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Artistic Ambigram Tattoos


The ambigram is a popular design element in tattoo studios; it is a graphic figure that conveys the same meaning, whether read from the top down or the bottom up. Whether you call it an inversion or a flip script, it’s generally agreed that it’s an incredible optical illusion. Our eyes might be fooled by the shifting positive and negative gaps, which can have a hypnotic effect. Check out to know more

Tattoo enthusiasts can pick from various scripts and typefaces ranging from simple elegance to graphic gothic, as well as a dictionary of ambigram patterns. The word or phrase that makes up a design is not limited in length. The notion behind an ambigram determines whether its meaning shifts or remains the same whether the ambigram is rotated, inverted, or reflected. If you look at the figure one way, you might see a devil, but if you flip it over, you’ll see an angel (at least in the spelling)! The best tattoo artists can create an optical illusion with a captivating graphic style.

John Langdon, a professional ambigram mist, claims that he and Scott Kim developed the concept separately in the 1970s. In 1981, Kim titled his first collection, Inversions. Hofstadter coined the term “ambigram” in private chats among a small group of friends in 1983–1984. This was the first time the term was used in print. One may see a three-dimensional ambigram on the cover of the 1999 version of Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach.

John Langdon is one of the great ambigrams; his designs have graced the covers of several recent New York Times bestsellers. When ambigrams were woven into the plot of Angels and Demons, Dan Brown’s best-selling sequel to The Da Vinci Code, they became an instant phenomenon. After Brown linked to Langdon’s website, the ambigram artist was “suddenly inundated” with requests for book covers. The novel’s protagonist, Robert Langdon, is named after Mr. John Langdon.

Graphic designers like Ambigrams because they have a mysterious character that works well on the covers of albums and books. Many rock performers have included an ambigram on at least one of their albums; Paul McCartney is just one example.

Many people get ambigram tattoos on their forearms so that those who look at them from different angles can see the entire meaning of the artwork.

Most ambigrams can be classified as either:


A layout that displays multiple word occurrences at once when flipped through a predetermined angle. Although typically 180 degrees, rotating ambigrams can also be 90 or 45 degrees. A word spelled backward or forwards may be the same thing, or it may be a whole other word altogether. The dn abbreviation for “Down” is a good illustration; it can be read as “up” if you rotate it by 180 degrees.


A pattern that may be read in reverse by holding it up to a mirror, typically as the same word or phrase. Glass door ambigrams are ambigrams that can be printed on a glass door such that they are read differently depending on whether the door is opened from the inside or the outside.


A layout in which the empty spaces between the letters of the first one form another word.


A design in which a word (or multiple words) are joined to make a continuous loop. Words often begin in the middle of others because letters overlap. Circular presentations of chain ambigrams are not uncommon.


A tile-based, 2-dimensional variant of chain ambigrams.

A fractal is a type of space-filling ambigram in which the tiled word divides into branches and then contracts self-similarly. For a visual representation, check out Scott Kim’s TREE fractal.


Designing something so that, from different perspectives, it can be interpreted as multiple letters or words. Constructive solid geometry allows for the generation of such designs.

Change in perspective

Depending on how one reads the characters’ curves, a non-symmetrical layout might be understood as two distinct phrases.


The word “ambigram” contains one or more of the symmetries above in its unaltered form, without any special typographical treatment. Because of their inherent similarity, words like “dollop” and “suns” are rotational ambigrams. When flipped vertically, the word “bud” creates a mirror ambigram. When flipped horizontally, the all-caps versions of the words “CHOICE” and “OXIDE” make a mirror image ambigram. When the letters of the word “TOOTH” are placed vertically and mirrored over a vertical axis, a natural mirror ambigram is formed.

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