Monogramming Guide


Monogram format (traditionally for women) the first letter of the last name is shown large in the center of the design, flanked by the smaller initials of the first name on the left and middle name initial on the right.

Initial format (traditionally for men) displays first initials of the first, middle and last name in that order and all the same size.



Married couples can choose between three types of monograms: traditional, modern and single initial.

Traditional Monogram for a married couple, reading the monogram from left to right:

1) Wife’s first name initial.
2) Husband’s last name initial. This initial is larger than the initials on each side of it.
3) Wife’s maiden name initial

Modern Monogram for a married couple, reading the monogram from left to right:

1) Wife’s first name initial.
2) Husband’s last name initial. This initial is larger than the initials on each side of it.
3) Husband’s first name initial.

Single Initial Monogram for a married couple is the initial of the couple's new last name.


An engaged couple should never use the married monogram until after the wedding ceremony.

Additional guidelines do exist for situations such as the bride keeping her maiden name, and our team will be happy to help find a unique, creative and beautiful solution.


The most common practice for monogramming men's gift items is to use a same-size initial format or full name.

Example: Ian Douglas Scott would be IDS.

History of Monogramming


Monograms celebrate our identity. The monogram is a set of letters, usually initials which are combined into a decorative mark used to identify a particular person or family. The word's origins are in the Late Latin, 'monogramma,' from Greek mono (alone/one) + gramma (letter).

The earliest known use of the monogram was on clay coins which were first made during the transition from a bartering system to a monetary system of trade.

Early Greek and Roman rulers used their monograms on coins and other currency to identify the ruler of the region from which it came.

As time passed, it became common to mark the valuable property of nobility with a monogram. Eventually, it became common to see an aristocrat’s monogram emblazoned on a variety of items from weaponry and armor to household items, royal banners and coats of arms.

In the Middle Ages, it became common for artisans to use monograms to sign their work. Museum curators today are even able to determine during which part of Rembrandt's career a particular painting was completed simply by the monogram used to sign the piece. (In his early years, Rembrandt used the simple monogram, RH. As his career progressed, he switched to the more formal, RHL.)

In the Middle Ages, it became common for artisans to use monograms to sign their work. Museum curators today are even able to distinguish Rembrandt's early work (which he signed with the simple monogram RH) from his later work, (which he signed with the more formal RHL) and they are able to tell just from the monogram!

Members of the Victorian era aristocracy often used the monogram as an emblem of their high rank in society.

Early monograms consisted only of two initials, but since the 18th century, the three-initial monogram has become the traditional standard.


The format most widely seen today, is 3 initials, the first and middle on either side and the initial of the last name largest in the middle. This places special emphasis on the family name. Monograms celebrate who we are and where we come from.

While the monogram may have a long history and a very close connection to royalty and other wealthy individuals, it is very widely used today by people from every kind of background on a variety of personal items, both big and small, from modest and humble, to elaborate and fantastic.

Here at Monogramming Studio by Atlantic Embroidery Works, we proudly continue these traditions, while simultaneously reinventing and innovating them to express the unique personalities and meet the creative needs of our customers.

Shop our online store or come in and see us at our location to become a new part of this history today!