The Mystery of Ambigrams Tattoo (Earth Fire Water Air)

Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Needful things
Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Needful things

What is an Ambigram

Diagram, parallelogram, diaphragm, histogram, cardiogram... but do you know what an Ambigram is? NO???? My goodness it is hightime then for you to know what it really is.

Have you read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown? Hmmm... The Da Vinci Code? But you know Da Vinci right? No? Oh well...

Ambigram also called an Inversion is a form of "art" or graphical representation of a text or image that reads the same on a on a different orientation. Well it may also read a different word in another direction. Look at the examples on the right side.

Here's a very simple example, the word MOW. Rotate it by 180 degrees. What do you get? Still the word MOW right? Not that is an ambigram.

Coupled with calligraphy, an artistic sense and an inspiration... a simple phrase or word can become a fantastic Ambigram.  Ambigrams were dramatically popularized in the novels of Dan Brown. Angels and Demons together with The Da Vinci code made ambigrams an integral part of the story.

Even tattoo artists use ambigrams to craft awesome designs. Remember the tatoos on Michael Scofield on Prison Break... Yeah that Prison Break... a lot of them were ambigrams. Words that when inverted become another word and so on and so forth. 

Sleeping together (and we never knew)

Guess what?  Which is which?  Turn both over and over. Tell me what you see?  So my dear reader,  What is it gonna be?
Guess what? Which is which? Turn both over and over. Tell me what you see? So my dear reader, What is it gonna be?

Types of Ambigrams

Ambigrams are not just straight forward inversions. Human creativity is to complex for that. There are different type. Listed below are the basic types. Those not listed are either a combination or a modification of the basics.

  • Rotational - The most common ambigram.  The design reads a word and when rotated to 180 degrees still reads the same word. Rotation is not fixed to 180 degrees, it can be 90 or other angles (rare). 
  • Mirror - Design that read one word when seen directly and another word when read through its reflection in the mirror. 
  • Figure-Ground - A design where not rotation is needed. The design reads one word... then a small shift in perception makes the spaces between the original word into another word. 
  • Circle or Chain - A series of words (the same or different), which are linked together to form a repeating pattern which is arranged to form an interlocking grid or cricle. Designs that utilize other shapes are known. 
  • Symbiotogram - When a design both read the same word after a 180 degree rotation, that is called an ambigram. If it reads different words then it is called a symbiotogram.

Ready To Make your Own AMBIGRAM?

Don't tell me you don't like to have one? Oh well... here's the secret

  • The Hard Way... this needs a steady hand, patience, creativity, talent and skill and imagination. Do you have what it takes? Handmade Ambigrams and Writing Ambigrams by Hand


A Little Survey My Friends

How much are you willing to pay to make your name an Ambigram?

  • Around 0 - $200
  • Maybe $201 - $1000
  • Price is not a question
  • What the hell will I use an Ambigram for?
See results without voting

More by this Author


Share your brains!!! 36 comments

Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

WOW!! Or would that be MOM!?! :-)

Ignorant that I am, I only know about the rotational and mirror ambigrams, not the rest of them!  This is so cool!  Thanks, needful!


needful things profile image

needful things 7 years ago from Poland Author

Something like that... So did you get who slept together?


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

I'm still puzzing over it, don't tell me please!! Let me keep at it for a little while longer!! If I reach the point I just wanna kill you instead of finding out what says there, then it's OK to reveal it LAUGH


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Feck I've got it !! Gonna email it to you!!! YAY!


needful things profile image

needful things 7 years ago from Poland Author

Right you are... You got it!!! Cool...


SiddSingh profile image

SiddSingh 7 years ago

Amazing, amazing hub!

Yes I got it! Should I reveal it here?


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States

In his novel, Angels and Demons, ambigrams figure highly. In the novel they are used by the Illuminati. Yes, I admit I read it.


needful things profile image

needful things 7 years ago from Poland Author

Ei... Sidd let the others suffer first... LOL!!! They have to find out on their own who have been sleeping together...


Correen 7 years ago

This was cool, I did not really know much about ambigrams before now. And oh boy...I got the sleeping together one...hint it is a swimmingly fun social network :)


Mike Kage profile image

Mike Kage 7 years ago from New Hampshire, New England, USA, North America

I seem to be in the majority, not knowing what I would use an ambigram for. But, before this hub, I would have corrected them by saying "You mean an ANNAgram, right?"

Know I know. Very well done, and thanks!


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Excellent hub, you learn something new every day :)


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi Needful things, congratulations! The mysterious case of who slept together ambigrams has just been named as one of the hubnuggets for this week. This is great and wonderful news right?

Visit Shirley Anderson's hub to vote and make sure all your fans, family, friends, cats, dogs, eagles...(oops) vote too. Here is the link: http://hubpages.com/community/hubnuggets-jan30-200

I enjoyed reading this informative and interesting hub. :-) By the way, can we really make our names into ambigrams? SOunds cool but what will I use it for? LOL Good question.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

I got it... Angels and Demons was a 'koodbook' (I know that lousy but the best I was able to come up with on the spot)

regards Zsuzsy


needful things profile image

needful things 7 years ago from Poland Author

Sure ripple... give me your name?


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Michelle :-)


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

I think it's fun trying to figure out the figure-ground ambigrams. This was first time hearing of the circle or chain or the symbiotogram. Congratulations for being chosen as one of the hubnuggets of the week. Good Luck!


needful things profile image

needful things 7 years ago from Poland Author

Thanks Dottie... I never expected it. Just to be nominated could mean I'm doing the right thing being fairly new here at hubpages. :-)


needful things profile image

needful things 7 years ago from Poland Author

Yo Ripple... scan this hub again... I believe your name is in it...


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

That is so cool how you did michelle's name. Looks like you have a great start here at hubpages :) ~Dottie~


NVarchitect 7 years ago

Awsome graphics. What does it all mean? Congrats. on being nominated.


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