Graphology is a technique for analysing handwriting in order to understand a person's personality. This method appeared in the middle of the 19th century and developed considerably during the 20th century. The first writings relating to the interpretation of handwriting date back to 1622, in a book published by Camillo Baldi, entitled: Trattato Come Da Una Lettra Missiva Si Conscano La Natura E Qualità Dello Scrittore (Treatise on the Means of Determining the Nature and Qualities of a Person from his or her handwriting). However, it was not until 1812, thanks to Edouard Hocquart, that graphology gained in popularity. Then, in 1868, graphology became a recognised technique thanks to priest Jean Hyppolyte, and he published several works on the subject.
In the 20th century, public opinion was wary of graphology and it was psychologists and psychiatrists who brought it back into fashion. Ludwig Klages spoke of the flow of handwriting. According to its spontaneity and original way of forming the letters, one could say whether a person is creative or not, or has a dynamic or calm personality. All these indications, flow, formation of the letters and the direction of the handwriting highlight the character traits of an individual. The language of handwriting becomes an interpretation of gestures and movements.
Handwriting is basically a transcription of the spoken word. The first handwriting appeared 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Its aim was to transmit sound and solid rules of life to future generations. However, in addition to transmitting a message, handwriting has its origins in movement commanded by the brain. Our hand writes down what we are thinking. Each handwriting is therefore unique, as is every individual. For example, artists inspired by a tortured state of mind, have jerky and uneven handwriting. With careful observation, one can see the flow of a word as it has been written. And a person's creative flair, impulses and vitality can be deduced from it too.
In the first instance, the dimension of the letters needs to be analysed. The size gives us information about the way the subject considers him/herself in relation to others. Then, you should look at the direction of the letters: do they lean forwards or backwards, or not at all? Handwriting leaning forwards indicates a person who has the courage to forge ahead. Handwriting that is straight up represents someone who is stable, whilst handwriting leaning backwards implies a person who is inward-looking. Next, comes an analysis of the shape, continuity, how it appears on the page, the pressure applied and the speed with which the message was written.
The graphologist will first of all look at the writing as a whole and then concentrate gradually on the detail. He/she will look to see if the handwriting is tidy or not, if it is distorted, free-flowing or conversely, tightly controlled. Even by looking at a signature, a graphologist can tell you if a person is ambitious, independent, shy, wary, strong or wilful. Our state of mind is impregnated in the way we write without our being aware of it. A graphologist is therefore there to enlighten us. It reveals aspects of our personality and can help us improve if we feel the need.