Saturday, July 31, 2010

Monogramming Etiquette

At Gigi's, we get so many questions about proper etiquette for personalization. I feel like the answer is always the same-whatever makes you happy! The beauty of personalization is to take an active part in creating a product that is one-of-a-kind. Personalizing a gift also shows extra thought an effort for little or sometimes no extra cost. With that being said, there are a few guidelines that we at Gigi's recommend:

1. Single Initials- There are many wonderful ready made products that come in a single initial which is perfect for that last minute gift. My usual suggestion is to use the initial for the first name for personal accessories (such as bags, key chains, jewelry, etc) and the initial for the last name for home or family items (things like serve ware, ice buckets, flags, etc). However, this is not a hard and fast rule. Many times if there are several girls in the family it's a great idea to use the last initial even on personal accessories so the item can be shared. There is no wrong way, just different circumstances!

2. The Monogram- This is the classic go-to for preppy personalization! The monogram is perfect for all items and can be applied in many different mediums. The traditional monogram is written as first initial, last initial, middle (or maiden) initial. For example, my name is Hannah Kincannon Barnett so my monogram would read HBK. Notice also that the last name initial is slightly larger that the two flanking it. A variation is the family monogram, combining the initials of a couple. This method is perfect for photo albums, linens, or any home decor. It is written as wife's first initial, last initial, and husband's first initial. My husband's name is Kenneth so our family monogram is HBK. Either method is acceptable, but the guideline is usually the same as initials-personal items get your personal monogram, family items get a family monogram. There are also variations on the classic monogram like the circle monogram or the diamond monogram in which the letters are curved to take on a shape. I like to do a different style almost every time, but many people like to pick one style and stick with it. I also get asked a lot of times what to use for babies or children. Again, it's mostly personal preference but my suggestion is monogram for babies and a full name for a child old enough to recognize it. I find that older children love being able to recognize their names. An important note is that you never ever use your married monogram before you get married. The use of "future Mrs. Whatever" is appropriate, but all monogrammed products including shower thank you notes mailed out before the wedding should still have your maiden name or monogram. Don't worry about not having anything with your new monogram on it, personalized wedding gifts are so popular you are sure to receive a few! There are so many different monogramming options now that you can have complete control of how your items turn out!

3. The Initials- Where the monogram is favored by women, initials are the primary form of personalization for men. It is written simply as first initial, middle initial, and last initial. For example, my husband's full name Kenneth McRee Barnett would read KMB. Although usually used by men, some women who don't care for the monogram style opt for the initial format. Baby boys usually use the traditional monogram, then switch to the initial as they grow older.

4. Full name-The full name looks great on children's products, or any item you take along with you in a mixed setting. For example, a lunch bag or travel mug you take to work is great with your name on it to keep others away. Same thing goes for kids' lunchbox, book bag, or even apparel. Also, in a new school class or daycare it can help others learn their name. A variation we love to use is a large first initial with the name written through it. This is a great way to add a second color to a design.

With personalization color, font, and size are all to be taken into consideration. Keep in mind that colors on the opposite end of the color wheel always look good together, and I personally love to mix browns, creams, light pinks, greens, lavenders, aquas, and oranges together. Blacks and greys look great with hot pinks, purple, red, white and jewel tones. Font should be chosen for style, thickness, and size. If embroidering on a busy print for example don't choose a font that is thin and wispy. The best advice is to ask for an opinion. We personalize our products every day and are happy to offer assistance with your personalization needs.