Handwriting analysis is a complex subject. Many, many books have been written about it. Formal study, sometimes at the college level, is usually required in order to practice it professionally. There are even graphology organizations with regular conferences discussing all the nuances of this fascinating field.
If you’re interested in handwriting analysis, but don’t want to turn it into a career, here are just a few tidbits that you may find interesting:
When the painter Thomas Gainsborough was doing a portrait, he preferred to work with a sample of the subject’s handwriting nearby. He believed that it gave him a better understanding of his subject-which in turn helped him more closely capture that person’s image on canvas.
The poet Emily Dickinson became more reclusive as she got older. Her handwriting during this time became increasingly disconnected, seeming to reflect how disconnected she probably felt from the world around her.
Left or right?
A study of identical twins showed that it was common for the writing of one twin to slant to the left, while the writing of the other slanted to the right. The slant of the handwriting can indicate handedness, and this seemed to be true in this case, since it was common for one twin to be left-handed while the other was right-handed.
Physical, mental, and emotional considerations
People who are feeling very emotional tend to write faster than they do when they’re calm.
Low blood sugar, perhaps because it affects a person’s mood, may cause the baseline of the handwriting to be inconsistent.
People who are developmentally delayed may write with large spaces between their words, indicating their isolation and difficulty communicating with others.
People with speech problems-for example, stuttering-will also have problems writing smoothly. In fact, it may be possible to help their speech by working with their handwriting.
Some fields or professions require a certain color of ink. Black, for example, is commonly used for business communication, while blue is preferred for personal use. But things can get interesting when the person is allowed to choose their own ink color.
The choice of ink color can indicate some character traits. For example, the use of red ink can show leadership, dominance, or aggression; black ink, power or the desire for clarity; blue ink, friendliness or spirituality; green ink, adaptability or the desire for harmony; and purple ink, eccentricity and a desire to stand out from the crowd.
The way a person writes numbers can show how they feel about money. For example, carefully written numbers tend to show that the person who wrote them is careful about money.
It is possible to determine a person’s IQ from their handwriting. There is a scoring method that can put the estimated IQ within just a few points of the Stanford-Binet IQ test score.
In the United States, National Handwriting Day is celebrated every year on January 23-the birthday of John Hancock, who may have the most distinctive-or at least recognizable-signature on the Declaration of Independence.
And a final tip
Contrary to popular belief, writing is easier to copy when it’s elaborate. If you’re concerned about identity theft, keep your writing-and your signature-simple. It’s harder to forge that way.