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Yes/No Ipsum!

Published by Chris Coyier

I've heard a number of people make statements lately like: "If you're using Lorem Ipsum text, just stop it." Or similar. That argument, expanded, goes something like this. Design exists to serve content. Lorem ipsum is fake content. If you're already designing, and you are using fake content, you are not serving the content and thus not doing your job as a designer correctly.

Pretty extreme, I think. Karen McGrane is one of the only people I've heard argue the other way, in her article "In Defense of Lorem Ipsum". She asks:

For those who would argue that it’s impossible to evaluate designs without real content, let me ask this: why then, is it okay to evaluate content out of context of the designs?

I don't know about you but I've worked on designs where only after it's been fleshed out a bit and starting having a life of it's own did it suggest the best copy. It actually makes more sense to me to not start with specific copy and let that happen more naturally during the design process.

The cool part about this discussion is that everyone has good points. Instead of "No Ipsum!" we should probably be saying "We should involve content strategy right away in new projects." Instead of saying "Yes Ipsum!" we should probably be saying "Fake content can be a useful part of the design process, like picking colors or wireframing."

Kristina Halvorson, in a comment on Karen's article:

Pointing to “lorem ipsum” as a problem is, really, simply an attention-grabbing way to start the bigger conversation, which is that very few people have a process in place for planning content.

It’s a talking point around which to structure an introduction to content strategy.

Sorry if this is dead-horse-beating, but it's been running through my head and sometimes the only way to get it out is blogging it =)

Comments

  1. Funny, I just wrote on this topic a couple days ago:

    http://www.attackofdesign.com/why-lorem-ipsum-is-hurting-your-designs/

    I agree with Lorem Ipsum critics, but not for the reason you might think…

    • P2C
      Permalink to comment#

      Funny, I just read that article a couple of days ago and it made no sense at all. Lorem Ipsum is placeholder text for designers who don’t want to write copy. It forces you not to read the text so that the design can be evaluated.

    • @P2C: That is precisely the point. When the site is being used the text will be being read, and that is the context in which the design should be best. For instance, text-background contrast and distracting elements when reading. It is just as easy to evaluate other bits like navigation and aesthetics without content, but then you may end up with a design which is great, but just no great for your website. Of course it is not impossible to make a good design without the content, but you must know a lot about the business/product/whatever the website is for. Essentially you are imagining the content – like all design rules it can be broken.

    • P2C
      Permalink to comment#

      @Nico Burns…that’s a fair point but aren’t you actually “selling” a design to a client? Most clients will update the copy a few times during the design process and even after the “final” version has been approved. Don’t you think Lorem Ipsum saves you some “design” time?

  2. John
    Permalink to comment#

    Since most websites are designed to accommodate dynamic content I don’t see the problem with using Lorem Ipsum text. I use blindtextgenerator’s English Cicero generator because, in my opinion, to properly evaluate text in a design you have to be actually read it.

    If you already know what parts of your site are going to say you should of course use that text because you may have to change some details to make it look better. This is especially true for justified text, which only looks good if you have a somewhat equal gap between all the words and thus changes everytime the content changes.

    So in the end I say use it, but use it wisely.

  3. Why can you evaluate content outside of context of design? Easy. If the content is not good enough on it’s own, without design, then it’s not good enough, period.

  4. Ryan
    Permalink to comment#

    I use Lorem Ipsum because it acts as a placeholder for my content that I don’t have yet. When creating a design sometimes instead of having a blank space in my design I put the Ipsum there just to show that something will go there. Obviously it won’t stay there permenantly unless it’s used as an example in a design template, or something similar. Therefore, I see no problem with it.

  5. Permalink to comment#

    I find Lorem Ipsum to be very useful for showing designs specifically because I KNOW the client won’t get hung up on the content. Sometimes it’s tough to do initial page layouts when there’s something resembling real content on the page. I find often times that the client will get hung up on the details of the text rather than the design.

    Me: “What do you think of the header styles in relation to the normal page text?”

    Client: “There’s a typo on the third line of the second paragraph.”

    • Sean
      Permalink to comment#

      Thats a good point, and one that Karen McGrane made in i think another article that I can’t find the link of (or it could have been on her episode of the Web Ahead podcast) where if you put anything resembling actual content in the mockups, clients start obsessing over the details and start giving you text changes and pointing out typos etc.

