Ticking Ambigram

Did you ever used your calculator at school to spell words by rotating your calculator? You where actually creating an ambigram.

The ambigram, also sometimes known as an inversion, is a graphical figure that spells out a word not only in its form as presented, but also in another direction or orientation. The text can also consist of a few words, and the text spelled out in the other direction or orientation is often the same, but can also be a different text.

Although there are several types one of the most interesting is the rotational ambigram. A design that presents several instances of words when rotated through a fixed angle. This is usually 180 degrees, but rotational ambigrams of other angles exist, for example 90 or 45 degrees. The word spelled out from the alternative direction(s) is often the same, but may be a different word to the initially presented form. A simple example is the lower-case abbreviation for ‘Down’, ‘dn’, which looks like the lower-case word ‘up’ when rotated 180 degrees.


One of my concepts is the combination of a rotational ambigram in a clock, a medium that rotates the ambigram during time. The design was specially handmade for two twin sisters. I integrated the ambigram as the hours hand in a clock. When rotated 180 degrees the same word shows another name. In that way the twins share the daytime while the clock ticks away. Rieke becomes Ruth and Ruth becomes Rieke.