Monograms have been around since the Greek, Roman, and Victorian ages. Today monograms are very popular, especially in the southern United States. Monogram rules have changed since the Victorian age. In the Victorian era, all household linens used the initials for the lady of the house. The tradition order of the initials were first name initial, last name initial, maiden last name initial. The last name initial was larger and placed in the center between the first name initial and maiden name initial. Men’s initials placed on shirt cuffs, handkerchiefs, ascots, etc. were smaller, all the same size, and placed in the following order: first name, middle name, last name (surname). Here is an example of a ladies monogram.
A man’s shirt cuff monogram would look like this. Notice all the initials are the same height.
In today’s modern age, the rules have changed and are blurred with different opinions. You see two letter monograms and 4-letter monograms as well as the traditional 3-letter monograms. Two letter monograms are fairly easy to compose but four-letter monograms are a little trickier. My grandson has a hyphenated middle name. When doing his Easter basket this year, I wanted to put his monogram on a patch and attach it to the basket liner. I wanted to use all four of his name initials. Using one of my embroidery software programs I entered the initials in a stacked monogram style.
I could have also stacked it like this:
Many women today hyphenate their last names when they get married. In that case, this would be an example of a monogram for a hyphenated surname (last) name.
Here is an example of double surname that is not hyphenated.
As you can see, there are many options available today. The person doing your embroidery will work with you to get the right look for you.
Children’s monograms can be varied as well including the modern rules for hyphenated name. For safety reasons, some parents prefer a monogram on backpacks and clothing instead of a name so it is a good idea to check with the parent before giving a gift with a name on it. Infant boy monograms are usually in the first name initial, surname initial and larger in the center, middle initial order. As boys get older, the first name initial, middle name initial, surname initial all the same height order is used.
These are just guidelines. As an embroiderer, I can give advice if my customer asks but the customer makes the final decision.