Italian Gestures

New York Times article details the origins and importance of Italian Gestures.

Far more than quaint folklore, gestures have a rich history. One theory holds that Italians developed them as an alternative form of communication during the centuries when they lived under foreign occupation — by Austria, France and Spain in the 14th through 19th centuries — as a way of communicating without their overlords understanding.

Another theory, advanced by Adam Kendon, the editor in chief of the journal Gesture, is that in overpopulated cities like Naples, gesturing became a way of competing, of marking one’s territory in a crowded arena. “To get attention, people gestured and used their whole bodies,” Ms. Poggi said, explaining the theory.

Andrea De Jorio, a 19th-century priest and archaeologist, discovered comparisons between the gestures used by the figures painted on ancient Greek vases found in the Naples area and the gestures used by his Neapolitan contemporaries.

Over the centuries, languages have evolved, but gestures remain. “Gestures change less than words,” Ms. Poggi said.


The Next Iteration

The Bandit’s been in the workshop cutting, sawing, and sanding down a new version of Hand It!. WordPress and Tumblr are cool platforms which have allowed a steady stream of posts to all kinds of readers, but I’m interested in getting a website going that is driven by user-content to truly make this the “Wikipedia of Hand Gestures.”

For those interested, here is a prototype of Hand It’s evolution. It’s currently hosted on my college’s servers, so it may be removed at a later date in order to free up space for new students. The homepage would feature one submitted gesture for a period of 2/3 days before moving to the archives. Submitting will be done by email and checking new content would be as simple as logging into the homepage. All submissions will be considered and curated by your beloved Bandit, in order to keep it as clean and fun as possible.

From a design standpoint, I wanted to highlight the content, so I opted for a minimal aesthetic. was a big inspiration. The world and web are cluttered enough already, checking Hand It! should be as calmingly humorous as a monk tickling your belly.

Any and all feedback is more than appreciated, so please comment, message me, or email with anything you have to say, spit, or yell.


Due to my busy schedule and all-consuming job search, Hand It! will be on hiatus for an indeterminate period of time.

I am also currently developing the next iteration of this project, which will not live on WordPress and will be centered around user-submissions to get this project closer to becoming a true “Wikipedia for hand gestures.”

In the meantime, feel free to email handitbandit[at] with any ideas, submissions, questions or concerns.

Farewell and keep gesturing!



Being at a loss of words is like reaching into one’s pocket at a cash register only to feel deep, vacant cloth. It can blindside you. Shake you up from top to bottom until you start foaming over.

Oftentimes people will say they can’t properly “articulate” themselves in these moments. When you can’t articulate, you need to gesticulate. Let your hand gestures do what they do best by expressing the thoughts and feelings that your vocal chords cannot.

Guitarists let their fingers do the talking. Painters lash their hands in all directions. We all fill the wordless void with some form of expression, which often involves hand gestures.


This is frustration, disappointment, and hopelessness; tensed fingers try to squeeze these feelings out of the mind.

7 Situations You Need Hand Gestures For

  1. Caught in deep thought
  2. Out partying with strangers
  3. Needing to look more formal
  4. Someone questions your legitimacy
  5. Respectfully greeting somebody
  6. Asking for quiet while being quiet
  7. Chatting with a curious friend

How to Capture the Moment by Sharing Hand Gestures Online

Words can fail us, emoticons can fall short, and reaction gifs may not be enough. Communicating online poses difficulty for those who gesticulate as much as they articulate. So many emotions can be missed. So much humor can be lost. There are many moments that are best captured or expressed by a hand gesture, but how does one share a hand gesture online?

Here are the two best ways you can share the perfect hand gesture for your next online interaction.

1. Use “the web’s first and only hand manual” to find a fitting hand gesture.

Hand It! exists so you can look up and share hand gestures with your friends and family. You can do this in two ways. First, search our collection, click on the title of the post, and copy that URL and paste it into your communication medium of choice. Secondly, you can go through Hand It!, right-click on a picture of a gesture, select “Copy Image URL,” and send that link along to your homies.

2. Let your own hands do the talking.

We all come equipped with the ability to make and share hand gestures. Hopefully, your many social interactions have exposed you to a wealth of different ones. Take a picture of the hand gesture with a webcam or phone, then send that picture. Use Twitter and Instagram on your computer or phone to share the picture. Also, Snapchat’s quick-disappearing act makes it the best medium to share offensive gestures. Video chats on Skype or Facebook give you the freedom to make any hand gesture(s) you want.