Ambigram Tattoos

Maybe someone can explain this to me.

I understand the appeal of ambigram tattoos.  Getting an ambigram tattoo was my first thought when I developed a fascination with ambigrams as well.

With an ambigram tattoo, you can express your individuality, share your message with the word, and of course, just show off your cool ink to others.

However, what I really don’t understand is… why anyone would want to get the “same old” ambigram tattoo that hundreds of other people have already had done.  A design that is not unique.  A design that  is not personal.  A design that doesn’t send a personal message to the world.

(at least not a good one)

Plus, there’s a possibility that when you show your cool ink to someone… that they will have the same exact thing.


I’m specifically talking here about the popular Life / Death ambigram tattoo.  Sure, the Life / Death design works for everyone because everyone has a Life, and eventually, everyone has a Death.

That’s pretty obvious stuff.

There’s really no need to state it permanently in ink on your body!

There are so many other cool things you can stand for besides Life and Death.  Why not say something about who you are?  Where you come from?  What you’re all about?

I certainly would HOPE that you’re about a little more than simply Life and Death!

That’s not unique!  That’s just exactly like everyone else.

Plus, the Life Death ambigram makes one of the worst ambigram tattoos I have seen.  You can do far better than this:

Life / Death Ambigram Tattoo

The Life / Death Ambigram Tattoo

I realize that a famous person had this tattoo done.  This is the Method Man ambigram tattoo.  However, this is Method Man’s tattoo!  It’s not something that everyone should get inked.  In my opinion, he should have been the only one.

In case you’re curious, my original ambigram was simply my first name when upright, and my last name upside-down.  OK, so it’s not exactly rocket science, but at least it’s unique, personal to me, and it isn’t going to be something that will change over time (well, unless I have to join the witness protection program!).

In the end, I chose to not even get a tattoo.  I had it carved into a really awesome custom ring.  Now THAT’S unique.  It’s actually a really great way to present an ambigram, since your fingers are very easy to ‘rotate’ to show the design upside-down, and I get tons of positive comments about it.

Eventually, that ring became the inspiration behind the ambigram generator, and behind the entire FlipScript web site, including the Titanium Ambigram Ring.

So, whether you want to get an ambigram tattoo, or another item featuring your ambigram… whatever you do, please don’t ink yourself with the same old Method Man Life Death ambigram tattoo.

Don’t forget… a tattoo is forever!


  1. 1
    ankita Says:

    well. yeah u r rite!!!
    i personaly like to develop ambigrams of names ……..
    i have tried all my frnds names.. but looking for sum professional help….. hat how to develop them on computer ….. i have no idea [:(]

  2. 2
    cmac Says:

    hey i been thinking abou getting the life and death tattoo not because everyone has a life and later on will die its because i grew up with of my bestfriend my whole life until he died at the age of 15 getting hit by a truck on a motor bike finding that out i was never going to talk to him ever again. Death is easy and life hard Rest In Peace D.L

  3. 3
    zanna Says:

    I’ve got a fabulous ambigram tattoo It’s in portuguese,as I have family there. I chose two words that are very personal to me. It looks amazing and I love the fact that no one knows what it says and they have to ask.Love showing them that it says two different things depending which way you look at it! I can choose to tell them what it means and why. I’ve got it on the inside of my right forearm so I can see it,didnt want a tat I couldnt see!! Tats should be very personal and mean something to that individual,after all, they are for life.I absolutely LOVE mine,but wont get another,partly coz of the pain but mostly coz I’ve said all I need to say in it!

  4. 4
    Ab Obrien Says:

    I find it quite odd that you have such a “High” opinion on this one particular tattoo? who are you to say what is boring an what is not?, yes everybody is entitled to an opinion on everything BUT that does not extend to you or anyone basically insulting someone elses choice’s! So method Man was the very first person to have this Tattoo?….i bet your wrong my friend! i have a 10mm stretch in my left ear……hhmmm strangely i was not the first in the world to have this….so there fore because “so many others” have this….am i “Boring?”……everybody no matter who you are has copied somebody with there own personal design’s, ink, pierciong’s or otherwise to make them selve’s…well…unique? There is a thing called discretion…….or in laymans terms…”Keeping one’s opinion to one’s self!”…………….an yes i do have the life/death tattoo…..i love it….others love it….and i have MY OWN PERSONAL REASONS FOR IT!!!!!…..not because it’s cool hence it IS VERY UNIQUE to who?…….. To me:)

  5. 5
    mike Says:

    I also am looking into getting the life/death tattoo, how can you say it is one of the worst looking ambigrm tatts when u can clearly read each word when flipped over but not both at once, which is what an ambigram is. To me the reason for getting the tattoo is no because of method man or anyone else besides myself for that matter. Having recently lost two relatives I came to realize how precious life is and how easily and can be turned into death, methaphorically speaking: with the rotation of the tattoo you go from life to death. Before being so opinionative just because you don’t like something or think it is to popular to get inked onto your body forever think that not everyone is getting it to be like method man, be precieved as “gangster” or get it just because it looks cool, I would hope everyone has their own different reasons for getting any tattoo.

