SIMPLY AMAZING!!! http://www.johnlangdon.net http://www.scottkim.com/inversions/index.html from YH
Where can I ﬁnd a John Langdon book?
I got the Scott Kim book when it was published in 1981 and tried doing some of that stuﬀ myself for a short while. It’s not easy, but it can be fun. I ﬁnd it interesting but ultimately kind of a novelty. Did you know Scott Kim designed the original Adobe logo? Not only that, some of the illustrations in his book were done using a predecessor of PostScript called JaM. The book was published in 1981 by Byte magazine and has a “backword” by Jef Raskin, the guy who started the Macintosh project at Apple. Kim’s stuﬀ is more interesting intellectually, but Langdon’s stuﬀ is more aesthetically pleasing.
Ahhh, ambigrams. I believe some of these can be found in Douglas Hofstadter’s Metamagical Themas.
There is also a Kim/Hofstadter connection: Hofstadter wrote the foreword to Kim’s book, and Kim shows up frequently in Hofstadter’s book.
For bj: I hope you can read it. It’s got some awkward spots, but it’s sometimes unavoidable with these things. I’m sure it could be improved, but I gotta stop myself before I fritter away any more time. (As if I’ve got nothing better to do… Sheesh. :-)
Mark, thanks for that… These treatments all seem suitable for framing, and this one is no exception. “I gotta stop myself before I fritter away any more time.” That’s a great quote….
You’re welcome. These things can be pretty absorbing to work on. They’re a kind of puzzle, but you often don’t know if a satisfying solution even exists. Blackletter is well suited to ambigrams due its many ambiguous forms. In this case, it also happened ﬁt the words in a rather perverse way.
had to try it…for some reason square letters provided an oddball solution, but reﬁnement still lacking. It is quite the puzzle…during the week i’m going to give ‘typophile’ a shot. seems like a higher degree of diﬃculty. bj
rereading this, the words didn’t come out quite right ;;; What I meant was the word ‘typophile’ looks to be more diﬃcult than a word like this because of the particular letter pairings. granted, this solution is pedestrian… bj
I just got around to taking a good look at Kim’s site. His work has gotten better since he wrote Inversions. I especially like some of the animated pieces. (I think maybe he needs to pay some attention to his site, though. Nearly all the links on his “links” page are dead.) If you can ﬁnd a copy Inversions, it has lots of tips and strategy advice for doing ambigrams, although you can gleen quite a bit just by analyzing existing ones.
holeee…. Tiﬀany, does the Langdon book have tips and tricks? This is like Hunter S. Thompson typography, gonzo type…
Aww hell! I was going to post something about this on Typographi.ca. You totally scooped me. THANKS A LOT. I’ve owned the Langdon book for several years, and I count it as one of the many things that steered me into being a type designer. It’s awesome.
» Aww hell! I was going to post something about this on Typographi.ca. Dyana, please, post something at t’graphica! Totally. Share this work with as many people as possible. btw, I can’t be credited with a scoop, I ﬁrst saw it at YH*, as mentioned in the ﬁrst post. And you guys all have John’s book! bj *YH is www.yayhooray.com
I will. Soon. When I have time. I have a jpeg and some stories to share myself. I just need to ﬁnish it…. someday.
That was great, Mark! Joachim Müller-Lanc
Thanks! Is there anywhere Joachim’s creation can be seen online?
Joachim is especially talented in combining positive/negative forms — must be part of his Japanese leanings. hhp
Mark — I just asked Joachim if he’d like to post links to any of his.
John’s the main reason I stayed at Drexel, and am fascinated by type. Eric P., e-mail John for a copy of his book.
I’d like to get an ambigram tattoo I decided. The eps ﬁle above…if anyone would like to mess with this…a few combinations are problematic. Collaboration appreciated.
I haven’t had time to follow all the links on the Scott Kim site, but googling ambigram and typography revealed this. http://cerulean.st/ambigram/typography.html
Hey, that’s not bad! The o/a works better in the ﬁrst one, I think. I don’t know what you can do with the p/p. I like the t/y in the second one better. The cerulean “typography” ambigram is good, but it looks like Greek to me. Probably because of the t/y and the p/p forms. The funny thing about yours was that I immediately read it as “typography” but I had diﬃculty picking out individual letters.
