Articles & Insights into the world of handwriting.

Is Messy Handwriting a Sign of Intelligence?

Messy handwriting

Messy Handwriting per se is not a sign of Intelligence.

Messy handwriting is one of those subjects that often pops up in conversations about handwriting. There are so many myths and misconceptions about messy handwriting that it’s time to dispel them and put them in the right perspective.

Messy handwriting and ugly handwriting are two entirely different things. People with messy handwriting carry a lot of baggage.  Not only is messy handwriting undesirable – it is by no means a sign of high intelligence.

Here is a sample of messy handwriting which is said to be the handwriting of Jack the Ripper. Notice how smudgy and really messy it looks.

But in addition to being messy, it shows confusion, anger and low intelligence with its preponderance of restricted shapes, mixed sizes and absence of upper loops. And there’s a  lot more too!


Jack the Ripper


And then there is ugly handwriting which many people think is an indicator of low intelligence – or even a deficiency of some sort. This too is incorrect. Because there are many factors that contribute to ugly handwriting. It can be the result of painful problems that started way back in the past.

And because handwriting is such a sensitive barometer of emotion, gnawing memories can show up as irregularities or distortions in the handwriting.

Poorly formed or untidy handwriting can also be due to negligence – where the writer simply can’t be bothered to write carefully. Or the writer may be disorganized or untidy by nature in which case his untidy handwriting would mirror his lack of organization.

Another contributing factor to untidy handwriting could be emotional problems or even stress – all of  which tend to show up as confusion or disturbances in the handwriting .

On the other hand there are some people who are under the somewhat hopeful but misguided impression that writers with ugly handwriting are genius material or at the very least highly intelligent.

There are many articles on the internet suggesting that bad handwriting is a sign of high intelligence. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Ugly handwriting is not an indicator of high intelligence. Or of poor intelligence for that matter. The fact is that ugly or untidy handwriting by definition is neither good nor bad. There are many indicators of intelligence that cannot be sidelined and ugly handwriting per se is not one of them.

But that being said, there are many people of high intelligence whose handwritings do not conform to traditional handwriting styles. Very often these are highly creative people who are non-conformists and their handwriting will reflects this.

These individuals may be particularly original or unconventional and their originality will show up in their handwriting. Think of Picasso whose lifestyle and also handwriting were totally out of the ordinary to say the least.

Picasso's handwriting

So we see that there are intelligent people with “good” handwriting as well as “bad” handwriting. And then there are very simple people who may have beautiful handwriting – or ugly, untidy handwriting.

Which is why we cannot make blanket statements about the meaning of messy, ugly or indeed beautiful handwriting. Handwriting has to be studied on an individual basis as there are so many permutations and interpretations.

To find out more check out this book: The Secrets of Ugly Handwriting


  • MCBaws
    May 27, 2021

    How to find genius, intelligence and creativity in Handwriting. The Mark of Genius is a step-by-step guide that will show you how to discover elements of genius in handwriting.

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