Draw a perfect 'S' in 15 seconds with this typography trick

S tutorial
(Image credit: Markus Spiske on Pexels)

Whether it was a sneaky doodle or busted out when creating poster designs (opens in new tab), there was a time when everyone loved bubble writing. And although you may no longer be in primary school, if you want to create a condensed 'S' shape, then a child's tip may be just the thing.  

Lettering artist Ian Barnard has tweeted a super-short video demonstration of how to create a condensed 'S', saying that the tip came from his daughter. Barnard's condensed 'S' is sharper than standard bubble writing. It's got a cool urban edge to it, similar to the ones we see in our favourite graffiti fonts (opens in new tab). Check it out below.

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The condensed 'S' has evoked warm memories for people commenting on the Twitter thread. Bonez Designz remembers it as the 'Superman S':

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Whereas Erica Rodriguez speaks for the crowd that made some small adjustments to make it a dollar sign:

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In fact, according to YouTuber LEMMINO in a video about the 'Universal S' (below), the condensed 'S' has been spotted as far back as 1890, in a book called Mechanical Graphics, so it's clearly a popular choice.

But it's a tricky one to master due to the letter's awkward geometry. So next time you need to draw yourself a geometrically perfect, well-balanced 'S' just get yourself one of the best sketchbooks (opens in new tab) available, and follow the advice from Barnard's daughter. 

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Georgia Coggan

Georgia started her freelance career working for CB in 2018, and since then has worked across the site on news, ecom, SEO content... basically anything and everything. Georgia is a slave to the style guide, a logo geek and loves all things London Underground (its branding history, and not at rush hour).