I’ve always toyed with writing an article about how to improve your signature. It’s taken me this long to tackle this topic, though, because I wondered if a signature can be changed! Like: can you one day decide that you no longer want a messy signature and opt for writing a neat one instead (or vice versa)? As we near January — a month of change — I got to thinking: why not? A signature is just another way that we present ourselves to the world, and your presentation is always something you can change! Today, we’ll toss around some ideas for making a satisfying signature that you’re proud to show off.
1. Decide what kind of look you want your signature to convey.
Do you want something traditional and elegant? Look to the Janet Style alphabet for inspiration. Would you prefer to convey neatness and organization? Consider traditional cursive. Or, do you want to just do something totally off-the-walls? Research others’ signatures (Pablo Neruda and Oscar Wilde have fun, artistic signatures that are worth checking out)!
2. Think of a way to make your signature stand out.
Your signature isn’t like everyday writing, so it doesn’t have to be legible. Instead of focusing on legibility, try to think of ways that you can get the letters to work together in a unique way. Take Barack Obama’s signature, for example — it’s not correct to put the “b” inside the “O” of his last name, but visually, it works well! Walt Disney had that distinctive loop above the “i” in “Disney”. Taylor Swift makes a loopy “T” that only looks like a “T” when you have read the rest of the letters! Point being: you can absolutely choose creative license over legibility.
Interesting fact: according to The Journal of Forensic Research, illegible signatures are actually more difficult to forge than legible ones! The journal also suggests having one style of signature that you use for personal items (e.g. letters) and another style that you use for official items (e.g. signing papers).
3. Break the Rules
Like I said, your signature doesn’t have to be legible, so think outside of the box a little bit. Try a mix of cursive and print, for example, or try adding elements that match your personality. For example, you could dot your “i” with a heart or a star. The tail of one letter, like a “g”, could loop around to cross a “t”. Or, do like my mom and skew all your letters heavily to the left! Consider the proper/legible way that your signature should look as a loose guideline, and take creative license from there.
4. To improve your signature, learn calligraphy.
I noticed a drastic change in my signature after I learned how to use a dip pen! I think that knowing calligraphy helps you to be more in tune as far as looking at letters as art. As a calligrapher (hobbyist or otherwise), you know how to be open to experimentation, and you’ve got a knowledge base of several different ways you can write letters!
That said, learning calligraphy isn’t required in order to improve your signature. I wouldn’t recommend learning calligraphy with the sole goal of having a nicer signature! You have to want to learn calligraphy for other reasons, too. However, knowing how to write calligraphy will absolutely help you to generate a more impressive, eye-catching John Hancock.
5. Experiment with writing your signature several different ways.
You’ll never know be sure about the look you want for your signature unless you have a few options to compare it to. Try getting out a piece of paper and writing your signature at least 10 different ways! Once you have a solid collection of prospective signatures, take a look at the qualities that you like best. Do you like how you made a capital letter here? Made a loop out of a tail there? Take note of what you like, then combine all of those aspects to make a couple more samples!
After you’ve found the option that you like, try to commit it to memory. Write it down several times, and maybe take a photo of it on your phone to remind yourself of what your ideal signature looks like.
6. Remember that it’s okay to change your signature anytime you please.
Just like you can resolve to keep a cleaner house or change your look, you can decide to change your signature! I’ve gone through five signatures since I started this website, and with every new signature, I feel fresher and more presentable.
If you have been thinking about switching it up with your signature, I hope that you enjoyed this article! Keep it mentally filed away for next month, which is traditionally a month of change. Notice, too, how people react to your new signature! When you take the time to make an embellished, eye-catching signature on a credit card receipt (for example), more often that not, someone will admire it, which is always a cool feeling.
Alright! I’ll let you get back to the holiday mayhem. Thanks very, very much for reading TPK, and if you have any tips (or questions) on switching up a signature, please contribute them in the comments! It’s always great to hear from you. 🙂