Sunday, May 31, 2009

Been going through our past catalogue of ambigrams. Found two unclaimed ones - it had been five years (!) - which reflected our past style and direction.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Reflection of parents nagfa over baby nayla:

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nagfa in the national papers

A pleasant surprise greeted us when we checked our email last month. As part of their publicity campaign to promote the Angels & Demons movie is Singapore, Sony Pictures invited us for an interview about - what else? - ambigrams. So we, Nagfa - Naguib and wife Fadilah - and baby Nayla in tow had the most pleasant of interviews at the Singapore Botanical Gardens.
A few weeks later, the story was published in the Today paper (with our Gabriel-Lucifer ambigram) :

PLUS Friday May 8, 2009 TODAY

Local ambigram artists Nagfa urge you to take a second look at this art form May Seah

HAVE you ever wished for a better way to pass secret messages so your boss would have no incriminating evidence to use against you?

Ask the Illuminati, an ancient secret society that used ambigrams to avoid persecution from their enemies in the Catholic church. At least, that’s the legend author Dan Brown builds upon in his novel, Angels & Demons — now a movie starring Tom Hanks as Professor Robert Langdon, a symbologist who must crack ambigram codes to save the world. Brown’s protagonist is named after John Langdon, the graphic artist who designed the ambigrams featured in the book.

An ambigram, or an inversion, is a graphical figure that spells out a word in its form as presented, and also in another direction or orientation. Naguib bin Ngadnan, a huge Dan Brown fan, is one who took up ambigram art after reading Angels and Demons. “I kept flipping the book upside down. It got me intrigued,” he told Today. “Most words can be turned into ambigrams. But some are more difficult than others, and some are virtually impossible. If you have an ‘I’ and you want to convert it into an ‘O’, it’d be very difficult.

“Different artists have different perception on ambigrams. John Langdon was into duality — everything exists because there is its opposite. Because I’m a Malay language teacher teaching in multiracial Singapore, I think perhaps the concept of duality could be about bilingualism. So some of my designs incorporate two words: One way it’s in English, turn it around, it’s in Malay.”

Naguib and his wife Fadilah bte Abdul Rahim formed Nagfa (an amalgamation of the first syllables of their names) and they’re two of a select few ambigram artists in Singapore. They first met about six years ago, while studying at the National Institute of Education. They designed ambigrams together, as gifts for their friends.

“I started to create ambigrams using (Fadilah’s) name. And our relationship, and the designs, evolved,” said Naguib.

“He’s always with plain paper and a pen,” said Fadilah, also a teacher. Yes, even when she was giving birth to their daughter, Nayla Najwa. “Two hours after she was born, I was already designing an ambigram,” Naguib said. “Our names, rotating into ‘mother’ and ‘father’.”

Now that’s dedication.

The couple have a blog where they sell their designs, and they also initiated the Nagfa Ambigram Competition, attracting participants from all over the world.

“We wanted the ambigram community to merge and interact,” Naguib said. “Every week we’d post one word and ask the artists to contribute solutions ... We even got John Langdon to post a challenge.”

He added: “Maybe ambigrams could become one of the mainstream forms of art. Like graffiti.” Visit for more ambigram information. Angels and Demons hits the screens on May 14.

(Angels and ambigrams Word up ... side down (Top) Naguib with his wife Fadilah and daughter Nayla. (Bottom) An ambigram of the name ‘Gabriel-Lucifer’ by Nagfa.

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Hi again! As mentioned in an earlier post, we had some ambigram-based projects to keep us challenged. The first was a collaboration with Neatorama. Alex (of Neatorama) had acquired six of our designs which are now available as T-shirts. Some samples (notice the parody of the love-hate T-shirt): Our take on the 'I'm with stupid' T-shirt. Your friend beside you would be pleased being labeled as 'clever'... until the reflection in the display window points out that he's actually 'stupid'.

Friend or Enemy? Depends really on which side of the mirror you're on..
And, two designs for the price of one:

A T-shirt which either reads 'Love & Hate' or 'War & Peace'.. Link to all 6 designs: here.

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12 signs.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Another solution for Love-Hate, a lake reflection:Do let us know if there is any earlier version of a Love-Hate lake reflection.

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An almost-natural ambigram. The ambiguous nature of the word's meaning provides for a delightful study. Owning and mastering, or enslaved and controlled..?

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Something simple designed some time back. A stylised ambigram of:

Old Uncle. A different font type would be better.

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Two ambigrams done weeks ago, inspired by the courageous men who put their lives in the line of fire. Just so ours are not. Respect. Godspeed.

(On hindsight, the 'bombsquad' ambigram has a certain 'Daniel Dostal' look. Can't pin it down, though..)

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Nice to meet you again, Constant Viewers, Friends. Hope to be reacquainted.
It is with great remorse do we come again, with apologies and regrets.
The irony is not lost that with our previous post - number 888, a natural numeral ambigram in itself - and the subject ambigram - public holiday - that we have had a very 'public holiday' of our own. Our absence in the virtual realm was simply due to our obligations as 'where'' new parents; Nayla Najwa will be 6 months young come Thursday.
Many concerned friends had been asking about us, namely Alessandro, Fraga and Tom Banwell (who even started a thread on Flickr, thanks). We are heartened. We apologize profusely for the sudden - and mysterious - disappearance.
During our absence, there were several ambigram-based projects which had kept us busy; some small scaled, some larger. Which we'll share with you, dear friends, in the coming weeks. One other matter: the Da Vinci NAC. We will be updating that within a week or so. We understand that many had contributed and are excited to see the submitted pieces. We promise to put this as our priority.
Meantime, an ambigram done quite recently..

The female physicist in Angels & Demons.




nagfa: Naguib and Fadilah

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