Monograms evoke memories of mom’s writing on t-shirt tags worn to summer camp and fancy hand towels in the bathroom of newlyweds. Monograms are pre-internet taggings of items that we want to claim or express ourselves on. I personally enjoy the first initial monogram, which is why I gravitated towards the tea cup shown above. As a tea enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoy coming across a fabulous cup, which is why I lit up when I received an “A” tea cup from a wonderful friend. I like starting my morning with a cup of tea and a letter, as the caffeine and scripted font inspire and awaken my mind. Also, I never have to worry that someone will be confused about the ownership of the cup, unless I graciously share it of course.
Merriam-Webster notes that “monogram” is “a sign of identity usually formed of the combined initials of a name.” However, if you look at roots of the word, “from Gk. monos ’single, alone’ + gramma ‘letter, line,’” then you’ll see that it makes reference to a single letter, not plural of initials. Although, Merriam did say “usually formed of combined initials” not “always.” “Monogram” can be dated back to 1696 and makes reference “to the signature of the Byzantine emperors. Earlier it meant “sketch or picture drawn in lines only, without shading or color,” a sense also found in L. and probably in Gk.”
The “monogram” is a physical way to tag our material items in an expressive manner that can only become possessive if we choose not to share (seriously, pass the tea cup to a friend every once and a while). So whether you’re still wearing that t-shirt from camp with mom’s scribble, or wiping your hands on the fancy, show towel that you shouldn’t be touching, you are probably encountering monograms pretty often.
I’d love to read some comments about the most ridiculous monogrammed items that you’ve encountered. I’ll be sure to read them while drinking from my “A” cup!
image courtesy of Anthropologie