Why do MOST modern celebrities sign a horrible autograph? The majority of them are just lines and squiggles, and nearly impossible to tell if they are fake or not, because they just look like a kid did some doodling. Only the vintage celebrities gave predominately great signatures where you can read mostly all of the signature. There are several modern celebs I would love to have the autograph of, but after looking at them, it seems a waste of time because who can authenticate confusing sloppy scribbles????
Autographs are no longer a hobby, it's all big business now. Many modern celebrities do have nice signatures, but you won't get a nice signature if you are in the streets "stalking" them standing in a crowd of 50+ people at every venue they show up near.
Most celebrities do have a nice sit down autograph and a "rushed" (get as many done between the car and the door to where I am going) autograph.
Al Pacino, Harrison Ford, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert Downey, Jr., Emma Watson, Felicity Jones even Benedict Cumberbatch all have decent signatures when signing one on one, or if they are doing some kind of sit down signing. The minute they are in a crowd situation, because so many people chase them around, all bets are off. If they are kind enough to stop and sign, you can get a checkmark, or if lucky, maybe their initials.
Sure there are celebrities who just scribble in order to please the fans who have lined up to meet them, and I guess everyone has their own reasons to sign the way they do, if you are a fan of this person and want their autograph, accepting whatever they give is part of the game. Choosing to buy one of these piece is always, always, always....up to you.
Collectors can accept buying what is out there and paying fair market value for the quality of the scribble, or they can pony up the big bucks and buy a nice autograph signed through official channels, where the celeb is giving a nicer graph, due to contracts or the fact that they are getting some kind of remuneration.
Just remember, the bigger the star, the more people are watching and stalking them, in short order that celebrity will have multiple signatures.
TTM is great for character actors and filling in the background of a collection, but the likelihood of landing a major celebrity or huge star TTM is slim. Secretarials, preprints and autopen signatures will make a up huge part of your collection if you work exclusively TTM.
Pete nailed the core of the reason. There are so many variables working against modern signatures, some of them beyond just fame and fortune. Consider the age of smartphones, tablets and the internet. Communication has come a long way over the past few decades, and I believe handwriting isn't only less relevant, it might also be seen as a chore. That could help explain why younger stars start out with uglier signatures, even before they get mobbed by crowds of collectors.
Most younger fans want photos with and selfies to post on Facebook. Some like recording short videos. I tend to like autographs as a hedge against my towering legacy of looking like crap in photos. Ideally, I'd always opt for a nice photo with my favorite celebrity, but I like getting autographs just in case my photo is unsightly. But I'm wondering if some celebs are immediately suspicious of people who even want autographs when they can have what might be perceived as the "cooler" souvenir.