Most people have heard of monograms, but have you ever wondered what they really are? Or been curious about where they came from? What is their purpose? Are they only practical for weddings, sweaters, and collared shirts? And what’s the deal with the initials being backwards? Wait… are the initials actually backwards? Perhaps there are even more questions about monograms than we anticipated.
The origin of monograms and their practical usage in today’s society is fascinating. A mark of distinction, they have been around for a very long time. Probably as early as 350 B.C. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start with the fundamentals. Like what is a monogram, actually? That’s exactly the question we have on deck in today’s blog post: 5 Essential Questions About Monograms Answered.
A monogram is a symbol created by two or more letters, the letters typically being a person’s initials. What can be confusing is that “monogram” and “monogrammed initials” are sometimes used interchangeably. While monogram initials utilize monogram conventions, they are not always formed into one solitary symbol – the “mono” part of the monogram. This is the most significant distinction and what actually makes the symbol a monogram
This is where people normally get a little confused. Standard monogram conventions dictate that with a 3-letter monogram, the last name initial is in the center, with the first name initial to the left and the middle name initial to the right.
For example, Peter Elliot Green’s monogrammed initials would look like this: PGE
Usually, the last name initial is presented in a larger size as well.
Remember, this is strictly the order convention, however. If the letters do not touch or overlap in their design, it is considered monogrammed initials and not a true monogram.
In their first iteration, possibly in ancient Greece, monograms were created to mark currency, joining the first two letters of a cities name. They later evolved to be used as signatures by artists and craft workers. Eventually, they would come to serve the purposes of royals and famed monarchs, to indicate their elevated status in society, which they would incorporate into their insignias.
The popular use of monograms as we understand them did not come into fashion until much later. They were the equivalent of a signature or used to indicate ownership. For a while, even married or engaged couples would create monograms of both their names to signify the importance of their union. Also, many companies have chosen to use monograms in their branding. Usually, this involves turning the initials of their company into some sort of graphic logo. Some of the most noted being Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors.
We’ve come a long way from the beginnings of the monogram. What was originally used on ancient coins and artwork to denote property and ownership is now a staple of the fashion and design world. Monograms grace everything from fancy stationery and functional household items to apparel and accessories like purses and wallets. Even jewelry makers have capitalized on the popularity of the monogram to create beautiful necklaces and rings personalized with individuals’ initials, captured in a stylish design.
When you have a gift monogrammed for someone special, it adds a personal touch. It’s not merely the addition of their initials. It is the creation of a designer statement, based on their signature, that will always make them think of you. A special gift with a design that is uniquely them. That distinction will certainly not go unnoticed.
If this post has piqued your interest, don’t forget that The Bradford Exchange offers many wonderful, monogrammed gifts that you really must see, including designer-style bags, jewelry gifts, home decor, and more. It all starts with just a name (and initials, of course). Thanks for reading!5 Essential Questions About Monograms Answered by The Bradford Exchange