Some Notes on Reversed Text (Mirror Writing)



Why I like it: 

Reversed text illustrates how all statements contain their opposites, depending on one's attitude or mood.  It's sort of like how satire, sarcasm and irony work.  Reversed text describes a more realistic and encompassing understanding: that positive statements don't always feel positive and perspective makes all the difference.  Like the qwerty keyboard or a speed bump, mirror text is designed to be slower, to encourage self-awareness and contemplation.  Thoughts are creative and art can be a powerful, transformative influence over time, just like advertising.  Mood and attitude determine how they will manifest. Backwards text says:  This is important, be mindful.  

It's also a cultural zeitgeist reference: 

Reversed text references a symbol of our cultural moment - the selfie.  While the photographic self-portrait is nothing new, the selfie seems historically significant as a symbol of the rise of technology and social media. Photos of people in mirrors are ubiquitous now and distinguished by the reversed clothing labels etc.  Selfie and influencer culture, with its positive and negative aspects, are a favourite New York Times subject.  

Some background: 

Mirror writing is formed by writing opposite of the natural way for a given language, such that the result looks normal when reflected in a mirror.  It's been used as a primitive form of cipher and Leonardo da Vinci wrote most of his personal notes in this way.  It's easy to read mirror writing through a selfie camera.