We have come a long way – from the Little Red Schoolhouse to virtual schoolrooms! Luckily for us, so has personalization!
While Emily Post used to be the monogramming etiquette gold standard for all occasions, rules and norms have evolved to fit into today’s society. When it comes to personalization, rules have been bent and attitudes have changed. With the advent of digital design programs, the sky is the limit for fonts, layouts, whimsical add-ons, etc. Today there is hardly a wrong way to monogram – it is instead a personal preference.
The 50’s would cringe to see that we use all lower case letters or lower and upper case letters combined in monogram styles. Our arrangement of monograms to accommodate the unique piece being engraved, monograms longer than just three initials or the addition of other graphics would also be surprising.
A major change we are now seeing is more couples keeping their individual surnames or hyphenating both last names. Couples living together still want to personalize their items using the combination of surnames. Therefore, throwing the “rules” out the window makes for more fun and flexible choices!
Some people are more comfortable with the traditional standard of monogramming and in those cases we advise them with the following guidelines:
(1) Couples: a true monogram style with her given name initial on the left, their surname initial larger in the center and his given name initial on the right.
(2) Married women: first name initial on left (if she goes by her first name – if not, then the initial of her middle name or nickname if she has chosen that name for regular use), married surname initial larger in the center and her choice of either middle name or maiden name initial on the right.
(3) Married man: two standard options (a) first name, middle name and last name initial all same size straight across, or (b) first name initial, surname initial larger in the center and middle name initial.
(5) Female child or baby: first name initial, last name initial larger in center and middle name initial. We generally recommend a script type of font.
(6) Male child or baby: two options (a) first name, middle name and last name initial all same size straight across, or (b) first name initial, last name initial larger in the center, and middle name initial. We generally recommend a block style of font.
There is always the question of what is appropriate when the name contains a prefix and/or suffix like McMartin or McMartin, III? The choice to include either the “Mc” or “III” becomes a matter of preference and aesthetics. Does it skew the monogramming a way that is not pleasing? If there is not enough room on the item for the inclusion, that might be the deciding factor. The choice definitely should include a dialog with the customer during set-up.
The bottom line is: we should have fun with designs and personalization, rather than remaining rigid and rule-ridden. Your recipient will most certainly appreciate your creativity!