Quick Draw 03

Mar 10th, 2012 | By | Category: News, Quick Draw

This is the third Quick Draw of 2012, and if the level of work is any indication, the bar has been raised every single time! Say hello to Dan Adona and Vasileios Stergioudis. Dan has recently been a frequent contributor recently and Vasileios has contributed for quite some time. Both artists have approached this Quick Draw from different perspectives & with different aesthetic, yet outstanding results. Take a look at their work, and tell us (and the artists) what you think! [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.]

Dan Adona Jr.

Since this is my first QD challenge, i was surprised to get a fairly simple word… NOT. This turned out to be very challenging since i wanted to veer off from my usual font-styling. However, in my experience a word or phrase and its letter correlation pretty much dictate the font style.

After deciding to do a rotational ambigram, I first did my letter correlation to see which letter match with which. Then come in the sketches. I’m a very rough sketcher which tends to be a problem when digitally tracing the lines, but i’m used to it.

I set out to try and do an ambigram with intertwining letter parts, but if it’s not doable – I have in mind a simpler design. the challenge here, I found, was the “a” and the “g-t” correlation. although “a” is simple enough, finding an accurate letterform to match the entire font style was tricky. solving the “g-t” problem took me longer than I expected. i tried using the “r”‘s leg and even styling the “i” dot for the “g”‘s outer bowl. All in all this process yeilded me two font styles: one semi-gothic and the other scriptic.

I usually just do half the ambigram (for convenience, mostly). So I scanned the sketches and imported them to a vector based program for tracing and node editing. after fully re-creating the half-ambigram, I line it up to see the whole image. then I tweak the ambigram basically to try and improve legibility and/or aesthetics.

After a half-a-dozen semi-gothic design varieties, editing the ambigram with either or both with coreldraw and/or photoshop as may be required, commences. I decided to go with a simple design with the argentine flag as inspiration. Finishing the scriptic style, however, demanded more attention so it would not read “Vargentina” rather a double stemmed capital “a”.



Vasileios Stergioudis

Argentina! Blue and yellow!!! I love this colour combination!

First of all, I started thinking of different types of ambigrams: Rotational, mirrored, totems etc. When I found out that it would turn great as a rotational ambigram, I wonder how I wanted it to look like. Handwriting? Dirty? Modern? Well… I commenced designing the basic structure, using straight lines. Then, after a drawing some curves to design G-TI, I realised that a graffiti approach was a very nice solution.

The central EN was not so difficult to construct. The real challenge was to turn A as itself, but lower-case. A self-symmetric glyph is not so appealing when it is not located around the center of the image, so I rejected a capital-to-capital glyph. The lower-case “a” seemed as an “e” when rotated, so I had to stretch it a little bit so that the little curve that would form the horizontal line for the capital A would serve as a baseline to the lower-case “a”. That way, A seems stretched upwards, but “a” does not seem stretched downwards.

However, I realised that the construction I designed earlier (the geometric one) had more to say than just a simple sketch. Thus, I went on to a second version of the ambigram, which I name “Ortho”. I vectorised it while trying many differences (capital-lower T, horizontal lines, lean degrees of elements).

All I had to do is colourise it, adding a contour. Personally, I like the graffiti version more than Ortho. However, take a look at the second version.


Dear Dan and Vasileios, thank you for your fantastic work and unique take on the same word!


If anyone would like to participate in the next Quick Draw, email me to nikita@ambigram.com with the subject line “I want to Quick Draw!”

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  1. Hi guys,
    thanks for showing this, this QD is exciting!

    DAN: Strong entries! Your first one is nicely done. I could read it from the start and it has a nice style. But your second one is my favourite. It’s a little bit hard to read, but I like that kind of experimental approach that it has. The first A for me is hard to read but the G is simply cool. It puts a smile on my face :)

    Vasileios: Great job! Your Ortho-Version is well readable but … it could use some style ;)
    But, my friend, your second entry is one of your best! The readability is their, the style is on point. Well balanced typographic style. I really like it! The only thing that could be optimated is the last ‘a’. It looks huge.

    So, like I said: AMAZING QD. Keep up the good work.


    P.S. I believe I want to participate at a QD again …

  2. Kudos to both artists!

    These are good processes and solutions. I personally like the bold experiment in Dan’s ‘scriptic style’ exercise, legibility suffered a little – one must admit – but this is the style most preferred by (some) Metal bands and albums, which was what made me started in typography back then.

