Styling with Monograms – or, What’s in a Name?

Styling a Monogram

Monogram of the letter G with flowers
“G” for Gwendolyn

I heard a style watch for fall forecasting the comeback of monograms. Wanting to be trendy, I decided to design one for my scrap pages and journal notations.
I opened Adobe Illustrator, but found no font to inspire me at my fingertips.
Anxious to show progress quickly, I opened my iPad and turned a “G” doodle into a flower pot.Icon of a curved bar with fringe in blue

Back on my computer, I attempted a preppy style with three initials constrained in a circle, but had mild success. Also, I set my initials in JFRingmaster and warped the text in Illustrator.

Monograms with fancy letters using glymps from my typeface menu
A swish, swash monogram with glymps

For a frilly version of my monogram, I used the Illustrator Glyphs in the type menu to add ligatures for that look of aristocracy.

icon calligraphy with a ball of beadsStriving for a monogram sharpened my eye to typefaces and gave me a greater respect for those geniuses who design them. My latest typeface love is Axiforma from MyFonts. I’m crazy about the font because it comes with many faces, from thick to thin, in regular and italic, so I bought it.

Finally, years ago my hubby had a calligraphy artist pen my name. I scanned the art and outlined it in Illustrator.

Monogram Love

Order and Hierarchy of Initial Monogram

  • Same-size letters in a straight row represent: first, middle, and last initials.
  • Three initials with a large center initial and two smaller initials, on the right and left: large center initial for last name, with first initial to the left and middle initial to the right.
  • A wedding or couple’s monogram is made with a large center initial (their last name), with groom’s first initial on the left and bride’s first initial on the right.
  • Two letters, same size, represent your first and last initials.
  • Stylized single letters represent your first name or your last name.
Block letters from my Art journal

Add monograms to not just identify belongings but to add a personal stamp to your lifestyle. Celebrate your name!

At Starbucks or whenever hubby Darrell needs to give his name at a counter for pickup, he uses his super initials, DW, which alleviates letters and time and rescues the barista from a comedy of errors … “Daryl,” “Darrel,” “Darel” “Darrell”?

Monograms in my future
My monogram initials encircled with a heart reads as my first name and last initial or my initial monogramame or my monogram
Letters read as my initials, paw, or my nickname and last initial, Pat W. – a clever sketch by hubby.

First, I sketch or ink my monograms. And, I have a secret weapon. My husband is an illustrator. He leaves sketches like love notes on my desk when he knows I am working on an idea.

He left a monogram sketch on my desk yesterday of my nickname Pat and my last initial W.

In his usual cleverness, he inter-wove letters, adding an end swash on the W crossing back over the leading edge of the W forming a secondary T, to read both as my initials, PaW, or my nickname Pat W.

Think about your initials. Is there anything unique about the sequence of your letters that would make a distinctive monogram?

Play with the letters in your name, and create a distinctive mark, a custom monogram, all your own.

Re-writable EW monogram on a pillow made with mermaid fabric
Emma draws her monogram initials on a mermaid pillow with reversible sequins

A monogram is a trusty friend…

Learn lettering from gurus famous for copperplate and a myriad of calligraphy styles