Tag Archive | ambigrams revealed

ambigrams revealed

…is now out! (Actually, it’s been out for nearly a month now….)

And I feel so honored to have three of my designs featured along with the works of respected and uber talented  ambigrammists from around the world. It’s all thanks to (the author) Nikita Prokhorov’s efforts and everyone at ambigram.com.

If you have been following my posts you may have already seen the two designs that didn’t make it through. And want as much to show you those that did make it, I don’t want to spoil the fun of discovery – well probably until (hopefully) a second book come out and I get to be a part of it again. Oh what the heck! I’ll show at least one.

This on is called pasko!  It’s Filipino for Christmas. The other two are steampunk(p114) and peoplepower/martiallaw(p132). Pasko! was created in Nov 2011 for the seasons challenge at ambigram.com. The other two were made after the call for entries for the book were made.

Even now, I get goose bumps while reading the book and coming across three familiar designs with a familiar name just below it. I can’t help but remember 20-something years back… me sitting at the end of a six-sitter table at the reference section of the University of the East, Kalookan library. To my left— a seven tier shelf containing an odd assortment of books, of which only four books were related to design. Graphis Annual ‘ 77, ’78, ’79, (I think) and a Blackbook. Mind you this was in 1988 through 1993. Outdated as the books were, within them were an awesome collection of poster designs, logos and letterheads, illustrations… things a young design student need to get those creative juices flowing.

I guess this is what got me into buying art/design books as soon as I had the capacity to, and wishfully thinking I’d soon get my work on one of those books. The first one I bought was Brad Benedict’s FAME2 for P200.00. And for a student back then it was a luxury. I still don’t have enough books to call them a “library” but it’s enough to fill up a couple of crates and a shelf to use with work.

Now I get to add to it a one-of-a-kind book! A very special book made by a crazy Russian who got a lot of us unknowns to showcase our work alongside heavyweights! Dream…come…true!

Ambigrams Revealed is available via Peachpit Press’ website and wherever books are sold online. I just wish our bookstores could make it available, locally. If you’re interested to know more about ambigrams, Nikita has just put up ambigrams revealed.com. Look it up you won’t be disappointed. You could also check out the FB group FellowAmbigrammists and of course ambigram.com. To be honest, I can’t remember how I came upon ambigram.com. (could be a search for John Langdon’s work?) But I’m glad I did, and I’m glad Mark Hunter (site owner and ambigram genius himself) decided to keep it going even without Nikita. Am looking forward to what challenges these two has got cooking on their sites.



First, there’s ambigram, a word that still has a red underline on my spellchecker, and now this: AMBIGLYPH?
But, I’ll admit… ambiglyph is a made-up word.

Before you hit the X on the tab, please understand: it’s made up of two words – ambigram and anaglyph. It’s a Portmanteau.
(Cricket sound here…)

A Portmanteau is a word created from two (or more) words. The collective “Brangelina” is an example. The Vice President of the Philippines – Jejomar Binay, is supposed to have been named after Jesus, Joseph, and yes, Mary. Also, combining both parents’ names is pretty common here and I’m sure they do this elsewhere in the world… I think…. In any case almost every word we use is a word combo anyway: biotechnology, smog, motel, netizen, netiquette, emoticon… ambigram even, falls in this category too.

And with that behind us, on to Ambiglyph.
It all began after one of my submissions to the Ambigrams Revealed was turned down. And this was it. Yes, the image below is in 3D. It says anaglyph 3D.

Even before I got into ambigramming I already was tinkering a bit with anaglyph images, mostly for personal enjoyment, and when Nikita Prokhorov made the call for entries for “Revealed”, one of the designs I thought would be cool on that book would be the one above. In concept, at least.

On the onset I knew doing a rotational is out of the question (but I tried it anyway), the word had to be a mirror, at least until I find a way to work around the way anaglyphs work. Anaglyph images has this red and blue fields which render it three-dimensional when viewed with 3D glasses. Our left eye filters the red and the right eye the blue, that’s how our brain is wired, I think. If interchanged the brain recognizes it in reverse (the foreground becomes recessed and the back images pop up). Although in some images this may work, it may seem novel, but on others it’s just absurd. So being limited to this constrain I had to stick with doing the ambigram, mirror style (even if it’s easier doing it rotational). And besides, it should be more about the ambigram (it’s Ambigrams Revealed after all) and the anaglyph is there to sell the concept..

After a whole lot of sketches, this is the only one that made sense. A grungy graffiti type lettering on which the final design was based. This has to do. The problem I fought with was the “agly” correlation. And it really was an agly(sic) fight. The n/p in a way seemed more like q/p in hindsight. With the deadline near, I debated (with me) on whether I should send it in or not, as the final design looked like it was trying to do too much but wasn’t getting anything done. Yes, it’s more of an anaglyph image than an ambigram. With fingers crossed, I left its fate on the judges hands.

I already had a sense of the judges’ verdict as I kept on figuring the puzzle out, even before Nikita’s email came in. Don’t get me wrong: I find no fault in that, if anything, I saw it more as a challenge. I don’t know the judges’ personal take on it but I knew I had to rethink everything. I had this crazy nagging thought that there’s something I’m not doing right or some detail I’m missing, and that I needed to finish this… book or no book.

Immediately, I went through the whole process again but took a different approach. This one will be cleaner, more emphasis on ambigramming this time.

After a few working drawings, I thought I was on to something. It’s legible, it’s simple.

But when I was about to start the anaglyph process, it just hit me out of the blue, I guess. Since I’m combining these two disciplines… hmm… what if…?
After this constant nagging in my brain to find the solution to a fused discipline, all I needed to do was to fuse both disciplines’ categorical names! ANAGRA…

Wait!…Already taken, and means something totally different. By default then – it shall be: AMBIGLYPH. It has a nice roll to the tongue, though. Feels natural. And why not Ambiglyph, I ask. It’s two ways of viewing an image: as an ambigram and as an anaglyph, and that shall be its definition. My AHA! moment.

Off again to the scratch pads with a new word/phrase. The sketch was short, easy, and most of all unforced. Each glyph almost drew itself naturally. Vectorizing the scans went just as smooth. And all it took me from conception to completion was um… ten months? Whew…
Oh, by the way, I had 3D glasses on while working on the anaglyph effect.

So with that, I would like to share to you:
AMBIGLYPH (The Ambigram),

and AMBIGLYPH (The Anaglyph).

ambiglyph anaglyph
Finally, I thank you very much for coming over and reading my recounts of how I created this Portmanteau Ambigram. If you want to find out how to create anaglyphs there are loads of sites that teach the basic principles and there are even freewares available to help you start out.
And as a parting shot: After ten months, give or take, I think I may just have found a way of doing it rotational, so keep them 3D glasses handy, we might just get to see it one of these days.