Creating Fancy Names
by Richards Jarden
Names are commonly embroidered on jackets and shirts for the simple purpose of identifying the person wearing the garment, creating a durable "nametag". Standardization and modern times have resulted in a common expectation about what this kind of text should look like when it is used. Computer word processing programs, newspapers, magazines, etc, all use text in a primarily utilitarian manner. The goal is to simplify the graphic impact with as little variation of visual style as possible.
Practicioners of the arts often take a different approach, working to create designs that are visually active and exciting. In the arts, rules can be bent to provide variation. The history of graphic design, from illuminated manuscripts in the middle ages to contemporary movie posters, provides rich examples of the blending of utilitarian text with exciting individual letter designs to form new combinations.
Embroidery software programs make it easy to use stock designs and stock lettering to create fancy names for use in garment embellishment and interior design applications.
The example here started with a letter from a digitized stock monogram design (Arts and Crafts Monogram Set 3). This is a 4-color design with a graceful stylized flower stem, a two-color flower design, and two small open circles as accents complimenting a slanted vertical letter style. This design is intended for creating a two-letter monogram, so it includes matching letters for the right side (without the flower details) that can be combined with the left side versions.
In the design pictured here, the letter A was combined with lower case letters from stock lettering typed out on the keyboard. Many embroidery software programs have lettering options like this, and even those that do not have a vast library of digitized typefaces that can provide the additional text needed to produce a fancy name. The stock lettering style used here is a basic script style, and although it does not match the text style from the stock letter A, the combined design flows nicely as a whole. The key is that all the letters of the name are sewn with the same thread color, which blends the two styles together.
With some experimentation with letter slant, size, and type style you can successfully produce stock lettering that will allow you to combine two different stock elements into one entirely new design.
This article originally appeared in Designs in Machine Embroidery, Volume 19, as part of a regular feature called "ABCs of Lettering."