  6. 6
    jaci f. Says:

    i have 2 ambigram tattoos and i absolutely love them… they are both in latin and have very personal and strong meanings to them… i think they are a great option for people wanting to put words on their body

  7. 7
    zanna Says:

    The thing is,having an opinion is a good thing,and being open to not being necessarily right,is also a good thing,that’s what generates discussion,communication. The ‘LIFE/DEATH’ tattoo discussed is fine,if that is what anyone wants. The main point is that tats are forever,so why not go for something really well thought out and personal and different from most people? It’s not a criticism of people chooseing the obvious,it’s just why settle for the obvious?

  8. 8
    Erin Says:

    I was looking for a new tat and didnt even know the life/death tat till i was looking for an ambigram tat for my husband and i to get each others names on our wrists (why would u get one any where but your arm lol) because angels and demons is by far the best book published in years. i am with you its really annoying when ppl have the same tattoos like a butterfly from a book that 10000 ppl have on the small of there back, but we are still getting a tat buts its our names. thanks for opening my eyes.

  9. 9
    NEXTtatPLEASE Says:

    I once thought about getting the Life/Death tattoo a while back but now realizing how many people have it im glad i didnt. As soon as I started reading the 5th & 6th comment I thought to myself they must have that tattoo and thats fine but it just seems like now that they have it & realize its a very common tattoo they feel they have to defend their reasons for getting it, glad I dont have to do that….

  10. 10
    Rico Says:

    I have had this tattoo for about 15 years. I saw it on some scripture in church when I was in basic training and decided it was going to be my first tattoo.. I don’t know if method man had it then or if it is “HIS” tattoo. I really don’t care. I have not met many people who have had this tattoo.. I am going to cover it up and get in on my other arm… BIGGER. I’m still in the Army and have seen my share of life and death.

  11. 11
    Lacey Says:

    Ab Orien, I had to wonder why you were yelling him to keep his opinion to himself, I just assumed you liked to argue with people trying to make yourself sound intelligent and them wrong. As soon as you said you had this tattoo you deff stopped telling people you are intelligent. p.s. I HATE when people only stretch one ear…do you walk around with your head tilted all day? Come on be symmetrical. Or did it hurt too bad to do them both… Hush now.

  12. 12
    Kayla:) Says:

    Bark bark. You guys should tottally lay off of this person. Try to see their point.
    They have a right to feel the way they do, and so do you.
    But honestly, thank you for publishing this. I was thinking about getting it as my first tat in the center of my shoulder blades, but i never evenn thought of your point.
    I would have hated to have gotten it and then seen this.
    Thank you. :) )
    Now I’m going to look into some other ambigram tattoos. ;) )

  13. 13
    Kayla:) Says:

    Oh hey,
    if you guys have any amazing ideas for a cool first tat..
    or if you can help me out….
    add me on myspace. =))

  14. 14
    Gelf Says:

    There is no such thing as a “common” tattoo (in general) if the wearer can substantiate and explain it clearly to the whole world. I actually have 2 tattoos and am planning to have an ambigram of “ANGEL/DEVIL” for my third one. To make it more personal, try to modify/alter some of the tattoo design’s elements if you have the ability to do so or talk to your artist for some help. Don’t settle for anything less since a tattoo is basically permanent. I am sure you don’t want to regret getting it later in your life.

  15. 15
    Amber Says:

    This stuff is so cool. I want to learn how to do it.

  16. 16
    Kass Says:

    for the record i DO have the life/death ambigram.
    i understand what your saying….but your little rant doesn’t make me regret getting it, i actually got it in memory of a close friend of the family who killed himself. so it means something to me.
    and even though alot of people may have it for some other stupid reason probably i still get ALOT of compliments on it and i actually have an explaination of why i got it.
    and mine happens to be on my wrist….easy to rotate so that people can read each word easily….and i plan to get another ambigram on my other wrist…so you can take your lame tattoo blog and shove it up your ass, you probably dont have any tattoos anyway.