    • Permalink to comment#

      Couldn’t agree more. Also it may end in the argument that “the look of the demo site was nice, but the content was way off” (even if they realize it is just demo content).

      Besides the bickering about typos and corrections, anything resembling real content may also make the client think, that you will be the one producing the end product content. (again even if they realize it is just demo content).

      But even when using demo text you do need to know the topic and general quantity of the real deal.

    • Alfred Lee
      Permalink to comment#

      This is precisely why with some clients I use “Lorem Ipsum”. They get caught onto the details of the content itself, and unintentionally thinking of what any of the design elements are functionally rather than looking at the creative work alone. When you take the context out of the design, they only look at it on a pure aesthetic level, which is the entire point of comps.

      I use this strategically, knowing this, and sample real content or creative content (content that the designer comes up with) if I need to portray UX or UI.

  6. Andrew
    Permalink to comment#

    I use Lorem Ipsum to move the project along. Starting with ‘almost final’ text brings on the grammar police too early and the process bogs down. Using Lorem Ipsum I’m able to focus on the design, and the interaction, stick (almost) to the project plan and point out that the ‘final’ text needs to be in place to replace Lorem Ipsum by date ‘x’

    I do find I get better content, with less changes when the ‘threat’ exists that we go live with Lorem Ipsum

    Just my $0.02

  7. in 90% the final content isn’t ready by the time I’m reviewing my design with the client so for me Lipsum is the best option

    However if the content is in a final state it’s a totally different story

  8. Well, it’s obvious that using Lorem Ipsum (or any other fake text) is the last resort. But, what if you don’t have any content from the client? If he’s building a new project instead of redesigning, he may not have it when you start.

    This, ofcourse, creates a problem – should I (try to) write some of it? In my opinion – no. Mainly because it consumes time, which can be used on working with the design. But not only – there is a matter of knowledge. If the site (or any other thing) will be about something that you know about and like – it’s easy. But what if you don’t know anything about the topic?

    So, If you ask me – use fake text. But try to choose something different than Lorem. For fun (like mockups to discuss with my coleagues) I use slipsum. It’s Samuel L. Jackson’s quotes generator. For clients, since I mostly work for people from my country, I use Polish generator. I think it’s easier for the people to visually understand the design if he can read the text (even if it’s gibberish, it’s gibberish in his language).

  9. Permalink to comment#

    Sometimes ya just gotta go with the Ipsum.
    Often when we work on a site, we strike while the iron is hot, that is to say, we act along a creative flow. Frequently the client has not provided copy and *something* has got to go in those columns while creative spirit is lit.
    Would a supposed Ipsum denier just sit and wait for the client to fill lists and paragraphs meanwhile offering collapsed columns and empty headers?

  10. Permalink to comment#

    Isn’t Lorem Ipsum especially helpful in CMS sites? I mean it won’t matter what the content is around it because ultimately the page you’re working with should be a template that works on other pages (unless you’re being making specific page templates, but even then the argument for ipsum holds). Personally, I agree with Karen. You don’t want to inhibit the design process. These days designers need to do everything, but like the Ford assembly line we should take care of the most efficient ways of producing stuff and that seems to be best when we as designers focus on the design and later the content. If it MUST be included in a comp, then fine, but clients or bosses really can’t expect designers to output both in the same amount of time, which will inevitably happen.

  11. We are not living in perfect world, I remember some clients who had final text content couple months later. What else I can do?

  12. I use ipsum constintly because our marketing cordinator cannot come up with content fast enough for the designs.

    Without it my life would suck. I’m all for it.
    Use it till you can’t use it anymore.

  13. The biggest problem Lorem ipsum has is the lack of semantics. As long as we talk about early design stages or templates, it shouldn’t be a problem.

  14. Permalink to comment#

    Talk to my customers, their the ones who can’t provide copy (or photos, or logos, or revisions, or…) until the eleventh hour …

  15. Permalink to comment#

    I think it depends on the design. For a blog design you have to know for example about the topics of that blog, but you can easily use ipsum to fill the page, because ultimately the content changes as time goes. But for a business company, it’s a good idea to have the content and design around that.

