Monograms 101: Rules when Monogramming
As a crafter, embroiderer, shirt maker, and monogram lover I get asked time and time again about monograms. Several of my The Dashing Pearl customers, who come to me via my online shop request a monogram on their shirt, or for me embroider initials on a onesie often get the monogram confused, specifically about the order of the letters.
And just in case you may not know what a “monogram” is, let me tell you. Simply, it is usually initials that make up a set of letters making a decorative mark to represent a person or family. And the monogram is usually placed on clothing and jewelry, but has also been known to be on stationery or in home décor items. The use of a monogram makes for a great personalized gift.
There is always some sort of confusion when it comes to the order of initials when using in monograms. What are the rules anyway, and why does it matter?
Today, I will decifer the rules of mongorams, the order in which they should be used, and give you examples of the proper rules when using monograms.
History of Monograms
Just to give you a little bit of history, it was orignally used among the Greeks and Romans to mark currency in clay coins. These were also used to sign and seal stationery in wax. In the Victorian ages, artists used monograms to mark their work as if it were their signature. And eventually, the use of monograms were used among wealthy families to mark their linens, silverware, and other household items. The usage of a monogram became a sign of prestige or family pride, and that pride led to monograms being used by all families and individuals regardles of social status.
The trend of using monograms has included several vairiations of monograms by using only 1 up to 3 letters, to then only using 2 based on trends set by British royals. Monograms are used today in weddings, which represent the bride or the start of new beiginnings and new families, for babies on their clothing, blankets or silver cups, or for personal personalization and wear. The usage of monograms can also represent a brand of individual by first and last name using only 2 initials.
There are several ways to use a monogram today, and often can be confusing on when and how to apply one.
So which way is right?
When buying a gift or item for someone or yourself that you wish to have monogrammed, it is best to know who the recipent it is for before deciding on the mongoram style of font, or letter choice. There are a few simple guidelines of etiquette to go by that are used most, and are the most recognized.
When only doing a single letter monogram, the obvious choice is the first letter of first name or if for a family name, the first letter of the last name.
For most women, reagardless if married or not, it will always be a three letter monogram. Ideally, the initials will be the first letters of the first name, last name, and middle name…. and in the order. First, Last, Middle. People often question why the last name initial goes in the middle of the monogram.
I tend to think that in a monogram, the middle initial (which is the last name initial) is slightly larger, more pronouced, and thus why it goes in middle of a three letter monogram. And through my research, this is exactly correct. The surname or last name is that name that holds one’s “reputation” and is considered to be the one of most importance, therefore is the most pronoced initial front and center, larger, and therfore is in the middle.
One thing to consider is if a women uses her middle name or a nickname as in place of her given name. The initial may be different, or in a different order. Therfore, you may want to consider using only a single initial of their preferred first name.
Typically when adding a monogram that includes husband and wife, the wife’s first name first initial will be on the left, the last name or surname will be larger in the middle, and the husband’s first name, first initial will be on the right.
Most men do not usually wear a three letter monogram. Today, most will use only their first initial or spell out their entire name. However, it is not uncommon for a male to use a three letter monogram. And when they do, it is typically in a block font, with all three letters the same exact size, and in First Name, Middle Name, and Last Name order just as if on were to speak the full name out loud. One other exception to this is the stacked monogram. The stacked monogram is pictured on the visor. This monogram indicates the first name initial and middle name initial in a smally type font stacked on top of each other next to a larger sized last name initial.
Stacked monograms have gained popularity over the past couple of years, and are now used by both men and women. It is always a fun way to add a unique twist to a traditional classic monogram.
These are just some baisc examples and guidelines to monogramming. And I’m sure you can find even more history or usuages of monograms in your search. Regardless whether you choose to use these principles on some of your own, make sure that the instructions are clear to the monogrammer on how you want the monogram to placed on the item being monogramming.
If you end up shopping via my personalized online boutique and have any questions on how to place your monogram, please feel free to contact me with your questions. I am always happy to help you select the perfect monogram for you! It is just what I love to do!
Hope you found this post helpful, happy monogramming!!!