Body language on paper


In the last edition, I introduced Handwriting Analysis (Graphology) and its benefit in pharmacy practice particularly as a personality assessment tool which has a wide acceptance in many western countries especially for recruitment processes. This is possible only when we know the parameters to look out for in the handwriting sample and the insight that can be got from them.

Please note that unless you are certified or have some degree of training in this area, you aren’t permitted by law to administer these parameters for the purpose of recruitment, personality assessment tool or psychoanalytical tool. At best, it remains information for ‘personal consumption’.

The objective of this write up is to give you an idea into the world of graphologists. In this edition and next, we shall be discussing on some parameters in handwriting sample and what they reveal about the personality. They include:

  • Baseline
  • Slant
  • Slope
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Space
  • Margin
  • Pressure

Before we start discussion on these parameters, it’s important to note also that except a good handwriting sample is got from a client, the result of the Handwriting Analysis would not be reliable. The basic things needed in a handwriting sample are as follows:

  1. a) The handwriting must be done on an A-4 paper, which must be plain, not ruled.
  2. b) A ball point pen must be used or a biro but not a pencil.
  3. c) The writer must write a story of an event that occurred few days to the day when the handwriting sample is written. It must not be a poem or a write up copied directly from a publication.
  4. d) The writer must write at least a one page report or nearly so.
  5. e) The writer must sign twice at the tail end of the report
  6. f) If the writer writes in cursive, he must ensure that at least one line of the report is done in print. (print writing is the type where the letters are not connected together. Just like the type used in this article).


  1. Baseline


Baseline is an indicator of moral, social control and flexibility. A Steady baseline reveals focus, self-control or high sense of discipline and concentration. The reason this parameter is important is that it’s hard for anyone to deliberately control this aspect of the handwriting because it’s more under the influence of the subconscious than the conscious mind. Therefore insight from the baseline among other things is key in personality assessment.


  1. Slant

The slant reveals the degree of emotional expression. You can have right slant, left slant or a handwriting sample with the letters looking rather vertical. Most people with handwriting that slants to the right are rather emotional, sentimental, extroverted, and demonstrative. This also depends on the degree of the slant.


A left-slanted handwriting reveals someone who is emotionally withdrawn (left slant). Also shows lack of involvement, restraint, or someone who is self-conscious. It reveals inner rebellion, emotional repression. Most people with left slants are reserved. They would always look before leaping and usually aren’t risk-takers. If the job description needs risk takers, you may need to ask further questions before considering those with left slants.


  1. Slope: There are two types as indicated below. You have the downward slope and the upward slope.


Slope generally shows the mood level of individuals. A handwriting sample sloped downwards often times reveal someone who is gloomy, depressed, despondent, melancholic or pessimistic. A handwriting sloped upwards like the sample below shows a strong level of optimism and excitement.

In criminal investigations, this parameter is key, particularly when a murder suspect is writing a report on a murder incident. The handwriting expert observes clearly any area where the handwriting slopes up or down because it gives a strong insight to the mood of the writer at the time. A hotspot is got when a murder suspect’s handwriting slopes up while talking about the death of a loved one for which he is being investigated. The question would be, why would there be excitement (upward slope) when narrating the murder incident? This leads to further probing until the truth is dug out.

We shall continue in the next edition. Remember, every stroke of the pen, says something about a friend.