The Universal S

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  • Published on Aug 10, 2019
  • People from all over the world have been drawing this S-shaped symbol for decades yet no one seem to know anything about it. In this video I explore some of the popular origin theories and showcase my own findings after five years of on and off searching.

    Patreon: www.patreon.com/lemmino
    Subreddit: www.reddit.com/r/lemmino
    Twitter: twitter.com/lemmin0

    [Music]
    Jazz Spastiks - Bananas Instrumental
    jazzspastiks.bandcamp.com/track/bananas-instrumental
    Fabien Tell - Never Before
    www.epidemicsound.com/track/vYhGIQi5p6
    Jazz Spastiks - Fresh Oranges Instrumental
    jazzspastiks.bandcamp.com/track/fresh-oranges-instrumental
    Grant Newman - Last March of Heroes
    www.epidemicsound.com/track/dTSZSYrpwJ
    Jazz Spastiks - Apples Instrumentals
    jazzspastiks.bandcamp.com/track/apples-instrumental
    Jon Björk - Divisive Alliance
    www.epidemicsound.com/track/QgftTsL1p3
    Charles Holme - Informal Parameters
    www.epidemicsound.com/track/CtauqiUO4H
    Fabien Tell - The Farmer
    www.epidemicsound.com/track/CMh170ud8g

    [Credits & References]
    www.lemmi.no/post/the-universal-s
  • Entertainment

Comments • 16 409

  • Cadde
    Cadde 23 seconds ago

    I could have told you right away that the "universal" S became popular in late 60's and through 70's graffiti.
    It died out somewhat in the 80's and resurged in the mid 90's.
    What is it? Well, it's a style of graffiti that you tend to learn early on because it's so simple. Hence why most people remember it from their school days, as that was the time they would aspire (for a while or more) to become graffiti artists. Only those who moved on with their skills would develop their own unique styles far away from the "universal" S.
    Funny thing is, as the "universal" S died out in the 80's, most graffiti artists started painting in straight lines. See the connection here?
    First you wanted to move away from that style as you developed because that S was what kids drew. But as the 80's came round and that particular S fell to the wayside, more artists found a style that was very very similar to that of the "universal" S. Go figure!
    In the mid 90's however, probably by sheer coincidence, that S started making it's way back AND it started frequently appearing on walls too and not just doodles on paper. That's when the "gangsta rap" scene hooked onto it and used it for more than just an easy to draw S. It became a symbol of that culture.
    It sorta reflects on the mental capacity of gangsta's from that time period. They can only create simple things with their simple minds. Destruction on the other hand, no problem UGGA BUGGA!

  • draxxus9801
    draxxus9801 59 seconds ago

    NC State lol.

  • a random frog
    a random frog Minute ago

    See you next year, Lemmino

  • yoosuf Mughal
    yoosuf Mughal 3 minutes ago

    The symbol is a interpretation of the wolfsangel. It’s a Germanic symbol adopted by nazis and used for the second ss das riech patch for the panzer division. I firmly believe that the “Superman s” is a neo nazi symbol.

  • yoosuf Mughal
    yoosuf Mughal 3 minutes ago

    The symbol is a interpretation of the wolfsangel. It’s a Germanic symbol adopted by nazis and used for the second ss das riech patch for the panzer division. I firmly believe that the “Superman s” is a neo nazi symbol.

  • yoosuf Mughal
    yoosuf Mughal 3 minutes ago

    The symbol is a interpretation of the wolfsangel. It’s a Germanic symbol adopted by nazis and used for the second ss das riech patch for the panzer division. I firmly believe that the “Superman s” is a neo nazi symbol.

  • yoosuf Mughal
    yoosuf Mughal 3 minutes ago

    The symbol is a interpretation of the wolfsangel. It’s a Germanic symbol adopted by nazis and used for the second ss das riech patch for the panzer division. I firmly believe that the “Superman s” is a neo nazi symbol.

  • yoosuf Mughal
    yoosuf Mughal 3 minutes ago

    The symbol is a interpretation of the wolfsangel. It’s a Germanic symbol adopted by nazis and used for the second ss das riech patch for the panzer division. I firmly believe that the “Superman s” is a neo nazi symbol.

