Initial Success

Combining innate creative ability, an artistic heritage, and the desire to leave a lasting impression, Allison R. Banks makes her mark fashioning bespoke monograms and custom stationery. The calligrapher discovered that her greatest sense of fulfillment comes from designing details that leave indelible memories. “Think back to a big event,” she points out, “and you’ll probably find a note, an invitation, or a symbol that helps mark that moment. It’s amazing how the little things stay with us.”

Allison noticed that few people design one-of-a-kind monograms. The stationery industry was changing, she observed, and there was a need for hand-drawn work. She started developing her own way of doing things that blended old and new.

To create a custom monogram, the artist begins with a consultation. Just as handwriting says a lot about a person, she explains, a monogram says so much—clients need to look inside themselves to discover their personalities. Pencil sketches refine the design, and upon approval, Allison renders the final version in ink. Each hand-drawn insignia is distinct. Even when people find styles they favor in her gallery, she never duplicates a design. “It’s just like commissioning a painting,” she says. “All the monograms are original.”

In addition to monograms, Allison’s calligraphy work graces personal and event stationery, along with other products. The calligrapher says her biggest reward comes in knowing she is creating a family heritage. Many wedding couples have returned to request ciphers for their offspring, and Allison says she anticipates bringing the process full circle. “I look forward to the day when children of clients start coming back to have me design a wedding monogram.”

Text Melissa Lester