Ambigrams are words or phrases written ambiguously, so that they can be read in at least two different ways. A fascinating kind of ambigrams are called inversions. An inversion can be read both right side up and upside down, or as a mirror reflection. It can either look the same both ways, or spell something else when inverted.
An excellent book by a true master in the field is "Inversions" by Scott Kim, published by Byte Books. The book was out of print for a long time, then it became available in a reprint from Key Curriculum Press, but now it seems out of print again. I really recommend it, but you will need to find it on the second hand market.
I am just a novice in the trade, but creating inversions has quickly become an enjoyable distraction. I have been concentrating on names. I find names more fun to play with than ordinary words, for a number of reasons.
A few of my creations are shown below. I am quite proud of some of them, while others might be somewhat illegible, ugly, or both. The graphic design for most of my ambigrams is, using a nice word, "clean", or, using a less nice word, "crude". This is mainly due to lack of time to do something more. I am not a calligraper nor a typeface designer, but I do know how to draw letters better than the single-width, single-stroke lettering you see in most of the images below, and I would really like to have more time to play with the design style and include finer detail like serifs and swashes in my ambigrams if I could only find the time. (Incidentally, this web page could use some design work, too.)
Apart from the disclaimer above, I make no comments - I let the inversions speak for themselves. I will update this page continuously to include future work. There is definitely more to come, even though it is done at a slow pace and at irregular intervals. I really like doing this!
Visit Scott Kim's web site (contains ambigrams, puzzles and wordplay)
Visit www.ambigram.com (A sort of nerdy hangout for ambigrammists)
Two of my first creations - my own name (Stefan Gustavson)
and my wife's name (Carina Qvarford)
Me and my wife, with last name initials only (Stefan G / Carina Q)
Our Christmas card for 1996
"God Jul o. Gott Nytt År" is Swedish for the phrase "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year". (The mirror design should actually be contributed more to my wife than to me. We both like doing this.) A bigger image is available by clicking on this small version.
This is the only ambigram I ever got paid for. It was used in an ad for a department store, in an obscure magazine, once. The words mean "bathing suits" and "raincoats" in Swedish, alluding to a) what you buy for summer vacation in Sweden, and b) what you usually need instead.
Douglas Cameron, magician
(The two ambigrams above were made on request, but never used)
My former professor (now retired) and his wife (Eva & Björn Kruse)
An earlier former professor (Per-Erik "Pelle" Danielsson, username "ped")
Two former colleagues (Maria M. Seger and Olle Seger)
An underlined "o" is common shorthand for the Swedish word "och", meaning "and".
Another former colleague (Fredrik Nilsson)
A friend of mine (Lennart Granlund)
The creator of the BMRT renderer, Larry Gritz
The creator of Dilbert (Scott Adams)
A few former colleagues from Stockholm (Per-Åke Johansson,
Åsa Lundqvist, Jan O. Lif)