The Ninth Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary (2006) defines a monogram as “a motif of two or more interwoven letters, typically a person’s initials”. This straightforward statement captures the basics of what a monogram is, but they hold a lot more visual purpose in the graphic design community. My initial understanding is that a monogram serves as a visual representation of your or a brand’s identity. It stands as an emblem of your personal aesthetic and preferences.
We can understand the importance of a monogram when looking into artistic or marketing industries. There is so much thought and history that goes into every design and there is a lot that has to be considered when creating or upgrading a monogram. The designer has an intrinsic process that would consist of ideas of how to captivate their desired audience (a certain demographic), communicate what the symbol is meant to represent and even consider what it would overall visually communicate.
Whilst beginning my research of monogram, I looked into the history of its upbringing. Ancient monograms can be found upon old currency and artefacts from the history of the royals. Marie-Antoinette was the queen of France and had a monogram, which can be seen down below (2011). It establishes a grand cursive and elegant style. It displays detailing of petal-like shapes that surface at the end of each letter as if it is replacing the serif tail of the font. The hidden letters of A and M are in capital letters and represent a high power or boldness. With all of the elements combined it not only communicates the European style within this era but also her royal heritage and high class reputation.
We are able to recognise a dramatic change when comparing newer monograms that hold futuristic styles in typography compared to ancient monograms. The twenty-first century has invited and encouraged minimalistic styles. There is also a high use of san serif fonts within this modern age. Take into consideration the Volkswagen monogram (2015) that has become iconic within the marketing and design industry. This logo has been altered since 1939 and has been updated into this sleek distinct symbol. It’s innovative and combines two letters whilst communicating its motor vehicle branch through visually resembling a car wheel.
Throughout time more movements have introduced new styles thus providing a more diverse range of design options. With the development of technology and digital media it is easier to share and create new styles with 24/7 access to a diverse range of sources and inspiration. This has made the modern age a time where every brand or power is competing for dominance and recognition to gain sales. Designers are aiming to make singular distinct styles and authentic icons so that they can stand out and gain attention from society. It raises the challenge for new designers to create a monogram that not only coveys their wanted concept but also stands out within an overwhelming large crowd of amazing designs.
Royal Monogram of Queen Marie-Antoinette of France, 2011, image, WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, viewed 5 May 2019, <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Royal_Monogram_of_Queen_Marie-Antoinette_of_France.svg#/media/File:Royal_Monogram_of_Queen_Marie-Antoinette_of_France.svg>.
Volkswagen, 2015, image, Medium, viewed 5 May 2019, < https://medium.com/content-shailee/evolution-of-the-volkswagen-logo-25fe01229f2f>.