Doodling: What does it all mean?

HR professionals sit in their fair share of meetings, so it’s highly possible that – like most of the working population – you have a notebook full of doodles. According to doodle expert and graphologist Diane Simpson, up to 75% of the UK population doodle every day.

Simpson helped stationery brand Europa conduct a guide titled How do you doodle?, which reveals what personality type you are according to how you doodle. The doodles are categorised by symbols, shapes and various drawings.

Match the doodles

Prior to the launch of the guide, Europa conducted an experiment in one of its sales meetings that led to Simpson matching up doodles to all 20 people in that meeting with a 98% success rate.

“It was astonishing: without knowing who had drawn the doodles we were able to guess correctly which doodles belonged to whom,” says Simpson, who believes people are less on their guard when doodling, and that most of the time they are not even aware they are even doing it.

“It gives people a deeper psychological insight into the personalities of their colleagues,” she says. “However, doodling is not an exact science – there are no definite rights or wrongs.”

She also suggests that perhaps employers could compare doodles as an amusing teambuilding exercise, but stresses that it shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

Analyse your scribbles

So should you stop what you’re doing and scroll back through your notepads or check your scribbles? If you do, don’t forget to look at colleagues’ creations, too.

“Analysing the doodles of individuals within a team in the workplace can be a fun exercise and also allows you to identify various personality types,” says Simpson.

Famous doodlers

Hairdresser Vidal Sassoon is a well-known doodler and often draws triangles or planets on packaging or while working, which shows he has lots of energy or a desire for balance.

Winston Churchill was another famous doodler. He drew 3D boxes and spirals, which meant he was impatient and wanted to get on with the job, while Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been found drawing linked boxes, symbolising a strong likelihood of a high IQ, and someone who is confident and practical.

According to the Europa guide, the five common types of doodlers are: the ambitious doodler (triangles, planets, suns and shadings) the free-spirited doodler (repetitious doodles, filled circles and abstract shapes mean you are a free-thinker) the impatient doodler (3D boxes, hearts, flowers, stars and question marks) the romantic doodler (flowers, lips, stars and hearts) and the insecure doodler (spiders and webs suggest you feel trapped, eyes mean you want to be seen and heard (as well as being a sign of possible paranoia), crosses are frequently drawn by those who feel in need of protection, and arrows reveal anxiety about the future).

However, Simpson says watch out for those who draw aeroplanes, as these doodlers tend to have a high sex drive.

How do you doodle?

  • Crosses You feel in need of protection

  • Faces Can express positive, negative or ambiguous emotion

  • Flowers Creativity or femininity

  • Animals If happy, may indicate a desire for companionship if unhappy, could be a desire to control

  • Abstract shapes Often means free-thinkers who ignore boundaries not of their own making

By Natalie Cooper


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