02 March 2012

My Tolkien Inspired Monogram

Years ago when I first discovered the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and enveloped myself in the world of Middle-Earth, I was intrigued by the little symbol on the spine of the books Tolkien had written. My edition of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are both bordered by Dwarf runes (which I decoded with relish), and feature the mark of Tolkien’s estate, his own personal monograph, on the spine.
For those who don’t know, this is the mark I am talking about:
I haven’t been able to uncover much information on this symbol, and I suppose there probably isn't much to find. It is after all a simple monogram, a combination of the author’s famous initials, and now symbol of the venerable Tolkien estate.
Back in the day I was quite the MS Paint wiz (I still am to this day, but it is less to be proud of now), so I resolved to create my own initial based monogram. After a lot of searching at themeWorld.com for the appropriate font (what I hoped was the somewhat Tolkienesque ‘Viking’), and a few minutes with Paint, I created this:
My initials are MJM in case it wasn’t clear enough
I have been quite happy with this over the years, adding it discretely to my documents, web pages, resume and so on. It even made its way onto my work email signature until this was deemed ‘inappropriate’...
Anyhow, I decided to break it out again for this blog, when I noticed how dated it is looking. Not the design itself, but rather the image that I saved. It was a lovingly crafted bitmap made with my own two hands (well one hand, with one clicking finger), but as a result its edges are a bit jagged. I worked this picture to life with a studious carving of pixels after all, not the vector based graphics of this millennium.
So I am interested in updating, and was wondering if anyone has any idea what programs would be good for making a vector graphic version of this symbol?
Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook, or wherever you find my digital presence.


  1. I was also doing a little research on that monogram and I couldn´t ignore the resemblance between that monogram and a chinese character (i´m studying mandarin) it looks almost the same in my opinion, and since I heard that Tolkein was fluent in many languages maybe he knew a little chinese as well and was inspired by this character, this is the one i´m talking about "束" it means to bind, to restrain to control, makes you think about the quote: "one ring to rule them all".


  2. As a fellow MJM who's looked into creating his own monogram in the past, this is awesome!