art etiquette History identity Letters monograms Stationery

Illuminate Your Signature: The Story and Etiquette of Monograms

Monograms are more than just initials. It is a name stripped to its essence. A monogram tells a tale of our identity, who we are and who we want to be. The first monograms were seen on coins as early as 350 B.C. in Ancient Greece. The monograms on the coins were the first two letters of the Greek cities, which indicated where the coins came from. At the height of the Middle Ages, artisans began to use monograms as a signature to their work. A monogram became a way for an artist to take ownership of her work. The painter Rembrandt’s signed initials, RL, are iconic and ultimately allowed his work to become instantly identifiable during the peak of the Dutch Golden Age. The Victorian era propelled the use of monograms to symbolize aristocracy. Monograms were the perfect way to adorn their linens, but they were soon etched onto personal treasures, such as lockets. JF-Monogram

While monograms come in an array of typestyles and shapes, they always contain a person’s or couple’s initials. The most popular monogram for a man or a woman consists of the initials of the first and middle and that of the surname, which is always located in the center of the monogram.

  1. A 3-letter monogram captures the individual’s entire name. The first name is represented by the letter on the left and the middle name is represented by the letter on the right. The surname is always the initial located in the center.
  2. An individual can also create a 1-letter monogram, which can represent the first or last name.

Couples can get in on the fun, too. A monogram is the perfect way to capture your commitment and also create your own symbol as a couple. Today’s modern couples can choose from many variations on monograms to accommodate name changes, including a hyphenated last name, a bride keeping her family name, and brides and grooms keeping their family names.

  1. The most common monogram for a couple with a sole last name is to position the wife’s initial on the left, the husband’s initial to the right, and their last name in the middle. Same sex couples can choose the arrangement of their initials based on the aesthetic of the letter arrangement.
  2. For couples who decide to keep their given surnames, a 2-letter or 4-letter interlocking monogram is the perfect solution. Interlocking monograms are a beautiful way to capture the symmetry of the letters visually, and, more profoundly, the balance and harmony of a couple’s dedication and love.

DandC monogram

Although there is an etiquette to monogramming, monograms are an expression of one’s identity. They represent elements of your personality all while highlighting the most significant parts of your name. The monogram is a timeless expression, one that is subject to the intricacies of your personality, making it truly yours.

Madeleine Garone,

Madeleine Garone signature

1 thought on “Illuminate Your Signature: The Story and Etiquette of Monograms”

  1. If the reception is being held in the same place as the wedding,
    you may write: reception to follow. Reply to each question to the best of your
    capability. Just don’t forget to wear some socks and other stuff that will warm you up.

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