How to Design Your Own Monogram

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For centuries people have used the art of monogramming to identify their possessions and make a personal statement. A monogram can be understood as a personal logo. Traditionally comprised of first-, middle- and last-name initials, a monogram expresses personal style as well as identity. In wealthy families, monograms were often chosen for children at their birth and rendered in a historically chosen family-lettering style. Today, most people encounter monograms only when they marry, and gifts of towels or other linens may arrive in a lettering chosen by the giver. Creating a monogram is easy and fun, and lets those who see it know a little more about who you really are.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper Pencil Art materials Sources of monogram styles

Designing a Monogram

  • Decide what letters you want in your monogram. This isn't always as easy as it sounds. A traditional monogram contains the initials of a person's first, middle and last name. Perhaps you do not have a middle name; if not, the initials of your first and last name comprise your monogram. (The only exception to this would be an additional name chosen as part of a religious event. If you have only a first and last name, you might like to include an initial for that name as well.) Perhaps you have more than one middle name. Here you have a choice: either or both. (Remember, of course, that a family member may not react well if you choose one middle name over another--there is nothing wrong with including both.)

  • Decide what shape your monogram should take. Usually this is rectangular or circular, and monogramming services that label items you want monogrammed are usually set up for those two forms. Traditional monograms make the last-name initial the largest letter. In a square monogram, first and middle name initials could be stacked vertically next to a larger last-name initial. In rectangular format, all three letters are often the same size (men's shirts are monogrammed this way). A circular monogram has a large, centered last-name initial, with first and middle initials curved to fit, one on each side. Visiting a store that monograms linens, clothing, jewelry or silverware can help you decide.

  • Decide what letter-style you want to use. You may not always be able to obtain a particular font you have located on your computer, but similar lettering should be available from monogramming services. Styles vary from the kinds of type used in an article like this to very fluid kinds of script. The letter-style you choose will say something about you: brisk and businesslike; feminine to the max; quiet and reserved; active and out there. Choose a letter-style that feels right, and remember that you may be looking at it on some objects for a long time.

  • Play with lettering from magazines or computer type-fonts, sizes and shapes until you are comfortable. Choose more than one style for different monogrammed objects. What looks good on your tennis shirts may not look great on your silverware. And no matter how fun or frisky it seems at the moment, you may quickly tire of a heart-shaped monogram. When in doubt, think classic. Save the heart-shaped one for your gym bag, a T-shirt or your memo pad.

  • Stay flexible. Creating a monogram is fun at any time, and you don't have to live with a choice forever. You'll learn something about how you've grown when you decide that your look just isn't your look anymore. Have fun.

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