The writing of Frank Lloyd Wright
A Handwriting Analysis of Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)
by Lois Vaisman
Frank Lloyd Wright was one of America’s most influential and imaginative architects. Wright is widely known for two of his most famous projects, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and Marin County Civic Center in California. "Wright claimed that he was the world’s greatest living architect and that if he had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility, honesty dictated that he choose the former." (Ludwig, Arnold, p.191) In looking at the graphics, several dominant features help to confirm Wright’s projected image of himself. This rapid writing, with apparent firm pressure and a vertical or gentle right slant, shows a firmness of nature, decisiveness. The more regular the writing, the more it shows the strength, will power and control that Wright had over any sentimentality. However, the pastose and sometimes flooded strokes reflect a tactile and sensate type of personality. Wright was once thought to be a musical genius because he played six instruments.
Basically, Wright’s handwriting is angular with sharp pointed letters and triangles. The angular writing is not rigid, and reflects a well-developed professional attitude according to Renate Nezos. Wright’s small, compact and squeezed writing is found in people who have the ability to produce successful results by concentrating vital forces. Wright, in fact, had a career of almost seventy years in length, and created a varied sample of architectural forms. Triangles with firm pressure indicate a desire to command and impose one’s ideas, opinions or decisions upon others. This graphic may also give hints of aggression, stubbornness, obstinacy and authoritarianism.
Wright’s handwriting also has sharp pointed letters that reflect an acute intelligence and a penetrating and vivid mind. In addition to the other graphics, the handwriting shows inventiveness and an ability to untangle complicated problems. This is also associated with a faculty to criticize and analyze data. It has been noted that sharp pointed writing is often found in people who use sharp pointed instruments in their profession. His tenacity is seen through the horizontally long "t" bar with a displaced pressure, insuring that Wright does not give up, nor rest when tackling a project.
According to John Holland, in Vocational Choices, Wright is found to be Artistic, Investigative and Realistic, (AIR) which correspond to Architects. It is noted that the more that professions are accountable to the public, the more they regulate the behavior of its members. In John Beck’s article, The Mythological Types of St. Morand, the graphic description of a Mars type corresponds to Wright handwriting: "...the writing often shows strokes which sharpen, particularly end strokes and those of the t-bar:". Wright’s handwriting also demonstrates a Sun element, which in Jungian typology is the Intuitive/Thinking type.
To sum up, Frank Lloyd Wright’s handwriting can be seen as consistent with his personality and his lifelong work. The strong individual graphics, in combination with the gestalt and augmented with different typologies, help to confirm the total personality of the writer. There are numerous graphics that can be considered areas of interest, including size of script, use of rounded forms, garlands, different forms of the capital I, diacritics, Greek "d", thready forms, short lower zones, and alignment control. The manner of how Wright makes his signature, and the two ways "Frank" are written, are telling elements of his versatility and his personal dynamics. These are just some of the graphics that can be explored further, along with the overall form level and functional productivity scores found on the Anthony Psychogram. (See Daniel Anthony’s The Graphological Psychogram to understand how to score these categories from the handwriting). Frank Lloyd Wright was a prolific and innovative architect and his handwriting is an excellent way to see the distinctive mark he made with his designs.
Holland, John (1973) Making Vocational Choices: A Theory of Careers.
Prentice Hall: New Jersey.
Ludwig, Arnold (1995) The Price of Greatness: Resolving the Creativity and Madness Controversy.
Guilford Press: New York.
Lois Vaisman is Vice-President of The American Society of Professional Graphologists,
a clinical social worker, life coach and graphologist.