Exploring the World of Ambigrams: Understanding the Different Types of Ambigrams


Ambigrams are a unique form of typography where a word or phrase is designed to be read in multiple orientations, such as upside down, backward, or in a mirror. These captivating designs challenge our perception of language and invite us to look at words from a new perspective. In this article, we’ll delve into the different types of ambigrams, exploring their distinctive features and providing examples to showcase their versatility in design.

Rotational Ambigrams

Rotational ambigrams, also known as spinograms, are designs where the word or phrase can be read when rotated 180 degrees. This type of ambigram is often achieved by manipulating the letterforms to maintain their legibility when turned upside down. Examples of rotational ambigrams include words like “NOON” and “SIS.”

Reflection Ambigrams

Reflection ambigrams, or glassgrams, are designed to be read when mirrored, either horizontally or vertically. This type of ambigram relies on symmetry and often requires careful consideration of the letterforms to create a design that is legible in its reflection. Words like “TOTEM” and “AHA” can be designed as reflection ambigrams.

Figure-Ground Ambigrams

Figure-ground ambigrams involve the clever use of negative space within the design to create another word or image. The positive space, or the letters themselves, form one word, while the negative space between the letters forms another. This type of ambigram can be challenging to design, as it requires the artist to consider both the positive and negative spaces simultaneously.

Chain Ambigrams

Chain ambigrams are created by connecting letters in a continuous loop or chain, allowing the design to be read indefinitely. This type of ambigram often involves the repetition of a single word, but it can also include multiple words or phrases. Chain ambigrams can be challenging to design, as they require careful consideration of letter spacing and connections to maintain legibility.


Symbiotograms, sometimes referred to as multi-form ambigrams, involve the transformation of one word or phrase into another when viewed from a different orientation. This type of ambigram can be rotational, reflective, or a combination of the two. Examples of symbiotograms include “LIVE” transforming into “LOVE” when rotated or “PEACE” reading as “HARMONY” when reflected.

3D Ambigrams

3D ambigrams take the concept of multiple orientations a step further by incorporating three-dimensional elements into the design. These ambigrams can be read from multiple angles and may involve the use of shadows, perspective, or other visual tricks to create the illusion of depth. 3D ambigrams are particularly well-suited for sculptures, logos, or other forms of physical art.

Perceptual Shift Ambigrams

Perceptual shift ambigrams involve the subtle manipulation of letterforms to create a design that can be read in multiple ways. These ambigrams often rely on optical illusions or the viewer’s own perception to reveal the hidden word or phrase. Perceptual shift ambigrams can be challenging to design, as they require a deep understanding of human perception and the psychology of reading.