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Why Are Legal Pads Yellow?

Legal pads are considered one of the most popular notepads used by students, scholars, teachers, lawyers, and other erudite individuals. It is called a legal pad because of its association with lawyers who have used this type of notepad for decades. However, a legal pad is defined by the 1.25-inch margin on the left side for individuals to make notes or scribbles. Legal pads are usually found to be a color yellow, but the origin of a yellow legal pad is ambiguous.

A known theory that has circulated regarding the origins of a yellow legal pad begins with Thomas Holley. It has been said that he decided to make small notepads using sortings, or the leftover paper scraps from the paper mills. Eventually, these notepads were well-received because of how resourceful Holley was in utilizing scrap paper.

The yellow legal pad eventually became “legal” due to the adoption of the notepads by the law community, who are involved in heavy note-taking and scribbling. These yellow legal pads were used by lawyers because of how conveniently sized the notepads were, enough that they fit into client files.
It has been said that the American Pad and Paper Company chose the color yellow for the legal pad because yellow stimulated the intellect. There is also much speculation that yellow was chosen because it was a light enough background for dark text. Yellow was chosen as opposed to white because the white color had a glare, which made it difficult to focus and write.

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