Monogramming Rules and Conventions

People have been monogramming their stuff since at least Ancient Egypt, when the pharoah's cartoush was carved into his jewelry and amulets. With so many cultures, regions, and backgrounds, there is a lot of variation in how people approached labelling and decorating their own things. People did what they thought looked best. Many of the conventions we have were developed during Victorian Age, at the same time they developed rules for floral symbolism and standardized which tartain patterns stand for which family names.

Here are some of the most commonly used conventions. These are guidelines, because it ultimately comes down to personal preference. For almost all monogram styles, if there is an inital that is larger or more prominent, then it stands for the family name (surname). If you use a single letter, it can stand for either the given name or the family name. 

Marriage Monograms

Use 3 Letters And Incorporate Both Spouses

The middle initial is largest and stands for the surname. An initial for the bride's first name goes on one side while an initial for the groom's first name goes on the other. Which side is used for which spouse varies from place to place. 

Women's Monogram

Three Letter Monograms - The middle initial is larger and stands for the surname. The first initial is for her first name. The last inital is for her middle name (or maiden name). 

Two Letter Monograms - First name comes first (on the left). The surname comes second (on the right).

Men's Monogram

Three Letter Monograms - Men often choose a monogram where all three initials are the same size. In this style, the first initial is for the first name, the second inital is for the middle name, and the last initial is for the last name.  

Two Letter Monograms - First name comes first (on the left). The surname comes second (on the right).