What color is your ink?

Pens are definitely low-tech compared to iPhones, iPods, computers, etc. But despite all the advances in technology, we still need them. Whether it’s a modest Bic or an over-the-top collectible Mont Blanc, a lawyer’s pen is an important tool.

Since I’m arguably using this blog to attempt to persuade the world that my way of thinking is correct, :-), I thought I’d see if I can start a real dogfight.

Lawyers, stop using black ink! When you use black ink, your photocopies are hard to distinguish from originals.

Many lawyers grew up in the profession using black ink for a very simple reason: photocopiers of the 1970s and earlier could not pick up blue ink very well. Signatures wouldn’t appear on photocopies, and written notes were rendered illegible by the copier. Black ink guaranteed those types of problems wouldn’t arise.

Today, however, photocopiers are much more effective. So why do we stick with black ink?

The only reasons I can think of are 1) habit, or 2) permanency. Changing ink colors is a simple way to break the black ink habit; it just requires a little effort. If permanency is the concern, there are permanent or “bulletproof” inks on the market if you’re willing to look. (For example, there is a gel-pen with a permanent ink marketed to those wanting to foil check washers, and there are a number of fountain pen inks that have permanent qualities.)

The bigger question is probably why bother to change from black ink at all? One reason is because life is too short to be boring all the time. Does your signature on a letter look better in a generic black rollerball or a searing dark blue? If you want to really stand out, use something like an emerald green.

As the saying goes, lawyers are a dime a dozen. By using black ink, you show that you’re comfortable going along with the crowd. By using something other than black (or even blue), you demonstrate self-confidence. Which type of lawyer would you want to hire?

Please—someone leave a comment and tell me why I’m wrong about this. I doubt I will change my mind, but the debate can be a blast.

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2 thoughts on “What color is your ink?

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