  17. 17
    admin Says:

    Wow. Feisty.

    No need to be so insecure. Do whatever you want. I happen to not like this particular ambigram tattoo, but I do realize that its very popular (which is one reason WHY I don’t like it). We can’t all be leaders. The world needs followers, too.

  18. 18
    Concerned Viewer Lmfao Says:

    I am going to get this ambigram on my throat, cuz it has several meanings to me and the throat not only makes a statement it is also the difference between life and death in a person being one of the most valunerable spots on the human body. Tattoos are unique even if they have the same design and meaning, if its on a different person its a different tattoo. There will always be some minor even if its microscopic variation from person to person from the way it is drawn to the way it looks when its healed, if you want to go that far. I have 2 full sleeves and not once have i heard anyone say a tattoo is boring? Even if i got the walmart smiley face on my cheek the fact i sat through the thing would make it personal enough to me, cuz no matter how tough you are tattoos #@#kin hurt. I respect anyone who makes a statement of who they are or what they feel and or believe, even the guiness record holder who has the smallest tattoo who did it just to have the smallest tattoo. I will go as far as saying even if you get a tattoo because your friend did it or you seen it on t.v or you just think its cool… if thats a good enough reason in your life then so be it… Too many people pick apart stupid ish everyday, just live your life and do your best with what you have, and chase your dreams and weither your tattooed or not remember this one thing, You Rock ;)

  19. 19
    Amanda Says:

    :) I agree. I have an ambigram on my wrist on my Son’s name-Garett and if you reverse it…it is my daughter’s name-Kalyn. It is beautiful.

  20. 20
    austin pearcy Says:

    hey i was thinkin about gettin an ambigram as my first tat down my side. i saw one online that said until death/ carpe diem and i was wondrin if that was one that alot of people had or really any suggestions about good ambigrams

  21. 21
    anonymous Says:

    Reading this article it seems like the person that wrote this is a hater 2 be honest, how is he going to say its not unique? i dont know very many ppl with this tat, and so what if method man has it its not “his” tat how do u know he aint seen if from somewhere else? and what may be boring 2 u other ppl might find interesting, like some ppl like rap music some like rock, but 2 knock somthing and call it un orignal is sounding like a hater and besides every tattoo is gonna look a little different but 4 real if u dont like the tat dont get it simple as that u dont have 2 try and knock the tat because other ppl think its not cool, u said ur ambigram was orignally gonna be ur name and last name upside down, well how unique is that? u dont think other ppl have done that b4? but hey if u wanted 2 do it u could have, its not like someone would write a gay ass article about it

  22. 22
    fernando Says:

    i had this tattoo long before that famous rapper got his done. i had mine for about 12 years now. so he was not the first one. and before i got mine done. a good friend of mine had it before i did.

  23. 23
    mel Says:

    lol i just got that tattoo life/ death on my back to days ago lol….
    i love it i think it looks mad

  24. 24


  25. 25
    ace Says:

    i did the life/death ambigram on a stripper but she also the bible verse from romans…”the wages of sin are death…but the gift of god is eternal life” so it made as little more sense…

  26. 26
    jeremy Says:

    i seen tht life death one before method man ever got it

  27. 27
    jeremy Says:

    and for that matter if theres one thing the net proves no tattoos original nomatter how original you think yours is theres always going to be someone with something close to it so you might as well pick something that means something to you

  28. 28
    Monroe Says:

    hmm…first and foremost, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion…and to me it seems more like you go against that specific ambigram…well I myself has become infatuated with ambigrams but one thing i do not agree with you on is your distaste of it. That ambigram cld be designed for a symbol of importance in somebodyz life, something meaningful…jus because method man was the first to ever show his to the world, dere were more before him dat had dat tat…I myself have it but yeah u ryte its jus a tattoo to me…i’m a tattoo addict so you can barely tell its dere, i have so many…nd ambigrams i have so many of meaningless ones it’s not even funny….

  29. 29
    Bruce Courser Says:

    This image with the additional information “the free gift of God is eternal..” on the LIFE side and “the wages of sin is…on the DEATH side, completes message from the scriptural refferance: Rom 6:23. The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.

