Your signature is unique. It is also your public face. It represents you on important documents, on messages to friends: it is your mark of promise, your bond. And it says more about you than any other set of letters.
The signature is a multi-purpose sign. It commits you to, say, repay a debt, that what you state on your tax form is correct, that you support the views expressed in a letter — it is used to help enforce the law. Yet it is also used in personal communication to friends, wishing someone a happy birthday, and much more.
So it is not surprising that people use variations of their signatures depending on what it is being used for. A signature on a legal document might be signed with your full name, including initial letters of middle names. A letter to a friend might simply be signed with a pet name.
Your signature is central to your identity, yet you sign your name thousands of times in your life, so often that writing it becomes a completely automatic, mechanical act. The signature is a stylized form of writing: it shows how you want the world to percieve you.
As always in graphology, the rules of common-sense apply. Ask the writer to produce their typical signature that they would use to sign a cheque. Use that for your analysis.
The first thing to consider with the signature is how it compares with the rest of the person’s handwriting. Although signatures tend to be slightly stylized, they echo traits in the script. Any differences between the two show a discrepancy between the writer’s view of their own character and how they expect to be regarded — there is something false here. The meaning of the differences is explained on this webpage.
The larger the signature, the greater the writer’s self esteem, and expectation that this should be recognised.
Large signature: this shows a sense of high status -which may in real life be the case, but in terms of the signature that is not the point — of having value. If the signature is larger than the handwriting, the writer carries a pretence of higher self esteem — and confidence — than is the case. It is a ‘front’.
Medium size signature (same as handwriting): shows a balance of sense of value and modesty. If it is the same size as the script it shows someone with a knowledge of, and acceptance of, how he or she is perceived. When this person is in public, they do not put on an act.
Small signature: the writer expects little esteem from other people. This may imply a high degree of self-motivation and disregard for what people think, but is more likely to be a sign of low self-confidence. If the signature is smaller than the script, the writer does not expect recognition of their worth. It may be this is a deliberate holding back, a defensive posture.
For typical use, the majority of people nowadays use their full first name and surname. Those who choose not to and opt for use of initials instead of their christian name(s) will have one of two reasons:
a) They prefer the formality and reserve of the more ‘businesslike’ initials, in which case they are likely to have conventional, perhaps even old fashioned, values, or
b) they deeply dislike their first name.
Writing your full name in your signature reveals a more informal, relaxed approach to life – the writer likes to get on first name terms quickly.
Legibility bears little relation to speed: the fast writer can still be perfectly readable, and the slow writer can have an impossibly messy script. In handwriting, legibility is, subconsciously, a matter of choice. The same applies in the signature.
If the illegible signature closes a business letter, it shows that the writer does not consider their name to be of great importance to the matter in hand: they are a mere functionary. The personal signature may be very different.
A consistently illegible signature implies that ‘you really ought to know who I am, and if you don’t, it is your loss!’. A certain arrogance and self importance is apparent.
If the surname is more legible than the first name the writer shows reserve on first contact with people – a holding back of familiarity until they get to know a person better.
A first name more legible than the surname reveals a more approachable, direct person who will make a great effort to be friendly.
Complete legibility shows open and straightforward social attitudes. The writer is happy to be accepted as they are.
COMPARISONS ON LEGIBILITY WITH SCRIPT
Legible script, illegible signature: the writer feels what is said is of more importance than his or her true identity, and is hiding his or her true self.
Illegible script, illegible signature: a deliberate attempt to create an aura of mystery and enigma around the writer, who enjoys the idea of being difficult to know. They do not want you to know what they are really thinking!
Illegible script, legible signature: greater importance placed on the writer’s name than on what they actually say. Draw the obvious conclusion!
Like the margins and layout of the page, placement of signature is quite revealing. Business letters should not be used for analysis as they have a standard format.
Signature on left: writer seems in public to be withdrawing from the future, clinging to the past. May be a pose.
Signature in the middle: a show of importance, a need for attention.
Signature on right: forward looking, natural.
DIRECTION AND SLANT
The same interpretations on line direction and slant are made as for the script, but watch out for differences between the signature and the handwriting.
Signature rising more than handwriting: the writer is showing their optimism and energy to the outside world, but some of this is just show. The reality, revealed in the less image-conscious handwriting, is a more balanced, level headed approach.
Signature falls more than handwriting: the same principle reveals an appearance of pessimism and lack of vitality that may not be an accurate reflection of the writer’s true feelings.
Right slant signature: an outgoing, bubbly, outer persona.
Left slant signature: does not push self forward.
The signature stands in its own right. Any additional strokes are a deliberate attempt to draw more attention to it.
Lines through signature: self-critical, unhappy.
Underlining: need for responsibility and importance. Betrays a lack of self-confidence and a need for recognition and status.
Circles: wants to be protected. May be very defensive and needs reasssurance.
Full stop: a sign of self-centredness – ‘the world stops with me’!
Vertical line at end: a block on the outside world, this person has a private world to retreat into.
Larger letters or names: irregularities in letter or name size within the signature draw attention to certain parts of it, stressing their importance to the writer. Typically, formal people increase the size of the surname, for example.
The initial capitals are the same size as the rest of the letters, indicating an informal, easy-going social image. The diminished upper zone shows self-sufficiency. The letters have angled tops and curving bases, revealing a gentle nature and a sharp mind. The double loops inside the ‘a’ s indicate great secrecy: this person is very capable socially, but highly self-reliant and does not let people know her inner thoughts very frequently.
This is a straightforward, unembellished signature, in the garland style. The impression is one of openness, (reinforced by the open top to the ‘g’), softness, and the deep lower loop suggests a strong pull to family.
An interesting point about this signature is that only part of it – the surname – is underlined. This emphasizes the importance of the surname, yet the letters of the first name are disproportionately large. This person has two images: a formal, businesslike, professional manner, and a more chatty and extrovert private nature.
This signature starts with a flamboyant gesture and ends with a series of decreasing letter sizes and a long, looped underline embellishment. This person likes to make a big, stylish entrance to make his presence felt, but after this he retreats from this showy manner. The underline stresses his importance and status (see how it accentuates his first name again — the manner is informal). The crucifix like Y suggests an interest in religion.
The sweeping, drooping line through the surname is a sign of great self-criticism in professional life. The large curve of the initial ‘g’ letter is protecting the rest of the first name, and the large underlining stroke steers clear of the christian name. It all adds up to someone who regards their private and professional lives as entirely separate existences.
A highly embellished signature which only comprises the christian name. The circle ‘i’ dots show a strong desire to be seen as sophisticated. The heavy rising underline shows a high view of self worth, and the stylized ‘kiss’ crosses indicate an extravagantly showy image. The dots before and after the name imply that this image has been carefully planned and executed. This person wants to be seen as a ‘star’, and is prepared to work hard at it!
You are now equipped to gain some very deep understandings of what a person is really like from their handwriting, and, from their signature, how they would like to be seen. It is rare for there to be no discrepancy at all between script and signature style, and the differences are usually very revealing. Study them carefully, and always bear in mind the essential differences between the role of handwriting — to communicate information – and the signature — to say who you are.