Articles & Insights into the world of handwriting.

Is Messy Handwriting a Sign of Intelligence?

Messy handwriting

Messy Handwriting is Not a Sign of Intelligence.

Messy handwriting is one of those subjects that often pops up in conversations about handwriting.

Unfortunately, there are so many myths and misconceptions about messy handwriting that it’s time to dispel them and put them in the right perspective.

To make matters worse there are many sites on the internet that have added to the confusion by claiming that messy handwriting is a sign of intelligence!

Clearly this goes against all logic because the most important interpretation for messy handwriting is confusion – certainly not intelligence!

To add to the confusion, unattractive handwriting has been variously described as messy handwriting, poor handwriting, bad handwriting and more.

So it has become important to clarify things.

Let’s begin by dividing unattractive handwriting into 3 groups:

  • Messy handwriting,
  • Ugly or Bad handwriting
  • Non-conformist or Unconventional handwriting.

Although they are related they need to be interpreted differently.

Messy handwriting

Not only is messy handwriting undesirable – it is by no means a sign of high intelligence.

People with messy handwriting carry a lot of baggage. They can show emotional confusion, low self-esteem and inner conflict.

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!


Messy handwriting of Jack the Ripper


Ugly or Bad Handwriting

And then there is ugly or bad 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 “bad handwriting” could be emotional problems or even stress – all of  which tend to show up as confusion or disturbances in the handwriting .

Messy  Handwriting and Intelligence

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

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

Messy handwriting is not an indicator of high intelligence.

There are various indicators for intelligence that fall into a particular group or category and all have to be weighed and considered when making an assessment for intelligence.

Neither ugly nor messy handwritings fall into this group. They are not indicators descriptive of high intelligence.

Non-conformist or Unconventional handwriting.

However, 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.  In fact this handwriting can be very justifiably described as ugly.

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.

Now read: Is Neat handwriting a sign of intelligence ?

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

Ugly Handwriting Secrets


  • 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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