It has been a while, so why not have another little competition? Todays theme is the Duality. Make a symbiotogram of two words which exist in duality with one another. Day/Night, Love/Hate, On/Off – the options are limitless!
Any form of ambigram is accepted. Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org before 23rd April to enter!
I’m proud to announce this month’s winning entry – this Tesla ambigram by Harold Kit Elvira modelled on the Wardenclyffe tower which was designed and built by Nikola Tesla!
If there was one thing I would change – I don’t think the little serifs on the crossbar of the E are necessary, and it makes it look like a little H. But these things are just a matter of opinion, and I just love the concept so much!
A tessellating design is still something I need to successfully complete – they have not worked for me in the past. I think they would make great quilts/wallpaper/tiles! Here is a crazy 4-directional tessellating design by Alain Nicolas. I really like the S/TE solution.
Not happy with just 1, Alain also submitted this 2-directional tessellating design for the same word:
This Galileo design by Damian Lakey has a great consistent style – reminds me of the ‘Blade’ or ‘Resident Evil’ logos.
This entry for Isaac Newton/Newton’s apple was very impressive – but there’s always a problem with A/P solutions where the A ends up looking like a D. But I love the torn paper/scroll effect on the letters, and Damian has used these little torn flourishes to his advantage for example in the I/E solution.
When browsing websites like this before, there was always a comment on how difficult it was to judge the entries. Now that I am running my own competitions, I can completely sympathise. Each entry is just so unique and special in its own way, I find it so hard to decide on a winner!
If you didn’t win this time, do not worry – I probably spent a long time looking at your entry and ended up letting it slide for some arbitrary reason. If I judged these again next week, I would probably have chosen a different winner! The best you can do is keep submitting to each tournament and try your hardest!
Whew – sorry for the lack of updates. As university exams draw nearer, the stress is high and the free time is non-existent. However – I see no reason not to have another little tournament!
The theme for this one will be pioneers of science, Whether that be physics, engineering or computer science – it’s all up to you! As usual, there will be a certificate for the winner of the first prize. Email your submissions to email@example.com before the 6th June, and I will judge them in the following week.
You may remember that the winning entry from our previous tournament read ‘Friday the 13th.’ This reminded me of the article I had written a while ago, which featured ambigrams where numbers were used as part of their design. Here is the second part to that article!
This design by Bastian Pinnenberg has many clever parts – the C/AR is quite insane, as is the 2/Y. Ambigram artists in general aren’t as used to working with numbers as they are with letters, so to create something as legible as that 2010 is quite impressive.
Here is a design I am very impressed by. You might remember from my last post on ambigram numbers that in the past, I have attempted an ambigram which uses a 2/3 glyph like in this design above. However, mine was nowhere near as clean as this one. An ambigram is very successful if you can look at it and forget that it is the same upside down. With this design, your brain fills in the blank spaces, and the result is a very clear and legible 23 – so clear that I find it difficult to believe it is an ambigram until I physically turn it over and witness the transformation for myself. It is like being introduced to the art form for the first time again!
This one is not so legible as the last, but I like it for the concept. If anyone reading this thinks they could do a better job at this than Mark Wallace, I would love to see your attempt.
For the final piece, here is a very clever design by Ty Wilkins. Not only is it an ambigram, but it uses negative space to create the N in the middle. The very lucky choice of letters and numbers means that this design is also highly legible as well as being simple.
You can expect another article on numbers in ambigrams soon – I have already collected a few more designs! If you know of any others, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This tournament was slightly harder than the last two, as it required the ambigram to be deigned in a pre-determined style. If you have designed ambigrams before, you will know that this is not always easy – the manipulations required to make a certain ambigram work often dictate the styles it can be written in.
Nonetheless, I was still very impressed with the entries! First place goes to Damian Lakey for his version of Friday the 13th:
It’s just so easy to read! The h/y and a/e are a blessing wherever they occur, and the 13/d turned out really well. I also love the use of the border as part of the solution.
Damian actually submitted a total of 11 entries to this tournament! His other brilliant designs are listed below – just click on a thumbnail to view the image larger:
In no particular order, here are the other entries which I received:
Being my favourite horror film, I was very happy to see this design come up. I recognise with this style of text, because the letters are so narrow and spaced out, it is only possible to use 1:1 letter ratios. Dan was lucky that it kinda worked out in this case.
The Harry Potter logo uses such a distinctive style that it is very instantly recognisable, and this helps a lot with the readability of any Harry Potter ambigram I have seen. This is lucky, seeing as it contains very awkward letters!
There are a lot of funky things happening here and I appreciate them all! I notice that the T in Auto is exactly the same as the T in the original logo – no modifications needed to create the T/A solution. I also like how the final T in Theft revolves to create not only the G in Grand, but the first T in Theft – killing two birds with one stone!
This is a very brave attempt for 2 reasons: the lost logo is simply written in a sans serif font, which is probably the most uncompromising style to work with. Also, O/S is a difficult letter combination at the best of times – let alone when working with such a simple style.
X is a notoriously awkward letter to work with – unless it is paired up with another X. I appreciate Dan’s solution here – making things easier to handle with the X symmetrical in the background! Very nicely done.
All in all, another very successful tournament! Congratulations to Damian Lakey – you will be receiving your certificate in the post. Feel free to subscribe to posts if you want to be notified of the next tournament!
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 shapeways.com. 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.
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’.
The design above is by the well known name and previous editor of ambigram.com – 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.
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 www.xmatrix.co.uk. 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.
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!)
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: email@example.com.
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!
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!
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!
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 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!
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!
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!
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
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!
13/21 number ambigram
21/13 number ambigram
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!
By chance the other week, I came across a certain kind of eastern European brandy called Slivovitz.
Naturally, as an ambigram artist, I immediately saw the potential for a mirror reflective ambigram. It’s perfect – the ‘ivovi’ in the centre is already symmetrical, and the sl/tz would take no work at all. If anybody in the ambigram community has an interest for brewing spirits, you should definitely consider marketing your own brand of this drink. If the ambigram logo were printed on a transparent logo, you would be able to read it from both sides – what a great gimmick!
It made me wonder what other companies could easily go for an ambigram rebrand. If you have also come across something similar, leave a comment or send me an email, and I’ll include it in a future post.