An infographic on graphology.

A new study by the National Pen Association claims that the way you write can indicate more than 5,000 personality traits, as well as tendencies toward serious disorders like schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. The results are parsed in this massive infographic.

This handwriting analysis adds research to what typeface and graphic designers know intuitively--how the aesthetics of letters express information.

The infographic also demonstrates that, unlike phrenology, graphology hasn’t been completely snuffed out by skeptics: There are currently four accredited academic institutions in the world that offer degrees in handwriting analysis.

Letters with no slant indicate "logic and practicality," as seen in the straight-up-and-down logos of no-nonsense firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

Are you as loopy as your letters?

Circles as dots for i’s are “child-like”--think of the bubble-topped i in the cutesy Disney logo.

The results may offend those intrusive, lazy, and impatient writers with narrowly spaced letters, short crossed t’s, and slashed i’s.

If you’re not convinced, consider that in A Game of Shadows, Sherlock Holmes himself uses graphology to diagnose “moral insanity” in criminal mastermind Moriarty.

Does your handwriting reflect the traits analyzed here?

What does your signature say about you?

The National Pen Association study showed that schizophrenics tend to vary slant within sentences or the same word frequently, suggesting a lack of “continual contact with reality.”

Infographic: What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?

Personality revealed through penmanship--look out for the loops and lines of a new coworker or love interest.

Graphology--the study of handwriting--has long been considered a pseudoscience, in the same family as phrenology (in which a lumpy forehead could mean you’re a psychopath) and astrology (in which Mercury makes you forget your keys). But a new study by the National Pen Association (sure, consider your source) claims that the way you write can indicate more than 5,000 personality traits, as well as tendencies toward serious disorders like schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

The results are parsed in an infographic that may offend any intrusive, lazy, and impatient writers out there with narrowly spaced letters, short-crossed t’s, and slashed i’s. Good news for wide-loopers of l’s and e’s though: You are relaxed, spontaneous, and open-minded. If you write with heavy pressure, you might be good with commitments, too.

While there are definitely better ways to get to know people’s personalities (like, say, talking to them), this handwriting analysis adds research to what typeface and graphic designers know intuitively--how the aesthetics of letterforms express information. For example, letters with no slant indicate "logic and practicality," as seen in the straight-up-and-down logos of no-nonsense firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The way graffiti writers play with lettering also reflects the study’s results--rounded letters indicate creativity and artistic talent, and spray-painted tags are rarely angular.

The infographic also demonstrates that unlike phrenology, graphology hasn’t been completely snuffed out by skeptics. There are currently four accredited academic institutions in the world that offer degrees in handwriting analysis, and psychologists report that sufferers of dissociative identity disorder often switch between radically different handwriting styles.

The National Pen Association study showed that schizophrenics vary slant within sentences or the same word frequently, suggesting a lack of “continual contact with reality.” Professional graphologists also obsessively analyze the handwriting of serial killers--beware if your new coworker writes in “twisted” or “broken” letters, since Jack the Ripper did, according to the Anna Koren Graphology Center. Books like Finding Mr. Write: A New Slant on Selecting the Perfect Mate suggest that “if you find more than three negative characteristics in your partner’s handwriting,” you may want to “bow out gracefully.”

If you’re not convinced, consider that in A Game of Shadows, Sherlock Holmes himself uses graphology to diagnose “moral insanity” in criminal mastermind Moriarty. Fortunately, it’s set in a time before texting.

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10 Comments

  • Carlos Geijo

    This is as scientific as palm reading. Yeah, there are a lot of charlatans earning money selling his "expert knowledge" on nonsense. 5000 personality traits? X"D why not 100.000?

  • MaterialArchive

    Utter nonsense. Will you be posting about the accuracy of horoscopes next? 

  • alanomaly

    Why, of all the infographics being produced, was this one featured? The content is made-up fluff, and there's nothing particularly interesting going on from a design point of view. 

    I'm not saying it's badly designed - it's just very average.

  • iggyswig

    Awful. Superficial nonsense, which should be banned! Today! Re Signature: Not legible. You are very private, hard to read or understand. How about I'm just keen for my signature not to be too easily forged... 

  • Opinions

    If you made your signature with the purpose of being hard to forge I would think this is a trait of being private. But - I am unsure if you're being sarcastic or not.

  • Tiny_Schnooks

    Actually, lots of graffiti tags are angular. I'm thinking handwriting and graffiti style might be rather different animals.
     

  • hanakimis

    Interesting, but is there any studies that show the linking between these handwriting traits and personality traits? What about left handedness? 

  • The Jon Lewis

    Cool read! Can definitely see some similarities between my personality and the samples in my notebook. Hopefully this doesn't turn into some terrible self-diagnosis (or horoscope tendency, but ah well, the price of fun).

    I wrote a blog post similar to this about a manager of mine who harassed me for poor writing abilities. Anyone who enjoyed this might enjoy reading my post as well! http://thejonlewis.ca/?p=163