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State Monograms

Branding, Typography, Logo Design


I've always been drawn to typography that can be put in a monogram. I think there is a fascinating interplay between monograms and logos with letterforms. The purpose of this project was to take state abbreviations and create monograms for them. SLC snuck in there since that is an abbreviation I see a lot living in the state of Utah. 


These are put in order of the states that I did. You can see that I begin experimenting with interlocking the letters in different ways, using negative space and later color in Nebraska. In the Nebraska monogram, I used the colors of the state to create overlapping. I think I could go back and rebrand a few of them with color and overlays. 


I wanted to create a feel of a logo that you'd see on a baseball cap of a local team or club. I want to eventually do all 50 states and possibly even countries but this is just the start. I feel that adding background photography was a good way to give the viewer a feel of what the region was like. It was difficult with California because it is such a large state and there are different climates and scenery. I ended up using a beachy, surfer vibe because that is the first thing I think about when I hear CA. 

Programs Used
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I wanted to create some more contrast between the lines on the C of this monogram. I didn't want to have the same angular look as AZ had. So on the C, I varied the thickness a little bit. 

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For the branding side of this monogram, I had to decide what style I was going for in terms of showcasing a state's "personality". California is such a diverse and large state with several climates and types of people. But when I hear California, I think of the beach and a laid-back attitude so I went with an image that conveyed that brand. 


I took what I had learned from my CA monogram and used some of the same thinking behind WA. I have a very deep love for the state of Washington as I lived there for a few years. I wanted to display the western side of the state with the Cascade mountains and vast seas of trees.

The W is thicker at the top than the bottom. I did this so the bottom of the W integrates better with the A. I wanted to call attention to the crossbar of the A as it is the center of the monogram. I also wanted to make this A feel like a minimalistic representation of a mountain peak.


The two letterforms intersecting also create an arrow and some other interesting shapes that are often used in Native American art. Having lived in the Northwest, I know there is a large history and still today many tribes reside in that area so I wanted to pay homage to that through this monogram.

Picking an image to place behind this monogram to me was fairly obvious. I had featured the landscape in my design more than elements of the city or skyline. I wanted to showcase a foggy photo of pines because often, that's what I woke up to when I lived in the Seattle area. I do love the city and culture of Washington but the natural beauty is what drew me in and continues to inspire me.


I wanted to incorporate a third letter on this next design and also branch out from just state monograms. I grew up just south of Salt Lake City and so it seemed like a good place to start. 

With the addition of a third letter, it made designing a little more difficult, especially when trying to create a visual sense as I did in the WA monogram.

I tried to use line and framing with the S as an outline and then have the other two-letter as complementary shapes.

Salt Lake City is known as a smaller city compared to metropolitan areas in the country. I wanted to find an image that showed its beauty but also that it was a busy and important place for me. 

The Salt Lake Temple is the landmark that stands out in this photo. It is the landmark that stands out in this city and has so much history in the state of Utah and the Mormon community. 


The next city that I did was DC. I wanted to create some more interest in the interlocking letters by creating spaces in the letterforms. These were the first letters that I broke up with spaces. I feel like this monogram was really experimental and I learned a lot from playing around with the simple shapes of the D and C. 

This photo was one that I think could be improved. One thing I did like about this photo was the color palette. I liked that it was very toned down and had a very earthy and organic look to it. It has a large contrast to the SLC photo I used.

I did think that there could be many other photos of the nation's capital that I could have found. The difficulty I had was narrowing it down to what I wanted to go for. 

I also feel that the formatting of the monogram on top of the image could have been cropped a little differently so that Lincoln's eye wasn't covered.

Overall this was part of experimenting with different designs, monograms, and imagery and I enjoyed doing this one and the process that it took to design. 


The last monogram I did in this project was NE for Nebraska. I wanted to take what I did on the DC project and tweak it. I added color to create interlocking letters not with spaces but with color. I used the state colors from Nebraska on this project.

The photo I used for Nebraska shows wheat fields. To me, this is a big part of the state and the agricultural contribution it gives to the country. To me, this represents hard work and what Nebraska is known for.

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