Color of Ink (Was: Editing comments too harsh?)

Subject: Color of Ink (Was: Editing comments too harsh?)
From: Chuck Beck <cbeck -at- BGNET -dot- BGSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Sat, 7 Sep 1996 12:43:25 -0400

Hi all,

I agree with Eric's assessment and use of ink color, and furthermore, I
believe the psychological research does as well (though I can't point to or
quote a source to confirm that). I wonder if Mr. Luscher has done any study
on this particular use of color?

I use green ink for all the same reasons, besides which, green tends to show
up more easily and be more easily spotted while scanning a document than
purple (which I have also used on occasion). Green also implies a subtle
psychologic "go signal" or the idea of things growing, etc., which can help
influence interperson relations in a positive direction. BTW, orange can
also work well.

"Is this important to technical communicators?" I ask myself. I think so.
Especially for those who are involved in editing others' work in any way,
shape, or form.

cbeck -at- bgnet -dot- bgsu -dot- edu

Eric Haddock wrote:
> Also: I use purple ink, not red. I do that for two reasons: red is
>synonymous with "wrong" as far as editing comments go (in my mind) and it's
>the color teachers use and if you're in the workplace, you're supposed to be
>far away from teachers so red might carry just enough connotation to imply
>that you're condescending to the person you're editing. Red screams "wrong"
>to me. Maybe this perspective is too sensitive... Anyway, the other reason
>I use purple is because I use purple ink for everything--I just love the
>color. By being consistent with an unusual color, the reader ties the
>editing comments with me personally because they know purple = me. By
>establishing that kind of relationship, where the engineer reads something
>from me personally as opposed to big red screaming impersonal teacher's
>marks, the engineer knows that I'm the one making the marks and I think
>people are more willing to go with changes if they're presented on a equal,
>personal level and not from on high.
> This is an awful lot of psychology to attach to ink color, but I've
>always believed it.

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