Black or Blue Ink Pen?

Pen ink comes in many different colors, but for the most part, people most often find themselves choosing between blue and black. Between a black or blue ink pen, which one is better? Which one should you use more often? Does it even matter?

In most cases, the usage of blue or black ink comes down to personal preference. That said, there are some specific scenarios in which one ink may be preferable or outright superior to the other. 

In this article, we’ll cover the specific scenarios in which a blue or black ink pen is superior. At the end of the day, it’s mostly about which color you prefer, but that’s not always the case.

Table of Contents

Tests and Exams

Why Number 2 pencils are so popular

In situations where a pen is called for during tests and exams, most teachers are alright with either blue or black ink, so long as you stick to the standard shades and don’t do anything crazy, like bright blue or sparkly black.

That said, if a specific color of ink is required for a test or exam, it almost always ends up being black. Rarely, if ever, would a teacher condemn you for using a standard black pen on a test, so it’s the safest option in this scenario, even if blue is often allowed as well.

Legal Documents and Contracts That Require Signatures

black or blue ink pen

Most people would believe that black ink is the better choice when it comes to these types of documents. But believe it or not, blue ink is actually the superior option. That may sound strange, but there’s actually a very compelling reason for it. Two compelling reasons, actually.

First of all, most if not all legal documents are printed in black ink. Using blue ink for signatures and any other information you have to fill in provides contrast to the rest of the document, which makes it much easier for you or anyone else to see if you accidentally missed something important.

On top of that, these types of documents almost always get copied, and no matter what color ink you use, the copy will almost certainly come out in black and white. If you used black ink for the original document, you may have trouble discerning the copy from the original. If you use blue ink, the identity of the original is obvious.

Most institutions are alright with blue ink, so unless they specify otherwise, blue ink pens are actually the way to go in this type of scenario.


These types of documents, such as the ones you would use to apply for an apartment or a credit card, are much the same as the aforementioned legal documents and contracts. For the same reasons mentioned in the previous section, blue ink is the better option here if the institution in question finds it acceptable.


Should you use blue ink or black ink

Checks don’t get used too often anymore, but if you are going to write one, the type of ink you use is very important. That said, there’s no discernible advantage to using blue or black ink in comparison to one another. Checks generally don’t get copied, so the need to differentiate between the original and the copy is moot.

Of much more importance is using ink that cannot be easily washed out or altered. After all, you don’t want anyone trying to commit fraud with one of your checks if they manage to get their hands on it.

Other than that though, blue and black ink or of equal value in this scenario, so it comes down to whichever option you prefer.

Business Settings

If you are writing in a business setting, perception is more important than anything else. You want to come across as formal and professional in most cases. While there is nothing wrong with blue, most people agree that black ink comes across as more formal while blue ink strikes them as more casual.

This is not to say that you can never use blue ink, but if you are worried about the people in a business setting perceiving you in a certain way, it’s often safer to just go with black ink. Someone might judge you for using blue ink, but literally, no one would look down on you for using black.


When it comes to marking and writing things with a pen for studying purposes, it really comes down to personal preference more than anything else. Most studies agree that bright, warm colors such as red and orange help with memory and cognition more than any other color. But of course, we’re only talking about blue and black here.

Most people agree that black doesn’t work well for studying because it doesn’t contrast enough with all of the other things around it. This makes it hard to remember it, so black isn’t very good for retention. While blue isn’t the best either, it’s still a better option in that regard.

Personal Letters

Obviously, when it comes to writing a personal letter to someone, the color of the ink you use is really just a matter of personal preference. Nothing is at stake and there are no repercussions or penalties to using any particular ink color, so you could do whatever you want in that regard.

But once again, we are only discussing black and blue ink, so that’s what we have to stick to. As we mentioned earlier, black ink is often perceived as formal and professional, so that would probably be a weird choice for a personal letter. Such a letter may come across as cold or distant.

Blue ink is a bit more fun and casual, so it might be more appropriate for personal letters. That said, it ultimately all comes down to personal preference anyway. 


Black and blue ink are usually interchangeable in most scenarios, but in a certain number of situations, blue has the edge. At the end of the day though, we’d recommend just having one of each, since pens are relatively easy to come across.

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