Apparently This Is The Reason We All Used To Draw Those ‘S’ Things Everywhere

Along with 'I WOZ ERE' and 'GIRL POWER,' obvs.

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Before iPhones and iPads were even a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye, we had highlighters, coloured gel pens and ‘fancy paper’ to keep us occupied when fourth class Irish got too boring to handle.

If you were a doodler in school, your copy books were no doubt covered with one thing in particular: that blocky ‘S’ that everyone seemed to love. Before you knew how to draw it, it looked incredibly complex, but once you realised it was just two sets of three parallel lines, joined diagonally and capped off with two pointy bits, you were drawing it EVERYWHERE.

But where did it originate from? It’s not only an Irish phenomenon, after all – ask anyone from the UK or the US and they’ll no doubt have heard of it too. In fact, there’s a whole Know Your Meme page dedicated to what they call the ‘Super S.’

In an effort to shed some light on the mystery ‘S’, Julian Morgans from Vice Australia (yep, it was a thing Down Under as well), recently launched a mini-investigation into its origins, and what he found was pretty interesting.

First up: superheroes. Contrary to what you might have believed, that ‘S’ design is not a reconstruction of the Superman shield, at least not according to the folks at DC Comics, who told Julian that Clark Kent’s logo “has a lot of open space and almost never connects to itself.” Ah.

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Other folks postulated that the design was inspired by Stussy, a Californian surf brand that was über-cool back in the Nineties, but again the theory fails, because apparently the ‘S’ long pre-dates Stussy’s 1980 launch.

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Here comes the big reveal, though. Rather than trying to re-create old logos, it turns out that kids may have just been drawing the ‘S’ simply because it was a) fun and b) similar to a Möbius strip, that is, a looped shape, like the eternity symbol.

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That’s according to Paul Cobley, a language and media professor from Middlesex University in London, who said the designs “perpetual flow” was most likely what made it so popular with kids.

So there you have it. You might have thought you were being all kinds of cool by decorating your pages with Super S designs, but really you were just another Möbius strip-obsessed kid.


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