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  #1  
Old 07-23-2009, 10:34 AM
Quasimodem Quasimodem is offline
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Sign In Blue Ink Only? WTF?

The law firm representing me for my SSDI, rercently sent me some documents, they wanted signed in BLUE ink only.

Why?

Black is the darker color, and I always under the impression one could sign in either blue or black?

Thanks

Q
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2009, 10:37 AM
Gary T Gary T is online now
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It's to distinguish the original document from a photocopy. Makes perfect sense with black/white copies; I don't know how it relates to color copies.
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  #3  
Old 07-23-2009, 10:37 AM
garygnu garygnu is offline
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Signing in blue easily identifies photocopies.
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  #4  
Old 07-23-2009, 10:38 AM
Gary T Gary T is online now
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Wow. garygnu must have hit the post button about a tenth of a second after I did.
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  #5  
Old 07-23-2009, 10:48 AM
garygnu garygnu is offline
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I hesitated, thinking a slightly different wording might work better.

I've heard some states don't recognize the validity of a signature on legal documents if it's red, what about other colors, like purple or green?

Any other posters named "Gary" want to jump in here?
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  #6  
Old 07-23-2009, 11:03 AM
Quasimodem Quasimodem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
It's to distinguish the original document from a photocopy. Makes perfect sense with black/white copies; I don't know how it relates to color copies.
My best friend in High School was (and still is) Gary T (I won't spell out his last name here, but it matches up with "The Boss's" bass player's).

So GT, excuse me if I have asked this before, but "Is that you, Jocka-Strock"?

Thanks,

Q

Last edited by Quasimodem; 07-23-2009 at 11:03 AM..
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  #7  
Old 07-23-2009, 11:04 AM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garygnu View Post
I've heard some states don't recognize the validity of a signature on legal documents if it's red, what about other colors, like purple or green?

Any other posters named "Gary" want to jump in here?
I have a friend named Gary, is that close enough?

I don't know about legal validity, but the problem with red ink is that it doesn't photocopy well -- hence it would be too easy to copy a document and then sign over the original signature.
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  #8  
Old 07-23-2009, 11:07 AM
sweeteviljesus sweeteviljesus is offline
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When are they going to recognize digital signatures?
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  #9  
Old 07-23-2009, 11:15 AM
Philster Philster is offline
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Who are "they"...? Some digital signatures are accepted by various companies. They accept them and all inherent risks, which they must deem to be low enough to be worth it.


An ink signature isn't a guarantee the person is legit either. Maybe a fingerprint would help.

Last edited by Philster; 07-23-2009 at 11:16 AM..
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  #10  
Old 07-23-2009, 11:18 AM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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Originally Posted by sweeteviljesus View Post
When are they going to recognize digital signatures?
They are recognized for many uses, but usually only within an organization that has defined its own standards. For example, the IRS accepts digital signatures that follow certain criteria, but those criteria aren't necessarily shared by anyone else.

In order to make them more widespread, we'd need a much broader standard, perhaps set at the federal level or by a very influential business group.
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  #11  
Old 07-23-2009, 11:20 AM
Kimmy_Gibbler Kimmy_Gibbler is offline
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Originally Posted by garygnu View Post
I've heard some states don't recognize the validity of a signature on legal documents if it's red, what about other colors, like purple or green?
I don't doubt that you've heard this, but I have to ask: where on earth do people get ideas like this from?

Under the UCC 1-201(39) a signature is "any symbol executed or adopted by a party with present intention to authenticate a writing." Under the Restatement (Second) of Contracts 134, a signature is "any symbol made or adopted with an intention, actual or apparent, to authenticate the writing as that of the signer." Furthermore, the comments to that section provides that "[t]he traditional form of signature is of course the name of the signer, handwritten in ink. But initials, thumbprint or an arbitrary code sign may also be used; and the signature may be written in pencil, typed, printed, made with a rubber stamp, or impressed into the paper." Id., cmt. (a).

