Metaphors in Ambigrams

A while ago I made a post about ambigrams which function as more than just clever graphic design, and use the ambigram format to represent a metaphor.

Having been on the lookout since then for more designs which fit this description, here is another list.

Again, the first item is one designed by me, and is demonstrated in the YouTube video below.

It is a coin 3D printed in solid silver by On one side it reads heads, and on the other it reads tails! I think there is a lot of potential for metaphors in ambigrams with reflective symmetry like this. If you didn’t realise, the ambigram is a metaphor for the coin.

drink drunk

Drink/Drunk ambigram Mark Simonson
Drink/Drunk by Mark Simonson –

This design by Mark Simonson is a case of an ambigram which has been shared around the internet so much that its fame has stretched beyond that of the ambigram community. I’ve had many people who discover I like ambigrams send this to me, as if they expect me to have not seen it before. I therefore also expect everyone reading this to also have seen it multiple times.

It deserves this fame however, as it is not only a very clever design in terms of its solution, but in its concept. If you hadn’t realised, it is to be written on a shot glass, so that when the shot is ready to be drunk, it reads ‘Drink’. When the shot has been drunk and slammed upside-down on the table, suddenly it reads ‘Drunk’.


Sense ambigram Nikita Prokhorov
Sense by Nikita Prokhorov –

The design above is by the well known name and previous editor of – Nikita Prokhorov. It made me smile when I first saw it, as he had given it the caption: ‘Either way it makes sense’. Which is sweet! I love how the same S/E glyph has been used 4 times, and the N is perfectly symmetrical in the middle. It almost feels as if it had been written with a font rather than designed to be symmetrical.

X-Matrix ambigram Jeremy Goode
X-Matrix by Jeremy Goode –

This design by Jeremy Goode is intended as a logo to be placed on his range of ball mazes, which you can find on his website The ball mazes are designed to be the same upside down, which makes it fitting that the logo is an ambigram – as you turn the puzzle to complete it, the logo remains readable. Here, the logo could be seen as a metaphor for the puzzle.

I really appreciate the M/RI and the A/T solutions – they’re both very ambitious and could easily have gone wrong, but here they have been made completely legible.

Stupid Clever ambigram shirt by Naguib and Fadilah nagfa
Stupid/Clever shirt by Naguib and Fadilah –

Here is another design which many of you have probably seen before. By the well known ambigrammers behind Nagfa, this shirt can be seen as a metaphor for the person the arrow is pointing at (at a push). This person would feel happy that their friend is wearing a shirt which describes them as clever. Little do they know that they are in fact stupid, since they do not notice the fact that the shirt is an ambigram. Like the shirt, the person appears clever on the outside, but secretly they are stupid (I told you it was at a push!)

Readable ambigram Kai Hammond
Readable ambigram by me

The final design is another one by me. I made this a few years ago, so forgive the amateurish presentation! A poem is written around the edge of the page, forcing the reader to turn it round. The act of turning it round however demonstrates that the final word in the middle is in fact an ambigram. I’m not sure how I could paint this as a metaphor, but I thought I’d show it off nonetheless!

If you have any suggestions for more clever ambigram designs, email me at:


Ambigram Tournament 3

Hello everybody!

I hope you have all recovered from the previous tournament, because it is time for a third one! This time, the word(s) you pick should revolve around the theme: media franchises!

For example, you create an ambigram for ‘Lord of the Rings’, written in the style of the franchises’ logo. Or ‘Harry Potter’ in that iconic lightning text. The possibilities are endless!

Any form of ambigram is acceptable – email your submissions to me at becore the 10th of April to enter.


The winner will receive this one-of-a-kind handwritten certificate to prove to all their friends that they are cooler than them.

Good luck!


Ambigram tournament 2 results!

Another successful ambigram tournament is now over, and I’ve received a lot of of quality entries! As with last time, I was impressed with the ambition and talent demonstrated by the ambigram community, but this time there will be 3 people walking off with certificates!

