How to Come Up with a New Signature

The doorbell rang, and Deb asked herself “who could that be?” She opened the door and was surprised to find a door-to-door solicitor with a clipboard, looking for signatures.

“Excuse me, would you mind signing my petition? There’s a neighbor a few streets over who painted a giant Confederate flag on his garage door, and we are hoping if enough of us band together, we can get City Hall to make him remove it.”

Deb agreed it would be best for her home value, so she signed her name.

“Thank you so much!” said the neighbor. Just as she was about to turn and walk away, she took a look at Deb’s signature. “Umm, hey, just a second…”

“Is there a problem?” Deb asked.

“Well, just out of curiosity, is this your signature?” the neighbor asked. “It’s like, a straight line with a curve at the end. If you hadn’t printed and dated right beside it, I’d have had no clue what this is supposed to say. I mean, not that it matters, but…”

Deb leaned over and took a closer look at the clipboard. “Yeah, Deborah Nutt, right there. Plain as day. That’s my name. Now let’s get this Confederate flag taken down, eh?”

“But… where is the D? It’s just a line,” the nosy neighbor said. “I’d just be concerned that your signature could easily be forged. You need to be more careful.”

Deb examined closer. “Alright, you got me. I guess my signature has eroded a bit over the years.”

The neighbor went on her way, and Deb went straight to her desk where she pulled out a pen and paper. It was time to come up with a new signature! But where to start?

  • Do you want your signature to be perfectly legible or not? If you sign your name frequently to lots of checks and forms, or sign autographs for fans, you might find it takes a lot longer to write out a signature that can easily be read.
  • Are you hoping to turn some heads with your fancy signing skills? A cool signature might be interesting, but how often would it really come up where someone would ever notice and compliment you on it?
  • It needs to be something that can be easily replicated. If you come up with something that you like, you need to be able to reproduce it on the fly.
  • What might your signature say or reveal about the kind of person you are? An elaborate, Victorian-age signature could let people know how smart and upper-tier you are, while an opposite-handed, childish all-caps signature could make you look like an uneducated buffoon.
  • Consider jazzing up your signature with things like a star as the dot on the “i”, or if your name has a double “l” like Jill, you could draw a little smile under the two l’s to show some sort of face. This could be just the ray of sunshine the signature recipient needs!
  • Choose what parts of your name should be part of your signature. For instance, if your given name is Robert but people know you as Bob, do you sign your name Robert or Bob? And do you include a middle initial? It’s up to you!
  • You’ll want it to take about 3 seconds total to sign your name. If you find yourself going into the 11-second range, take a big step back and simplify.
  • Will people used to seeing your old signature suddenly be confused and suspect fraud when they see a totally new, unrecognizable signature? Maybe. Consider notifying your financial institutions.
  • Will you be signing unusually shaped things like a baseball or person’s face? Make sure you can replicate the signature on different surfaces.
  • Once you’ve landed on a great new look for you, practice it over and over again. Maybe even carry around a sample signature as a guide until you’ve mastered it.

In the end, Deb’s new signature was a huge hit… as far as new signatures from people no one really knows go. She caught herself signing her name the old way for a FedEx package, but other than that she mostly stuck to the new one. It was a small accomplishment.

My Hot Take:
In about sixth grade I developed my signature based loosely on how Nolan Ryan signed his last name. It evolved little by little over the years, but I’ve actually been signing it pretty much the same for the past twenty years. I have recently debated switching to something more legible, but I guess who the F cares.

If you want to refresh your boring or illegible signature, practice new ways, but find something that is easy to replicate and doesn’t take more than three seconds to write.

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