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Charming Illustrations Reimagine the "True" Meanings of Words and Idioms

Graphic designer Sam Omo (aka DOWNSIGN) explores the meanings of words in his ongoing series of playful illustrations. Using a combination of idioms, phrases, and compound words, Omo depicts both literal and creative interpretations. Each vector image features a cartoon-style character who demonstrates what the English language is supposedly trying to tell us.

Some illustrations are charming explanations of things we hear all the time. The phrase “You rock my world!” features two cute rock characters in love, with one handing the other a bouquet of flowers. Other images offer fantastical, alternative definitions for everyday words. Now, a “ringtone” isn't just a sound your phone makes. It's also an anthropomorphic ring who plays the violin. Omo's illustrations also break down words, turning them into literal representations of two separate ideas. Basketball becomes “basket ball” and showcases a bushel full of sports equipment. Ultimately, all of Omo's creations share his lighthearted take on language to make you smile.

Above: Snail Mail

You Rock My World

Basket Ball

Broken Heart





Egg Plant

Tie the Nut

Let's Bounce

Sam Omo: Tumblr
via [Demilked]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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