  • Yon 9772
    Yon 9772 4 minutes ago

    it’s Satan’s initial

  • Individu λambda
    Individu λambda 6 minutes ago

    The "Graff S", or how to gage the age of the person you see the drawings of, in my school, in the mid 2000's in France it was everywhere, everyone did it, but there was two groups, one drew it, and the other one also experimented with it, trying to invert it, round it, make it more modern, make it into a patern, I myself tried to build a whole alphabet around it, I never finished it and only got satisfied with a few less complex leters, like F, N, G, Z, D, H, C, M, K, my main difficulty I had with this was keeping the letters in the same frame, M being the largest and disalowing my letters to be taller than the S as I limited myself to the grid of the paper we had.

  • Pornilius Hubert
    Pornilius Hubert 6 minutes ago

    it stands for *succ*

  • Breezy
    Breezy 6 minutes ago

    makes me wonder what amazing video ideas will get shelved or are shelved rn

  • benjamin farman
    benjamin farman 9 minutes ago +1

    It goes back a lot further than that, before 0AD I think considering celtic and gaelic knots.

  • halambish
    halambish 10 minutes ago

    I'm from Tunisia and altho it wasn't red on the map I recall that that was a thing

  • ken metcalfe
    ken metcalfe 11 minutes ago

    8:27 I found Garfield.

  • Steven Tsakiris
    Steven Tsakiris 11 minutes ago

    I'm Greek, boy were there a A LOT of "Smile" drawings back in my primary school.
    Note: Superman S, puffy m, i with a nice topping, palm tree l and e with large pointy teeth has always been the standard, over here at least.

  • pixiniarts
    pixiniarts 14 minutes ago

    I remember there was a whole alphabet based on that line technique...

  • Luke Gregory
    Luke Gregory 15 minutes ago

    This symbol was and still is used at the school I go to. We used to call it graffiti S however I haven't drawn it myself for about 2 or 3 years. I actually saw a few today.

  • Tony Nam
    Tony Nam 20 minutes ago

    Top 10 facts: Kindergarten (the video game)

  • Unlimited Power
    Unlimited Power 23 minutes ago

    I remember this back in the early 2000s back in elementary.
    Im Canadian

  • Andres Bravo
    Andres Bravo 23 minutes ago

    Nobody:
    FLASH-PLAYER: *Recommends you*

  • Trihexa Von Dragon
    Trihexa Von Dragon 24 minutes ago

    Awesome as always. We also wrote it here in the Philippines, as illustrated to your map, but I never really bothered to finds it origins. Now, I learned that the thing that made me and my classmates day has almost a Century old history. And it cane from one of my hated subjects. Geometry. I love the ironies of life XD.
    Anyway, great video, as always, waiting patiently for more uploads.

  • Bamboozled Doggo
    Bamboozled Doggo 25 minutes ago

    Wrote this everywhere when I was in 3rd grade.

  • Alyssa
    Alyssa 28 minutes ago

    I used to see it as both a S & chain & drew it as a chain a lkt - it was popular in like year 2 at my school, and i always saw it as a 'cool' hiphop thing back then

  • Uncle
    Uncle 29 minutes ago

    if you didn't draw this in your childhood you're not a certified human being.

  • Rodrigo Torres
    Rodrigo Torres 31 minute ago

    Even tho the mistery wasn't solved, I ended up liking and subscrubing.

  • bossofdeath Bossofdof
    bossofdeath Bossofdof 32 minutes ago

    I'm going to say the S word.

  • MrGartsaba
    MrGartsaba 36 minutes ago

    I learn it too,along with many other kids in the early 90s in Hungary!

  • TheDudeWithACow
    TheDudeWithACow 38 minutes ago

    Is this guy Norwegian

  • Finalph_KUN
    Finalph_KUN 39 minutes ago

    back in primary we used to call it the graffiti s and it would be all over my shcool

  • Jakob Broe Bendtsen
    Jakob Broe Bendtsen 44 minutes ago

    Anyone who remembers top10memes?

  • VictusPrime
    VictusPrime 45 minutes ago

    Lmao, I never even really considered it, but you're right, literally everyone in primary school was drawing this S and no one knew or even questioned where it originally came from.

