The Monogram

The Monogram is the most personal graphic design project there is - and a great entry point into the world of typography.

The goal of the project is to capture a sense of your personality and/or interests with only 2-3 glyphs (your initials). These need to be created from scratch (yep, no using pre-existing fonts).

For this project, you’ll want to take a close look at a ton of examples and typefaces - paying attention to how the angularity, weight, proportion, and other aspects of a glyph create its “personality”.



1. Communicate

Because the monogram project requires you to be both the client and the designer, the design process is simplified a bit from the traditional Graphic Design Process (which you should be familiar with):

So you will still communicate, but with yourself. Do some self-examination, and write a short design brief based on the following questions:

  • What aspects of my personality do I want my monogram to evoke?

  • What interest of mine can I allude to?

  • What types of lines, shapes, styles, etc. resonate with me?

2. Research

Based on your design brief, visit the following websites and conduct focused searches.

Google (monogram image search)
Logobook (letters section)
Dafont (use custom sample field)
Google Fonts (use custom sample field)

If a letterform style resonates with you, screen grab it (cmd+opt+4) and drop the collective images into gomoodboard. Note: You should have at least 10 images to reference.

3. Ideate

Based on your moodboard, grab your sketchbook and draw at least 6 possible solutions.

From these initial 6 solutions, selected one. Flip the page over and draw 6 new variations based on the initial solution you selected.

From this second round of 6, pick your top solution.

Before you fully commit, get some feedback from classmates, family, . . . anyone you can. Listen to learn - and be open to suggestions - you might come up with an even better solution with some outside feedback.

4. Finalize

Using Illustrator, either draw from scratch or import/trace your top solution. Paying close attention smooth curves, aligned edges and other professional standards (see “Specs & Standards” below).


Specs & Standards


Once you are ready to vectorize your artwork, your monogram should be setup and turned in with the following specs:

  • 1200px X 1200px

  • RGB

  • .ai file format

  • Black graphic on white background

  • Aligned to the optical center of the artboard with enough padding to provide some white space “breathing room”.


Issues and

While personal, more successful monograms often share the same standards and qualities of a more interesting font or logo. Scroll down to view some common issues and helpful guidelines.




All aspects of the glyphs - width, alignment, terminal, height, stroke, etc. should be unified by consistency.


Artboard 3 copy.jpg

Sometimes a simple shape or frame can enhance a monogram. But avoid complex framing and illustration.


Artboard 7.jpg

Super-clean typefaces are really useful, but give your monogram some sense of your personality or interests.


Artboard 7 copy.jpg

Reverse type (white on black) and negative space can add cleverness, but always keep legibility in mind.