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How to make a Monogram

A few months ago I started working on some designs I thought would be useful for my wedding, which will be happening June 7, 2008. We expected to do our own invitations, and I had wanted to try playing with our initials so I took to working on a monogram for us... but since there are two initials isn't called a duogram?

My fiancee decided not to change her last name (which begins with an S) and I wasn't about to change mine (which starts with an H) and there was talk of having the future offspring with the S-H name... that is yet to be determined. But I figured for the purposes of decoration, there would be nothing wrong with a nice SH monogram so I fired up Photoshop and spent sometime with it.

This first image (72 point Edwardian) was the starting point but I had to work on the spacing.

In the second image I played with the spacing enough to have the flourish on the H seem to hug or embrace the S. The S is slightly higher to place the letters closer together, but any closer and the fine lines of the flourish would just crowd the other parts of the S. I like this and the colour looks very good as well (though probably not as good here in the blog). However, the H is hard to work with given its weird top flourish.

This last image is a completely different typeface. The H is a little more... reserved? Well quite a bit fancier but not as expansive anyway. The S fits well in this position, but you can't really tell its an S. One thing that bugs me about some typefaces is lettershapes that don't look like the letters they are supposed to represent. These letters would look nice in a fancy document, possibly with gold embossing or gold leaf.

I hope you enjoyed this little journey. If I have made errors in terminology please correct me. Have you ever had to design your own monogram? Post some links and show your work!

Before writing up this post, I came across this article which also inspired me:


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When I started teaching computer labs a few years ago I got really fired up about typography. It was a small section in a chapter on word processing in the textbook we were using, but I was intrigued with explaining it to inexperienced users, though I had been interested in typography before.

During that time I came up with a basic typeface that I use on the white boards. It really contains mostly modifications to the letters A and E, but the trailing "S" I would sometimes add flourishes too.

Really it looks better in the word "DATABASES" but it also works ok with "SPREADSHEETS".

I've played with different variations on the E, but its harder to make it look interesting and still maintain its readability, which is something I want to keep with any typeface I create.

Do you have any special purpose typefaces you've designed? Got any suggestions for the E? Let me know in the comments below.