  • Jump on Yaya
    Jump on Yaya 49 minutes ago

    bro how often youtube gotta recommend this to me

    • Jump on Yaya
      Jump on Yaya 43 minutes ago

      ight it didn't disappoint actually jesus christ, how did this increase my trust in the youtube algorithm maybe another mystery

  • kobina dayira
    kobina dayira 50 minutes ago

    we used to draw this symbol in primary school in Ghana. it was widely popular

  • Doge McDogeface
    Doge McDogeface 50 minutes ago +1

    The editing in this video is top notch. Really enjoyed it dude

  • Will Faber
    Will Faber 52 minutes ago

    I always thought it was simply a doodle everyone stumbled upon when drawing and connecting lines on checkered paper in school

  • Eden Lumbroso
    Eden Lumbroso 56 minutes ago

    Its so simple that maybe more than one person thought of it and it has no clear origin. Its easy to come up with specially in math notebooks with vertical lines on the pages.

  • Christy Blue
    Christy Blue 56 minutes ago

    Oh we drew this in elementary school in Germany. We felt so cool

  • Brovop
    Brovop 57 minutes ago

    The guys at my old school used to call it a "Rockstar S"

    Went to school in Maryland

  • Slasher 12309
    Slasher 12309 Hour ago

    I think it’s kinda Celtic

  • Slasher 12309
    Slasher 12309 Hour ago

    EUREKA IVE GOT
    I remember the chain from my computer class I think it was the art program with the penguins in it a forgot the name this was in the magic section of it

  • Waffle Wizard
    Waffle Wizard Hour ago

    I KNEW IT!! ITS A CLASSIC CALLIGRAPHY TRICK!!! WHEN PEOPLE TRY TO DRAW CALLIGRAPHY THIS WOULD BE WHAT THEY WOULD DRAW

  • KSI SOLDIER
    KSI SOLDIER Hour ago

    Hippocrate*s* made it in the four humor*s* cos the thought he was cool

  • hainsay
    hainsay Hour ago

    I read somewhere that crossing out something was a way to contest territory between gangs. So maybe it was an actual gang symbol?

    Also, mandatory I used to do this in primary school in Australia in the 90s.

  • Aliteralchair
    Aliteralchair Hour ago +1

    we need episode 2

  • Aliteralchair
    Aliteralchair Hour ago

    i drew this as a kid it was named the super s and i can assure you that the patterns we made out of it were completly random

  • Grigori Rasputin
    Grigori Rasputin Hour ago +1

    Schlattcoin

  • JuanDah Willnot
    JuanDah Willnot Hour ago

    This man is doing the lords work...

  • ratmdex
    ratmdex Hour ago

    I used to see it gratified on walls in the 80's . They called it the Stussey S

  • HomieCheese
    HomieCheese Hour ago

    I am almost done highschool and i still draw this shit

  • Ian Gifford
    Ian Gifford Hour ago

    I still draw this on my golf balls as a marker to this day lol

  • Peter Heves
    Peter Heves Hour ago

    We also drew this as kids in Slovakia, around 1998

  • eijmert
    eijmert Hour ago

    what about Sabaton?

  • Nathan Coltoan
    Nathan Coltoan Hour ago

    You have too much spare time

  • xKatzz
    xKatzz Hour ago

    ... how many swedish ppl will i see on this site before they are all swedish...? fellow swede btw

  • Domi Dom
    Domi Dom Hour ago

    Great stuff m8.

  • Joe Jasat
    Joe Jasat Hour ago

    I’m 14, from England, we used to call it the “superman S”

  • Uriel Acosta
    Uriel Acosta Hour ago

    Explains why you haven't posted for an eternity

  • Aciite
    Aciite Hour ago

    Judge yourself but....Maybe it's never was an S. Let me explain.... in Latvian pagan culture this S is know as "Zalktis," translation would be "The Adder" (google it "zalktis latvju raksti") it was a symbol for Serpent Goddess what dates back to the Iron Age. It has several versions but most characteristics fit to this. Same would go for ancient Dacian culture where this similar symbol is called "Carligul Ciobanului" (google it), How ever i still think is somehow connected to infinity loop/ouroboros and ancient runes.

  • 27th Meteor
    27th Meteor Hour ago

    7:30
    3rd word
    Bad S

  • shr00mhead
    shr00mhead Hour ago

    THe real question is why appearances have decreased over the years.

  • NiroZ
    NiroZ Hour ago

    Well, now its time to read through all 16000 comments

  • lofi 097
    lofi 097 Hour ago +2

    Yo lemmino, may i know where you get your keyboard

  • Straight Six
    Straight Six 2 hours ago

    But most importantly.... what keyboard is that

  • Imp Zane
    Imp Zane 2 hours ago

    Next letter E
    And after E is X

  • GoldenMunkey
    GoldenMunkey 2 hours ago

    i like his keyboard can anyone link me

  • HolstDrengen
    HolstDrengen 2 hours ago +1

    I think that it is just a pattern that presents itself when combining school boredom and a gridded paper. It is just a human pattern, that tends to present itself often enough to be significant.

