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Ambigrams

One of my main interests is ambigrams. Ambigrams are calligraphic arrangements of words that show some kind of multi-visibility. That means they can be read from different points of view. They may show some kind of symmetry (axial or reflective), they may give the same word or yield another one when turned upside down. They may be hiding another word in them; they may make chains, they may hide another word in their backgrounds, they may form tessellations, etc.

There are some natural ambigrams such as the word suns. If you turn it upside down it still yields the same word. Of course a great majority of words do not possess this property, so one has to construct them.

Since I am also interested in word plays and optical illusions, I was confronted with some examples in the past. After knowing about their new versions I observed that Turkish calligraphy, which was using Arabic letters at that time, made also use of similar techniques. Especially mirrored compositions were quite popular.

Since 2000 I am constructing some of my own and I am also collecting good examples for study purposes. There are some very successful ones on the Internet. John Langdon and Scott Kim, who calls them inversions, are the two of the pioneers of modern ambigrams. There are others too.

Since I am Turkish many of the words I work on are in this language, which is using the Latin alphabet since 1928. But I also work on words from other languages, especially English and German. Working on ambigrams is great fun, I always admire the creativity of ambigrammists when I see a new one. I will try to post some of my ambigrams as well as some older calligraphic examples on my page. Having seen many examples in different languages, I know that not knowing the language (or not being able to read the calligraphy) is a minor problem because ambigrams are primarily visual creations.




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