Picking out letters seems to be a problem I did a straw poll with some of these ambigrams and a couple I did myself, the quick glance allows people to read it but does not give the impression that it can rotate, blackletter seems to be the more eﬀective, so here’s one that I was playing with
Tim, truly beautiful swashbuckling, mate. Get a frame around it immediately! here’s where I was going with mine… still a work in progress….
Those are both great! Tim, your ty/hy-ligature solution is very clever!
Mark, “pretty absorbing” eh? I think Tim and I are experiencing what you did 20-some years ago. the Typophile ambigram was really bothering. typo p hile t=e y=l p=i o=h and ﬂip the p. blackletter and conventional, struck out. I sketched out some cursive letters and thought of suburban from emigre, with the lowercase l and y being the same glyph ﬂipped. That made me decide that a script skeleton would work, but I’d have to fudge a bit on the problematic h/o combination… the bottom one is a half-ﬁnished take on word balloon, forum banter, etc. Tim (or Mark), do either of you want to take this and do some of your cool blackletter…while maintaining a script skeleton…i don’t know if it’d work. Tim, I like your ‘typography’ as a late entry for the Tee contest or an early favorite in the Typophile Tattoo contest. bj ps, this is not experimental! :P
I have been struggling with typophile — at the moment I don’t see an answer, especially the HO combination I think your script answer is close (as per John Langdon’s City of Brotherly = Philadelphia) — I’ll carry on fettling, “absorbing” doesn’t really cover it though. Tim
Here’s an alternate strategy: I intentionally put in breaks in the y/l in hopes that it would make the o/h trick less obvious. (My theory is that it helps to give the unambiguous characters a bit of ambiguity to make the unavoidably ambiguous ones blend in better.)
Mark, i like where this solution is going, especially the t/e… the wide O seems to overpower…Typopoile? not sure myself, but how would this geometric o/h ﬁt in? maybe the o is to y-like… bj
Kenn asked: does the Langdon book have tips and tricks? He has a chapter explaining the development of one of his ambigrams,
…Typopoile? Well, you know, it was just oﬀ the top of my head. These thing tend to get a little hairy. :-) I’ve got another idea I’ll try to post later.
How about this:
Mark, very inspiring! Especially the swirly p doing double-duty stems. it’s just right as-is, imo, but the curious bones in my body are forcing my ﬁngers to type: What if it had a Suburban-style y-h? aargh, sorry. quoting from the Godfather, “Just when I think I’m out, they keep pulling me back in.” bj
And the winner of the typophile T contest is…
Nah. To much like last year’s. :-) Anyway, I’m one of the judges this year. If Jared and Joe want to use it on the site, it’s okay with me, though. Here’s a loopier version:
Mark, this is great stuﬀ! hhp
Mark, brilliant! Rodolfo, thanks, I’ve ordered the book anyway…
Thanks! I had the basic idea for the last two last week, but it was coming out all ugly. I couldn’t get the o-p-h to work. Forgetting about it for a while helped.
If Jared & Joseph open up the option of voting for this as ‘people’s’ choice, it will win hands down.
Far prefer the non loopy version, italicising it seems to add to the legibility. The only way I could get past all the loops in the middle was this — still not a genuine solution as I cheated the e.
It’s an interesting strategy to use all those swashes and loops. They slip back and forth between being parts of characters or decorative elements depending on how you look at it. The tail on the y that becomes a dot on the i is great.
Brilliant, inspirational work in this thread.
Martin, That’s pretty good! I haven’t seen many ambigrams done with an existing typeface (Poetica).
I’ll get my ‘Wordplay’ book within few days! Wohoo! Can’t wait…
You might want to pick up Dan Drown’s book Angels and Demon’s. That has Langdon ambigrams in it as well.
I’m sure I already told you but I absolutely love your work, Mark.
And I, too, like Martin’s ambigram t-shirt using Poetica. I like the controlled “misuse” of glyphs to represent other glyphs. I’ve attached my own thoughtype 2002 logo, created using one of my friend Cyrus Highsmith (of Font Bureau fame) experimental typefaces (and the CIA compendium of Jens Gehlhaar for the subhead) because it’s quite the opposite of an ambigram: it may not be really “read”, not even in a mirror.
This seemed like fun so I gave it a try, I have a lot of homework this weekend, so I couldn’t give it too much of my time, but It’s in a pretty decent state. I’m a 2nd year design student, so crits are more then welcome.