Take a look at this:
This one has initials, NLM, in that order. So “-.” is N, “.-..” is L, and “- -” is M. Get it?
Note also how the “M” on the right is a bit more “pronounced” – there is only one unit of space between the top and bottom parts, whereas there are two units of space between the top and bottom of the N and L. These are your large and small versions of letters.
Having culled the interwebs, searched dusty tomes, and spoke with friends of good breeding, I came up with a list of general rules for my monograms.
For women, traditionally, the non-cutting-board monogram is arranged First, Last/Married, Middle/Maiden, with center letter larger. With these cutting boards, it’s First, Middle/Maiden, Last/Married, with the last/married initial larger, as in the case above. The last initial is on the right to maintain the linearity of Morse code and larger so that it’s clear that is is the last initial and prevent any ambiguity. A larger letter in the middle looks nice on a piece of stationary, but that doesn’t work with Morse code.
For men, all letters are often the same size and it’s assumed to be in the order of the initials, as you might see monogrammed on a shirt. So for me, it could be PER, with no differentiation between smaller and larger – as they are all the same size, it’s assumed to be First, Middle, Last.
Here’s an example:
Woman can also get all letters the same size, and men with a larger last initial – it’s all good – but the above is the recommendation.
For couples, if both are keeping their names, I can do either just first or last initials (so just two letters). If it’s a man and a woman, the more common arrangement today is to put the woman’s initial first, but can also depend on what looks better graphically.
This one is for a couple, and it says FB:
Similarly, for a couple where it’s a man and a woman and the the woman takes the man’s name, it’s more common these days to have the woman’s initial on the left, the man’s on the right, and the man’s last initial in the center (back in the day, the man’s first initial was traditionally on the left, the woman on the right). With these boards, because of the left-to-right linear nature of Morse code, I put the woman’s initial first, then the man’s, then the married name. With the above example, NLM, that could also be for “Nigella & Lewis Mumford”.