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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 8/7/2008

Monograms Find a New Home on Walls

(ARA) - Symbols representing families are as old as carvings in caves. The Japanese have kamons -- simple symbols indicating familial associations typically used on clothing or weapons. The indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest have totem poles -- the word "totem" is derived from a word meaning "his kinship group." The Scots famously have tartans -- plaid fabrics claimed by extended families or "clans." Europeans have coats of arms; and Americans proudly display their monogram.

Admirers of monograms have always appreciated the air of elegance that a simple letter (or two or three) can lend to stationery, luggage, sheets and towels. Increasingly, though, monograms are becoming art.

Mary McPhail, owner of Wonderful Graffiti, a company that specializes in monograms as wall art, speculates that the growing popularity of family monograms as art stems from several trends.

"Remember that today's homeowners have grown up surrounded by corporate logos. They understand that logos are designed to immediately elicit recognition and superiority, trust, admiration and loyalty," McPhail says. If a company's symbol can convey all that meaning, surely the symbol of a family can convey meaning too

"I just think there's a stronger sense of family these days. Maybe it's from 9/11; maybe it's in response to an increasingly crowded world," says McPhail. "Whatever it is, people seem to want to demonstrate their family pride in beautiful ways, while making their home unmistakably theirs."

What's A Monogram?

A monogram, strictly defined, is a motif made by overlapping or entwining two or more letters to form one symbol. It can also be a letter or letters combined with other graphic elements, like leaves or flowers, to form one symbol.

A sequence of uncombined initials, such as "tCm", is properly referred to as a cipher, although ciphers are frequently referred to as monograms. A full name isn't, strictly speaking, a monogram either, but they're commonly used and referred to as monograms.

Where Do Monograms Go?

A large family monogram, hung over a fireplace mantel, reinforces an already powerful focal point. A large monogram over a master-suite bed is not just a strong focal point, it's also wildly romantic. Etiquette expert Emily Post says that, in a couple's monogram, the woman's first initial appears on the left, the groom's first initial on the right, and the shared last name initial in the middle.

A monogram over an entry table is an arresting way to welcome visitors. Try nestling your monogram into an array of framed family photos, perhaps on a hallway wall or in the family room. Small monograms are fun in unexpected places, like over the hand towels in a guest bathroom or next to the key rack by the back door. Courtesy of ARAContent



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