Advisor, Confidant and Certified Consulting Hypnotist. Author, Speaker and Podcaster. Metaphysician, Handwriting Analyst and Meditation Teacher.

How Good are Analyses of Signatures?

The previous section lets you know that a decent sample should be at least a page in length. A signature, being one, two or three words, falls somewhat short.

On the other hand, we probably practice and perfect our signa ture more than any other element of our writing. If our hand writing represents us at all, wouldn't our signa ture repre sent us best?

As you can see, there is a little conflict in these two posi tions. On the one hand, a signature is a small sample and it does lack the full range of stroke structures that are nec essary for a full analysis. On the other hand, for its size, it is a sample that can tell us a great deal about the writer.

Our signature is our trademark and it reflects the per son al ity that we portray to the public. Our regu lar script rep re sents our real or private self. Sometimes the two are differ ent, almost as if written by two dif ferent people. This shouldn't be too surprising because we all know people who act differently in public than they do in pri vate.

I believe that an analyst can glean quite a bit from a sig na ture but I caution that, not only will many stroke struc tures be missing but the signature may not be rep resen ta tive of the writer in other ways. At the moment the sig na ture was written, for example, someone could have bumped into the desk, the pen could have run out of ink, the writer might have been distracted, etc.

There are people, however, who specialize in signature analysis and, with relatively little to go on, they can develop a pretty elaborate analysis. They will look at the placement of the signa ture relative to the end of the writ ing and rela tive to the left or right margin. They will com pare the size of the signature with the size of the script. They will interpret the degree of legibility and the use of initials versus full names. They will look at under lining, overscoring, crossing out and conflicting slants.

In spite of this, analyzing a signature is still pretty lim ited and should never be portrayed as a full analysis. It can re veal some personality traits but remember, the stroke structures are too few and they may not be rep resenta tive of the writer.

This discussion brings up a related and very practical point. If a sig nature isn't necessarily representative of the writer and if the stroke structures are too few to paint a complete picture, then isn't there some risk in displaying signatures or short handwrit ten phrases in advertising or in other aspects of business?

Elaine Charal (a friend and colleague) and I were once given a few products by Marketing Magazine and asked to do an anal ysis of the signa tures and script used on the labels. We had John Labatt, Pres ident's Choice, Orville Redenbacher and a few others. We did our analysis which Marketing published on March 22, 1993. In a number of instances, we were kind.

On another occasion I spent an afternoon in a library look ing at the auditor signatures in annual reports. I found many admirable traits in these signatures but I also found deceit, evasive ness, procrastination, inatten tion to detail and other traits that the accounting firms probably did not want to project. The Financial Post had fun with this on February 6, 1992.

My point in mentioning these two experiences is to sug gest that there is some degree of risk in using handwrit ing, and especially signatures, to promote products and services. In North America, this is becoming more of an issue and busi ness peo ple would be well advised to con sult a handwriting analyst before sup port ing their mar keting efforts with a favorite script. This is advisable for three reasons.

First, handwriting contains many universal symbols that send mes sages on an unconscious level, e.g. sharp, angled writing suggests impatience, anger or aggressiveness; rounded writing con veys softness or friendliness; big writ ing suggests extrovert and small, introvert, etc. Second, more books, courses, articles and information are being disseminated on the subject. And third, in our global econ omy, we are dealing more with countries where the citi zens are considerably more knowledge able about hand writ ing analysis.