The South is more than a mint julep, right?
June 19, 2006 8:21 AM   Subscribe

I need some help creating graphics with a southern(US)-theme. What feels or looks distinctly southern to you?

My friend asked me for some southern-themed graphics, and I said yes before realizing that I really didn't know much about the southern US culture outside of magnolia trees, sweet tea, and big hats. Help a girl out?
posted by FunkyHelix to Society & Culture (35 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
confederate flag?
posted by horsemuth at 8:30 AM on June 19, 2006

Things that ring southern to me (I grew up in the South):
homemade jars of stuff
magnolia is a good image - what really send it home for me is a bench in the shade of a magnolia
rocking chairs on porches

just to name a few
posted by zerokey at 8:30 AM on June 19, 2006

they give an old southern plantation feeling.
posted by matkline at 8:36 AM on June 19, 2006

The rebel (confederate) flag, bbq, mint julips, budweiser, jazz (new orleans), the blues, duckhead pants, nascar, coca cola, trucks, rocking chairs on porches, hunting, churches, ceiling fans, greco-roman architecture, manners, piggly-wiggly's, good food, good music, good times.
posted by empyrean at 8:36 AM on June 19, 2006

Look to Hatch Show Print and Yee-Haw Industries for inspiration.
posted by kmel at 8:37 AM on June 19, 2006

posted by Dr. Zira at 8:38 AM on June 19, 2006

Plantations, and that whole Gone With The Wind thing are good.
posted by stovenator at 8:53 AM on June 19, 2006

The south is a large and diverse region. You might need to narrow it down a little. For example, magnolia don't grow all over down here. It ranges from pines to palmettos, spanish moss to crape myrtles... Also think about contrasting rural and urban images, mountain and coast images, and so on. There's a big wide difference between the hills and hollers of Tennessee and the beaches, orange blossoms, and theme parks of Florida. Yet, it's all southern.
posted by Robert Angelo at 9:02 AM on June 19, 2006

Watercolors of big white two-story houses with clapboard siding, with wraparound porches under overhanging eaves, hanging plants between the columns/posts, rocking chairs, black shutters, maybe azaleas out front. Maybe a basset hound asleep at the top of the steps

Shady screen porch with a round table with a fruity table cloth with a glass pitcher of iced tea and glasses on it

dirt roads lined with oaks on either side which form a shady canopy arch over the road, almost like a tunnel.

Mules, peanut farms, banjos

Dilapidated shack in a field, outhouses

swimmin' hole with swing rope

a tousle-haired kid in overalls with the pant legs rolled up to the knees. bonus points for frayed straw hat

entire hillsides choked with kudzu


a pie cooling

hacked electronic voting machines and unprecedented, inexplicable, last minute 7-point shifts in poll returns. Bewildered ousted Democratic incumbents.

Not all distinctly southern, but certainly present in the south, or formerly present yet still archetypally associated.
posted by kookoobirdz at 9:04 AM on June 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

Robert Angelo is right. Think about S. Eastern LA: cypress trees, swamps, alligators. Not at all like Georgia, for example.
posted by brundlefly at 9:10 AM on June 19, 2006

If it's graphics that are supposed to communicate a southern theme, it may not matter how accurate or how representative they are of the whole region in truth. It'll be more important to use what people unconsciously associate with the south, accurately or otherwise. I mean, Miami's in the south, but doesn't exactly conjure up images of Yes Ma'am and biscuits and bluegrass, each of which seem like the kinds of things people associate with "southern".
posted by kookoobirdz at 9:30 AM on June 19, 2006

Exactly, kookoobirdz.
posted by FunkyHelix at 9:36 AM on June 19, 2006

Moonpies, RC, Goo-Goo Clusters, quilts/quilting, tent revivals, river baptisms, cardboard hand fans with advertisements for some local business (especially being used in old wooden churches during summer), public cemeteries on Decoration Day, kids catching crawdads in cricks or tying strings to the legs of june bugs, refrigerators and couches on front porches, picking wild blackberries and muskydines, canning and pickling, rusted out Ford F150 trucks, hay rides, cotillion balls, chewing tobacco, old ladies dipping snuff, spit cans, cow tipping, biscuits and gravy and country ham.
posted by kimdog at 9:40 AM on June 19, 2006

Going for more of the "dixie" thing, eh? Gazebos? Chivalry?

Thanks for saying something about that, empyrean. I was trying to find a way to respond that was not incoherent anger.
posted by brundlefly at 9:43 AM on June 19, 2006

Pitchers of lemonade!
posted by brundlefly at 9:44 AM on June 19, 2006

I'm a Southerner; you know I've never seen a lynching! Wow! I must have been missing some vital part of the Southern experience. Sheesh. Can we keep the stereotypes down to a minimum, please?

In answer to the question, here are some images for you -

wisteria, kudzu, magnolia, rhododendrons, soybean fields, red clay earth, live oaks, spanish moss, watermelons on the vine
Food: biscuits, red beans & rice, collards, barbecue, grits
Architecture: plantation houses, covered porches, shotgun shacks, wrought iron balconies, a certain kind of late neo georgian columned courthouse/town hall look that I swear is archetypally southern, you'll see one in every small town.
Landscapes: blackwater rivers, cypress swamps, long flat vistas and very blue skies.

And seconding whoever said Piggly Wiggly.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:44 AM on June 19, 2006

A big Willow tree in the front yard of a house with a porch and some rocking chairs.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:47 AM on June 19, 2006

Cotton bales, cotton plants, Dixie beer (rather than Bud).