So as you can see, the color of the ink used to sign a document is of absolutely no moment. Now, when dealing with non-lawyers, the broad latitude afforded by the law may occasion disbelief and you might finder it easier to sign documents in a conventional way. They might even refuse to accept a document unless signed to their satisfaction, and this requirement is within their rights--the offeror is master of his offer. However, the notion that red-ink signatures are a nullity in the eyes of the law in point of their color is false.

And I agree, he was asked to sign in blue ink to distinguish the original from photocopies. I do the same thing.
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  #12  
Old 07-23-2009, 11:40 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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Some governmental agencies have different policies than the UCC. These policies are in effect the same as laws. For instance the Food and Saftey Inspection Service, requires a different color ink than black for their certificates and audits to be valid. Illinois has a very detailed list of what is acceptable for an audit and for records.

That said a signature may be deemed valid by a court even if it is in the wrong color ink, why bother to go to all the trouble of a court battle when you can just do it right to begin with. For instance, I can sign with an "X" but if the signature is disputed and it goes before a court, I better come up with a convincing reason to that judge why I chose an "X" and not my signature.

So why not just save the time and hassle.
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  #13  
Old 07-23-2009, 12:10 PM
garygnu garygnu is offline
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Originally Posted by Kimmy_Gibbler View Post
I don't doubt that you've heard this, but I have to ask: where on earth do people get ideas like this from?
...
Combine the common insistence on blue or black ink on documents that will be scanned with the practice of using red ink for corrections and negative amounts and I can see how such ideas get cemented.

In any case, while I've heard it elsewhere, the real memorable instance was a story I heard watching Behind the Music about Creed*. Scott Stapp wanted to sign their first contract in blood, but only one other band member joined him in doing so. Then Mark Tremonti, one of the two who didn't, says, "The contract comes back because anything written in red is void so it was all for nothing, man it was pretty funny." With that phrasing, it's anything in red, not just a signature, but there is no citation, given it's Behind the Music.

After a cursory search, I found some reasons red ink should be avoided other than "the law says." Some optical scanners use a red light. Many institutions like to reserve red ink for corrections and notes. Red ink often can be less than permanent. Some people are superstitious enough about the signing-in-blood thing that a red ink signature is teh evil.

*: I have no idea why I was watching Behind the Music about Creed. I don't like Behind the Music and I hate Creed.
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  #14  
Old 07-23-2009, 12:17 PM
Michael of Lucan Michael of Lucan is offline
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People are often discouraged from using red or green ink, for similar reasons to the above. If you have to photocopy or fax the document, many reds or greens do not show clearly - sometimes they vanish completely. If you use a very pale blue colour*, or the same applies. So, avoid using freaky ink when signing serious documents.

*(or indeed "color" if you are a merkin and can't spell correctly.)
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  #15  
Old 07-23-2009, 12:21 PM
Michael of Lucan Michael of Lucan is offline
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Note that the reverse applies if you want to use a highlighter pen to mark text (or the highlighter function on Word etc.).

Any shade other than yellow or orange will blot out part of the text when you photocopy or fax it. Yet huge numbers of people insist on using green, red or blue highlights. Stupid really.
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  #16  
Old 07-23-2009, 12:28 PM
ethelbert ethelbert is online now
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I was told by my lawyer when I closed on my house (and signing many documents) the the State of New Jersey required its documents to be signed in black ink. I did not ask why.
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  #17  
Old 07-23-2009, 12:29 PM
Kimmy_Gibbler Kimmy_Gibbler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
Some governmental agencies have different policies than the UCC. These policies are in effect the same as laws. For instance the Food and Saftey Inspection Service, requires a different color ink than black for their certificates and audits to be valid. Illinois has a very detailed list of what is acceptable for an audit and for records.
This isn't quite the same thing as signing a document, if, in fact, these requirements obtain. It would be the first I'd heard of them and we live in the same state. I have no experience with the FSIS, so perhaps it's the case. Likewise with the NJ documents. There is an outside possibility that the demands of scanning equipment or the like may require completing documents in specific colors; however, if you think a conveyance of real property will be reversed because you filled out the documents in blue ink, you are mistaken. Rather, the documents will come back for you to redo them in the commanded color and you will likely be assessed some sort of late filing fee or the like, but the legal effect will not be undone.

