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Archimedes Lab Books to delight your eyes & your mind!


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by Gianni A. Sarcone


: ambigramma (It), ambigramme (Fr), ambigrama (Sp),
Ambigramm (Ger), амбиграмма (Ru), אמביגראמה (He).

  An “Amphigram” is a particular graphical word (or group of words) that may be defined as an “amphibian” word occupying at the same time two different reading planes of a page. The distinctive feature of an Amphigram is that it remains unchanged even when inverted, or reveals the coexistence of a second word when either the page is reoriented (by rotations or reflections) or when you simply change your vantage point.
  Amphigrams may, in many respects, be compared to the art genre Cubism as you can see several sides of an object in just 2 dimensions...

  First names are a good starting point when beginning to make Amphigrams, as once the work is completed, you can present it to whosever name it is. Here are 2 bibles from which you can draw inspiration: “Inversions” by Scott Kim (Key Curriculum, 2007) and “Wordplay” by John Langdon (Broadway; reprint edition, 2005).
  Though I use the word “Amphigram” to describe this kind of wordplay, there is another word: “Ambigram” which is largely accepted, and resides in the company of at least 2 other words coined to describe this type of wordplay: “Inversions” and “Designatures”. However, I prefer the use of the word Amphigram as the word Ambigram is a linguistically incorrect term with roots from two distinct languages (Latin ambi & Greek gram). In fact, we don’t say unigram (Latin + Greek word), but monogram (2 Greek words). Diagram, photogram, parallelogram also follow this rule.

  Amphigrams were certainly known in the past... But one of the earliest recorded example is the ‘Chump matchbox’ design published in the magazine Strand within the year 1908. Another intriguing example of historical amphigram is the monogrammed signature of Eva Braun, who was - for those who don't know it - Hitler's wife...

chump ambigram eva braun ambigram
Eva Braun's initials

  Nowadays, many companies feature amphigrams or include amphigram designs in their corporate logos to make their brand more intriguing or attractive, as shown below....

corporate ambigrams



In this gallery you will find a sampling of original ambigrams/amphigrams/inversions/designatures.
New items will be added monthly!
Archimedes, Camilla, Apache, Sublime, Yin Yang, Banana, Open, Aperto, Back, True, Ozone, Face/vase, More...

Reversible Archimedes' Logo TOP
In a 180°-rotation amphigrams, the word spelled out from the alternative direction is often the same, as shown below (Archimedes), but may be a completely different word (see closed/open further below).
Archimedes ambigrams
(click to enlarge)

Topsy-turvy words... TOP
180°-rotation amphigrams: Camilla, apache, sublime, yin yang
read the same upside down.

camilla, apache, sublime, ambigrams

Yin Yang ambigram

Banana flips to Ananas TOP
(Ananas means "pineapple" in Italian, French and Spanish)
A natural transmutation!

ananas-banana ambigram

Open, closed, ajar... TOP
Useful signs: 'open/closed' (+ translation in French!)

open close ambigram

(Click to rotate or restore signs)
...and here a variant of 'open/closed' amphigram in Italian (aperto/chiuso)
Aperto o chiuso ambigramma

Bilateral or mirror amphigram TOP
Imagine you are driving and see the reflection of this car in your mirror, can you decipher what is written on the car's hood? You may read either 'Front' (if you look at the reflection in your mirror) or 'Back' (if you look directly at the car).

Car, Mirror ambigram

(Click to get a symmetrical image or restore it)

Rotating Truth TOP
True? False? Solve the puzzle!


Ozone TOP
Reversible gas

Vase of face? TOP
An oscillating amphigram...

vase / face ambigram

arrow More puzzling Ambigrams by G. Sarcone on Flickr and on Behance
arrow An exhaustive article on Ambigram in Archimedes Journal #2


Would you like an amphigram of your name, favorite word, corporate logo, made? Commission one! Our standard price for designing an ambigram is US$150.00 for privates, and US$500.00 for companies. Feel, free to email me with questions.

Related links Wordplay, the book
small square Gianni Sarcone's animated ambigrams
small square Scott Kim
small square Punya Mishra
small square Ambigrams at Wikipedia
small square Ambigrams at ODP
wordplay, the book

  You're encouraged to expand and/or improve this article. Send us your comments, feedbacks or suggestions.
  You can use any of our content (pictures, texts) in your non-commercial web page for free as long as you leave the copyright and author's info intact and link to us.

Ambigrams © G. Sarcone, Archimedes Lab, Genoa, Italy

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