[Home]Ambigram

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Word or words written to be readable from more than one angle. They were originally conceived of by Scott Kim and John Langdon independently, with DouglasHofstadter? also making many around the same time; unfortunately not many of their most beautiful ones are on the web.

[John Langdon's page] provides good illustrations of some of the different types of symmetry that can be used in ambigram design. [Scott Kim's page] uses Flash to demonstrate the symmetries of a lot of the contents, although unfortunately only his most recent creations are on his page. There are many pages of examples, as Google: Ambigrams will indicate: [Keith Enevoldsen's page] is one of the better ones (and is also home to a whole host of other fun stuff. The [Markov chain gibberish from two sources blended together] is absolutely hilarious.)

[An astonishing four-way ambigram: Elements In Balance]
That's extremely cool :) And I like the way the "elements in balance" text in the middle is also an ambigram, in an understated kind of way. --Rachael

Several ToothyWikizens have created ambigrams. Some of the creations may be seen at /WikizenCreations.

UselessFactOfTheDay? - There's an interesting sculpture at Warwick university that spells the word "Toil" from (IIRC) seven different directions... a 3D ambigram, I suppose.  --Jumlian
It seems to me that it's pretty much trivial to create such a structure for any given word, via CSG, as long as the word can be written to nearly fill a square (eg Image: 137 ). Take a solid cube; drill through a pair of opposite faces to make your word be spelled out; do the same to the second pair of faces (Image: 138 ) and the third pair of faces. Now, if your word was sufficiently blocky, you ought to be able to do the same on each of the four diagonals. Seven distinct directions. One can of course do this with different words/letters rather than the same one over again. Alternatively, to make it pretty, rather than doing it in the subtractive way I described, do it additively; this will end up with the minimum required stone to spell it out rather than the maximum which my algorithm gives; it'll also work with less blocky words though they'll still need to fill a square. If I had a 3D graphics modelling program I'd love to make one of this latter kind, actually, as I suspect it would be both pretty and very easy to do. --AlexChurchill

Here's an art project for someone.  Pick three words, of roughly the same length and writable square.  Eg "Mind", "Body", "Soul" ?  Make Three Ambigrams: "Mind / Body", "Body / Soul", "Soul / Mind".  Now take a cube, and apply each ambigram to it, in the X,Y and Z directions, as described above by Alex.  For bonus points, put ambigrams of "Earth / Air", "Air / Fire", "Fire / Water", "Water / Earth" on the four diagonals. --DouglasReay (or would North / South, East / West be more appropriate?)

I wonder if you could make that type of 3D sculpture out of two different coloured plastics or glass, internally illuminate it, and have the words cast on the walls of a room? --DR

For that matter, why limit yourself to a cube and only 7 directions?  Other higher regular solids, or even a sphere would do nicely - you could make an ambigram between words and the shapes of continents, creating a 3D mappemonde. --DR



[Ambigrammatically] turning water into wine, courtesy of the ShipOfFools' 12 Days Of Kitschmas.
(PeterTaylor) #2 in that list is very familiar from the souk in Muscat.


NoLongerWordOfTheDay
CategoryLanguage? CategoryPending

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