Quote:
That said a signature may be deemed valid by a court even if it is in the wrong color ink, why bother to go to all the trouble of a court battle when you can just do it right to begin with. For instance, I can sign with an "X" but if the signature is disputed and it goes before a court, I better come up with a convincing reason to that judge why I chose an "X" and not my signature.
Well, I don't think anyone goes to court to "quiet title," so to speak, over signature colors, so I don't understand what you mean when you prophesy court battles and "do[ing] it right to begin with," because as I've taken great pains to show, an "X" or a thumbprint or a typewritten "/s/ Kimmy Gibbler" is a perfectly valid signature if made or adopted with the present intent to authenticate the instrument. And this goes to your last sentence, you do not have to "come up with a convincing reason to that judge why [you] chose an 'X.'" If you have authority, binding or persuasive, or evidence that indicates this, do please share.

Quote:
So why not just save the time and hassle.
I think I address this point in my first post. We agree, although we get here via two very different routes: mine is informed by the law while yours is idle speculation that happily, if also completely accidentally, leads you to a correct conclusion.

Last edited by Kimmy_Gibbler; 07-23-2009 at 12:32 PM..
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  #18  
Old 07-23-2009, 12:51 PM
corkboard corkboard is offline
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I know that many, if not all, county recording offices have very specific requirements for filing a doucment in the public record, and they're all different*. The first page of a contract to be recorded has to have a minumum of 1" margin on the sides and bottom, with a 3.5" margin at the top, and the contract must be signed in blue ink; that sort of thing.



*Hyperbole. The point is, if you want to record it in X county, you must follow X county's instructions to a T, or forget it.
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  #19  
Old 07-23-2009, 01:06 PM
Kimmy_Gibbler Kimmy_Gibbler is offline
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Originally Posted by corkboard View Post
I know that many, if not all, county recording offices have very specific requirements for filing a doucment in the public record, and they're all different*. The first page of a contract to be recorded has to have a minumum of 1" margin on the sides and bottom, with a 3.5" margin at the top, and the contract must be signed in blue ink; that sort of thing.



*Hyperbole. The point is, if you want to record it in X county, you must follow X county's instructions to a T, or forget it.
Here are the requirements for Cook County, Illinois:

Quote:
What are the Standard Form Legislation Compliance rules?

Standard forms shall be 8.5 x 11.0" in size, which are not permanently bound nor on continuous form. The first page of the document shall contain a blank space measuring 3" x 5" in the upper right hand corner. The document shall be on white paper of no less than 20 lb. weight and have a clean margin of 1/2" on top, bottom, right and left sides. The document shall not have any attachment stapled or affixed to any page. Any documents not meeting these guidelines (other than plats of subdivision) will be charged double the flat recording fee ($20.00 x 2 = $40.00).
As you can see, nothing about ink color. And moreover, as I mentioned, the penalty for flouting the rules is not "the house was never actually sold!" but rather "pay us more money."

This link identifies similar requirements for Champaign County, Illinois. It does require that "[t]he document must be written, printed or typed in black ink."

As it turns out, the two counties have similar requirements because they are controlled by Illinois statute, viz. 55 ILCS 5/3-5018. In particular, it provides "(2) The document shall be legibly printed in black ink, by hand, type, or computer. Signatures and dates may be in contrasting colors if they will reproduce clearly." (Emphasis added)

