How to Design Vintage Monograms
I have to confess I was never a huge fan of the modern day monograms, but I definitely have a special place in my heart for these antique designs. Jessica, who blogs for the NYPL blog, did a guest post on Design Sponge on how to create your own vintage monogram.
She shares tips on DIY vintage monograms, from this 1927 book How to Design Monograms by Elizabeth and Curtiss Sprague. This book has instructions and plenty of ideas to create your own monogram.
The Spragues explain that a well-designed monogram will exhibit â€œproportion, rhythm, fine spacing, and unity. And to that end, they advise the following:
- Start by writing down on paper the letters of your initials in both lower case and capitals.
- See if any â€œcombinations of letters immediately suggest a happy shape or arrangement.
- Look for â€œstrokes which are common in two of the letters (such as how both capital R and D have similarly curved sides).
- If two of the same letter are present, consider making one a mirror image of the other.
- Simple letter types are more flexible than â€œelaborate, florid letters which are quite too fanciful to be further played with.
- Feel free to take â€œunlimited liberties in the distortion of letters in the design process, but remember that the result should remain legible.
- A monogram will usually form a symmetrical outside shape of some sort, such as oval or diamond, but irregular forms can be quite nice as well.
Jessica also recommends more books on monograms and lettering that you can borrow from the library. Even if you’re not familiar with Illustrator or other design programs, you could try playing around with your monogram by hand. I love the heirloom look of them. I think it would also look adorable if it was embroidered on a hanky for a nice memento!