A few months back, I was sitting at my kitchen table and noticed something about the Oxo logo on a napkin holder: It’s the same backwards and forwards, and upside-down—an ambigram logo. What are some other symmetrical names and logos, I wondered.
Wait, what’s an ambigram?
According to Wiktionary, an ambigram is “a design that may be read as the same word … when oriented in two different ways.” And in my experience, “two different ways” usually means the design can still be read when rotated 180 degrees. It’s easier to show than explain, so here’s a great example of an ambigram for the word “travel” from the Wikipedia page on ambigrams:
After noticing the Oxo logo, I tracked down five other famous brands with ambigram logos and created an Instagram post about them. Below, you’ll see animated gifs of six wordmarks that can be flipped upside down and look identical—or very close to it. Can you think of any others?
Six brands with ambigram logos
Symmetrical when rotated, flipped vertically, or flipped horizontally. And it’s a palindrome. (See below for additional palindrome brand names.)
This name, created by Lexicon Branding, is also a palindrome. It can’t be flipped (vertically or horizontally), however, because of that N.
4. Oysho (although logo has since been redesigned)
Oysho is a Spanish clothing brand. Sadly, they rebranded in 2011 and no longer have an ambigram logo.
Cheating a little bit here, as this symmetrical symbol is usually paired with a descriptor: “Technology.” But on its own, you can flip it or rotate it and it looks the same. This logo was recently redesigned from one symmetrical logo to another.
6. New Man
As far as I can tell, this was a French fashion brand that was big in the 70s. As I’m writing this (June 2021), the brand’s site is down and I can only find evidence they existed on Facebook and the sites of retailers like The Place London (which says it sells “original 70s design New Man jeans & jackets”). The name is interesting, however, as it seems possible it’s the ambigram logo that drove the naming decision.
Other brands with palindrome brand names
As mentioned above, Oxo and Sonos are palindromes, meaning they read the same backward and forward, like “race car” and “madam I’m Adam.” Since both palindromes and ambigram logos involve symmetry, here’s a list of palindrome brand names:
The list of palindrome brand names on Brandnama, an old blog about brand naming, includes quite a few more. We’ve excluded some from this list because they’re not (to our knowledge) as well known as the brands listed above.
Can you think of any palindrome brand names or ambigram logos we missed?
This Useful List will be updated periodically with new list items. Please share any suggested additions in the comments section.