Everyone, these days, is a brand. If you blog, tweet, Instagram, friend and/or pin, you can show the world who you are, what you like and what you stand for.
One thing that brands love more than anything is a logo. This might explain why monogramming is having its moment. Just like Gucci with its G’s, Chanel with its C’s and Louis Vuitton with its LVs, each of us can have our initials embroidered, etched, silk-screened or printed on just about anything from yoga mats to rolling pins. Yes, what used to be thought of as elitist – think silver cups and linen handkerchiefs – is no longer. Monogramming has gone mainstream.
The new catalog and sales website Mark and Graham is setting out to modernize monogramming, both in its typeface selections and in its process. Mark and Graham is an offshoot of Williams-Sonoma, so it’s able to use the same giant personalization facility in Tennessee as its sister companies, Pottery Barn, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma.
Similar advancements in printing have made personalized stationery a huge online industry. No longer do you have to pore through unwieldy binders deciding which ink color and paper stock you want. Companies such as Minted, Tiny Prints, Iomoi, the Stationery Studio and the new Paper by Paperless Post offer hundreds of design, paper and envelope options that you can preview, approve and have shipped to you in a matter of days.
For some, the huge design selection might be overwhelming. But I welcome the choices, especially when I am choosing a gift for a friend. I often give Iomoi’s snappy note cards, and every year I religiously give my close friends personalized gift tags to use on their own holiday wrappings. I spend time choosing designs that match each friend’s taste and style.
A spinoff of the personalized stationery craze is personalized artwork. Minted.com and Red Envelope. com sell customizable art prints that include specific designs to commemorate weddings, anniversaries, births and other milestones.
Typed monograms are not the only kind of personalization out there. Take a look at Bespoke Custom Gifts, where you can use photos, silhouettes, your favorite sports or hobbies, even the state where you live, to customize items. For my husband, I ordered silver cuff links that have mini antique maps of our hometown set behind a magnifying resin. I also ordered a custom silhouette necklace for my daughter.
This is why personalizing is hot right now: It’s personal. In this global economy, it is harder and harder to find unique items. Anyone can get anything at any time, but by adding a monogram or personalized message to something, you are making the item special and you are also signaling that you put extra time and thought into the purchase. That being said, not all monogramming takes time. Companies wise to the trend have created single-initial ready-to-wear items that entail no thought other than knowing what letter your first or last name starts with.
But like any trend, people can take it too far. Just because you can get a yoga mat or rolling pin monogrammed doesn’t mean you should.