It wasn’t that long ago that handwriting was a core subject at schools throughout the UK. Back in the day when it was a key skill for communicating, clear and legible handwriting was seen as a real asset and children were taught how to do it properly. You applied for jobs with a handwritten letter, the answers to most school and university exam papers were done in longhand, and letters to friends and family were all handwritten.
Your handwriting was a way of expressing yourself, but it was also a way of revealing yourself, or your character, at least handwriting experts believed – and still do. Graphology – the study of handwriting – has been around for nearly as long as people have been writing by hand. It is believed that the ancient Chinese were the first to analyse handwriting to find the essence of a person, but throughout history, handwriting assessment has been seen as a way to reveal the true nature of a person.
So what do you look for in someone’s handwriting? The French took handwriting analysis to a new level in the late 19th century and identified around 300 typical handwriting features that could provide an insight into the nature of the writer. The slant, size, pressure, the way certain letters are written, word and line spacing, and other characteristics, are all taken into account when analysing someone’s script.
If the pressure of the handwriting is very heavy, for instance, this suggests the writer is uptight and reacts strongly to criticism, even when none is intended – something to note about a person applying for a job that involves dealing sensitively with the public, perhaps. Large handwriting suggests an extrovert character; small and light handwriting indicates the writer is not a very effective communicator.
It’s hard to say how widely handwriting assessment is used by employers today, but large corporations used it extensively at one time, especially in the pre-digital days. Handwriting experts have also been used by police and private investigators over the years to help them on certain cases. Here at 247 Investigations, we don’t use handwriting assessments that often admittedly, but it is a resource we are still happy to consider, along with all our modern methods and equipment.