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All the ambigrams in my notebooks

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2 min Lettering Graphic Design

The Alphabettes Mentorship Programme

Sometime in October 2021, my friend Waqar Qamri suggested that I should apply to be a mentee in the Alphabettes Mentorship Programme. Thankfully, I applied, and I was assigned a mentor later that year. I was paired with Snehal Patil, a Product Designer.

Alphabettes had kindly allowed me three months of time with a mentor. I had not expected to be paired with a mentor, and now I had no idea what to do. It would be a shame if I passed this up. A few sessions with Snehal passed brainstorming ideas and I was still not sure what to do.

Somehow, I decided to go through my reading list and I found a book named ‘Ambigrams Revealed’ by Nikita Prokhorov in my ‘To-Read’ list. I started going through it and decided to explore ambigrams for my project.

Drawing letterforms

I showed Snehal an old project of mine where I had tried to make letterforms from just 3 geometric shape variants. A rectangle and two circles of different sizes. The letterforms did not look great but she suggested that we could try to go through an exercise where we could try to draw all the distinct letterforms we can think of for certain latin characters.

With the ambigrams, I started small. Literally.

Snehal suggested I should try drawing instead of writing, which would require me to start sketching out larger forms. Grids helped. As we progressed, she also suggested that I needed constraints. So I was tasked to working on 4 words: guild, pillar, light, and ennui.

Small written letterforms for the word 'drip' with accents that would allow the symbol to be read the same when flipped vertically.
‘Written’ letterforms for the word ‘drip’.
Drawn letterforms for the word Guild on a graph sheet.

Drawn letterforms for the word Guild on a graph sheet.

Digitizing sketches

I digitized my sketches using Adobe Illustrator. I followed methodology that I learned in Jessica Hische’s lettering course on Skillshare. I like how ‘ennui’ turned out the most.

ennui – a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement. I added a little bit from Pink Floyd’s Dogs to the graphic because I think it echoes the sentiment.

A geometric take on ‘Light’
An upside down movie poster concept.