Old School Challenge Results

Sep 26th, 2011 | By | Category: Feature, News

This challenge has been the most difficult, and successful, that Ambigram.com has ever conducted! This is the one challenge where most of the artists (with the exception of one or two) were pushed far out of their comfort zone. With every submission sent in, we thought that it would not get any better. Yet, with every entry there was something unique: a new medium, a creative letter combination, drawing technique, or simply a very complex word. If selecting a winner was difficult before, for this challenge it was nearly impossible. But, after putting out heads together, we begrudgingly selected the top five ambigrams, as well as some honorable mentions. Take a look! [NOTE: All If applicable, designs may be copyrighted by the respective artists. We have permission to post them here, but you must get permission from the artist for any other use of their design, or to post them elsewhere.]

Winner – Johan Skylling

Once again, Johan has set the bar high for himself…and reached it! The word he chose for his entry is a challenging one, but the execution is absolutely amazing. This is a great example where the ambigram, context and other elements blend together seamlessly. Regardless of how you turn this ambigram, it is definitely a cut above the rest!
Second place – Harold kit Elvira
As the gears of a clock are precisely machined to function perfectly and in unison, so is this ambigram. The lettering is gorgeous, the background contributes to the concept but does not overpower it. Clockwork precision & beautiful work from Harold. Let’s welcome him to Ambigram.com, as this is his first submission!
Third place – John Langdon
The third entry comes to us from none other than John Langdon. It’s wonderful to see the process & development of an ambigram, which is precisely what we were lucky enough to get from John! Beautifully rendered flowing letterforms, tactfully added flourishes, and impeccable legibility show why John is one of the best!
Fourth place – Carl Mehling
Without a doubt, this is one of the most, if not the most unique mediums we have ever seen! Carl Mehling has submitted ambigrams in the past, and his other mediums included carving an ambigram on a rock. Great submission, unique medium, and we cannot wait to see what his medium of choice will be next time!
Fifth place – Sharath Kumar
Sharath is well known to experiment with different lettering styles and types of ambigrams, and that never-ending exploration contributes to his continual success as an ambigram designer. He chose a great concept for this submission, and the somewhat reserved lettering style is well complimented by his wonderful background illustrations that, once again, help the ambigram instead of hindering it. Great job!

Honorable mentions

There were several other ambigrams that, although they didn’t make it into the top five, deserve to be recognized for the creativity that the artists exhibited. 
Both Elwin and Lei have been regular contributors in the past, and their submissions this time around showcase a very well-rendered and beautiful calligraphic/black-letter style. A great lettering job from both Elwin and Lei!
Nick is a first time contributor, so let’s welcome him to Ambigram.com! His linoleum-block ambigram print is one of the most unique ones in the challenge. Colin has gotten very creative with his past submissions, yet his impromptu chalk ambigram on the sidewalk ranks at the top with some of the most creative mediums we have seen.
Colin gets another honorable mention for his second submission along with Clayton, who has also been a frequent contributor. In both cases, it’s hard to imagine the submissions without their elegantly executed and artistic background. The shading and pencil work is exquisite in both entries.
A big thanks to the participants for another successful Ambigram Challenge!!!

Ambigram Challenge 15 – No Fear

Don’t be afraid…this is our Halloween Challenge!! This timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as it gives everyone about four weeks to submit their entries and will allow us to post the results on Halloween!
Here are the rules & regulations.


1. For this challenge you are allowed to create any type of ambigram. Rotational, reflective, symbiotogram, etc. As for the actual topic of the ambigram, it can be anything related to Halloween: your favorite scary movie, scary movie character, scary song, etc. If you are not sure, email us with questions to challenge@ambigram.com. 

2. For this challenge, your ambigrams will be judged on legibility and readability; in addition, we would like to see the idea of Halloween reflected in other elements that aren’t the ambigram. Keep in mind that while being predictable with colors and Halloween-relevant imagery is easy & safe, you can also use lettering styles and colors that are related to the movie or movie character you are trying to portray.

