Mentor Questions

I had a couple of questions from an engineer that I mentor:

The first was related to the colour of ink used for sealing and signing documents; the second was regarding the direction the leg of a dowel should be placed in a footing.

The answer to the first (in Manitoba Canada, maybe different in other jurisdictions):

For colour of ink… I checked with a lawyer and there is no restriction on colours for legal documents. I also checked with Manitoba professional association and also no restrictions.

The colour you choose should be permanent and should print or photocopy or scan well.

The answer to the second question. The engineer had sent me a couple of sections:

Regarding your dowel placement, the first one is correct. The side of the wall with reinforcing is considered for tension, this puts the other side of the wall in compression. The compression is carried through the footing to the leg of the dowel.


Assuming there’s a question in there… or you’re expecting violent disagreement…

Sometimes the recipient insists on a particular colour of ink. They have their reasons.
I like signing with blue ink because a photocopy can be distinguished from the original (even good colour copies in many cases).

No comment on the dowel placement, except when building wood furniture.

It was for information to others… Dowels… use mortise and tenon or dovetails, myself.


I know that some of the states in the US require you sign in a contrasting color to the stamp color. My go-to is red for the stamp and blue for the signature. I don’t recall ever seen a particular color be mandated to be used though.

I didn’t know it was an issue and couldn’t answer the young engineer, off the top. I checked with the professional association as well as a lawyer friend just to make sure the info I provided was correct. ‘Bad Code’ for a mentor to not provide correct stuff.

As I noted… different jurisdictions may have different requirements.


I’ve always stamped/signed in two different colours. It makes it harder to copy and also is recommended in my jurisdictions.

With today’s technology… I could take your stamp and signature and change the stamp to a hot pink and the signature to a bright green… and other than it being a perfect duplicate, it would not be possible to detect it was a copy.


@dik yep, it’s still possible to snip and modify a copy. With two colours it’s harder (not impossible) and requires a bit more photoshop finesse. Especially if you are wet signing something and signing over the stamp, the colour gradients become more difficult to manipulate compared to if it were all one colour.

I tend to change my upload signature from time to time, including the colour. It gives me a bit more piece of mind knowing that I did Colour Combo A between X and Y, and Colour Combo B between Y and Z. Obviously it’s not a flawless method…