Can You Solve these Typographic Riddles? (Help Us, Then, Please)

A sneak peek at a book of graphic-design puzzles.


Harry Pierce, a graphic designer and partner at Pentagram, is an avid collector of a type of puzzle the British call conundrums, graphic representations of common phrases. They can be devilishly hard, and when you find out the answer, you usually slap your head.

Now Pearce has produced his own book of 171 of these puzzles, Conundrums, which goes on sale this week.

Wallpaper* has just posted an entire slideshow's worth. To whet your appetite, here's a few. Scroll down for the answers we came up with...

















Left: Neither here nor there
Right: Overlaid

2. A Quiet Life

Left: Anyone care to guess, in the comments below?
Right: Just Between You and Me.

Left: Broken Heart
Right: Your thoughts?

For several more check out Wallpaper* and the L.A. Times.

Add New Comment


  • Jordan Case

    these are so cool. my guesses were:

    3 (left) - self-righteous
    4 (right) - you get what you give (though forgive and forget seems right!)

  • Chris Hungate

    1L: Neither Here nor There
    1R: Laid back

    2: Life is Short

    3L: Ayes right
    3R: Just between you and me

    4L: Broken Heart
    4R: Forgive and Forget

    FROM Wallpaper...

    Slide4L: Splitting Headache
    Slide4R: No one

    Slide6: Freudian Slip

    Slide7: Scrambled Eggs

    Slide 12L-top: Blackout

    Slide 12L-bottom: Travel Light

    Slide14L-top: Heads Up

    Slide14L-bottom: Costs and Arm and a Leg

    Slide14R: Out on a Limb

    Slide 15L: A Cut Above

    Slide 17L: It's Over

  • Emilee Stites

    I was thinking:
    (1 left) Neither Here nor There
    (1 right)Laid Back
    (2) Larger than Life
    (3 right) Just Between You and Me

  • Diane Erickson

    #2 - Larger than Life? Because the A is larger than the life?
    #4 - Places in the Heart? A Movie title, but it might work

  • Richard Hall

    Assuming it's a British book then I think it's
    1 RHS - Laid Back
    3 LHS - Ayes (not eyes) to the right, pronounced the same but the expression used to vote affirmatively in the British parliament

  • Anonymous

    1. "Neither here nor there" and "Laid Back"
    2. "A small life"
    3. "Eyes right" and "Just between you and me"
    4. "Broken Heart" and "Forgive but don't forget"

  • Marcus Wong

    Man, these are hard. but my guess for 4. Right would be "Forgive and Forget".

    so do we get a prize for guessing correctly?

  • John Omohundro

    Just a guess...

    3)Left: Eyes to the right

    And I agree with Joseph on 1)Right. I would have said "Laid back," but Joseph's solution is more accurate, I think.

  • Joseph Rosario

    Both are pretty abstract, but they were just the first things that popped into my mind:

    1) Right: Laid back down
    5) Right: Forgive and Forget