Magic Man Ambigram Challenge 2

Feb 29th, 2012 | By | Category: A.C.A.C., Feature
Dan Chan, Magic Man

Dan Chan, Magic Man

Another great challenge makes its way to, thanks to Dan Chan, Magic Man! And yes, there are cash prizes for firstsecondthird place…and did we mention there will be multiple first place winners? Here are the details!

Magic Man Ambigram Challenge 2

For this Ambigram.Com Ambigram Challenge (ACAC), we will once again be developing ambigrams for the award-winning entertainer Dan Chan, the Magic Man. Dan Chan will be using the winning ambigrams on various promotional items. You have free reign over the style and a degree of flexibility in word selection, but keep in mind that Dan Chan himself will be the sole deciding judge on this one, so you’ll need to make him happy.  We recommend visiting his web site to determine a style that Dan would love.


There will be $600 total in prizes given out for the winning designs. We will have the prize money in escrow, so the payout is guaranteed and will be awarded when the artist(s) of the winning designs turn over the copyright of the design(s) to “Dan Chan”, to use as he wishes. All prizes will be paid via Paypal from All dollar amounts are in USD.

• There will be multiple first place winners
• There may be multiple second and third place winners

A single artist may win no more than 1 of the prizes IN EACH CATEGORY BELOW , and in fact, may submit no more than 2 designs to the challenge for each category below.

• “Kat’s Clever Creations” as a rotational ambigram
• “Kat the Acrobat” as a rotational ambigram.
• ”Kat the Acrobat/Kat’s Clever Creations” as a rotational symbiotogram.
• “Balloon Sculptures” as a rotational ambigram.
• “Balloon Twisting” as a rotational ambigram.
• “Balloon Sculptures/Balloon Twisting” as a rotational symbiotogram.
• “James the Juggler” as a rotational ambigram.
• “Amazing Grace” as a rotational ambigram.
• “Dan Chan” as a rotational ambigram.
• “Dan Chan Magic Man” as a rotational ambigram.
• “Bian Lian” as a rotational ambigram.
• “Mask Changing” as a rotational ambigram.
• “Face Changing” as a rotational ambigram.
• “Pick-pocket” as a rotational ambigram.
• “Pick pocketing” as a rotational ambigram.

Here is the toughest word choice of the whole group. You have a choice to take either “Prediction”, ”Your Card” or ”Your Selected Card” and pair it with a name of any playing card in a deck, making a symbiotogram out of them. (For example, a symbiotogram could be created that reads “Prediction” one way, and when rotated 180 degrees reads “Ace Of Spades”, and so on.)

If you have any other cool ambigrams that relate to what Dan does feel free to submit those as well as he will be paying out prize $$$ for anything he can use to give to clients. The winning designs will be featured here (of course), and also on Dan Chan’s facebook page and blog, and will be linked back from all three locations to the artist’s web site (if available).


Unlike most ambigram challenges, this one will be judged exclusively by the sponsor of the contest. These are designs that he intends to use for his company, so pleasing him is the goal. Dan’s judgment shall be final, although we will provide additional commentary when the results are posted.

All designs should be submitted by Sunday, March 25th, and the judging will take place soon after. Results will be posted as soon as the sponsor has selected the winner(s). Cash prizes to immediately follow. Since Dan will be the judge of the contest, the challenge will be open to everyone without restrictions. The goal is to give Dan a nice collection of quality artwork to pick from, so whether or not you have participated in the past, give it a shot.

We will send a boilerplate document to the winner(s) that simply assigns the copyright of the design to “Dan Chan.” Sending the document back to Dan will be a condition of payout.

File Submission

1. Please send the submission files to
2. Please send JPG or GIF files only, no more than 2 megabytes in size. After the winner is selected, you may be asked to send a high resolution vector file to the sponsor, so make sure you have that available.
3. Save the files in the following format. “number of submission_your name_acac022012″ Example: 01_johnsmith_acac022012.
4. All entires submitted have to be final. You are not allowed to send in multiple revisions throughout the course of the challenge.

