Monogramming Tips

Monogramming Questions? We hope this helps!

So, you have decided to take the leap and start personalizing gifts for your friends, family, and yes, even for yourself. Making sure you get the monograms right can be a little confusing, so we here at Swagger have put together a little “cheat sheet” for making sure you never commit a monogramming faux pas.

First let's clear up the difference between a Traditional Monogram and a Block Monogram:
Interlocking Monogram

With a Traditional Monogram, the middle letter (the last name of the person) is LARGER and in the center. It is flanked by two smaller letters representing the first name on the left and either the middle or maiden name on the right. Traditioanl Monograms are usually used for women or couples. However, you can use this for a male - we would just suggest using a more masculine font (like Block). To the left is an example of a traditional monogram using our Interlocking Font.

Times Block initialsWith a Block Monogram all the letters are the SAME size. A Block Monogram is basically just your initials in the "correct" order (First Name Initial, Middle Name Initial, Last Name Initial). Block Monograms are usually used for men. However, you can most definitely use block monograms for women if that is what you would like to do! We do not suggest block monograms for a married couple. To the left is an example of what a block monogram will look like using our times block font.

(ON OUR WEBSITE - you will ALWAYS enter the person's initials (FIRST NAME initial, MIDDLE NAME initial, LAST NAME initial) and we will arrange them based on the monogram you choose. The monogram choices will either be all the same size(block) or middle letter bigger (traditional). If you would like to personalize something for a married couple we ask that you spell out his and her full names and the married last name in the comments section at check out. (See below for more info on Married Couple's Monograms).

Personalization for Women, Men and Couples (sharing a common last name):
Please note these are our suggestions. You can do ANYTHING you wish! If you want to use a monogram for a man - DO IT! If you want to use initials for a woman - DO IT! It is your gift to give!

Women’s Monogram: For most, the conventional personalization for woman is a monogram, consisting of three letters with a larger letter in the middle flanked by two smaller letters on each side. Traditionally, the larger middle letter is for the last name, the smaller letter on the left is for the first name and the smaller letter on the right is for either the middle name or maiden name. Check out our handy little example below:

Name: Jill Ann Smith
Monogram: JSA

Now, if Jill got married to James Martin Barker and she kept her maiden name as her middle name here’s what happens.

Name: Jill Smith Barker
Monogram: JBS

Men’s Monogram: The traditional personalization for a man are his horizontal initials also known as a block monogram. Each letter is the same height and appear in the same order as the actual name – first name, middle name, last name.

Name: James Martin Barker
Block Monogram: JMB (all letters being the same usually in a block font)

Couple’s Monogram: This is where it starts getting a little tricky for a lot of people. Traditionally when the bride takes the groom’s last name, the monogram is Bride’s First Name, Common Last Name, Groom’s First Name.  We have done a lot of research on this and the etiquette gurus suggest this set up. However, it is totally up to the bride and groom how they’d like their married initials to appear, so it is always good to check with the couple beforehand. If you are in a pinch, just monogram the last initial – it still looks great and they will have no clue how befuddled you were. Here’s an example or a traditional couple’s monogram:

Couple’s Name: Elizabeth A. Jones marries Davis C. Kelly

Blended Monogram: EKD

We get the question all the time, "If you just want to use a Single Initial which one do you use?" Here are our answers:

The Single Letter Initial: Since we have monogrammed thousands of items over the years, we feel really comfortable suggesting when to use the first initial and when to use the last. Remember, these are just our suggestions – you’re the one giving the gift…

Jewelry, Handbags, Bath wraps and other accessories for Women: Use the first name of a woman if you are going to monogram any of these items.
Glassware, Soap, or Candles: Use the last name for a woman, man or couple if you are planning to monogram with a single initial.
Stamps and Embossers: This one is tricky! For a woman, if you are putting a single initial, you can use either the first or last initial but we tend to lean more towards the first name initial. If the stamp is for a man or a couple, we suggest using the last name.
Towels: I bet you never new these can get you into hot water! We suggest following the same rule that we mentioned for stamps. You can use either initial for a woman’s towel (using a single initial) with the first name being our preference. For a man, or couple, we think using the last name is more appropriate.

Now that we’ve helped navigate you through the murky waters of monogramming, personalize away!