  30. 30
    dana Says:

    I’ve been wanting to get this, but it is personal. Just because you don’t see a message behind it doesn’t mean there isn’t. To go along with what Bruce said- I’m getting because of the verse in Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  31. 31
    Linda Says:

    I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but the Life/Death did not start out as a tatto, but as a business card. A friend brought a very faded and undefined piece of paper to me with the base design and asked if I could make it reproducible. I defined it and changed it up to make it more readable (exactly as it is today) and the ‘card’ was made 18.5 years ago. The card has above the Life -The Gift of God is Eternal and above the Death – The Wages of Sin Is. My friend and I each had a box of these cards and handed them out; quite a few were handed out on Congress Ave. and 6th Street in Austin Texas……Very possibly where the ‘tattoo’ started being made. So in truth. This ‘design’ is a God Design to start the person thinking about their salvation.

  32. 32
    Maria Says:

    hey wher can i find ambigram whit the name NIKLAS please help me

  33. 33
    Sydney O. Says:

    The reason I wanted life or death tattoo was because it has a lot of meaning for me. “the wages of sin is DEATH, but the gift of God is eternal LIFE” and that is the whole reason that I value my life. I no longer fear death.

  34. 34
    Big B Says:

    With all due respect, I believe you have overstated your case. I have this tattoo, not as a tribute to Method Man, but as a reminder to how precious life is & should remain. I have lost friends & family to cancer & disease, accidents and sudden illnesses. I met a man in his 20′s recently with the same tattoo. He put it on his arm after recovering from falling into a coma from meningitis, he almost died. He reminds himself the same every day. I keep mine on my upper arm in 2 different places. When I read them where they are & visible to me, only LIFE is readable. make your own conclusion to that. For future reference you might want to keep your jaded opinions to yourself, or at least ASK someone why they did it. I’m positive you will get a different reason each time. Or a very similiar one.

  35. 35
    KarmaSoul Says:

    I LOVE the irony of people who publicly whine that others should keep their “jaded opinions” to themselves!


  36. 36
    markio Says:

    I have this “boooring” ambigram, and had it long before Method Man had it, so there. He copied me.

  37. 37
    Lani Says:

    I just say it doesn’t matter who or how many people have. You should get it because it’s what you want on your body or for your own personal reason. the author made a very good point but at the same time dont change this tattoo pick because of hat was said because then your not being your own person, your letting others opinios sway you.

  38. 38
    chris Says:

    ha i know who did that tattoo

  39. 39
    dave Says:

    My whole right side is tattooed as a tribute to Alice Cooper’s songs (every tatt is a different song title) I have No More Mr Nice Guy as an ambigram on my right forearm and the Life/Death with (OF THE PARTY) under each side on the back of my hand.Everyone I know loves them and I have people constantly asking about them. Hopefully one day I’ll have the great man himself look at them.

  40. 40
    Dee Manatowa Says:

    I am now a Christian. This means everything to me. with my arms down it says death but up in submission to God or in praise to God/Jesus it says life. very meanful!

  41. 41
    Rebecca Says:

    AMEN Dee!
    Romans 8:2 ~ For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
    And all the other words of God that mean so much to us as believers in Christ.

    My daughter has that life/death tatoo for the same reason…
    Thank God.

  42. 42
    kris Says:

    i first saw this on a church business card. it said through christ you will have eternal life and then you flipped the card and it said through satan you will find eternal death so that is why i want this tattoo. so it would be very appart of me and very important to me and fits my personality and hope it will last forever

  43. 43

    life and death is not a cliche. these are the only truths in this world. true, the cliche is that many people ink themselves with this ambigram, but we should not mock the enlightened. instead marvel at their recognition, though limited temporally and in scope, of the one truth: that life and death are the same thing. the same state of being. material is immaterial and your dogma is worthless.

  44. 44
    Richy Says:

    Your true conscience, you are 100 percent right, well said, best comment! They are the only two truths for us humans, and they are one and the same, exactly why this wonderful ambigram can mean so many different things to different people. I have one, I love it. I don’t care how many people have it, it’s not the same as mine, have had it for ten years now.

  45. 45
    rich schreckengost Says:

    I’ve had mine for 10 yeàrs also. got it done when I was 17 the design is a lil different the L has a tear drop in it and the top of the a goes into a flame. When I first got it done I didn’t relize it was such a popular tattoo. It was on a Pittsburgh post magnet that was on my fridge most my childhood and I just always liked the design.. and I still don’t regret it

  46. 46

    Spot on with this write-up, I really think this website needs much more consideration. I’ll in all probability be again to learn way more, thanks for that info.

  47. 47

    I’m about to get it cause I jus lost my son he saw it before he died and loved it and wanted me to get so I don’t care who got It had it r want it

  48. 48

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality blogs on the net. I’m going to highly recommend this website!

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