It’s a simple act we do every day, often multiple times—signing our name. We draw our signature demonstrating our intent to enter into an agreement, and think nothing of it. Although our signature depicts our personal identity, we often take for granted what our signature reveals about us. Our signature is an expression of ourselves to the outside world and there are traits about our signature that we just aren’t aware of.
In honor of National Handwriting Day, here are some famous signatures and the personality traits they reveal.
What direction are you leaning towards?
If your signature leans toward the right, generally you are optimistic and looking forward to the future. An upright (or vertical) signature shows you are in control, cautious, and in the present; you are aware of exactly what is going on. A signature that leans “backward” or to the left can indicate a person who is reflecting upon past events.
Sadness, Illness and Privacy
Former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt’s signature could show she prefers to be addressed by her last name, as the size of the letters, most notably the initial cap, “R” is much larger than her first name. It could also indicate negative emotions she experienced during her lifetime, such as her husband’s illness, the Great Depression or World War II.
Marilyn Monroe’s signature appears playful and social as indicated by its flourishes. It also could show a darker side to her personality. In the capital “M” and lower case “l”, we see breaks in these letters where the person signing breaks the pen stroke and picks it back up again. What makes this unusual is the break doesn’t occur between letters. These breaks may indicate a person wanting to do harm to themselves or someone else, especially when taken in context with other handwritten copy.
Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s signature shows a strong urge not to reveal any emotional information, which is revealed by its vertical, upright presentation. The fact her signature is so legible tells us she wants us to know who she is. Upon closer inspection, you see the second half of her last name, “ennedy” to be on a slightly lower baseline than her first name, which may reveal her sadness regarding her first husband’s assassination.
Getting to the Point
John F. Kennedy’s signature shows an efficient, direct approach, especially noticeable in the single pen stroke of the first letter of his first name. “ohn” also demonstrates efficiency, as it appears to be another single pen stroke. His middle initial is not even legible, perhaps indicating his middle name was not important to communicate. His last name again shows pen stroke efficiency. He does not bother with additional pen strokes; there are no flowery embellishments and no lead in.
Strong Personality Types
Steve Jobs’ signature has the most flourish in the middle zone of each letter, showing focus on the present. The casual flow and letter formation demonstrates his innate curiosity. The slight leaning to the right could indicate his lack of inhibition, and the heavier-than-normal pressure on paper shows some aggressive tendencies. The slight uphill slant indicates an optimistic attitude towards the future.
Warren Buffet’s emphasis on his first name, which is written larger than his last name, could indicate his preference to be called Warren. The larger initial capital letter reveals a person’s confidence, but the excessively large initial letter in his first name could express a need to barricade himself from the public.
Showing an Artistic Flair
Pablo Picasso’s unique signature demonstrates creativity, and the underline beneath it emphasizes his need to be noticed. The dramatic uphill slant can show an optimistic outlook, towards his work and the world around him. Underscoring his signature reveals his self-confidence.
The purposeful omission of his first name tells us he is sure we know who he is by simply signing his last name. Alternatively, someone who adds several underscores to their signature may lack of self-confidence, or feel the need to demonstrate to the world that they are important.
Here’s a great example of self-confidence. Joan Miro’s signature not only has the very large initial letter and the underline emphasizing his self-confidence, but he also adds a period after his name. That simple dot communicates to us that the buck stops here.
While these handwriting attributes indicate certain personality traits, they are by no means set in stone. Various life events can and do change your signature over time. So the next time you pick up a pen or wand to sign your name, remember: it’s not just your name you are signing; it’s who you are—or who you hope to be.
Keep in mind when you apply your signature, either on-paper or electronically, on a legal document, that it signifies your intent to be bound to the terms and conditions of the document you signed.
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