The Lost Art of Handwriting

by Krantcents · 48 comments

Post image for The Lost Art of Handwriting

Handwriting has become a lost art!  Technology has changed our communication.  Simple communication of writing a letter or note is not something we do anymore.  We email, tweet, text, share on Facebook, post on a blog, post on a website, chat, connect online, or make a call on a cell or VOIP phone.  Technology changed everything!   Has the ability to actually write become obsolete?

Stand out from the crowd 

If it has, it is also an opportunity for you to stand out!  A simple thank you note after an interview may be just the thing to put you over the top.  A handwritten note may be obsolete, but is personal.  It is romantic to the right person.  It is motivational for a child.  It is special as a thank you for a gift.  Something you should do after receiving a gift for a birthday, wedding, anniversary or some other special occasion.  It still is valued!

When I was a poor college student, I used handwritten letters and notes to show my feelings for my then girlfriend.  I stopped buying cards a long time ago!  I never found cards to express my feelings as well as I could.  Writing my own cards is more personal and more meaningful too. Too bad it is dying out.  Soon there will be people who no longer can read cursive writing.  Writing will go the way of dinosaurs!

Museums have letter collections

There is a reason we collect letters of famous people to exhibit in museums?  We learn so much from people’s writing because it gives us insight into the writer. You don’t have to be famous to be worth saving either!  I remember receiving a handwritten note from my wife’s grandfather.  It was encouraging, inspiring and just made me feel good.   Would a text have the same impact?  140 characters do have its limits!  It could, but would you save it?

So much writing is archived in libraries, museums or personal collections.  There are museums dedicated to U.S. Presidents where you can find their personal writing.  Now, we will need a typed translation because soon there will be generations who cannot read cursive writing.  Besides, many people’s writing is difficult to read anyway.  Technology has changed communication and we need to adapt.


If you really want to learn about someone, read their letters!  Graphologists go further, they analyze your writing.  Graphology is the study of handwriting, especially when regarded as an expression of the writer’s character, personality, abilities, etc.  It is sometimes used to analyze personality and behavior.  It is sometimes used in criminology.  They use a number (as many as 300) features to analyze writing for personality and behavior.   Handwriting is part of your personal image!

Why handwriting is important?

A simple handwritten note will have impact!  It is personal and expresses your feelings whether as a thank you, card for a special occasion, note of congratulations, expresses love, regret, encouragement, help in a sale or close a deal.  It has impact!  Some may use it to seal an interview or express their love at Valentine’s Day.  Both are important in their own way.  A simple handwritten note from your boss, mate or someone in your life will affect you much more than a text, email or some other electronic device.

A handwritten note is personal and it takes more time than some electronic message.  It is usually valued more just because it is on paper.  Whether it is a thank you not, a letter or a business plan on the back of a napkin, it is valued.  It used to be a rudimentary contract between two (2) people, words were more valued or there were fewer choices.  I am not trying to turn the clock back, but it is a way to stand out from the crowd.

Over my professional business career, I have interviewed hundreds, if not thousands of people and never received a thank you note. A handwritten thank you note or just a note would distinguish you from all the other candidates.  You are out there networking for your next job, to connect or just to increase your presence in your industry, you want to clinch your connection with a note.  A simple handwritten note will have more impact.

Final thoughts

Is handwriting a lost art?  Technology has replaced almost all of it, but you can use it to your advantage.  You can stand out by writing a note, letter or some other personal way to communicate.  It still matters, but it is up to each of us!  It has more impact than an email, text, or some other electronic communication.  Whether you use it to nail an interview, follow up an networking meeting, encourage an employee, a thank you note, a letter or some other reason.  Technology is adapting by developing programs to recognize handwriting and organizing it.  It even provides to take notes or write electronically, but it does not replace a handwritten note.  They are still manufacturing pencils and pens.  We still value a beautifully written note, don’t we  or is handwriting a dying art!

Photo by:  kevinzim

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My Financial Independence Journey April 23, 2013 at 2:32 am

I have always had bad handwriting. Currently, it’s borderline illegible. At one point as a child, I remember having learned how to write in cursive. I’ve since forgotten that.

I’m perfectly happy using a computer to do my writing. I find the editing features, backspacing, spell checking, and copy pasting to incredibly helpful to me. I still try to use complete sentences, spell checking and punctuation. I can’t get used to writing or reading in text message style.

I feel like I’m stuck in an awkward place halfway between the old and the new world.

Krantcents April 23, 2013 at 6:57 am

I am more comfortable writing on a computer too. I particularly like the ability to edit my writing. The problem about losing cursive writing is the ability to read it.

KC @ genxfinance April 23, 2013 at 3:10 am

When I read about this post, I immediately grabbed a pen and a paper and started to write down my name. Want to see if I still know how to. Lol Yeah, I still do but it looks like it’s a lost art indeed.

Krantcents April 23, 2013 at 6:59 am

It is a great way to really impress a hiring manager with a thank you note though.

