Just as paper is yielding to PDF as the preferred format for discovery, manually stamped
I prefer the convenience of digital Bates numbering. But I miss the look of the stamp. The blue ink and the distinct font made the number easy to spot on the page, even after being photocopied. Digital Bates numbering is often small, black, and set in Times New Roman or Arial—all of which camouflages the numbers.
Tips for making digital Bates numbers stand out:
Make the point size reasonably big—not smaller than 12 point.
Use a font with good numerals. Among system fonts, I like Franklin Gothic Medium or Franklin Gothic Demi. Avoid fonts that are condensed or dark on the page (e.g., Arial Black). These fonts are hard to read at small sizes and don’t stand up well to scanning or photocopying.
Use color. I recommend a medium-dark orange. Not the most attractive, but it stands out because orange rarely occurs in discovery (unless you’re suing a pumpkin company). Orange isn’t so bright that it gets washed out when reproduced in black and white.
Make sure your Bates numbers don’t get stamped in the content of the document. Adobe Acrobat can shrink documents uniformly so there’s a clean margin for the numbering.