. Trying to capture the essence of a character in metal and enamel at 3” tall is challenging. Each one is a puzzle of its own and having mere millimeters to express real peoples likenesses always amps up the pressure. With these kids, there was the extra layer of difficulty; translating someone else’s translation of a photo. But really, that challenge is also the fun part. Bringing even more harmony to the set is a powerful and centralized light source radiating outward from the power of the star of the show; Eleven. When the pieces came together, it felt very right. All of us at FiGPiN hope that fans of the show see the care we’ve invested into this 5 pin collector box set and perhaps even feel a personal connection of their own.  


Thinking back now, it’s fun to imagine that perhaps there was an innocent mutant living amongst us, or that there was indeed a monster lurking around the corner or resting under our feet. Maybe we narrowly missed an unfortunate trip through a portal to the Upside Down World.. who knows…Stranger Things have happened I suppose.

- Erik


Erik Haldi is the Co-Founder of FiGPiN, VP of Creative / Chief Drawing Officer. You can find him on instagram at @figpin.artdude to keep up with his latest designs!

November 19, 2020 — Allison Caufield