Hate your signature? Try plastic surgery for autographs

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. cosmetic / kɒzˈmɛt ɪk / (adj.) – intended to improve the appearance of something or someone

    She uses cosmetic creams to improve her skin.

  2. a fresh take on (something) / ə frɛʃ teɪk ɒn / (idiom) – a new or original perspective or approach to something

    Attending a yoga class gave me a fresh take on exercise.

  3. subtle / ˈsʌt l / (adj.) – attractively detailed but unnoticeable

    She has left her subtle signature on the bottom right of the painting.

  4. stencil / ˈstɛn səl / (n.) – a piece of paper, plastic, metal, etc. that has a design cut out of it and is used to draw or paint that design onto another surface

    You can use a stencil to copy that design on several cards.

  5. drum up / drʌm ʌp / (phrasal v.) – to get people’s support or interest in something through persistent effort

    The founders were hoping to drum up their business by hiring social media influencers.


Read the text below.

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. 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’re tired of the way they sign their names.

“They’re not happy with their signatures. They don’t relate to who they are. They don’t give the message they want to convey to the world,” she said.

Molina and other signature doctors 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.

Sonia Palamand in St. Louis, Missouri, began noodling with calligraphy in middle school. She drums up business on TikTok, charging $35 for three signatures while promoting herself in videos that have her designing free of charge for select commenters.

“It’s a way for people to reinvent themselves. The way that you present yourself on the outside can affect how you see yourself on the inside. I think with signatures, it’s adding some intentionality,” she said. “It’s also an artistic pursuit.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Would you ever want to hire a calligrapher to recreate your signature? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Why do you think one’s signature is important? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Would you ever want to try being a signature doctor/calligrapher? Is there another creative job you would like to try (ex. logo designer, painter)? Discuss.
  • What do you think are the pros and cons of using social media to promote one’s creative business? Discuss.