Handwriting Analysis Terms



We will divide the individual letters into three zones to better understand how the writer makes specific use of their
mind (UZ), their emotions (MZ) and the physical elements in their environment (LZ).
In the English alphabet, which is also used for most European languages, including French, German and Italian, a part of every letter is found in the middle zone. The upper zone has six bizonal letters: b, d, h, k, 1 and t. The lower zone has six bizonal letters: g,
j, p, q, y and z. The middle zone has thirteen single zone letters, the five vowels, a. e, i, o, u, plus c, m, n, r, s, v, w and x. The letter "f" is the only trizonal letter in the alphabet.

Wherever you find extra emphasis of size, embellishment, width, simplicity, force or meagerness, this is the zone the writer is expressing most strongly at that moment of writing. This is why we need more than one sample of writing for a full, in-depth analysis; it eliminates a "mood-of-the-moment" interpretation.

Examples and what to look for are in the Handwriting Insights deck.  

2. Connections

In American schools, writing is usually first learned by using the manuscript printed form. As the writer matures he learns the more sophisticated method of joining letter forms called cursive writing.  

The four most common connective forms are garlands, arcades, angles and thread. You will learn to recognize each type of form and how to interpret its use within the writing. None of us uses one connective exclusively. One form usually dominates and an another is secondary. The other two forms of connectives may also be present to a lesser degree. Combinations of writing form reveal the personality in each writing, but only in part. You still must take into consideration the arrangement of the writing and the symbolism of margins, zones, spacing and slant.  

GARLANDS: The most common form of connective between letters is the cup shape of the garland, curved at the bottom and open at the top. It can be found in all three zones, between letters, within letters, even at the beginnings and endings of words.
The garland is a soft, easily stroked connective depicting the writer who is receptive, compliant and easy going. He may be warm and sympathetic, empathetic and sentimental. He is open and responsive to the people and the environment around him. The writer who uses many garlands is often said to be "people oriented". He feels before he thinks.

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ARCADES: The arcade, or inverted garland, is shaped like an arch, curved on top and open at the bottom. M's, n,s and h's are the most obvious arcade formations in the alphabet. You may also find arcades between letters especially in the connection between o, v and w and the letter which follows them.

Usually mixed with other connectives, the arcade is used by the creative personality. This writer is a constructive thinker, one who deliberates before making up his mind. He may use this slow and deliberate action as a form of cautious contrcl and self protection. There is a certain dignity and formality in the writer who uses arcades to a dominant degree.

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ANGLES: The speed and energy used by many writers often produces abrupt changes of direction which create an angle at the baseline and sometimes at the top of the letter. This sudden change of direction must also make a pause before the writing can proceed. An angle interrupts smooth flow of thought and action, and an abrupt manner is often the result. The writer who habitually uses angles is often analytical, tense and self disciplined. He usually can see more than one approach to a problem and therefore often has some degree of executive ability. He uses will power to direct and control his actions.

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THREAD: Thread is the least used of the connectives, and sometimes is the hardest to recognize. There are three general types of thread.  
  A. THE THINNING OF THE STROKE ITSELF. You may need to use your magnifying glass to be sure you are looking at thread. It looks like a piece of thread that has been broken rather than cut cleanly. It "feathers" out with lessening pressure of the pen. Look for it between letters at the end of a word, and especially in i dots and t crosses that are made with speed.
Interpretation of Type 1 Thread indicates a writer who is in too much of a hurry to do a precise bit of work. He may complete the essentials of a job, but he evades responsibility by neglecting the finishing details. He loses interest quickly and goes on to the next thing. Impatience is a part of this writer's personality.

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B. THE DIMINISHING SIZE OF LETTERS WITHIN A WORD. As Type I thins out the individual stroke, Type 2 thins down the letters in a word. When a whole word or part of a word "threads" the first letters are larger than each successive letter, and MZ size progressively diminishes in a regular pattern.
This type of thread is associated with a diplomatic personali-ty, one who is capable of seeing the whole, broad picture of a situation. He elects to lessen the force of his personality as he evaluates the situation, and he uses tact and diplomacy to do so. He may even point out a different direction of thinking as his method of evading the present crisis.  
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C. THE SINUOUS STROKE. This third type looks like a spool of unraveled thread. You can see the undulations of the strand as it frees itself. This is a quick, fluid motion of writing combining alternate garl.and and arcade formations. It can be found in al 1 three zones but is most apparent in the MZ. Paul uses it in the MZ and UZ.
Interpretation of Type 3 Thread shows a real evasion expert. The sinuous strokes of his pen are as devious as the snake that slithers around obstacles. This writer seldom faces an issue, but rather misdirects or eludes the reality with clever language, slight of hand or a downright refusal to face facts.

