SignWriting is a writing system which uses visual symbols to represent the handshapes, movements, and facial expressions of signed languages. It is an "alphabet" - a list of symbols used to write any signed language in the world. The SignWriting alphabet can be compared to the alphabet we use to write English, the Roman alphabet. The Roman alphabet can be used to write many different spoken languages. While each language may add or subtract one or two symbols, the same basic symbols we use to write English are used to write Danish, German, French and Spanish.
Sutton SignWriting, or simply, SignWriting, is a system of writing sign languages. It is highly featural and visually iconic, both in the shapes of the characters, which are abstract pictures of the hands, face, and body, and in their spatial arrangement on the page, which does not follow a sequential order like the letters that make up written English words. It was developed in 1974 by Valerie Sutton, a dancer who had two years earlier developed DanceWriting.
The SignWriting Literacy Project and the Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting (the DAC) are sponsored by the Center For Sutton Movement Writing, Inc., a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization founded in Southern California in 1974. Directed by Valerie Sutton, the Center collects funds for publishing books and video tapes, developing computer software and fonts, training instructors, paying Deaf staff members to develop educational materials, designing and posting free educational web sites, and presenting workshops.