Case Study I: Hand-Drawn Monogram

Mrs. Collins’s studio with reference material for creating a valued client’s new cipher—this time for his son.

The first step in every new monogram and cipher project is research. What does the client like looking at? What do they like listening to? In this case study, the subject is a young man who loves Concorde supersonic planes, the musical, “Greatest Show”, and Matisse’s “Snail”.

How do these all fit together into one three (or, in this case, five) initial design? Only Mrs. Collins’s “Muse” as she calls it, knows.

The Muse is her creative inspiration. The part of her overly creative imagination that compels her to pick up her favorite stubby graphite pencil and begin sketching. Just sketching.

Sometimes this beginning looks like scribbles. Non-representational marks on plain paper followed by tracing paper and then eventually held in place with masking tape.

In this case, complex curves mimic the Concorde delta wing. During the process, which happens naturally—more like an urge than anything deliberate— letterforms begin to evolve. And, eventually, a design.

This process goes through many iterations. The client is often involved in providing as much time and feedback as their busy schedules allow. At other times, Mrs. Collins, and her Muse, work alone. Or, together as it were as the Muse and Collins are, in actuality, one.

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