The Real Story Behind That 'S' Everyone Drew

Publish Date
Wednesday, 3 August 2016, 7:55AM

Bubble writing is something we all learnt how to do in primary school.

Example A:

And if you were really doo at drawing you might have have added a bit of shadowing into your letters..

But the king of bubble writing was this pointy "S" symbol:

Julian Morgans, an online editor with Vice, decided to explore the backstory of that infamous S.

"I was about eight when someone showed me how to draw this, It started with two sets of three parallel lines that were joined diagonally left to right, then capped off at the top and bottom with pointy bits. It was a fierce, beautiful S, and drawing it was addictive," Morgans wrote.

After trawling the internet and discovering that the pointy S symbol has been discussed in nostalgic terms on many forums such as Reddit.

"It seems The S has appeared throughout all of North America, South America, Europe, Russia, Asia, and Australia. Some people think it's a '90s thing, others report seeing it as early as the 1960s. There were theories that it was the symbol of some '80s hair metal band. Other people thought it was the original emblem for the clothing brand Stussy. Others thought it was an incarnation of the Superman logo. No one was sure."

After Morgans asked around the Vice offices many people had different things to say.

The graphics guy thought it was the 'Superman S'.

"It doesn't look like any of the emblems from the old Superman Shield logos," said Benjamin LeClear, who manages the DC Comics library in Burbank, California.

One of the producers, Ramona, said it was "definitely called the Stussy S".

"No, this is not an original Stussy Logo, I personally get asked this a lot, but people have been drawing this S long before Stussy was established. People have just assumed it was Stussy and it's sort of spread from there. It's actually quite amusing,"  stated Emmy Coates, who has worked alongside Shawn Stussy since 1985.

"I needed to zoom out and take in the bigger picture, so I got in touch with an expert in symbols and semiotics: Paul Cobley.

"Paul is a Professor in Language and Media at Middlesex University in London. According to him the theory that it was a hair metal symbol was also ridiculous - 'It's certainly not the Saxon logo ... Theirs was far more sharp and had a staff,"' he said.

"Then he offered the most likely yet bland explanation of all. That is, it's fun to draw.

"Most nine-year-olds can't draw, so when someone hands them a magical recipe to create something fairly cool, on demand - that'll go viral. Especially when the shape has the sophisticated, mathematical lineage of a Moebius strip."

So there you have it "the S isn't a Stussy logo or a Superman emblem or a gift from aliens ... it's just the most fun ever".


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