I’ve finally succumbed to the inevitability of reading the work of Dan Brown, not with the obvious The DaVinci Code but with an earlier work, Angels and Demons.

While it’s clearly a mass-market thriller, it’s actually pretty clever and wholly engaging. One of my favorite aspects of the book is the “ambigram” designs: words with carefully stylized letters such that they read identically when turned 180 degrees.

Confused? Check this out:

John Langdon was the designer of the ambigrams for the book (all of which appear at the above URL). Langdon is also the last name of the book’s protagonist, presumably done in his honor. This guy’s talent is phenomenal. I’ve seen a few other ambigram artists’ work, and none is as legible, or as beautiful, as Langdon’s. Of course, now I want to do my own ambigrams.

So far I’ve learned one thing: It’s not easy. I actually do have a workable ambigram of ROOM 34 going, but it’s ugly. And barely legible. If I improve it enough that I’m not embarrassed by it, I’ll post it here.