John S @ Frugal Rules April 23, 2013 at 6:49 am

I think it is likely a lost art. Technology, while hoping to make things easier, has made us lazy in many aspects. Hand written thank you notes are huge, especially after an interview and can really help you be set apart from the crowd.

Krantcents April 23, 2013 at 7:00 am

Thank you notes regarding interviews are rare! A handwritten note will make you stand out as long as it is legible!

Money Beagle April 23, 2013 at 7:44 am

I use computers for a lot, but one thing I do every day is write out my to-do list. For some reason, writing it makes it more likely that I’ll do it than if I type it out. I do miss writing and receiving letters.

Krantcents April 23, 2013 at 8:09 am

Very true! I am a list person and writing it means I can stick it anywhere. Technology is great, but not for everything.

Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide April 23, 2013 at 11:58 am

I homeschool, and I have my kids learn Italic handwriting, which has a very small print-to-cursive jump. Once they are writing comfortably in cursive, I add typing.

Typing is how they will do 80-90% of their writing in the future, but there are still many circumstances in which handwriting is necessary and cursive is important. But I’m not going to spend a year reteaching handwriting just so the kids can have traditional “loopy” cursive styles. Italic cursive is far more legible, anyway.

Krantcents April 23, 2013 at 1:05 pm

I think the larger problem may be reading cursive writing. As more and more students stop learning cursive writing, less people can read it too. Everyone will need a tablet or something similar to express themselves.

Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide April 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Italic cursive is easy for anyone to read! :)

Krantcents April 24, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Good to know! It may be the future of writing.

maria@moneyprinciple April 23, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Oh, it is very important. But I am really grateful for technology – my handwriting was always really bad; now after couple of decades of computers (and before that typewriters) it is completely illegible.

Krantcents April 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I think everyone will be carrying around a tablet in some form to express themselves.

Julie @ The Family CEO April 23, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Handwriting is so unique to a person. When I get something hand addressed in the mail I can usually tell who it’s from just by the handwriting.

Like most of us, I use the computer for everything, but I’m still fond of making handwritten lists for some reason.

Krantcents April 23, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Even in this age of mailing labels etc. I still look forward to a handwritten note. Next will be a a handwritten font to emulate handwriting.

Marissa @ Thirtysixmonths April 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm

I love writing things out! This is why I insist on carrying a notebook and my moleskin with me everywhere. (I have my laptop with me 90% of the time too)

Krantcents April 23, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I still handwrite notes partially because it is faster, but beacuse I can put it in my pocket.

Justin April 23, 2013 at 4:42 pm

It’s such a shame that schools are no longer teaching handwriting. I suppose it has become obsolete, but it also feels wrong at the same time.
I can’t imagine reading an email in a museum. I just seems so impersonal. With letters, you just know that the person actually wrote it and it’s not a copy of an email printed out.

Krantcents April 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I feel the same way! Add the fact that you can copy/paste and it reduces the effort of writing! I still cherish a note I received from my wife’s grandfather who was able to express this thoughts so eloquently. It will be like typewriters soon.

Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce April 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm

So glad to see a post about this! I find that if you buy cheap fountain pens, they vastly improve your handwriting as well.

Krantcents April 23, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Interesting that you mention “cheap” fountain pens! Although it depends on the individual, I think there is a variety of pens that may improve writing. I personally like a broad point.

Squirrelers April 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm

As a kid, I always got top grades for handwriting. My cursive was outstanding.

Now, as a grown-up, it’s a different ballgame. Not sure what happened to my great handwriting, as it’s now much less legible! Use it or lose it.

Krantcents April 24, 2013 at 6:48 am

Interesting, I never thought I needed to practice cursive writing. I have noticed my signature changing over time though!

Canadianbudgetbinder April 23, 2013 at 11:53 pm

I wrote about this topic in a post last week about the death of the pen and technology. I think that people are getting so used to typing on a computer and the only time we use a pen any more is to sign documents. Even in meetings and University/College people are bringing in technology to make notes. As we evolve things that once were a phenomenon. and now falling by the side as the new is introduced. Change is hard for some though who hang on to the pen with open arms. I think writing a note, sending a letter will bring back the personal touch we seem to be losing with the ease of technology and that lost art of writing.

Krantcents April 24, 2013 at 6:50 am

I agree technology has changes a lot of what we do, but a handwritten note will make you stand out!

John @ Fearless Men April 24, 2013 at 1:57 am

Good post! About a year ago I went through an interview where one portion involved a lot of handwriting. I was quickly reminded of how long it had been since I’d written. In school I loved cursive and having excellent handwriting but computers seem to have taken over. It’s starting to become a lost art.

Krantcents April 24, 2013 at 6:52 am

I have been using word processing so long for writing that I have difficulty writing on paper. The ability to edit or make changes is a nice advantage.

Greg@ClubThrifty April 24, 2013 at 4:41 am

I’ve got some old handwritten letters from my grandmother, and her penmenship was beautiful. You’re right, it is totally a lost art – as is writing in full sentences.