I will note that the act also provides that unless the additional fee is paid for non-conforming documents, those documents will not be recorded. This does have a legal effect when it comes to multiple mortgages (and multiple sales, as bar candidates will recall) where priority and notice do matter and is established by recording.
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  #20  
Old 07-23-2009, 01:13 PM
mack mack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philster
An ink signature isn't a guarantee the person is legit either. Maybe a fingerprint would help.
Maybe in 10 years we'll just spit on documents and have DNA scanners verify it.
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  #21  
Old 07-23-2009, 01:25 PM
Philster Philster is offline
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Originally Posted by mack View Post
Maybe in 10 years we'll just spit on documents and have DNA scanners verify it.
Maybe we'll determine whether that was sarcasm or serious input!
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  #22  
Old 07-23-2009, 02:21 PM
mack mack is offline
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Or too many viewings of Gattaca.
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  #23  
Old 07-23-2009, 02:30 PM
corkboard corkboard is offline
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Originally Posted by Kimmy_Gibbler View Post
<snip> As you can see, nothing about ink color. <snip>
I'm not sure what your post was intended to prove- that I was wrong about Cook County? Whoop-dee-doo. Maybe you missed the part of my post where I indicated all counties' recording requirements differ.

My post was in response to the OP, which asked why the law firm requested blue ink signatures only. One possible reason, I posited, was that it was a requirement of the recording office.
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  #24  
Old 07-23-2009, 02:32 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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Kimmy, you might be surprised to learn that you aren't always entirely correct.

For example, here is the official self-help guide from the Judicial Council of California regarding the filling out of court forms. Notice tip #5: "Sign each form where your signature is requested. Use blue or black ink only."

Here is a discussion on a message board for notaries where they discuss requirements for signature colors.

A cursory search of the California Code did not turn up a statute on the matter, but the Judicial Council of California site is replete with statements that blue and black ink are required, so it may be buried in the Rules of Court.

At the very least, it appears that one might have to reference more than just the UCC.
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  #25  
Old 07-23-2009, 02:43 PM
Shot From Guns Shot From Guns is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael of Lucan View Post
*(or indeed "color" if you are a merkin and can't spell correctly.)
For a pubic-hair wig to spell at all would be impressive indeed.
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  #26  
Old 07-23-2009, 03:04 PM
robby robby is online now
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Back when I was in the Navy, only black-ink government-issue pens were used. Everything written in ink was supposed to be black.

In fact, when I was going through NROTC, I once had to get something signed by my platoon commander. He didn't have a pen, so I offered him a blue pen, which he looked at in disgust and promptly threw in the trash, and told me to go find a black ink pen.

When I got out of the Navy, I continued using black pens. This continued until the following incident occurred: I submitted an application to my state Department of Environmental Protection, which required that two original applications be submitted (no copies). I did this, but all of the signatures were in black ink. Six weeks later, I received notice that my application was being held up because I had supposedly not submitted two original applications (which I had, of course). That's when I realized the advantage of blue ink pens. I exclusively use blue ink pens now. It makes it far easier to recognize original signatures.
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  #27  
Old 07-23-2009, 03:30 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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"[t]he traditional form of signature is of course the name of the signer, handwritten in ink. But initials, thumbprint or an arbitrary code sign may also be used; and the signature may be written in pencil, typed, printed, made with a rubber stamp, or impressed into the paper." Id., cmt. (a).
For what it's worth, Stephen Hawking's usual signature is his thumbprint.
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  #28  
Old 07-23-2009, 03:38 PM
Quasimodem Quasimodem is offline
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These are The Binder & Binder guys helping me with SSDI, so if they want blue, guess I better give 'em blue, or they'll just keep shooting those docs back to me.

I just had no idea and always thought "blue or black" was okay, but the differentiation from photo-copied documents make sense.

I am glad I checked with y'all, 'cause they might have called me, and it might have been on one of my "rage" days. (Few and far between, but they do still occur).

Thanks

Quasi
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  #29  
Old 07-23-2009, 04:11 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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My dad was a must sign in BLACK ONLY kind of person. He thought it looked more official that way. It was a real pisser trying to figure out which copy of his will was the real one and which were the photocopies. Now I sign everything in blue so I know which is the original at a glance.
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  #30  
Old 07-23-2009, 05:52 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweeteviljesus
When are they going to recognize digital signatures?
About nine years ago.

President Clinton signed Senate Bill 761, the Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce (E-Sign) Act on June 30, 2000 with a smart card.

