Childhood Ambigrams – Constructive Criticism

This section is for the ambigrams which I found difficult to read, and have given suggestions for their improvement.

These are the entries from Val – reading Scate, Queen, MTV and Disco.

My favourite entry is Skate – the sharp angles give it a lot of character, and I can imagine it on a t shirt already! A very creative design and solution – but I think it would just be so much easier to read with a crossbar through the A! I really love the D/O solution in Disco. I find it hard to read the C, but everything else is there – the style is very fitting. I really like the minimal style of the MTV design – but it is a little confusing. When the black letters are read, it says MTV, but when the white letters are read, it looks like it says M||V – maybe the T should be a different colour so it is noticeable however you read it?

I think overall, I love your minimal lettering style but you have to remember the design needs to be as legible as possible – there is no reason the A in skate should not have a crossbar! Such a simple addition would make it significantly better!

thony littlehouseontheprairie
Little House on the Prairie – Thony

Thank you for your first entry to this competition Thony! The ambigram is very polished as a design, and I can see you spent a lot of time on it. However there is one thing holding it back. You are clearly going for a cursive appearance here. Cursive can work very well with the right ambigram, as the lines connecting letters can be just as important as the lines making up the letters – but here, the connecting lines are only there for aesthetic purposes. This would be fine for normal lettering, but since it is an ambigram, when it is turned over, all those pretty connecting lines turn into distractions. If you look at your final word – ‘Prairie’, each letter is connected by a stroke at the top, which makes it very difficult to separate them into individual letters. When reading, our brains take more information from the top of the letters than they do from the bottom, so these unnecessary strokes make it very confusing to read. I would suggest choosing a style which helps the ambigram work – you might have to substitute the french R’s for something else if that is the case, but you have a strong foundation here to work from!

adrien arnoldy caroet do notes
Caroet de Notes – Adrien Arnoldy

Caroet do Notes means notebook in French. The solution is perfect and I don’t think there is a more legible one. But ambigrams are more than just the solution – they are also works of art. The next step is to finalise your design with a fitting lettering style and some ink!

adrien arnoldy playground
Playground – Adrien Arnoldy

The main problem stopping this from being perfectly legible is the Y/O solution. In my experience, nothing ever comes from forcing letters to fit a shape they don’t want to be in. When we read words, we do it by recognising shapes. I can see a very slight gap in the top of the Y to suggest it isn’t a G, but when the brain is reading the letters, it sees the overall shape rather than small details like that. Rather than trying hard to fit the Y into the shape of an O, it might be better in a situation like this too look for another solution.

A consequence of your R/G solution is a small circle to the right of the R, which can easily be turned into an O to make it a helpful addition to the ambigram, so why not combine the RO into a G/RO solution? Here is my sketch:

my playground

This makes the U a little harder to read, but by playing around with different lettering styles, you might be able to find one which works. Letters like U and O are normally quite tricky, so you chose a difficult word to ambigramize here, and I’m not sure a perfectly legible solution is possible. But the moral is, rather than forcing together letters that don’t fit, take a step back and try to find another route to the solution. But thank you for your entries and I hope to see you in future competitions!

dhaval beyblades
Beyblade – Dhaval Shah

The style of lettering works very nicely with the background graphic – well done! There are a few minor changes that could be made to the solution and one big one. The Y could be made bigger, and have the tail dip below the baseline. This would make the A fit in better with the other letters and be more legible. The first E could do with a shorter bar in the middle, so that it is less prominent when reading the D. The final problem is the B/L, which unfortunately I don’t know how to fix. You could try rounding out the edges to make it look like a B, but with this method I don’t think it will ever be completely legible. But it is a great attempt and it looks very nice!

dhaval cartoon network
Cartoon Network – Dhaval Shah

I understand you are trying to make each letter fit in a box like the original logo, but unfortunately this is the least legible way of making an ambigram. The N/N is naturally perfect, however the other letters are only legible because the logo is so iconic. In this situation there are 2 choices:

  1. Sacrifice legibility to maintain the original style.
  2. Sacrifice the original style to maintain legibility.

You chose the first one – which might work well with other logos, but in this case it makes the challenge of creating an ambigram impossible. If you are sure that you do not want to change the style from that of the original logo, it might be better to choose a different cartoon channel to parody!

dhaval pokemon doraemon
Pokemon/Doraemon – Dhaval Shah

I do like this one – I enjoy the RA/M solution, as well as the M/K. The style of lettering is very energetic and fits perfectly with the two cartoons you have chosen. However, the diagonal split down the middle where you change the colours is intensely distracting and makes it significantly harder to read. I understand that you are trying to show the colours of both brands in the same design, but it goes back to the two options I mentioned in the previous example. In this case however, I think there is a good solution! If you make the same ambigram in both styles, and place one on top of the other I think that will get the point across well enough. When turned over, Pokemon will be in blue and Doraemon will be in yellow, but that doesn’t take away from the magic of the ambigram, and it will make it a lot easier to read. If you send me an updated version like this, I can place it here with the other designs!


Paul Hannah HideNSeek.jpg
Hide n Seek – Paul Hannah

I have never played hide and seek in tall grass before, but now I wish I had! The main thing which makes this harder to read is the consistency of the letters. The D is the only letter which is the ‘wrong’ size here and it makes it harder to read. Unfortunately it’s not an easy problem to fix, and you might be better off playing around with different lettering styles and solutions to find something which fits better.




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