The "Cool S", also known as the "Stüssy S", "Super S", "Superman S", "Pointy S", "Graffiti S", "The S Factor", "Universal S", and many other names, is a graffiti sign in popular culture that is typically doodled on children's notebooks or graffiti'd on walls. The exact origin of the "Cool S" is unknown. It may have begun as a geometric puzzle or pattern dating back centuries, or it may have appeared around the 1980s or 1990s as a part of graffiti culture. Contrary to popular belief, the symbol has no ties to either the American clothing brand Stüssy or to the character Superman.
The "Cool S" consists of 14 line segments, forming a stylized, pointed S-shape. It has also been compared to the infinity symbol. The "tails" (pointy ends) of the S appear to link underneath so that it loops around on itself in the same way as the infinity symbol does. The "Cool S" has no reflection symmetry, but has 2-fold rotational symmetry. As illustrated, a common way to draw the shape begins with two sets of three parallel, vertical lines, one above the other.
The origin of the "Cool S" is unclear. The name "Superman S" comes from a belief that it was a symbol for Superman, whose costume features a stylized "S" in a diamond shape, but that shape is quite different. Although frequently referred to as the "Stüssy S", Emmy Coats (who has worked alongside Shawn Stussy since 1985) has stated that it was never a symbol of the Californian surf company.
- "how to make one graffiti S". DrawingNow DrawingNow. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
- Wilson, Frederick Newton (1890). Mechanical Graphics. Princeton, N.J.: The Princeton Press. p. 12. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
- Lindwasser, Anna. "Here's The Story Behind That Cool 'S' Thing You Used To Draw In Class". Ranker. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
- "Local Investigates: The Mysterious S Symbol". NYU Local. February 12, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- Neelon, Caleb (November 23, 2010). "Solve the Mystery of the Pointy S". Print Magazine. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- Morgans, Julian (July 23, 2016). "That 'S' Thing Everyone Drew in School, What Is It?". Vice. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
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.
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