Doctors, lawyers, celebrities: There's a new cosmetic surgery, of sorts, for which they're all signing up. By that, we mean handing over money to hire a calligrapher for a fresh take on writing one's own name in cursive, writes Leanne Italie for the AP. With a pen or another writing implement. On paper. A corner of TikTok, Instagram, and other social media is dedicated to signature design, and it's keeping practitioners busy. Priscilla Molina in Los Angeles does a minimum of 300 custom signatures a month, offering packages that include up to three ways to sign, limitless drafts, or a new set of initials. She charges between $10 to $55, using the motto: “Where originality meets legacy.”
Molina said her Planet of Names clients include professionals and famous people in search of new ways to sign autographs, though her lips are sealed on the identities of high-profile signature seekers. In general, Molina said, people come to her for signature makeovers for a simple reason: "They don't give the message they want to convey to the world,” she said. Molina and other signature doctors (others are interviewed) promise a range of styles. For Molina, that includes but is not limited to elegant, subtle, dramatic, sharp, classic, artistic, condensed, curvy, legible—or even illegible. She and others offer templates and stencils, encouraging clients to practice their newfound John Hancocks, with results in a short couple of weeks if they put in the time.
John Hancock, for those light on US history, was president of the Continental Congress and affixed his large and flamboyant signature to the Declaration of Independence when it was signed in 1776. Fast forward to 2023, where—despite the rise of digital alternatives—signatures, to some, still matter. What happens when a client's signature must be matched with a signature on file? Think voter rolls, passports, credit cards, health documents, wills, insurance, or financial papers. There's the option of reverting to an old signature, of course, though some happy customers choose to update their worlds of signatures on file to match the new. (Read the full, strange story.)