If you have any questions, post them in the comment section on this page or email

Best of luck to all the artists. This will be another great challenge!

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  1. Wooo, there’s so many things to pick from! This should be a very awesome, diverse contest!

  2. Dan Chan seems to have lot of interest in ambigrams. Rightly so, after all ambigram is a magic as well.

    I have a doubt.
    “and in fact, may submit no more than 2 designs to the challenge for each category below”
    And around 15 categories are listed. Does it mean a person can submit 30 ambigrams? (no more that 2 per category)

  3. what about the 2nd part of the challenge regarding “prediction”, “your card” and “your selected card”.. Are those the only 3 words that needs to be symbiotogrammed?? And are they separate from the other 15 list??

  4. I have two doubts about this challange!
    Are the words in the “………..” in each category the one to create ambigrams?
    Are those the only 3 words that needs to be symbiotogrammed?And are they separate from the other 15 list??

  5. How do you top the design that Johan submitted last year. I don’t see how this can be improved upon. He owns one of the coolest ambigrams every made. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to play, but it’s like saying, “We already own the Mona Lisa”, but we’d like everyone to paint something really cool.

  6. I agree with Clayton and I enhance his opinion.
    First thing first, I am glad that someone likes ambigrams and is eager to push it further by buying some new stuff.
    But other than that, Johan’s work is more than perfect. I checked that in Dan’s website he used Bastian Pinnenberg’s design (Nasty Basty).
    Second, he pays $600 for 15 ambigrams… that is $40 per ambigram. This is somewhat cheap. But wait! This isn’t about one ambigram. This is about many ambigrams in every category! It’s like asking a graphic artist to draw 10 ambigrams or more for fourty dollars. Well… in reality it is about four dollars per ambigram. The amount is extremely low. We’d better draw them for free. At least this would be more honest. At a first look, $600 seem a noteworthy price, but hey… can you realise how many ambigrams will be produced?

    I’m saying again, I am glad that we all have the opportunity to make a new contest, since we are always evolving and improving ourselves. It is just about the value per money. Sharing our work in such a low price does not propel our work. It manages to do the exactly opposite.

    I do not want to offend anyone, I respect Mr. Dan’s willing to buy some ambigrams for his job, but it’s like approaching all of the carf companies (BMW, Mercedes, Renault, Audi etc.) and ask them “I am about to buy a new car in every category (Compact, small, large, sport, USV, Track, convertible etc.) and I will pay for this about $200.000. Having so much companies (us the ambigrammers) design so much types of cars (the ambigrams) from scratch is way far from this amount!

    That’s just my opinion.
    Best regards,

    Vasileios Stergioudis

  7. @vasileios
    You do understand that there will be only a very few winners right. And whatever logic you applied to arrive at your number is wrong.

    As much as I appreciate the work which all the artists do, I believe everyone understands the basic fact that this is a free forum to share your work. Neither nikita nor the editor is forcing any of you to be a part of it. I hate this latest trend of people starting to weigh their contributions in terms of money. Would people stop contributing if none of the competitions henceforth do not carry any monetary prize? If yes, i think that defeats the whole purpose of starting this site. It is not that the site is full of ads and the editor/nikita are trying to make money out of it. It is the passion they share to present ambigram to the world and share and contribute ideas and provide a platform to the ambigram community. All of us are a part of it and we should hold similar thoughts.

  8. Vasileios (et al),

    I think you are misunderstanding the article a bit, and I apologize if it’s not worded clearly enough. There is $600 TOTAL in prizes, but not for every single ambigram. Since Dan is judging the contest, that will be up to him, but most likely, there will be more money for the first place ambigram (just like last time.) Dan will chime in within a day or two to break everything down.

  9. $600.00 MINIMUM in total prize pool money. I had so many “categories” listed because I wasn’t sure if some of them are even possible.

