How to make an ambigram in 4 steps.
Creating ambigrams is all about getting out of your comfort zone as a designer to solve a visual puzzle. While it can be an overwhelming design project, it takes just a few steps to begin.
1. Start by identifying your message.
What will your ambigram say? Whether it’s a phrase or a simple word, be mindful of the limitations. Some letters can’t be transformed into others, and short words don’t magically become lengthy sentences when flipped upside down.
2. Decide letter pairings.
When words are nearly identical, this is an easy stage. But if you have a more complex word, or one with an odd number of letters, you’ll need to group two or more letters together and pair them up. That way they’ll appear as a mirror image of themselves when complete.
3. Start sketching.
Ambigrams are word puzzles, so broaden your mind by sketching out your word several times. See where the letters line up and experiment with shapes. “There are a lot of layers to ambigrams that make it work, but if it doesn’t work, it’s very obvious,” according to lettering artist Robin Casey. The kerning and spacing of letters varies depending on which way it’s read, so keep that in mind when sketching your shapes. Ambigrams are inherently tricky to design — don’t get discouraged by your first draft. If a design isn’t working, try referencing a different font or switch to all capitals.
4. Perfect your word design.
When you have a design that works for a word, formalise it in Adobe Illustrator. If you’ve sketched on paper, scan or photograph your design and create a vector version of it. Familiarise yourself with how to rotate and reflect objects in Illustrator, so you can flip and finalise your letters. Additionally, follow this logo design tutorial to learn how to polish up any design - including your ambigram.