Picking a Personal Monogram

“Monograms can be rendered in as many styles as there are personalities,” Leontine Linens owner and founder Jane Scott Hodges writes in Linens: For Every Room & Occasion. To help demystify the sometimes overwhelming process of finding the monogram style that suits you, we asked the experts at Leontine—which is celebrating 20 years of creating custom linens—what to consider when selecting a personal design. Here are their recommendations:  

Don’t feel restricted by rules. While there is a longstanding tradition and etiquette to selecting your monogram and what initials to use, our philosophy is to not be beholden to any one doctrine or rule. In today’s world, we prefer to think of your monogram as something uniquely and perfectly suited for you and your personality.

Know the components. The initials you choose to combine, the letterforms themselves, the color combinations, and the item you are personalizing all come together to create a truly bespoke item that is yours and yours alone. To that end, here are a few things to consider when making your selection:

  • The Single Initial: The perfect style to represent just a first or last name. A single letter is a nice option for a guest room or informal table linens.
  • Two Letter – Cipher: A cipher is a decorative two-letter monogram that can be used to combine two first names or two last names. 
  • Two Letter – Traditional: A two-letter monogram in a traditional format that places both letters side by side and the same size and, like the cipher, can be used to combine a first and last name or two last names.
  • Three Letter Traditional: The most popular of all monogram designs, where the surname appears center and larger. Traditional etiquette is to use the lady of the house’s initials: first, last, maiden. However, modern tastes have evolved to replace the maiden initial with the husband’s first initial.
  • Three Letter Straight Across: A three-letter monogram that reads straight across is designed for an individual’s name and is not suited for a couple who wishes to combine their initials. These styles are commonly used for gentlemen, but are also popular for a modern twist throughout the home.

TSG Tip 176 and image from Leontine Linens in New Orleans, Louisiana. Monogram descriptions from Linens: For Every Room & Occasion by Jane Scott Hodges.