My Signature Blog

Dec 03, 2018

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The Evolution of Signature

From the start of humankind, there has been one distinguishing feature that has made us superior to Beasts. One concept, action, that no other animal possesses. It is the one thing that makes us human. The activity we all do and we cannot live without, is that we communicate with one another. Whether we use words or pictures, or even both, we have always told our story with symbols.

From the pictures engraved in caves, the hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians, the symbols that became letters, the letters that became words, the words that became the languages of the world, we all communicate our stories as a legacy to the generations of the future.


Our identity is something we all try to nurture and protect. It is what makes us unique in a vast world. We lose our identity and we become insignificant. What makes us unique is not just the name we are vested with when we are born. We do not all have the same name but many of us can share the same name. Our uniqueness is generated in the way we express our name. From the days of a family seal, a coats of arms, a type of tartan, a surname reflecting our job, a calling card to the present day where we symbolise our name and identity with a signature.

Yet this signature from a scratched 'X' to a full name, is now evolving too. With the advent of the internet and electronic communications, it is really only for our signature that we print the correspondence we receive today.


If we no longer put pen to paper to write to one another, to send notes or cards to one another, then why do we still cling to our signature as our identity?

Firstly, it is because it is unique to us, an electronic version can only represent the action of signing not the emotional link to performing that action. We see our handwritten signature and we recognise it as if we saw ourselves in a mirror.

By removing the feelings from signing a document, the decision to sign something is just a formality. We can compare it with the way that paying for something using a debit card holds little consideration unlike the way we feel handing over physical cash does.


The human characteristic of change aversion is the strongest barrier to break. Anything that challenges the human factor in progressive and innovative developments can be the barrier to the success and acceptance of new services and products.

When threatening the identity of an individual they can, and will, become both protective and defensive of their uniqueness. To force a change can be counterproductive, yet to encourage a change by identifying the benefits of such a change to those that adopt it, can ease the transition allowing a business to move forward.


The electronic signature will become as commonplace as WiFi access. There will be the reluctant users and the non-conformists, but ultimately, we will all be signing online, electronically, ink-less signatures. Will we stop being unique? I doubt it. Maybe our social media profiles will become our identifier, maybe our mobile number, maybe our email address, whichever it is we will still be human. The comparison will no longer be between humans and beasts but between natural and artificial intelligence.

The future, as ever, is very exciting, the next big thing has still to be thought up, created and/or invented. As long as humankind exists, new innovation will happen. It is not because we need it, it is because we can and will do it. A life without challenges and changes has no future.



As money is a promissory value, a signature is a promissory approval. Each generation has created a method of identifying a person's signature, yet we have gone full circle. An 'X' on a deed or document has evolved to a scribble on an electronic touch screen. So, clinging to our signature as our identity is pointless. We only cling to it because of the legal importance it used to hold.

Many of us have the same names these days, but none of us can have the same email address. Surely, this alone can help us strive to be unique? If we want to do better than an exclusive email address, we can have our own domain name.

Whether we produce a generation of .com babies or maybe start teaching in text speech rather than phonetics, some will embrace it and others will boohoo it. That is what makes us human and natural.

Remember, your signature is just a mark of acknowledgement, you are unique because you are you, not because of a symbol on a piece of paper.

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