A signature is unique to every individual, which is why it is used to identify the parties signing a legal document. While we have covered the ins and outs of signing legal contracts before, here is some additional information about choosing the right ink color and quality for your document.

What Ink Color Should I Use for Legal Documents?

While there don’t appear to be any laws regulating the color of ink you use to sign a legal document, some organizations, jurisdictions, and individual document custodians (county clerks, notaries, etc.) have their own preferences and practices regarding ink color. Of course, important documents should never be signed in pencil, as your signature can easily be erased or otherwise altered.

In the days before color photocopiers, blue or black ink was preferred because other colors were not dark enough to reproduce. Although photocopying technology has improved in recent years, some document scanners are unable to make out unusual colors such as orange or green.

For instance, generally people create multiple copies of their Power of Attorney so that their lawyer and their attorney-in-fact can have a copy (as well as any one else who may need one). For any legal document that you would want multiple copies of, it’s a good idea to use blue or black ink to reduce the chance that signatures in the document do not show up properly on the copies.

When it comes to choosing between blue or black ink, the consensus is that blue makes it easier to assume a document is a signed original as opposed to a black-and-white copy. Regardless, you should always read the document instructions regarding color preferences or research local procedures before signing a document that will be notarized or submitted to a court.

Does Ink Quality Matter When Signing Legal Forms?

When selecting a pen to sign a legal document, ink quality also matters. It’s important not to use a cheap pen, as lower quality inks tend to be water based, meaning they can be washed off and altered, or fade over time. Often, these inks also contain acid that eventually wears away the paper.

So, for legal documents, look for an archival quality, or “check-safe” pen that is permanent, waterproof, and acid free. These can be purchased for a relatively low cost at any office supply store.

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Posted by Jessica Kalmar

Jessica is a reader, writer, and outdoors enthusiast.