Early ambigrams published in The Strand Magazine , June Although the term is recent, the existence of mirror ambigrams has been attested since at least the first millennium. They are generally palindromes stylized to be visually symmetrical. The first sator square palindrome was found in the ruins of Pompeii, that means it was created before 79 AD. Every other line of writing is flipped or reversed, with reversed letters. Rather than going left-to-right as in modern European languages, or right-to-left as in Arabic and Hebrew , alternate lines in boustrophedon must be read in opposite directions. Also, the individual characters are reversed, or mirrored.
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All rights reserved. Twice in my career in the United States Navy I was stationed here, and both times I loved every minute. My daughters are definitely Southern California girls. Let me give you a little background of how it came to be. I was in a meeting at work, not paying attention and doodling as usual on some yellow lined paper. That doodle would evolve and later take second place in one of the original Ambigram Challenges on Ambigram. In the Ambigram.
So with all that in mind, a remake of one of my favorite designs just seemed to make sense. The newer version of the design is much larger and more detailed. I also made some changes along the way to add to the overall aesthetic. In addition, I took out the in this design, but I did love the fact that the area code is a natural ambigram all on its own. When I started reworking this design, I first took a step back and looked at the original.
I thought about what I wanted to change and what I wanted to keep. I used the D in Diego as my center point, but there are three letters in front of it and four letters after it, so the solution required me to figure out how to match up the number of vertical strokes in each letter. Unless I am doodling, I usually start with guidelines for the top and bottom of the letters and some lines in between, which are properly spaced to assist with the placement of other parts of the letters Figure 2.
This may sound a bit unusual, but when I start almost any of my designs, I have no idea how they will look when they are completed. Figure 2 Initial sketch In this design, I knew that I wanted there to be more lines and curves, and I wanted an old-school tattoo look to it because that is a big part of the San Diego culture that I love. With this design, I drew out the first half of the design with all of its guidelines and errors on my drafting table. Once I thought that the design was good enough to continue, I moved on to my trusty light table that I built for my tattoo designs.
This allowed me to trace the two sides of the design with more precision, creating a much more refined final piece. After I had all the letters drawn, the accents were all that were left to do.
This is when I felt the nerves kick in a little Figure 3. Figure 3 Outline sketch of the entire ambigram All the work I had done to that point could be ruined if one of my curves was not exactly like the other.
I do, and once I am more proficient in the use of drawing software, I will draw more ambigrams digitally.
However, my passion will always be handmade designs. As I mentioned earlier, I never really know when my design is final. The high-contrast nature of the teardrop filigree detracts a bit from the lettering legibility. A solid fill to the letterforms and more closure on the d would enhance the readability.
Jessica Hische This one is a very difficult read. John Langdon My favorite image of this ambigram is Figure 2. The fatal problem is the D. Without being able to decipher that letter, I became unsure if the third letter was an n or possibly an m followed by a lowercase l.
The inconsistent spacing of the letters large space between the a and the n; tiny space between the n and the D is a lesser problem, but one that may have exacerbated the difficulty with reading the n and D.
Scott Kim Ev ery ambigram artist needs to decide how to balance the conflicting needs of legibility and visual style. Here, Elwin Gill embraces borderline illegibility as part of the counterculture aesthetic of tattoos, loading up his design with elaborate flourishes. The result is a secret message—hard to read at first, but easy to decipher once you know what it says. Stefan G. Leaving the letters gray was a good move. It keeps the letters hidden among the vines, which adds to the mystery.
Although slightly difficult to read at first, that is not the nature of graffiti art. There is a nice balance between the letters and the decorative flourishes. Some of the letters are easier to recognize than others, and that helps fill in the gaps between the slightly more challenging letters, eventually leading to recognition of the whole word.