People Who Love People
Episode #3 of the course How to analyze signatures by Annette Poizner
“He drew a circle that shut me out—
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him in!” —Edwin Markham, “Outwitted”
Today, let’s focus on the rounded stroke. The rounded stroke derives from the circle. As a symbol, the circle represents unity and togetherness. Think of a bird’s nest, a dinner plate, or a hug; each promotes a healthy state of togetherness. Writers with an interest in the mandate of the circle use rounded strokes.
Circle as a Personal Logo
For starters, we can see that for some writers, the circle is literally a logo. Examples include signatures of Obama and Oprah. It’s not just that these individuals have a capital “O” at the beginning of their names. And it’s not just the theme of privacy we mention when a circle securely contains other letters, which we assume to represent private material that the writer carefully protects. The exaggerated or enlarged circles are communicating a value, a vision of unity and dislike of conflict. They have an affinity for the circle as an archetype.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also radiates that value. See all the bubbly loops in his signature.
Rounded Strokes for Amiable and Personable Folks
Writers who routinely use rounded strokes in the course of writing are empathic. They don’t like conflict. They avoid the very angles in handwriting favored by the Donald Trumps of the world. The rounded writer prefers diplomacy, networking, and harmony. We know these individuals as “people people.” They prefer to work on teams than in isolation. They are amiable and warm. They never forget your birthday. They are volunteers and helpers.
I was looking for celebrities who routinely use this sort of writing style and could not easily find any! Of course! This writer, after all, is homey, more inclined to help others shine than to crave the limelight. They are the loving parent, the engaged social worker, the friendly neighbor.
Could I recall any celebrities from yesteryear who had that “nicer than nice” quality? Remember actress Sally Field? One year, she won an Academy Award for a film role. Girlish, she stood at the podium and exclaimed, “You like me!” Just what you would expect from an amiable sweetheart! Sure enough, here is her rounded signature:
Another such character was Pam Dawber, who co-starred with Robin Williams when he debuted on TV. All the circles in her signature point to this personality type. She went on to leave acting to focus on family life with her husband and two sons. True to type!
Tasteful and Together
Yesterday, when looking at the writer who favors angles, we noticed that the handwriting of these writers was often illegible. Their use of angles seemed to distort letterforms; you could not decipher the letters. This writer, less concerned with the visual, won’t necessarily notice the mess in the room and certainly won’t clean it up!
In contrast, the rounded writer carefully renders the shape of letters, showing an interest in form. They notice appearances and may have a flair for design, knowing how to pull together an outfit or decorate a room. They tend to have good physical coordination, which you see in the use of rounded strokes that glide across the page much more fluidly and flexibly than any angular stroke ever could. Sometimes, their visual-orientation is indicated by a signature that looks like art! The signature of the late Princess Di is a case in point!
Maybe at this point, you realize that forming letters uses two fundamental types of strokes: those that are curved and those that are perfectly straight. Tomorrow, we will explore how straight and rounded strokes used together in handwriting will give us information about the degree of balance and flexibility in the writer’s personality.
Circular Strokes in Handwriting
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