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The Mystery of Ambigrams Tattoo (Earth Fire Water Air)

Updated on February 20, 2017
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?

See results

Share your brains!!!

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    • profile image

      Madame X 7 years ago

      Fascinating and very fun subject! I spent a lot of years as a graphic designer and have always been intrigued by this sort of thing. Thanks for the wonderful info and sources.

      Excellent hub!

    • NaomiR profile image

      NaomiR 7 years ago from New York

      This is so fascinating! Thanks for this really cool tidbit of info!

    • The Lost Dutchman profile image

      Patrick Bernauw 8 years ago from Flanders (Belgium)

      Great stuff here!

    • santoion profile image

      santoion 8 years ago

      I believe that YOU are Great !

    • ubaidrehman706 profile image

      ubaidrehman706 8 years ago

      nice workkkk

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      Amazing, amazing hub!

    • sun goddess profile image

      sun goddess 8 years ago from davao city, philippines

      awesome post! :) ambigrams... i find them confusing in a good way sometimes... :)

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

      Thumbs up on your write. interesting subject. great job!

    • dayzeebee profile image

      dayzeebee 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Wow this is one educational hub for me. Thank you I like this ambigram thing. Can you make one for my name too? Pretty please. LOL. Thumbs up!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I'm back. sorry a bit late. A lot of us has been down with the flu, I forgot to check my email! Hahahaha I love it! So that is how my name looks like! :-) Pretty cool and neat of you to make it needful things! What a gift on this fine rainy tuesday.

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      amazing hub

    • ProCW profile image

      ProCW 8 years ago from South Carolina

      great job! :)

    • affiliater profile image

      Shankar Pandiath 8 years ago from India

      nice piece - liked the michelle bit..

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      I've got it: the primary terminal of an airline with a magazine paper sleeps with an aquatic squirter who does.

      Fun hub! Thanks for sharing. byeeyb

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      I've got it: the primary terminal of an airline with a magazine paper sleeps with an aquatic squirter who does.

    • needful things profile image
      Author

      needful things 8 years ago from Poland

      Well... those graphics are simply symbol or presentations of text that when flipped, inverted or rotated will still read the same or another text. take for example the name of Michelle, rotate it counterclockwise or clockwise by 180 degrees and it will still read Michelle. :-)

    • profile image

      NVarchitect 8 years ago

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

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 8 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~

    • needful things profile image
      Author

      needful things 8 years ago from Poland

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

    • needful things profile image
      Author

      needful things 8 years ago from Poland

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

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 8 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!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Michelle :-)

    • needful things profile image
      Author

      needful things 8 years ago from Poland

      Sure ripple... give me your name?

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 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

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 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: https://hubpages.com/community/hubnuggets-jan30-20

      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.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Excellent hub, you learn something new every day :)

    • Mike Kage profile image

      Mike Kage 8 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!

    • profile image

      Correen 8 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 :)

    • needful things profile image
      Author

      needful things 8 years ago from Poland

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

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 8 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.

    • SiddSingh profile image

      SiddSingh 8 years ago

      Amazing, amazing hub!

      Yes I got it! Should I reveal it here?

    • needful things profile image
      Author

      needful things 8 years ago from Poland

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

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 8 years ago from Madrid

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

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 8 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

    • needful things profile image
      Author

      needful things 8 years ago from Poland

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

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 8 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!