Sheldon Vasileios Stergioudis

Sheldon Leonard big bang theory ambigram Vasileios Stergioudis
Leonard/Sheldon by Vasileios Stergioudis

The gold certificate will go to Vasileios Stergioudis for his Leonard/Sheldon ambigram as shown above. If you did not know, these are characters from the TV show Big Bang Theory. There’s just so many weird things going on here – the D in Sheldon is a brave move and it pays off, as does the D in Leonard. The ambigram could have been a lot easier if it mixed capital with lower-case letters, but Vasileios made the choice to stick with correct grammar, and I appreciate it. The R in Leonard is also very tidy, and altogether this design has a perfectly clean look – well done!


Ronnie ambigram by Alicia Newport
Ronnie/Ronnie by Alicia Newport

The silver certificate will go to Alicia’s design representing the two Ronnies. It is simply an ambigram of the name Ronnie (very witty), but with the distinct and iconic glasses as decoration. As with the previous design, it includes solutions I have never seen before, namely the RO/E. The stencil effect in the N’s really helps the E look like one letter as opposed to being two letters stacked vertically – as it essentially is. If only this were easier to read, it would be higher up. You will receive the silver certificate in the post!


Dick and Dom ambigram Ellie Fisher
Dick/Dom by Ellie Fisher

The bronze certificate goes to the Dick and Dom design by Ellie Fisher. I love this one – the K/D is something I have never seen before, and there’s no chance it could work in any style other than the anarchic mess shown here. But I appreciate the creativity. You should note the pattern of winning designs demonstrating solutions I haven’t seen before – if you want a better chance of winning, do something new!

The wall paint effect is nice – great photoshop skills there. Dick and Dom made my childhood a lot of fun – as with the last one,  if it were only a little easier to read, this would have come first!

Another interesting thing I noticed about this design – due to the nature of shadows, the top image reading ‘Dick’ appears to have bumps protruding from the wall, whereas the bottom one appears to have indents leaving little holes in the wall. Interesting!

And in no particular order, I will now list all the other entries:

Cheech and Chong ambigram Damian Lakey
Cheech and Chong by Damian Lakey

Cheech and Chong are a classic duo – if anybody hasn’t seen their first film Up in Smoke, it is a truly inspirational piece of intellectual cinema. It will leave you pondering the values of life for weeks – but you have to watch it in the right mindset. The smoke here is a nice addition, and I like what you did with the C/G. Neat!

Barnum Bailey ambigram by Dan Adona Jr
Barnum and Bailey by Dan Adona Jr

The first chain design this website has seen. I must admit I had to look up who Barnum and Bailey were (they were a circus duo), but since finding out, I can say that the style of this design really fits. I can imagine it on the side of a circus tent – good work!

Tintin Milou tesselation Alain Nicolas
Tintin/Milou by Alain Nicolas

A design from last month’s winner! Tesselations really impress me. When I was a child, Escher was my favourite artist, but I’ve never actually been able to make a tesselated word myself. Tintin and Milou (English readers will know them as Tintin and Snowy) are a human/dog duo from a Belgian comic book series. If he hasn’t already, I think Alain should consider designing a range of creative wallpaper!

Kanye Yeezy West & Kim Kardashian ambigram by Damian Lakey
Kanye “Yeezy” West & Kim Kardashian by Damian Lakey

The most ambitious design on this list – I’m quite impressed at how Damian managed to squeeze ‘Yeezy’ into the design. However, I must say that the Z in Yeezy is very difficult to recognise. I think Kanye would love to see this – if anybody has his personal email address, please send it over!

Ebony Ivory ambigram by Dan Adona Jr
Ebony/Ivory by Dan Adona Jr

This one is very clever. I love the ‘And’ filling in the negative space of the O. My only issue here is the B/V which I can only imagine caused Dan a lot of stress. I’ve never successfully created an ambigram using negative space, so I can appreciate the difficulty involved.

Thank you everybody who contributed in the second ambigram competition on this website. I will be announcing another one in the next week or so, so make sure you subscribe to updates to be notified.

If you have any great ideas for potential themes, send me an email at!

Yours sincerelery