News and press releases

  • Royal Mail
    26 June 2017
    Do you write like a ‘Great Briton’?
  • Royal Mail today reveals the most common handwriting traits of Great Britons.
  • The company partnered with leading handwriting analyst Tracey Trussell, to study 10 handwriting samples from Great Britons such as Florence Nightingale, Isaac Newton, Queen Victoria and Ignatius Sancho.
  • Common traits include narrow right margin, marked right slant and long and high T-bars.
Royal Mail today reveals the most common handwriting traits of Great Britons. The company, along with leading handwriting analyst Tracey Trussell, studied letters and notes from some of the country’s defining figures to determine common writing styles.
Ten different handwriting samples were analysed from Claudia Jones, Rosalind Franklin, Isaac Newton, Queen Victoria, Ignatius Sancho, Florence Nightingale, Millicent Fawcett, Charles Darwin, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Elizabeth Fry. The subjects were chosen as they were all keen letter/note writers and appeared in the 100 Greatest Britons/ 100 Great Black Britons lists.
Tracey Trussell, handwriting analyst, said: “Handwriting is like ‘brain writing’ because it comes through the central nervous system. It's a snapshot in time. My job is to interpret every swirl, stroke, slant, flourish, space and loop on the paper, enabling the true character of the individual to step off the page.”
According to Tracey’s findings, the most common handwriting traits of a Great Briton are:
1. Marked right slant
Slant is an emotional barometer that measures people’s social stance. A marked right slant such as that in the writing style of Queen Victoria, Issac Newton, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Ignatius Sancho indicates that a person is enthusiastic and responsive. It also shows that they don’t want to hold back and tend to be highly proactive. 
2. Rhythmical writing style 
This is the movement, or lively flow of handwriting across the page. It is the regularity in the rhythmic pattern or natural free flow of the pen – like clockwork – across the page. If writing is rhythmical the writer is mature, well balanced and generally comfortable in their own skin, like Elizabeth Fry and Millicent Fawcett.    
3. Large ‘upper zone’ 
Writing consists of three zones – upper, middle and lower - and each zone reveals a different section of the writer's inner character. The upper zone focuses on the parts of the letters that extend upwards like b, d, f, h and k. People with a large and dominant upper zone have rich imaginations, creative mind-sets and big aspirations. They’re also intellectually savvy, ethical and have high standards, like Claudia Jones, Ignatius Sancho and Charles Darwin.   
4. Narrow or non-existent right margin
This is when the end of a sentence leaves no space on the right hand side of the page. Words appear to fall off the edge of the page or dip down like in the cases of Millicent Fawcett, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. The size of the right hand margin shows the writer’s real feelings towards the future. Those that leave no right margin are outgoing and engaging. They are also impulsive, goal-orientated and driven.
5. Small and diminished 'middle zone'                      
The middle zone covers everything that sits on the baseline and reflects how people view themselves internally - the ego area. People with disproportionately small middle zones are selfless, productive, and much more interested in things that are going on around them. All of the 'Great Britons' have small and diminished middle zones. 
6. Broadness          
This is where the letter 'n' is stretched horizontally across the page so it becomes wide and rectangular-shaped, revealing people who are open minded, unprejudiced and generous, willing to embrace change. Broadness is a common denominator between all our 'Great Britons', and particularly noticeable in Elizabeth Fry's handwriting. 
7. Large ‘lower zone’
Lower zone is the space underneath the baseline and can be seen in the letters that extend downwards such as g, j, p, q and y. The lower zone is a deeply personal area focusing on people’s primal instincts. People with exaggerated lower zones – such as extended curls like Florence Nightingale, Queen Victoria and Rosalind Franklin – are practical. People who have lots of variation in the size of their lower zone tend to be restless and like keeping busy. 
8. T-bars long and high
This is the horizontal stroke that crosses the t-bar. A person with long and high t-bars is a take-charge sort of person, like Queen Victoria and Millicent Fawcett. They are decision makers and perfectionists. 
9. Large letter ‘k’
A noticeably large (or inflated) letter ‘k’ shows people who are resourceful and defiant like Charles Darwin, Ignatius Sancho and Claudia Jones. They like to get their own way and follow their own path in life. 
10. Joined up writing with connectedness between words
Connectedness in joined up writing reflects the writer’s thinking process and ability to function in social relationships. If a person’s writing is connected they are likely to be purposeful, single-minded and opinionated, with an indomitable spirit. When words are connected too, this means the writer is articulate, outstandingly logical and thrives on adventure. All the samples have connectedness. An example of connectedness between words is particularly noticeable in Brunel's sample. 
Tracey adds: “It has been enthralling peeking behind the writing of these Great Britons! Graphology is a little bit like piecing together a jigsaw to build a complete picture. While it is difficult to be too prescriptive, these samples have thrown up some strong clues as to what underpins a Great Briton.
“Letters make up part of our history – they are a memoir of our individuality and presence – ensuring that we don’t disappear forever. These samples have done exactly that, they are a fascinating way of connecting with individuals that have helped define and shape the way we live today.”
David Gold, Director of Public Affairs & Policy at Royal Mail, said: “It is amazing to think that something we do every day can reveal so much about us. There have been many Great Britons throughout the years and we hope this list helps identify the next Great Britons.”  
Royal Mail press office 
Rebecca Maund
0203 338 1007
Notes to editors
Royal Mail plc is the parent company of Royal Mail Group Limited, the leading provider of postal and delivery services in the UK and the UK’s designated universal postal service provider. UK Parcels, International and Letters (“UKPIL”) comprises the company’s UK and international parcels and letters delivery businesses operating under the “Royal Mail” and “Parcelforce Worldwide” brands. Through the Royal Mail Core Network, the company delivers a one-price-goes-anywhere service on a range of parcels and letters products. Royal Mail has the capability to deliver to more than 29 million addresses in the UK, six days a week (excluding UK public holidays). Parcelforce Worldwide operates a separate UK network which collects and delivers express parcels. Royal Mail also owns General Logistics Systems (GLS) which operates one of the largest ground-based, deferred parcel delivery networks in Europe.