Not sure who authenticated that first smart card, though.
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  #31  
Old 07-23-2009, 06:12 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philster View Post
Who are "they"...? Some digital signatures are accepted by various companies. They accept them and all inherent risks, which they must deem to be low enough to be worth it.


An ink signature isn't a guarantee the person is legit either. Maybe a fingerprint would help.
My hazy memory of Asian History suggests that Chinese courts of law used thumbprints before the Roman Empire to identify document, especially courtroom documents & written testamony.
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  #32  
Old 07-23-2009, 08:11 PM
racer72 racer72 is offline
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I once received a check written and signed in gold ink. The bank refused to honor it.
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  #33  
Old 07-23-2009, 09:10 PM
Billdo Billdo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corkboard View Post
I know that many, if not all, county recording offices have very specific requirements for filing a doucment in the public record, and they're all different*. The first page of a contract to be recorded has to have a minumum of 1" margin on the sides and bottom, with a 3.5" margin at the top, and the contract must be signed in blue ink; that sort of thing.

*Hyperbole. The point is, if you want to record it in X county, you must follow X county's instructions to a T, or forget it.
In the suburban counties around New York City, this is the case. Some of them require documents to be recorded in the county land records to be signed in black ink, and others require blue ink. (It doesn't matter for the counties in the City of New York.) Some of it has to do with the methods they use to archive the documents, although I would suspect there is a large dose of the perversity of county clerks thrown in.

In any event, the title company closers usually are good about making sure us clueless lawyers follow the requirements.
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  #34  
Old 07-23-2009, 10:23 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racer72 View Post
I once received a check written and signed in gold ink. The bank refused to honor it.
I once endorsed a check in silver ink. The bank required me to endorse it again, and so I used their black ink pen.

Currently, in my purse, is a pen with a very thick barrel. It has to be thick, as it has 10 (count them, 10!) different colored ink barrels. Yes, I do use them all.

My husband is a gummint employee, and has to sign lots of documents, and then make copies of them. He uses blue ink on the originals, for the same reason everyone else does.
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  #35  
Old 07-24-2009, 01:54 AM
Quasimodem Quasimodem is offline
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WOW!

Lynn Bodoni

In one of mythreads! How awesome is that????

Thanks

Q
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  #36  
Old 07-24-2009, 10:46 AM
gigi gigi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
Currently, in my purse, is a pen with a very thick barrel. It has to be thick, as it has 10 (count them, 10!) different colored ink barrels. Yes, I do use them all.
I got one of those for my birthday when I was what's now called a tween. It looked like a rocket ship--I loved it.
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  #37  
Old 07-24-2009, 10:56 AM
Shot From Guns Shot From Guns is offline
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I had one, too. I miss that pen.
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  #38  
Old 07-24-2009, 11:03 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garygnu View Post
Signing in blue easily identifies photocopies.
Maybe not. If you put a doc with black ink and a blue sig in our copier, it will reproduce it in color unless you force it to be black only. And the copy is a faithful repro of the mixed color original.

Traditionally, blue, but light blue, was used for markup in print shops, as the cameras didn't pick it up. Early copiers were blind to it, too, but modern ones can reproduce it just fine.

A nearby drugstore had a sale yesterday, a 10-pack of blue pens for $.19. I was suspicious that their advertised price omitted an "ea", so I went in to buy a pack. I bought 10 pens for $.19 plus a penny tax, so they weren't lying.

However, when I brought them in to our real estate office, our office manager held up a cross when she saw the blue pens and told me to get them out of there. She worries that signing docs with blue will cause the copier to go into much more costly color mode and run up a big bill.

Just for kicks, I wrote on a scrap of paper with both a black ballpoint and the blue. Both lines reproduced perfectly on the copier when in black-only mode.
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  #39  
Old 07-24-2009, 11:10 AM
Shot From Guns Shot From Guns is offline
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
Maybe not. If you put a doc with black ink and a blue sig in our copier, it will reproduce it in color unless you force it to be black only.
I'm surprised you don't have a dedicated B&W copier and/or keep your color copier in B&W mode by default.
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