Thursday, 26 June 2014


Signs and Symbols

I've seen a few monograms in my travels lately and though I've never paid that much attention to them, I have been intrigued by the concept of a cypher for myself. Usually it is a kind of signature for you alone using your own initials interwoven to make a design. There are a lot of styles these days but I like the beautiful ornate variety from former times.

Today monograms are usually found on towels and stationery and come in a myriad of fonts, but once upon a time it was a device used to show presence and they were quite elaborate in their design. Here in England, there are many examples still in use today; you can see the cyphers of the respective monarchs on mail boxes and telephone kiosks.

If you think about it, company logos are modern cyphers. You would recognize the Nike logo and probably the Volkswagen symbol if you spotted them around town. Many people wear Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel's monograms and who wouldn't know what the “Golden Arches” stood for? Branding is a worldwide thing these days so it isn't so far removed from the monograms of say the 18thcentury.

Marie Antoinette's cypher, an intertwined A and M formed an elegant pattern that graced walls, furniture and China, for example, and it's my favourite of them all. I am so tempted to just “borrow” it, I like the way the letters flow together and they just happen to be my initials too. But, I think in the interest of originality, I probably should come up with my own design so I have been doodling and trying to come up with my own distinctive mark. Something for my stationery, a seal perhaps or just my own brand for my pencil boxes and assorted receptacles for my stationery trappings.

Maybe that is a bit too lofty an ambition marking all my possessions but I do like the idea of monogrammed stationery and perhaps a wax seal to use in my correspondence. Dear Limner over at Oh, write me! likes to use the bee as her symbol and I think that is singular. I've come up with a couple of designs for myself but haven't chosen my favourite one yet.  I have a few other ideas for cyphers that I want to try to draw out before I decide. (I still like Marie Antoinette's cypher best!) Do you have a monogram you use or a logo or device?




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