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  LOGOLOG
a weblog of wordplay by Eric Harshbarger

Ambigrams Revisited

I have discussed ambigrams before on LOGOLOG, but have just now finally gotten around to illustrating a basic ambigrammic alphabet. Here is a very basic font that allows many of the letters to either remain unchanged or become different letters when rotated 180 degrees:

I call this a "basic" font because working with ambigrams usually involves much more complexity; merging adjacent letters, getting very creative with formation of letters, and rarely relying on a single set of typographic glyphs. For example, I never would have been able to create the ambigram reading PUZZLES FROM WONDERLAND (used at one of the Puzzle Parties) with the font above.

But I wanted to create the above font just to give readers a taste of basic ambigrams in action. Most of the letter designs are quite natural (the "f/j" combo is the only real stretch). I stuck with lowercase letters, but at the end I included a capital "N" and "H" as an alternatives just because the glyphs are so useful.

With the above font one can write words which, when rotated, remain unchanged. A classic example is the word "dollop":

Other words are rotated to become different valid words, such as "pallets" and "stalled":

This may lead one to search for phrases (or maybe even whole sentences?) that are ambigrammic. For example:

If one uses the alternate (captial) "N" glyph, one of my favorite ambigrams is the word "NewsmaN":

For those as fascinated by this topic as myself, I have compiled a few lists of words based on the North American Scrabble Tournament word lists. These new lists include all words that rotate and remain valid (possibly different) words.

-- Eric

[20 July 2011]
   
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Comments about this article:
Whoa, awesome! Maybe you should add more glyphs to increase the number of words you can make ambigrams of!

I'd start with adding capital versions of c, g, k, r, and v at the capital versions of them upside down (o, b, y, i, and a, respectively.)

Posted by: Michael. Beyond that I refuse to tell you because Internet safety.


 
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