Tis the Season of Holiday cards, letters, tags and notes. As you sign your name for greetings this year, take a minute to think about what that feels like. Is it an 'Autograph' or a signature?
“Auto” means self and “graph” means writing or picture. When we sign our names, it’s a little like painting a self portrait. Many people make a fancy or squiggly signature that’s hard to read, but that isn’t really what the point of writing is, is it? If we really want to communicate, our letters need to be clean and clear so the reader can actually understand what we’ve written. If we went to sit for a painting of ourselves, we would want to look our best. We would dress in nice clothes and expect the artist to draw a good likeness with all our best features. That’s how our autograph needs to feel too.
The word signature has a legal connotation. How does it feel when you sign your name as a “signature” rather than an “autograph?” Now, smile for your portrait! Is it the same size as the rest of your writing? How about the slant? What about ligatures? Are you lucky enough to have one or two in your name. Make sure they are written as ligatures.
Underscores, overscores and paraphs ....
A simple underline beneath our name is called an underscore. It’s a wonderful addition to your autograph. A paraph is like an underscore, but it stays attached to the name. The writer doesn’t lift her pen from the last letter stroke before underlining. If there are lower loops in the autograph, make sure the paraph or underline doesn’t go through them. Also remember to end underscores and paraphs to the right! An overscore is drawn above the name. It’s protective, and tricky!