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:


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