Krantcents April 24, 2013 at 6:54 am

Texting has changed writing completely. I see my students using texting shortcuts all the time. Formal writing is becoming word processing only. There probably will be a day when people won’t be able to read cursive writing.

AverageJoe April 24, 2013 at 7:00 am

My cousin told me that they aren’t teaching cursive anymore in elementary school (at least in his district) because they’ve replaced it with keyboarding.

My aunt sends handwritten notes all the time. They make you feel special when you receive one. The fact that someone took that amount of time on you is a powerful indicator of how they feel about you.

Krantcents April 24, 2013 at 7:24 am

I feel the same way about a handwritten note. It probably doesn’t take more time, but it is much more personal!

Scott @ Youthful Investor April 24, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I will be the first to admit that typing almost everything has had a negative impact on my ability to spell some basic words in a public setting. Honestly, when you have to write a note or fill out a document, think about how many times you second guess yourself because of automatic spell check systems.

Krantcents April 24, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I agree! In fact, I have difficulty just writing sometimes because I am so used to editing my work. Will pen and paper go the way of the typewriter? I hope not!

The First Million is the Hardest April 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm

My handwriting has been terrible since the first day I picked up a pencil. I do agree its a lost art. I don’t think I’ve written much other than my signature by hand since I graduated from college!

Krantcents April 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Technology helps those who have bad writing, but it is a dying art. It is a great way of standing out.

Kris @ Everyday Tips April 25, 2013 at 4:56 am

I love handwriting! I was just thinking the other day how much I dislike how technology has reduced the amount of personal communications. For example, I think last year I only got one actual birthday card in the mail. I got plenty of Facebook wishes and texts, but the art of writing appears to be lost. (Or maybe it is the fact that it costs four dollars to buy a card these days…)

Krantcents April 25, 2013 at 7:31 am

I agree! I like to make my own cards to express my feelings. Handwritten notes are becoming rare. Everyone texts or emails. I think it is more special to write something.

Alexis Marlons April 28, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Oh how I miss the art of writing letters personally and sending it through snail mail. It still feels different when you read letters that are written personally.

Krantcents April 29, 2013 at 6:52 am

It is just a memory because I have received one in many years. It is certainly one way to stand out!

Untemplater April 28, 2013 at 11:35 pm

My grandparents had the most beautiful penmanship. I saved some of their cards and letters just to look at their handwriting. It really is like art and that style is sadly is fading. It’s being transformed into a new type of art with all of the various fonts and typefaces. There are websites devoted just to fonts which are pretty cool. I’ve never had good handwriting myself especially in cursive.

Krantcents April 29, 2013 at 6:55 am

My cousin creates art using calligraphy. Imagine a lettering style becoming art. I still have a letter from my wife’s grandfather, not so much for the handwriting, but for what he said.

Chad Rivera May 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Here are some key features of “MyScript Studio Notes Edition”: · Document management · Retrieve instantly your handwritten notes in a default folder, MyScript Studio detects any new file coming from your writing device · Organize information into binders or with tags you assign yourself Search engine: · Find directly information in your handwritten notes by simply typing keywords on the search bar · Handwriting recognition · In one simple click, convert your notes, graphic shapes and diagrams in digital text · Edit Your notes: highlight words, delete part of texts, add words or graphic shapes as needed · Send the converted result to MicrosoftTM Outlook, Word or as plain text · Format your text: bold, italics, underline · Change colors · Add bullets and numbered list · Trainer module · If needed, create your own writing profile to improve accuracy rate thanks to the Trainer module · Languages available for User Interface and conversion: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified & Traditional), Danish, Dutch, English (Canada/ UK/ USA), Finnish, French (Canada/ France), German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil/ Portugal), Russian, Spanish (Mexico/ Spain), Swedish, Turkish.

Krantcents May 13, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Great idea, but handwriting is no longer taught in school. That means no one can read cursive writngp too.

Janelle Gay May 18, 2013 at 3:54 am

Noteshelf is a phenomenal app for those looking to take handwritten notes with their iPad. Believe it or not, Noteshelf actually improves the look of your handwriting by smoothly interpretation of your annotations. Whether you’re a student or teacher, intern or executive, if you have an iPad and you take notes, get Noteshelf.

Krantcents May 18, 2013 at 7:33 am

This may the future of handwriting, a program to interpret it for a computer! I guess we will need a computer to read handwriting too.

MakintheBacon May 18, 2013 at 7:45 pm

I really enjoyed reading this post. I remember as a kid learning how to write cursive in elementary school. However, when I got to high school and university, I preferred to print over writing in cursive.

I used to have this lettering book that had different styles of lettering that you could copy. I drew the alphabet in so many different ways. I wish I had kept it.

Krantcents May 19, 2013 at 8:05 am

Thanks, you reminded me of when I took notes. I used to doodle in the margins. I wish I would have kept that too.

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