Ambigrams

An ambigram, also known as an inversion, is a graphical figure that spells out a word not only in its form as presented, but also in another direction or orientation. This is typically when viewed as a mirror-image or when rotated through 180 degrees. The word usually is not a palindrome, although it may be. Sometimes the word spelled out from the alternate direction may be a different one, but for mirror-image ambigrams the canonical form spells out the same word.

eafw02.jpg

Ambigrams in their modern form are a conception of John Langdon who compiled his work in his 1992 book Wordplay.

However, ambigrams were made famous through Dan Brown’s novel Angels & Demons.

I first came across the following ambigram in a copy of Omni magazine in the early 1980s

life.gif

Here is the same ambigram upside down:

death.gif

and found them to be a great mental excercise. Langdon discusses his technique in his article “Typographic Dopplegangers”.

This is the most famous commercial ambigram in Canada:

viarail.jpg

Voice of Amercia also uses an ambigram for its logo:

voa.jpg

Here is a hastily drawn ambigram of my first name:

grantambigram.jpg

The most awesome piece of name ambigram software is at Ambrigram.com’s Flipscript Designer

I also recommend a very good ambigram blog Ambigrams by Nagfa from one of my favorite countries, Singapore. Ambigram artists from all over the world contribute to this blog to share ideas and compete. I consider it the best of all the sites I have found.  Here is one they graciously did for me:

This is another artform Nagfa does:

https://i0.wp.com/3.bp.blogspot.com/_n7G9w4iU7Kg/SQj4im4-67I/AAAAAAAADLI/AndKgTW_2Tg/s400/microsiervois-2.jpg

An ambigram tutorial can be found at Ambigrams.net

usa-mark-palmer-aka-wowtattoos-singularity

Another ambigram site that has increased in popularity is Wow Tattoos.  This is the site of Mark Palmer who has made a career of ambigram tattoos such as the “singularity” tattoo above.

I came across this bilingual Chinese English ambigram at David Moser’s Chinese Ambigram Site

China_anim

Here’s something really innovative by ambigram artist Amafirlian on flicker (available in many sizes) called “fire”:

I just found this elegant ambigram below by Tiffany Harvey who does custom work through her site WordIllusion.com

Here’s a nice example of the name “Karen” from Ambigraphix:

Karen Ambigram by Ambigrafix

“AS YOU WISH”, here’s an ambigram that will keep on giving to the ladies in your life (click on the image to go to amazon.com, no catch):

https://i0.wp.com/ken-jennings.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/princessbride.jpg

And in closing I found this at The Roman Empire Blog:

Ambigram
(image: geekologie.com, via suck.uk.com)

I recommend playing with ambigrams yourself to increase your mental flexibility.

I also add to this collection every month or so.  Please drop in again sometime.

Ambigramsreddit

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7 Responses to “Ambigrams”

  1. nagfa Says:

    Hi, Grant!

    we are nagfa from Singapore. thanks for mentioning our blogsite here.

    we have something for you. visit at nagfa.blogspot.com

    salam (peace)
    nagfa
    singapore

  2. unduk Says:

    Awesome story.! Much food for thought… It really made my day. Thank you.

  3. Mark Says:

    Hey! Thanks for mentioning FlipScript. I wanted to stop by to see what you wrote.

    By the way, if you want to try your “Relationary” ambigram over on the site, just click this link I made for you:

    http://www.flipscript.com/custom.aspx?ds=_msm2v-qjz3a0ryd0qvzl291a

    In my opinion, it creates a design that is superior to what most humans could make.

    Mark Hunter (FlipScript President)

  4. grant czerepak Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for the “relationary” ambigram page. Your designer is really amazing.

    I want everyone to know that I have more hits on my ambigram post than any other in my blog. I intend to continue to improve it as I discover more quality sites, blogs and books.

  5. Charles Cameron (hipbone) Says:

    Ni mention of Scott Kim, who drew his first inversion in 1975 and published his book *Inversions* in 1981?

    You’ll find some examples of his work in a series of links at: http://www.scottkim.com/inversions/index.html

    best, Charles


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