    Vasileios’ graffiti-ambigram is readable, clean and those colours make it modern and crisp as well. Really love the different approaches to the Given Word.

    ‘Argentina’ seems like something we had done before, and we checked.. yes, here it is, done in 2006 (!):



  3. Dan, you are inspiring me with every ambigram of yours. I loved each and every solutions of yours.

    Nice QD it is… I enjoyed it :)

    but everytime I see such beautiful designs I am worried how can I raise my bar to become competitive in challenges.

  4. Nagfa,

    I really like your take on Argentina! My only question was about the central ‘n’, but that was already answered in the other comments. ;)

  5. Dan, I liked your pencil sketches very much but think some of the energy and detailing in your calligraphic styling got lost in the tracing process. The vectorized result is a beautiful design and has great rhythm but is a little hard to read at a glance, possibly because the height of the E in the E/N combination in the middle interrupts the flow. Still some brilliant letter combinations going on in there.
    I think your “flag inspired” version got way too abstracted and the result is totally illegible, made more so by the outlined treatment.

    Vasileios, your graffitti idea was right-on from the start. I thought that your first design in the 03_VS exploratory series was the most successful for style and readability, but the added horizontal lines just made it too tight and compacted looking. Your graffitti treatment is so much more successful with all it’s charm and personality. The arrows and dotted I a nice touch. Great job.

  6. thanks everyone!

    appreciate it very much “slam” (anticipating your qd challenge), nagfa and sharath………….

    i agree with your observation michael, thank you. that was the “problem” i hinted on (second paragraph).
    personally, i think that the sketches has more flair than the digitized versions, in both instances.
    thumbs up to Vasileios! nice graffiti look. i will definitely try doing something similar one of this days….

    thank nikita for the opportunity and bearing with me with my sked….

  7. @Vasileios: Great solution from you too. Your both versions are beautiful. 2nd one is my personal favorite.

    @Dan: I had come up with a similar g/ti solution in ‘Agatha Christie’ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharathkumark/6083207366/in/photostream) design but it is the style and the letter forms that makes a huge difference.

    Probably I need to refine my style. Every time I see an ambigram, I get to learn something out of it which is great!

  8. hey sharath, saw “agatha…” very nice! amazing how it all come together…. will be watching out for a qd challenge submission from you as well.

  9. wow.. both the artists have come up with a masterpiece of a submission.. maradona and messi level.. :)

  10. Ho ho ho! The post is up!!! What productive designs by Dan Adona!!! I guess I have to answer to everyone personally…. First things first… to my opponent.. hehe! :)

    @Dan: I love your designs! In your first approach, you used the same letter-combination as I did. But, while I went on to two different styles, you went on to two different combinations!!! That’s way more difficult! Congrats sir! While the first ambigram is more readable than the other one, the second excels in its creativity. This G drives me crazy. Even at first, I did not see it at all, it reminds me of Langdon’s work for sure. This is just a personal opinion, don’t put your mind above your head from now on. :) Overall, you did a wonderful job and it was very creative and helpful to work with you. Keep it up Dan! ;)

    @Bjorn (slambigrams): Thank you for your words! In fact, the Graffiti approach is the first ambigram and then proceeded to the ortho one. Maybe the last A could be optimated, but the horizontal line of the first capital A is supposed to serve as the baseline for the lower-case A. When I decreased the height of the lower-case A, then it seemed as a lower-case E instead of a capital A in the beginning of the word. But that’s a point I noticed either.

    @Nagfa: Your words make me happy. :) Your argentina ambigram is excellent. I would ask about the central N as well, but it was already said. :)

    @Michael Irving: Yes. The horizontal lines make it much more compact, like it had to fit a certain space. And I agree, the graffiti style is better. The elements (arrow, dot) and the background were coloured with Argentina’s flag in my mind. As there is a yellow sun in the flag, there is a yellow dot in the ambigram. ;)

    @Sharath: The graffiti is my personal favourite, as well. :)

    @ Anoop: The real footballers are well hidden inside ourselves. When we were playing football in the streets and fields, we thought that we were Del Pierro, Van Basten or Klinsmann. In fact, in the field of ambigrams, we are the players as long as we draw. In fact, the Quick Draws just show a day in the training. :)

    Thanks a lot Nikita, editor and everyone I may forgot to mention. It was a very productive challenge! I hope it helped everyone out there. We are now looking onto the next one. ;)


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