The arrangement of words, lines, paragraphs, and margins on the paper is referred to as layout. The manner in which each writer approaches the challenge of filling an empty sheet might reveal a great deal about them. Consider this for a moment: when we write our script on paper, we have nothing except our own sense of organization and tastes to guide us.
A blank piece of paper represents life, and what you write on it represents your interactions with other people and the world around you. How do you decide where to begin your margins? Are your margins large or small? Do you have any room for error?
The left represents the past, while the right represents the future, because we write from left to right as we move across the page. Which of the top and bottom of the page represents history? The top. This is because we move from top to bottom as we write from left to right.
When reviewing anonymous letters, one typical point of inquiry is to notice where the writer begins his text; for many persons, this is such an entrenched habit that it remains a permanent element of their writing even when they are resolved to employ an assumed style of penmanship.
As a handwriting analyzer, one of your responsibilities is to examine the writer’s use of space and form: Is he conservative or wasteful with the available surface area? Are the lines and margins regularly spaced and if not, how do they move away from regularity?
The method used by Klages (and those who have followed his example) works on the principle that every trait-indicator has two (or more) opposite meanings (the identification of the correct interpretation depends upon that initial assessment of Form Level) and these represent positive and negative aspects of the same tendency. Believe it or not, ‘Cages’ system can be made to work with a certain lack of grace by experienced analysts but it is single-handedly responsible for driving more students away from the study of handwriting than any other system (despite its widespread acceptance). The followers of Klages generally retort that criticism of their chosen system stems from a lack of understanding.
Regular Margins indicate consistency in habits, organisational ability and similar areas. Based on graphology, the ideal adult margins would be for the left margin to be wider than the right margin, so that on an average 8.5 by 11 inch page, you would naturally indent 1 to 0.5 inches on the left side and go pretty far to the right side without cashing into it. This is a healthy left/right balance, which means you have a good relationship with the past and future.
Irregular Margins indicate inconsistency in those same areas. However, you should try to base the assessment of factors like these on several samples of your subject’s script; you might not be aware of the circumstances which existed when any single sample was written.
Expanding Left Margin – the text retreats from the left-hand side of the paper 1M indicates a tendency to grow tired or lose enthusiasm as tasks progress. It equates with a gradual loss of attention. The late Eric Singer also thought that such writers let themselves go after a period of time had elapsed.
Slim or Non-existent Left margins indicate either openness (the writer has no reserve or buffer between himself and others) or economy with time and/or money (thrifty use of space).
Slim Margins which retreat to the Left indicate a desire for either of the above states which slips away and fails when actually put into practice.
Large Left Margin indicates (in proportion to their broadness) either a lavish approach to time, money or materials, or a desire to act in this manner.
Large Left Margins which advance towards the Left – the text creeps back towards the left-hand side of the paper – indicate a probable desire to appear lavish or open-handed whilst actually wanting to keep a tighter rein on material things than would fit in with the outward display.
When writers are careful to leave no space at the end of a line either by extending words or letters to fill the space or by inserting dashes or strokes (in either case giving the impression that they are almost fearful of leaving room for someone else to add to the text -very much in the same way that we are taught to fill out cheques so as to give no chance to forgers) this indicates added caution in the subject’s approach to life.
The strength of the trait increases proportionally to the number of lines which have this kind of ending. The more cautious a person is, the less inclined he is to take chances or to seek fresh challenges. If the writer compresses words, lines or letters as he nears the end of the page (as if he is puffing off concluding the page and turning to a fresh sheet) he could be demonstrating a lack of ability to make decisions (prevarication).
Consistently large gaps between words indicate social isolation. The writer feels as isolated and as cut off from others as his words are from each other.
Ascending lines indicate optimism or enthusiasm – exactly in proportion to their degree of rise. Descending lines indicate exactly the opposite of the ascending lines – in proportion to their rate of descent; sudden dips, particularly at the ends of words, letters, sentences or lines may indicate depression.
Lines which ascend only to descend indicate initial enthusiasm which peters out (in proportion to the relative rise and fall). Conversely, lines which fall only to rise later indicate the kind of character which overcomes initial problems through sustained effort. Lines which collide indicate confusion. When the upper or lower loops of letters tangle with other lines, it points to a range of interests or projects which have grown too great for the writer to effectively control.