Being such a small art form, it can be difficult to find ambigram designs which inspire you with new ideas you haven’t seen before. You’ve probably at some point typed ‘COOL AMBIGRAMZ’ into Google and found buzzfeed-style articles which list 20 designs you’ve already seen countless times.
This article is going to be something like that, but instead of being aimed at the average Joe, it is targeted towards people who already know the basics of ambigram design and are after clever and novel solutions.
The ambigram above shows ‘shoe’ in one orientation and ‘patta’ (an Italian word for shoe) in the other. Having seen many ambigrams in my time, it isn’t too often that I come across a solution I’ve never seen before. This design has two – the S/A and E/P. I can really appreciate the E/P since there are no wasted strokes; in both orientations, if any stroke were removed, it wouldn’t read as the same letter. This efficiency keeps it simple and more elegant!
Comparing this to a more standard E/P solution, you can see how many more unnecessary parts there are.
What makes this design great is its consistency – the artist has got away with the big gap separating the 2 parts of the ‘Y’ because his stylistic choices in the other letters make it acceptable. He could have got away with closing the gap between the L and the A to make the H more legible, but I feel it would detract from the design as a whole.
This is another piece that owes its greatness to consistency. The OPH/OPH in the middle is a very bold design choice. Separating the O from the P might initially seem like a bad idea, as it would make the H harder to read – but here it works well, and allows for the P to be written in a more stylistic fashion while still being legible. You might also notice that there are 2 P’s in this word, and both are written in a very similar fashion, despite the fact that they both need to become something different when inverted.
This is another design where few strokes go to waste. The bouncy cursive aesthetic makes the loop in the M appropriate, and the final E is written in such a way that it mirrors the first E, while also providing the crossbar in the A. This is an example of an ambigram where the writing style has been chosen well to keep the solution as clean as possible.
Ok, so this is a very simple word – I’m sure most people reading this would easily be able to create a very legible ambigram using this word. But what I love about this approach is how the dot on the I is incorporated into a flourish on the S – giving it more of a reason to be there in its upturned orientation.
And finally, why not finish with the logo of this very site? Ambigrams as logos are not usually a good idea – they are often less legible than a standard font. But I’m sure you’d agree, there’s no way a magazine about ambigrams could get away with not having an ambigram logo! Again, with this one, I have tried to minimise unnecessary strokes. The crossbar of the A becomes an underline, the terminal of the R joins the B and I in a cursive manner, and the dot on the I becomes the dot in the URL: Ambigr.am.
Also, I made the design asymmetric in an attempt to make it subtly more legible in its normal orientation.
If you have know of any other creative designs, send me a message and I might include them in a future post! I’ll be doing articles like this regularly.