    Category One: “Kat’s Clever Creations” as a rotational ambigram
    • “Kat the Acrobat” as a rotational ambigram.
    • ”Kat the Acrobat/Kat’s Clever Creations” as a rotational symbiotogram.

    Category Two
    • “Balloon Sculptures” as a rotational ambigram.
    • “Balloon Twisting” as a rotational ambigram.
    • “Balloon Sculptures/Balloon Twisting” as a rotational symbiotogram.

    Category Three
    • “James the Juggler” as a rotational ambigram.

    Category Four
    • “Amazing Grace” as a rotational ambigram.

    Category Five
    • “Dan Chan” as a rotational ambigram.
    • “Dan Chan Magic Man” as a rotational ambigram.

    Category Six (they all mean the same thing…)
    • “Bian Lian” as a rotational ambigram.
    • “Mask Changing” as a rotational ambigram.
    • “Face Changing” as a rotational ambigram.

    Category Seven:
    • “Pick-pocket” as a rotational ambigram.
    • “Pick pocketing” as a rotational ambigram.

  10. Hi Dan Chan,

    Thanks for the clarification and these mentioned categories make more sense.

    Now, I guess ‘your card’, ‘prediction’ / ‘ace of …’ , ‘king of …’ etc category looks to be missing in your list. I hope that can be fitted in the category 8.

  11. I am sorry if I said something bad, really. I did not say that the editor, Nikita or someone else are making money out of this. Neither I wanted to imply so. I apologise if my tone was acute. Categories given by Chan make much more sense now. I will participate if I can.

    @Suhas: It is not that there is a trend of making money out of ambigrams, but the last two posts are different from what we’ve used to see. The first is an about-to-released book, and the second is a 600$-prize-competition. I am not saying that we are about to stop creating ambigrams. Personally, since I entered this forum for the first time (about one and a half year ago), I’ve been always contributing. Look at these beautiful ACACs… look at these wonderful Quick Draws… that’s exactly it! That’s the purpose of the site: sharing ambigrams! But when it comes down to prices, then it turns to a job. This is what I am trying to say.

    I apologise if one misunderstood me or if I wrote anything inappropriate. I did not mean to. Thank you for yout time.

    Vasileios Stergioudis

  12. I have one of the problems expressed above in reading the rules. It looks as if “A single artist [...] may submit no more than 2 designs to the challenge for each category below” allows an artist to submit 32 entries, but that interpretation feels wrong. What is it supposed to mean?

  13. There are only 7 categories now. (may be 8)

    So, according to me, maximum of 16 entries a single person can submit. (only 20 days left) ;)

  14. I still didn’t understand the “prediction” challenge part. Would somebody be amiable enough to clarify it to me??

  15. @Anoop: Dan needs a symbiotogram that from one side it will read either “Prediction” either “Your card” or “Your selected card” and from the other one a card from a deck of cards. Every card has two elements: the number and the suit. The numbers are “Ace, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Jack, Queen and King”. The suits are “Hearts, Spades, Clubs and Diamonds”. You can name a card by saying it: “number”-of-”suit”.

    There are totally 52 cards in a full deck, so there are 52 possibilities for you. Some examples are:
    - Two of clubs
    - King of spades
    - Ten of diamonds
    - Jack of hearts

    I hope this helped. :)

  16. @Vasileios- big time.. Thanks:)

  17. It seems that there are actually 52 * 3 = 156 possibilities, right?

    52 possibilities with “Prediction”
    52 possibilities with “Your Card” and
    52 possibilities with “Your Selected Card”
    156 Total

    Not that I (or anyone) would need to complete that many. Just one. This should give each of us a wide range of options and hopefully find one that works best. Good luck all!!!

  18. The prediction, your card or your selected card is in plain sight and shouldn’t look like an ambigram at first glance. Hopefully it would be in a cursive like font to make it more deceptive.