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3. The SLANT of the writing indicates the Emotional Response. Letter slant can best be seen in letters containing upper loops: the b, d, h, 1, k, and t. The more the letter slant leans toward the right, the more emotional response can be expected.


Most people write with a slight right slant (B). This shows a willingness to comply with company rules, an ability to get along with co-workers, and put up with the boss's idiosyncracies. Writers with an extreme right slant can function well on the job, but might become hysterical under sudden emotional stress. Extreme left-slanted writers are sometimes antisocial, non-communicative, even defiant at times.

4. Baseline Slant = Goal Directiveness


Writing "uphill" reveals the applicant worthy of further Trait-match evaluation. He's optimistic, ambitious and cheerful. This is a good start, and, if the other traits bear up well under your scrutiny, a welcome addition to any office force or gang crew. Writing ''downhill" may be caused by a temporary depression, ill health, or physical fatigue. If this applicant has special skills necessary in your business, it would be wise to have him return on another day and obtain another sample of his writing. The first downslanted sample could be just a temporary discouragement from job-hunting. If the second sample has the same downslanted appearance, it is a warning of an ingrained pessimism which keeps this applicant on the job-seeking circuit.

The writer of a firm, straight, even baseline controls his moods, allowing him to go directly toward his goals without getting side-tracked.

While a very slight wave in the baseline is a common sign, an unusual up-and-down fluctuation identifies the moody individual. A ruler placed under the first and last letters in a line of writing is an excellent way to determine an uneven baseline. Be sure you need this person's talents desperately before hiring him. He may be a go-getter on his ''up" days, but if he's in a ''downer" mood, he probably won't even show up for work.

5. Spacing

Spaces in writing are just as important to the Traitmatch analyst as the writing itself. Spaces are found around the whole page of writing (the margin); in the amount of room that the letters take up (the letter size); in the generous or compressed usage of space between letters, lines, and words. All offer many clues to detect the occupational personality. A general rule-of-thumb is that the way in which a person uses space when writing indicates his use of space in his work. Check the application form. How did the prospect use the spaces within the blanks, boxes, or fill-ins? If he crowded the
letters to the left, he's fearful of his future. If he pushed all the letters to the right, he's ambitious and eager for the job. If he couldn't contain his writing within the spaces provided, he's not a good judge of time and space.

6. Margin = Attitude Toward Environment
The position of the writing on a page within a margin frame shows how the potential employee regards his position or I space" within the company framework.

PICTURE FRAME MARGIN (even, well-defined) =

WIDE LEFT MARGIN (narrow right margin)

NARROW LEFT MARGIN (wide right margin) =

7. Letter Size = Ego.
Every letter takes up space, too. Some letters extend into the upper area of the writing and are referred to as upper-zone letters: b, d, h, k, /, and t. The lower-zone letters are the g, j, p, q, y, and z. Most letters are found in the middle zone of writing. The size of the middle zone is the major factor considered in handwriting analysis. Almost all other signs are compared to it.
f is the only letter that reaches all three zones.
Large writing and small writing refers to the middle-zone size, and are both easy to spot. Most people's script falls somewhere in between, however. This ''average size" of writing is found in the sample of applicants who can fit into almost any kind of job situation for which they are qualified. Their uniqueness will be revealed in other writing features. Large writing indicates a person who will need plenty of space in which to operate. Don't try to put him behind a desk or in any small confining area.

8. LARGE MIDDLE ZONE (large writing) =
demand for attention
need for elbow room

Small writing reveals the individual willing to work behind the scenes. This writer can also stick with a detailed job for long periods of time.

9. SMALL MIDDLE ZONE (small writing) = reserved
modest, unassuming
ability to concentrate
non-spotlight job


10. Upper-Zone Extensions = Philosophy of Life
The upper zone of writing holds the philosophy of life. It contains the writer's thought patterns including his ability to utilize abstract thinking in his daily routine. Most people push their letters to a moderate height into the upper zone showing their ability to think clearly about practical things. This writer fits nicely into a job where concrete ideas are required, as long as they are not too technical.

abstract thinker
philosophical mind

Short upper-zone extensions are made by the writer who has
short term goals, and is not idea-oriented.
practical, down-to-earth
short-term goals

Lower-Zone Extensions = Physical and Sexual Drives
The prospective employee's interest in physical activity is the primary interest of many companies. The lower-zone extensionsreflect the applicant's physical and sexual activity, as well as his concern for money and food. Large, full lower loops, especially when they extend far below the baseline, are made by the person who wants to live life to the fullest.
extreme physical drive

Long lower loops disclose the person needing plenty of physical space.
LONG LOWER LOOPS = strong physical drive

