Our scrawls, whether chicken scratch-like or similar to computer font in their consistent neatness, are unique to us. Not even identical twins with their identical genetic makeup have the same handwriting, so there just might be something to the argument that we have handwriting personalities. After doing some research, I came across a few principles of graphology that seemed easiest to analyze so that even us non-experts could see what our handwriting potentially reveals.
Put the Pen to Paper
Unlocking the inner workings of our identities via graphology only requires two items: a writing utensil and an unlined piece of paper. If you’ve got old letters or notes with at least a couple paragraphs’ worth of text, the bulk of the work’s already done. If not, just find something to copy and try to write as naturally as possible. Remember, trying to have the best penmanship possible doesn’t win you any points with graphology; it will only give you insight into the kind of person you’d be if you had different handwriting.
Handwriting analyst Gary Thomas believes that studying handwriting involves looking at both small details, like the space between letters, and bigger ones, such as the amount of pressure used when writing. Each characteristic implies something different about the writer’s personality.
Space can operate in a variety of ways when it comes to handwriting. There are two main things to consider: space between words and space between sentences. That’s why using an unlined piece of paper is essential—just how much space we put between sentences can provide insight.
Spacing Between Words: According to graphology, this represents your comfort level when it comes to socializing. Having very little space in between words, like in the photo above, suggests that you are a people-person who craves social contact. A large gap indicates that you have trouble relating to others and might prefer being solo. Those with an average amount of space fall somewhere in the middle.
Spacing Between Sentences in Paragraphs: If it’s difficult to determine one line from another (i.e., there’s almost no space separating them), your thoughts might be a bit jumbled and confused. On the other side of the spectrum, large spaces are associated with sharp perception and meticulousness. Average spaces represent a balance between the two.
Another reason to use unlined paper is to analyze the direction your lines travel naturally, such as if they ascend across the page or remain steadily straight. Supposedly, the baseline tells us about our emotional health.
Straight: Someone who writes in an exactly straight line could be rigid and methodical, to the point where he/she sees being emotional as having a lack of discipline. Mostly straight lines speak well of a person’s level of self-control and success in a variety of trades.
Ascending/Descending: If the baseline slopes upward as you write from left to right (as it does in the picture below), graphologists would say that you have a positive outlook and are generally enthusiastic and determined. If it slopes downward, that suggests depression, lethargy, or a tendency toward moodiness.
Very Wavy: When lines look like the outline of a roller coaster, it might mean that the writer feels emotionally unstable. However, having a slight wave for a baseline is common and generally indicates a balanced emotional outlook.
Slant of Writing
Whether writing slants toward the left or right, or if it’s fairly vertical, relates to one’s emotional reaction to situations.
Left Slant (\\\): If your writing slants toward the left, it’s possible you have trouble expressing yourself and come off as indifferent and distant to those around you.
Vertical (|||): A lack of slant in writing suggests that you’re guided by logic more than your emotions, but that there’s a fair balance between the two.
Right Slant (///): People who write with a forward slant, such as the example pictured below, follow their hearts and are usually more empathetic and caring than most.
Size of Writing
According to graphologists, how big or small one’s font is represents their concentration skills.
Small: This type of writing, as shown below, often belongs to someone with a high concentration level and a superior attention to detail. She operates best when given one task at a time and the ability to tackle it alone.
Average: Those who use average-sized characters can concentrate just enough to be effective, but not so much that they get caught up in the minute details.
Large: Bigger handwriting could point to a fast-moving mind that has trouble focusing on one thing for too long, preferring a variety of responsibilities and tasks.
People who study handwriting, such as life coach Elaine Ness, feel that our signatures demonstrate how we want to be seen by others. They’re indicative of our public identities, but not necessarily our true selves. To best understand how signatures relate to the self, compare it to plain text, such as the body of a written letter.
Legible/Illegible: This relates to communication, particularly when it follows something the person has written him/herself. If the signature is legible, the person feels comfortable with what’s expressed and wants to associate with it; an illegible signature implies the opposite. And if the text and the signature are completely different (the text is legible and the signature is not, or vice versa), that means the individual is adopting a public persona that’s different from the private one.
An illegible signature alone, like the one pictured above, possibly indicates that the person isn’t all that interested in being publically recognized. And according to Psychology Today, if part of the signature is crossed through, it could be a sign that the person fears negative judgment or is insecure about public perception.
Elaborate/Understated: A splashy signature with lots of loops or underscores might belong to someone who likes to show off and craves the spotlight. Some say that having a long line or swoop at the end of a signature is another sign of a person wanting to be noticed, especially if it rises above the rest of the signature. If the signature is small or is almost indistinguishable from the rest of the person’s handwriting, that could mean he is shy and modest.
Spacing: What kind of space lies between the first name and last name (or middle name/initial, if that’s included in the signature)? The bigger the gap, the more a person is attempting to remove him or herself from a familial identity and focus on an individual one. The large space between Jane and Doe in the signature below indicates a tension and separation between the two.
Currently, graphology is thought of as a pseudoscience by the scientific community, meaning that it holds about as much clout as astrology or palm reading. There have been numerous studies that attempted to prove its accuracy, but most have been unsuccessful. There are some points that I disagree with, such as a tail at the end of the signature symbolizing a cry for attention. (What if you just have a long and complicated last name?) Plus our handwriting can be affected by outside factors, such as how it becomes more jumbled if we’re in a hurry.
But I believe that studying handwriting could offer some understanding about ourselves, if only because it’s so individualized. Like any other method of personality analysis, it’s just a fun way to deconstruct ourselves in the hopes of getting a glimpse at who we really are. And maybe that’s not exactly written in the stars or our signatures, but it’s still fun to look.