Ambigram Competition results – Philosophy!

Hello! Thanks for all the entries – not only was the artwork great, but there were lots of nice philosophical ideas to contemplate, so thank you!

otto kronstedt - earth air fire water
Otto Kronstedt – Earth Air Fire Water

I have spent a long time deciding on a winner – so many good entries! But I have finally settled on this design by Otto Kronstedt

If this competition was based purely on ambitiousness and geniusness, this would win by a mile. If you hadn’t noticed, it’s a reimagining of arguably the most famous set of ambigrams – John Langdon’s elements. However Otto has managed to get all 4 words into one design which can be both rotated and mirrored.

Unfortunately however I am having a difficult time reading the R’s in both Air and Fire. I think the R in Air can be made more legible without affecting the other words too much:

my air

However I have no idea what to do with the R in Fire. I’ll leave that up to the genius of Otto Kronstedt!

I can fully appreciate how difficult this must have been to design, and how much work was put into it. And at the end of the day, I think it would be impossible to try something this ambitious and to have it perfectly legible, so in this case I don’t think the legibility is much of an issue. The fact that it has been designed, and that the words can be deciphered if you look for them, is enough!

Diego Colombo RenèDescartes
Diego Colombo – Renè Descartes

I very nearly selected this as the winner, so I decided to honourably mention it. It’s just a very well polished very readable solid ambigram design, and I know Diego must have spent a long time tweaking it to perfection. I almost want it as a tattoo!

And in no particular order (it’s actually alphabetical by the first name), here are the other entries:

damian lakey philosophy ambigram
Philosophy Ambigram – Damian Lakey

Really enjoyed this one. ‘Philosophy Ambigram’. It is self referential, it is self aware, and it is beautifully post-modern – the perfect entry for such a theme!

dhaval shah birth life and death
Dhaval Shah – Birth Life and Death

Wonderful entry – very easy to read and some great ideas in the letter forms. Well done Dhaval!

dhaval shah Chanakya ca'KY
Chanakya / ca’Ky – Dhaval Shah

This one is very impressive – it’s a bi-lingual, bi-scriptual perception shift ambigram design, of the name of an ancient Indian philosopher. Unfortunately I cannot read Devanagari, but Dhaval also sent me a useful image to help you see the other script hidden in this design:

dhaval shah Chanakya ca'KY devanagari

Again – really good work, and very impressive to work with two different scripts!

dhaval shah heart body mind soul spirit
Heart Body Mind Soul Spirit – Dhaval Shah

I really love this one! The funky colours and curly text gives a very psychedelic 70s feel – very fitting as the words written could easily have come out of the mouth of a new age spiritualist. Thanks for your entries!


himanshu modi imagined realities
Himanshu Modi – Imagined Realities

Himanshu’s words:

“Imagined realities” is a concept I came across in the works of “yual noah Harari”. It’s a powerful concept, perhaps a little frightening too. For anyone wanting to know more, I would highly recommend a book called “sapiens – a brief history”.

There you go, look up the book if you want! Very nice design – I’ve never seen a G/L like that, and the ED/R must have been hard to pull off. Great stuff!

James Gowan Philosophy.jpg
James Gowan – Philosophy

This one is very nice, and I love the added touch of the secret reversed quote on the bottom, as well as the reflected signatures in the bottom corners. The style works very well!

michael no regrets
Michael Irving – No Regrets

I just love this one – the style is really great and consistent! but the thing I love most is how Michael was able to put a space between the two words. Usually in ambigram design, it is not possible to put a space unless the point of rotation is in the middle of that space. But here, the lowercase r allows for a bit more room, and the space appears when inverted. Brilliant!

michael ArsGratioArtis ArtForArtsSake.jpg
Michael Irving – Ars Gratia Artis / Art For Art’s Sake

I bi-lingual ambigram of an English phrase with its Latin counterpart. In reference to Michael’s previous entry, this is how multiple words is usually done – with the first letter of each word being bigger and more distinct than the others. It’s always impressive when an ambigram is made of such a long phrase!

Above are the rest of Michael’s entries, which are all very legible, and include some lovely life messages. Thanks for the motivation!

otto cogito ergosum
Otto Kronstedt – Cogito Ergo Sum

One thing I constantly notice about Otto’s work are the creative solutions. Whereas the C/M is quite hard to read, every other glyph looks beautiful and approach the challenge in a unique way. I particularly like the G/S solution – very legible and very pretty!

otto kronstedt - categorical imperative
Otto Kronstedt – Categorical Imperative

An example of where the style of lettering is chosen to work as well as possible with the requirements of the ambigram. The L/I is a great example of this, as well as the R/O and the G/A. All of those elements work well because they are written in an italic script, and borrow elements from the letterforms in those scripts.

otto kronstedt - regula aurea
Otto Kronstedt – Regula Aurea

A nice touch to add the Golden colour – matches the sentiment of the text well!

val camus (002)
Val – Camus

Val has a very unique an minimalistic approach to letterforms. The M might be illegible in any other context, but here is it perfect. The CA/US is very clever in its simplicity and I love it! The only issue is that the C is higher than the other letters, which would be fine in other cases, but the style of the other letters is so well proportioned it looks odd. I would suggest something like this:


This way, the C being above the A makes sense in the context of the rest of the design. But it is your choice – well done!

val carpediem (002)
Val – Carpe Diem

Another example of Val’s unique approach to letter forms – the CA/EM here is amazing and I’ve never seen something similar. I think the standard approach to this glyph CA/EM would be something like this:

ca em

But it is refreshing to see a new solution! I think it is very legible and I wouldn’t change a thing.

val cicero (002)

This is a very interesting design, but I’m finding it hard to see the distinction that makes the C different from the E and the E different from the O. C/E is always a tricky one, so again I applaud the creativity!

Thanks for all of your entries, it was a pleasure. Until the next time!


One thought on “Ambigram Competition results – Philosophy!

  1. Diego Colombo June 7, 2017 / 4:52 pm

    Thanks Kai for mention.
    Great designs and competition.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s