(Thank you empyrean)
posted by Carbolic at 9:55 AM on June 19, 2006

A tall glass of sweet tea, a magnolia blossom, a jug with "XXX" on the side, an old pickup truck, and a kudzu vine.

This from someone who a) was born and raised in North Carolina, and b) loved the episode of Bugs Bunny when he called the squaredance for the feudin' hillbillies.
posted by NewGear at 10:11 AM on June 19, 2006

Deep, deep south: Spanish moss. Not-so-deep south: See Rock City signs painted on barns. Pretty much the whole southeast: kudzu.
posted by kimota at 10:36 AM on June 19, 2006

As a professional designer, I've found that it doesn't matter what imagery comes to my mind; the client is actually hoping you'll come up with graphics that resonate with his/her own image of the south. I recommend saving yourself the extra round of work and asking your client to be more specific about what they want to see.
posted by nadise at 10:37 AM on June 19, 2006

That's funny you mention Bugs Bunny. As a young lad, Chuck Jones' "Dog Gone South" shaped my vision of what the "South" was like: Banjos, sipping drinks on porches, big dogs, big hats etc.

"Oh, Belvedere...Come here boy!"

"Boll my weevil and corn my pone, when you're way down south you're never alone!"

Doesn't look like it's on YouTube, but it might be worth tracking down if you have time, as every southern stereotype is in there somewhere.
posted by Otis at 10:38 AM on June 19, 2006

" oaks, spanish moss..."

Specifically, Spanish moss ON big oak trees.
And second/third/whatever the comments about what bit of the south you want. I'm from the coast, so I think of cattails, shrimp boats, and big houses with double doors at the front and back to let the coastal breeze through. Other than that...
The Lyceum at Ole Miss. Small town squares. Ooh, yeah, kudzu, definitely. Bonnets. Tiny churches in the woods. Big trucks on small dirt roads. Black and white photos of sheds. Not that I drive along and see lots of greyscale sheds, but for some reason photographers seem to love to take black and white pictures of sheds while in the South.
Big wraparound porches. Cornbread. Biscuits and molasses. Grits. A guy in overalls playing a guitar (yeah, pickin' a banjo is more stereotypical). Beale Street. The French Quarter. Little Five Points. Rock City. Graceland (better yet, Graceland Too). The District.
posted by solotoro at 10:51 AM on June 19, 2006

Can I just say that when we're slumming down here, no one actually drinks Budwieser. We drink PBR. Out of cans. In bars.

Thank you.

Otherwise, I'd say the contrasting of beaches and mountains is somthing that the coastal states surely share...cotton fields and tobacco farms, small ranches, homecooked foods are all good bets as well. Yes, we have cities, but located just outside of downtown we have the rural elements as well.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 10:57 AM on June 19, 2006

Possums. Squashed flat on the highway.
posted by LarryC at 10:59 AM on June 19, 2006

...and sometimes we drink the bar out of PBR and switch to black label. still cans, of course. some bars will give you shots in dixie cups.

red schoolhouses
junkyard/broken down cars
lace on cut off shorts
armadillo (ok. for tx)

and the mention of kudzu brought back a wealth of emotions from from days living at the foothills of the ozarks.
posted by nadawi at 11:10 AM on June 19, 2006

Can these graphics include famous faces? How about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Elvis, Johnny Cash...?
posted by Robert Angelo at 11:11 AM on June 19, 2006

Oh. Big Tex.
posted by nadawi at 11:48 AM on June 19, 2006

May be more "small town" than specifically Southern:

* high school football games on Friday nights
* Nascar
* Kids hanging out at the Dairy Queen (or whatever ice cream place there is in town)
* sorority girls and debutantes and overtanned women from Dallas, all with big hair
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:56 AM on June 19, 2006

"Oh, Belvedere...Come here boy!"

Oh, YES! One of the more popular cartoons among my crowd growing up. We still quote from that episode, and I mp3-ized many of the best quotes from the cartoon for my ipod.



"South Boston"
posted by NewGear at 1:34 PM on June 19, 2006

Magnolias, Confederate flags, cotton, hound dogs, peaches, cars on blocks, mason jars w/ moonshine (it's now called ethanol), Spanish moss, etc. That's my South.
posted by Frank Grimes at 6:38 PM on June 19, 2006

- Old wooden storefronts with antique Coke and Pepsi signs.
- Cotton fields, tomato plants, and bags of peanuts
- Houses that are on concrete blocks a couple of feet off the ground in case of a flood.
- Front porches with rocking chairs and a swing

/town & country in Alabama
posted by gatorae at 7:32 PM on June 19, 2006

You might try searching flickr for names of states in the seems there is usually a "state" pool/group that has a wide variety of photos from that state.

In fact, a quick search reveals a group called The South - Our Heritage.
posted by tanminivan at 9:50 PM on June 19, 2006

Moon Pies and Watermelon
Dead Things on the road
Crepe Myrtle, Water Oaks, Elms, Cypress, Pecan Trees, Azalea, Honeysuckle
Dixie Beer, Abita
cute girls with sunglasses(tucked up on their head in florida), spaghetti straps, flip-flops, and short shorts.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 6:14 AM on June 20, 2006

Well, if anyone wanders back to look this over, thought I'd leave a link to the result.

Here it is
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:42 AM on June 28, 2006

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