3. Please submit no more than 2 entries, and make sure that they are properly sized and named before emailing them.  We are getting swamped with entire collections of designs using incorrect file formats and dimensions; also, some artists make frequent revisions within the contest time frame and expect us to keep track of it all. You have several weeks for this challenge…so please take your time and send us the finalized submissions closer to the end of the contest. The ambigram(s) have to be created from scratch for this challenge.  Make sure the files are in JPG format, 72dpi and AT LEAST 600×600 pixels in dimension. 

4. To better track the designs, please name your submissions as follows: JohnSmith_Submissionnumber_Challengenumber.jpg. Otherwise, it can be easy to lose track of which design belongs to which artist, especially if we get a lot of submissions. Also, DO NOT embed your images in the body of the email, but send them AS ATTACHMENTS.


All artwork will need to be submitted by midnight on Friday, October 28th, 2011 to qualify. Email your designs to challenge@ambigram.com . The contest is open to everyone, whether or not you have participated in the past, so give it a shot!

The results will be published on Halloween, and the next challenge will be announced at that time.

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  1. Congrats
    They are amazing

  2. Very pleased with the results. Congratulations to you all!!! Thank you for the honorable mention.

  3. Regardless of how you turn this ambigram, it is definitely a cut above the rest!
    Awesome words by nikita for an breathtaking concept and ambigram
    I am also really pleased with results.. Congrats everyone!!

  4. Congratulations to the winner!!!!! Very cool!!!

  5. Congratulations! God bless him and all the rest! :) Thank God I can see such wonderful designs in my life! Thanks to everybody! :)

  6. Congratulations to the winners and the other artists who made ??this challenge, one of the best.

  7. From last couple of ambigram challenges I had so many things to learn!!! Amazing…
    Congratulations to all…

    I never thought Sir John Langdon would have participated in this contest!! Feels great to be part of this challenge and to share top5 place with him.
    Skylling’s work undoubtedly was the winning design.

    This challenge have given me the joy and satisfaction more than previous challenge.

    I think ‘never erase’ is the unlucky one to miss out the honor…

    @ACAC15: I am really scared :(

  8. If anyone has studied Johan’s work outside of ambigrams, you know that he is licking his lips right now.

  9. Amazing results! Johan, you’re awesome!

    I have some interesting ideas for ACAC 15… :)

  10. @Clayton: EXACTLY!!!

    I missed out to mention few things and one of them is what Clayton mentioned!! HALLOWEEN skull and Johan are the closest friends (for those who don’t know much about Johan’s works)

    Interested ones can have a look at another presentation of the ancient/modern ambigram (change of angle that shows the difference in the layer)

  11. I was stunned with the results. An A+ for ‘papercut’.
    By the way, did ambigram.com just changed its official logo?

  12. HK, congrats on your first (and very successful) entry! And new logo? I have no idea what you are talking about. ;)

  13. Outrageous. Papercut , sisters forever (I swear I’ve seen that in a tattoo somewhere) and tempt (brilliant) all deserve to be in the top five. But timemachine… call me crazy but the design is honorable mention worthy at best. The design leaves something to be desired, and it honestly took me several trips to this page to decipher it. Ancient and Modern……… Excuse me, my eyes have to readjust from looking at that spastic catacomb of color. What ambigram? All I see is an over sized gingerbread man amongst what I can only describe as an acid trip gone very wrong. I dont get it, save it for the color explosion challenge. Steel driving man and Right vs wrong have everything. legibility, great design, and most of all uniqueness. Right, wrong uses beautiful shading and is executed flawlessly. Steel driving man is the total package. Design, legibility, concept all above par. The repetition of the ambigram throughout the piece definitely worth noting, again a cut above. Then the concept, the pencil as a hammer that is being used by man to pound in the stake, how much more man over machine can you get. WHICH WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE CONTEST!!!! Wake up people.