Short lower loops expose the individual entirely disinterested in physical activity.
disinterested in physical
possible laziness

"NON-LOOPS" (lower-zone extensions resembling sticks)
simple tastes
gets the job done

11. Extreme Expansion = Self-Expansion.
Expansion is the horizontal extension of letters and space, presenting a stretched appearance.
need for room
freedom from supervision
(works best alone)

Extreme Compression = Self-Limitation.
Compression is the squeezing of letters, words and spaces.
ability to work in small spaces
the office "tightwad''

12. Spaces Between Lines = Capacity For Thought Organization.

clear thought
able to organize work

confused thinking
poor organization of time and space
overly familiar

Spacing Between Words
Spacing between words should be about the same width as the middle-zone letters. If spacing is consistent, it adds to the possibility of the writer being consistent. It is a positive trait for any job.

Pressure measures the degree of intensity the employee will put into his work as well as his physical vitality and stamina. For instance, poets, speakers, politicians and ministers often have heavier writing pressure because they put emotion into what they have to say. The type of pen used will have some effect on the pressure. The soft-tipped pen can conceal the light-pressured writer. The Traltmatch analyst can tell this by turning the paper over and running his fingers over the back of the writing surface. If you feel or see the embossing caused by pressure from the pen, you are assured that the writer was using a ball point, not a soft- tipped pen and the pressure is genuine.

Pressure takes a certain amount of physical exertion, and the soft-tipped pen user enjoys the easy flow of ink over the page. Soft-tipped pens are a cop-out for physical labor. However, they are also used by artists and sensual people. Check with other Traitmatch signs to determine if the writer is lazy.

good memory

gentle, cultural
avoids confrontation
prefers intellectual approach

Speed is found in the flow of the writing and indicates speed of thought, action and perception. Additionally, writing that has few or no beginning strokes shows the stripping away of unnecessary details contributing to the applicant's efficiency in getting the job done. Note the T-crosses. If the cross is longer on the right side of the stem than on the left side, the writer is hurrying to complete his simple task of crossing the t. 1-dots which fall to the right of the stem also indicate speed.
rapid thinker

slow thinker
cautious thinker

Clarity involves all of the basic factors of handwriting analysis
in a positive way. It's a good idea to keep in mind that when
clarity in a written sample is combined with-

* A slight, right slant = interest in communicating with others;
* Medium size writing = willingness to contact others physically and mentally
*Balanced expansion = reaching out to become involved.
*Even margins = good sense of self-identity within the environment.
*Good spacing between letters = generosity of time, money energy.
*Good spacing between words = interest in social contacts.
*Good space between lines = ability to think clearly and separate ideas.
* Clear formation of letters = wish to impart information and consideration for others.

Illegible writing, whether scribbled by a world-wise scientist or by your inexperienced job applicant, indicates the individual who doesn't have the time or inclination to communicate. Someone once mentioned that the less legible the writing, the more intelligent the writer. Ever since then, some people have hidden their laziness and inconsideration behind that remark.
One secretary complained, ''My boss is such a terrible writer I can hardly make out what he means. Last week he didn't read over a letter before he signed it and I had typed something all wrong. I got bawled out. I think it was his fault, don't you?''
You bet! But secretaries aren't the only ones who suffer. Ask your local pharmacist, for instance.
Illegible script is the curse of good communication, and writing is-first and foremost -communication.
Many bosses have an executive type of mind; sharp, alert, quick. But the employer who doesn't take the time or effort to make his written thoughts clear enough to be translated by a secretary or anyone else is both inconsiderate and lacking in common sense.
Speed is the prime offender. We think faster than our fingers can move. Unless control is exercised over both thoughts and fingers, the results are usually unreadable.
There are, however, other reasons for illegibility in handwriting. It may be caused by emotional stress or an illness resulting in muscular impairment or hysteria. Also, a dishonest person hides his intentions behind poor writing.

Illegibility maybe caused by more serious reasons than speed or inconsideration. When the physical or mental vitality of a writer is impaired through the use of drugs or alcohol, illegible writing is often a result. The uneven baseline is usually the first clue, signaling the lack of motor control. Letters not clearly formed due to speed may occur in everywriting at anytime, but when a sequence of letters fails to make sense, there is more than speed or inconsistency at work. If this is repeated on a page or two of writing, drop that application in the round file. You don't need the problems that can be brought to your workplace by this kind of employee.
III health often shows up in illegible writing especially if the writing also has weak pressure. There just is not enough vitality there for the writer to get through a good day's work. However, we all have our off days. If all other factors are favorable, and you might like to have him on your work team, suggest he comeback another time to repeat his writing sample.


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