  19. So, once again the ambigram community will provide a paying client with a large quantity of design options for a fraction of what it would cost to actually pay someone to do it.
    It looks to me like a lot of work on spec in the guise of a contest, with each “winning” artist signing away their copyrights for a few bucks. I think that it’s taking advantage of a few eager for recognition while devaluating our collective talents and efforts as designers. And taking the fun out of these challenges, at least for me.

    PS- will Dan be using these cards in his act or marketing them for a board game?

  20. Michael,
    I will agree with you to some extent. We do want to keep these challenges fun, and don’t want to turn away designers. A question for you (and other artists): Why would you (or wouldn’t you) participate in a sponsored challenge?

  21. Anyone who wishes to participate in the “fun only” challenges is certainly free to do so. There will be plenty of pure challenges in addition to the sponsored challenges, and we try to mix things up as much as we can to keep the challenges interesting. Most of the Ambigrammy Award winners have come from the “fun only” challenges.

    If it helps, just think of these as fun challenges that happen to have prize money. Don’t do it for the money. Do it only if you enjoy it. If you win something, great. If not, you still had fun creating the design and sharing it with the world.

    Of course, as always, participation in any challenge or quick draw is purely voluntary.

  22. By the way, if the prize money takes the fun out of it, what if we kept that a secret until the challenge was over? Would that help?

    In other words, they would all be “fun” challenges, but sometimes we would send out prize money to some of the artists “out of the blue” after a contest ended. Would that keep the fun in the challenges, or make things worse?

    We’re open to suggestions.

  23. Last contest there was only three winners promised. And I awarded a fourth. I also spent alot shipping mugs to the winners with the 4 winning design. It cost twice as much to ship the mug as it cost to make them. This contest is by no means necessary for my business. I think of this contest as a way to support the artist and get something cute. For me $600 is alot of money especially given the state of the economy.

  24. My goodness, are people still bickering about money?

    If you have a good idea for this challenge, post it. If the judge deems it good enough, yay! You get money! If not, yay! You participated in a fun challenge!

    It’s really not that big of a deal. There wasn’t this kind of uproar with any of the other sponsored challenges.

  25. Jen, thank you.

  26. I don’t understand how money takes the fun out of an ambigram challenge!!!

    And I love this challenge because I can create maximum of 16 ambigrams!! ( is it possible to so many good ambigram within 1 month is a different question)

    I love to create as many ambigrams as possible and when I get so many options to choose from!!! WOW… Thats cool… Sponsored challenge, money prize, everything is secondary…

  27. means we can only make the ambigram with words like the above categories?

  28. means we should only be made ??with words like the above categories?

  29. hello every1
    as evident, m new to this site and to online ambigram society
    been trying my hands in ambigrams since 2009, but wud luv to initiate the online version with this challenge
    i specially liked the ‘out of the blues’ suggestion by the editor
    thanks to mr. Dan for clarifying the categories.. (was going haywire trying to do them all 16)
    eager to participate.

  30. i have one doubt though..
    2 entries for each category.. can they be for the same word (for eg. with different axis of rotational symmetry)
    i almost know the answer to be yes (category 3 & 4 being presented with one word only)
    but just need confirmation

  31. I have sent in an eleventh-hour entry. Is it received?

  32. (Yes it is.)

  33. The entries have been compiled and sent to Dan! They will all be posted within a few days, and Dan will hopefully have a decision within a week or so. Stay tuned, because we have another challenge lined up and ready to go!

  34. Eagerly waiting for the next challenge to hone my skills.
    I hope my entries were competitive enough, though there is a large scope of improvement always
    Also waiting to see others’ entries.

  35. ahh, the suspense………

  36. [...] again. It was quite an elaborate challenge with seven different categories (read all about it here) and I submitted three different design for three different categories – and they all [...]

  37. i have one doubt though..
    2 entries for each category.. can they be for the same word (for eg. with different axis of rotational symmetry)
    i almost know the answer to be yes (category 3 & 4 being presented with one word only)
    but just need confirmation

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