Since our written language relies so heavily on letters to form words, most ambigram artists have developed a close relationship with each letter. It is important to understand what parts of the letter form are essential for its legibility, how much a letter can be distorted before it is illegible, and over time obtaining a mental collection of the varied shapes a letter can take in different scripts.
Numbers however, are not nearly as prevalent in ambigram designs. I can’t speak for anybody else, but I am much less comfortable with the shapes of numbers than I am with those of letters.
But essentially, they are exactly the same – just written glyphs which we as humans have assigned an abstract meaning to. This post will be celebrating some ambigrams which I found, which use numbers as part of their design.
As usual, a couple of these are my own, so I will get them out of the way!
The two above images show the numbers 13 and 21. I designed these many years ago in my early teens, having just discovered the blend tool in Adobe Illustrator. From what I remember, this was ordered as a tattoo for a client’s wrist. Although I would never go for this stylistic look now, I appreciate this design as a fossil of my younger, uglier, over-complicated design tendencies.
Another example of an old and slightly ugly design of mine. This was also designed as a tattoo for a client. His son was called Daniel, and was born on the first of February 2010. This design is a perceptual shift ambigram – meaning that without rotating it, you can either read it as ‘Daniel’, or as ‘01.02.10’.
This is a very funky design for the logo of graphic design company 903 Creative. I can imagine it in neon above the door of a seventies disco.
A very pretty logo for the design company Society 27. Perhaps intentionally or by chance, this is a very similar design to a design by Tom Carnase, which I will display below.
Rather than showing 27, this design shows 72. It’s less clean and minimal than the last, but a lot groovier!
As with every other post here, if you know of any other ambigrams which involve numbers, send me an email, and I might make another list like this!