While click-to-agree electronic signatures have become commonplace in today’s world of internet shopping and iTunes agreements, the popularity of electronic signature software shows the value of signing documents and contracts with a hand-drawn, personal electronic signature. A unique handwritten signature has long been a symbol for verifying one’s identity: assuming only the identified party would write their name in exactly the same fashion for each signature, the validity of a signature could be proven in a court of law. This is reinforced by the popular hobby of collecting autographs from athletes and celebrities. This focus on the aesthetic properties of a signature has led many people, non-celebrities included, to cultivate a stylized personal signature as a marker of individuality.
With the advent of electronic signatures, however, many of our traditional ideas about what constitutes a signature have shifted: without the necessities of pen and paper, there is no reason to require a signature to take the form of a handwritten name. US State and Federal legislation regarding electronic signatures, UETA and the E-SIGN Act, define an electronic signature broadly, as “an electronic sound, symbol, or process … executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record”. Despite this language, the desire for and utility of a “handwritten”, unique electronic signature is still apparent. Such a tool acts to enhance legal verification and adds a human touch to otherwise impersonal electronic documents and business deals. To fill this gap, most electronic signature software includes options for the signer to provide a hand-drawn, personal electronic signature.
Using E-Signature Customization
Most cutting edge services give the signer many options to create a personal electronic signature. Using the popular RightSignature, for example, signers have the following options for electronic signature customization:
- Signing with a mouse. Using this option, the signer can use the mouse or laptop trackpad on any computer to “draw” a personal electronic signature.
- Signing with a mobile device. If the software used to send the signed document has a compatible app, signers can use their iPhone, iPad, or Android to draw a signature on the document using their finger.
- Signing with a webcam. Another signing option is to write your signature on a piece of paper, then take a picture of it using your webcam. The electronic signature software captures that signature and automatically attaches it to the signed document, instantly supplying a unique electronic signature.
Saving and Reusing
Some electronic signature software also lets users save an electronic signature that was input using one of the methods above. If the user decides to store their personal electronic signature in the software’s secure cloud storage, that signature can then be retrieved and applied again to any e-signature PDF or document. Like an auto-signer or rubber stamp, this signing option allows busy people to provide a personal touch to their paperwork while working at maximum efficiency.