  14. @Whoever can’t believe his/her eyes: Thanks for the constructive critisism… I will keep this as an input for my future works. Thanks :) but I thought people recognised the words without me mentioning it. But yes, presentation hasn’t been the best for the concept I chose. The detailed design surrounding the ambigram isn’t visible at all (goes in as waste of time and energy). Time to get smarter.. :) thanks once again.

  15. @ Ambigram.com — thanks for a fantastic challenge. This truly brought out the best work in many of the designers. I am honored to be near the top with two of my designs. One thing I would love to know is who was responsible for the designs that were not included in the top 11. I think these designers deserve credit for their work as well. Is there any way to post that information on the page that lists all of the submissions?

    All of the designs in the top 5 are worthy, Sharath, I believe that your design was one of the most eye catching designs in this competion, and your background only enhances the idea behind your word choices. Thanks for taking a bold risk with the colors and design options.

    For many of the designs in the top 11, they are so good, I only wish I would have created them. This criteria is an instant litmus test for me when I look at ambigrams. ‘Papercut’ obviously demonstrates the cutting edge of ambigram design (pun intended). Thankfully ‘Time Machine’ was included in the judging – simply beautiful. The elegance in Sisters Forever is a testament to Mr. Langdon’s out-of-this-world talent, and it is so good he makes it look easy. Awesome! Tempt is definitely a design I wish I would’ve created. Great job, Carl. Can’t wait to see more of your work on here. Sharath’s design is deserving, and “Can’t Believe…” obviously needs to chill out.

    As much as I would’ve loved to cracked the Top 5, I simply didn’t deserve it based on the quality of the other submissions. I am very appreciative of the honorable mentions, and I love the the bar continues to be set higher and higher for these competitions. Everyone benefits that way. I wonder what the last names are of the other designers in the honorable mention section… Great work everyone. I assume everybody’s minds are churning with ideas for the ‘No Fear’ competition. Can’t wait to see those designs!

  16. All are inspiring! I do like John’s the best. It flows with extreme ease. More importantly, the design shows that John drew each letter with it’s own unique shape. With most same word ambigrams, only half of the word or words are designed then copied and flipped. It’s interesting to see that John went beyond just copying and flipping.

  17. @Nicholas — I think if any of the artists copied and flipped on this challenge, they should have been disqualified. The rules specifically stated that was not allowed.

    That being said, obviously Mr. Langdon’s grasp of typography is impeccable and his each of his hand-drawn letters would be gorgeous standing alone, or as they are, in a beautiful composition. In my opinion.

  18. @Colin – Thanks for commenting. Using paper, one can copy by drawing half the word then trace it using a light board or tracing paper. I do it all the time.

  19. dear ‘can’t believe my eyes’,

    I am always a firm believer that if you have something to say, say it. That’s one reason why I appreciate your comment. But, I also am a firm believer that people should earn the privilege to critique and comment on other artists work: and, if they comment on it, they should do so respectfully. First of all, this website, and these competitions are not just for developing our own skills or interacting with and learning from other artists, but also for FUN. Second of all, the artists (and judges) are human. They try to be as unbiased as they can, but as the saying goes, “you can’t please everyone all the time.” Disagreeing is fine…critique and discussion is great…but do it respectfully. And that’s where your comment falls a little short. Finally, why don’t you enter a competition or two and show that you have the right AND ability to make those those kinds of comments?*

    *This comment I am making as an unbiased designer/artist & not as the content editor of Ambigram.com

  20. @Nicholas, my mistake, I understand what you’re saying now. Did not mean to take offense. I guess I was just surprised by the words “copied and flipped”. Of course that is a common technique, and indeed it is all the more impressive that Mr. Langdon seems to have drawn each and every letter.

    @Nikita, a resounding THANK YOU!

    To keeping it fun and respectful,

  21. @Colin- No offense taken. We’re all friends here. Well, most of us anyway :)

  22. Can’t wait to see what we’ve got on Monday!

  23. I am ready to get scared ;)

    I have to wait till tuesday(IST) to see some scary ambigrams.. :)

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