  • Whatshisname
    Whatshisname 2 hours ago

    youre amazing dude wtf

  • NiroZ
    NiroZ 2 hours ago

    Wow learning that this symbol wasnt just something people from my school drew is crazy

  • Cat Tro
    Cat Tro 2 hours ago

    this video wont get out of my recommended

  • kogaran
    kogaran 2 hours ago

    the full pattern looks like a form of Norse imagery

  • Vyrx
    Vyrx 2 hours ago

    We just used to call it graffiti s and drew it all over our books and tables lol

  • Souep Dedoep
    Souep Dedoep 2 hours ago

    hey I drew that during middle school in ancient Mesopotamia

  • Findlay Murray
    Findlay Murray 2 hours ago

    I remember always calling it a Suzuki S

  • Wisper200
    Wisper200 2 hours ago

    This video resonates with me on a spookily close level

  • Brili Anfus Tsakib
    Brili Anfus Tsakib 2 hours ago

    In my school its a big gangster logo. If you see this in my country, man.



    *_====RUN====_*

  • Justin B.
    Justin B. 2 hours ago

    I remember when you did rage comics lol

  • Loopylaserlad
    Loopylaserlad 2 hours ago

    Yep, in third grade some of the cooler kid tried to teach me this "grafitii s" (as we called it)

  • Ginger Ninger
    Ginger Ninger 2 hours ago

    "Theatrics aside" Laughed harder than I should

  • Novumic
    Novumic 2 hours ago

    5:54 Anyone else laughed hysterically at this or just me?

  • Sirmian Mapper
    Sirmian Mapper 2 hours ago

    The S symbol is older than writing itself.

  • Todd Downer
    Todd Downer 2 hours ago

    Why does the super s look so fucking cool

  • Tristan Fong
    Tristan Fong 2 hours ago

    This man is like L from death note... Wait

  • Laserbrain777
    Laserbrain777 2 hours ago

    infinity

  • nick mccurdie
    nick mccurdie 2 hours ago

    Plot twist.. it’s not an s

  • Łukasz Mariański
    Łukasz Mariański 3 hours ago +1

    I usually ignore all sorts of weird top10 channels but you seem to have your facts straight :P

  • InsaneFlame11
    InsaneFlame11 3 hours ago

    I thought this video was advertising it

  • João Carneiro
    João Carneiro 3 hours ago

    11:03 Portugal caralho Eder
    Tugas a ser tugas

  • Saxon G
    Saxon G 3 hours ago

    In the late 2000s I would call it a smash s in Australia

  • willis936
    willis936 3 hours ago

    7:00 You claim it isn’t a mobius strip but z symmetry is not implied from the 2D drawing. It seems just as reasonable to expect a mobius strip as it does to expect a symmetric S.

  • InsaneFlame11
    InsaneFlame11 3 hours ago

    I swear every primary school thought they invented it

  • Ticholas Nodd
    Ticholas Nodd 3 hours ago

    me and 2 friends drew this everywhere back in year 6. i miss the good times

  • kankeropman
    kankeropman 3 hours ago

    Netherlands same here

  • AYAN  DAS
    AYAN DAS 3 hours ago

    It may be related to the caduceus symbol.

  • Niamh O'Connor
    Niamh O'Connor 3 hours ago

    This is high quality FLASH-PLAYER-ing

  • Livia
    Livia 3 hours ago

    Wow, I just thought about this symbol and its origin. Here in Sweden we used to draw them as well. It was just something you learned from your friends in class! Love this!

  • _Spoff_
    _Spoff_ 3 hours ago

    If you look at the photo “The Ambassadors” you can see the symbol on its side located next to the right hand of the man on the left
    The painting dated back to 1533

  • 1 2 3 Four Five
    1 2 3 Four Five 3 hours ago

    We called it the Evil S and Superman S here in Australia.

  • ツZyxm
    ツZyxm 3 hours ago

    so many fucking freinds in my class draw this shit and I don't know wut it is was in 5th grade xddd now im in 10th grade

  • Augustus Sinclair
    Augustus Sinclair 3 hours ago

    I'm waiting for archeologists to discover the "S" on 35,000 year old cave paintings in Indonesia.