  16. It’s pretty easy for me when it comes to lipsum.

    Do you already have to content? Yes, use it. No, use lipsum.

  17. Mark
    Permalink to comment#

    A pretty extreme example, but…

    I once asked employed a designer to put together a newsletter for the users of our software and told him I was working on an article for the first page so leave some space. I got delayed and when I got back to the office he had finished and gave me the design, telling me that all I had to do was write a 3 paragraph article with paragraph lengths of about 40, 110 and 50 words. Otherwise his design just wouldn’t work. At least he didn’t ask me to write it in Latin.

    ..at least I hope it is an extreme example. Please tell me that it is.

    • Yes it is but it’s the designers fault not lipsums you can’t build a design that is not scalable to content before having the content

    • Permalink to comment#

      I disagree. It is NOT he designer’s fault.

      The designer had to meet a dead line, one which you defaulted upon ["I got delayed and when I got back to the office" ]. So he/she did what was necessary to have a viable designed by the time requested, keeping in mind that as a business the designer needs to also service other clients, his/her choice would have been not to have anything ready for you ( for which you could have been equally mad) , or to do the work guessing then once again once you had provided the (late) copy, but this means he couldn’t be working on other client’s stuff. Also a bad out come.

      It is best to write first, contact a designer second.

  18. Permalink to comment#

    I for one an a fan of Ipsum. Imagine designing a newspage and having to enter all the relevant news into the articles. From my point of view doing so would be simply putting an intentional burden on the clients budget.

    When using multiple random texts on one site I personaly dont use ‘lorem ipsum’ but various parts of the ‘lorem ipsum is just a dummy tekst’ etc. so the texts don’t all look the same :P

    I also kinda agree that using latin text isn’t good for testing readability since no one will go and read them … but then again I’m not taking this debate as in ‘should we use latin’ but in ‘should we use random texts’.

    I mean yes – you need to know what the content will be (or at least what it will be about and how much text can you expect on a page – at least in the forms of ‘a lot’ and ‘a little’ :) but collecting real content for design purposes is just a waste of time (specially if you are using multiple demo designs for a customer to pick from).

    Also you need to realize that using ipsum may give you some corrections when inputing real content, but still, it can be a huge time saver to use ipsum.

    @Karim Do you already have to content? Yes, use it. No, use lipsum. — word :)

    @Mark: By no means should the form of ispum decide the layout of the page – the notion is just absurd (aka ipsum is random text and ment to fill the blanks not to influence design). Specially since there are sites, where you can generate varios forms of ipsm texts.

    • Permalink to comment#

      I don’t understand why you’d say “Lorem Ipsum” hinders testing readability. Readability is NOT comprehension. If you can see the characters clearly and comfortably, then your site is readable. Otherwise I could claim this Post has poor readability.. for French users.

  19. While I totally sympathize with everyone who uses lorem ipsum because they haven’t been given any real content (and I’ve been in that situation many times before), I think it’s far better to attempt to write some text yourself than use ipsum, even if what you write is wrong.

    For example, when I was building a university website a few years ago, I just could not get the content from academic staff. So I wrote course descriptions myself. That immediately got responses from them about what was missing and what shouldn’t have been there, and that informed design decisions. If we’d used ipsum, we’d have had to make design changes at a late stage, and those would have been much harder to incorporate.

    Design and content are inextricably linked; you really can’t design effectively without some (even assumed) content. IMO, of course.

    • I find the fastest way to get content out of people is to write it yourself. It’s amazing how fast they produce the right stuff when yours is garbage.

  20. Adam
    Permalink to comment#

    With sites like this Ipsum stays forever!

  21. I usually find there is no textual content to be had at the beginning of the design process, lorum content means at least I can begin to address the typography as part of the design process.. not a perfect solution, but the best of a bad lot (ideally the finished textual content would be made available from the very start).

    Making the customer aware of this has become something of a thankless task, but I always try.

  22. Permalink to comment#

    I can onlu say that ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus justo mauris, fermentum in porta ut, auctor eu neque. Phasellus consectetur posuere elit, a ultrices nunc ornare eu. ;)

    Never had a chance to use ready content in any of my website projects. My customer alway deliver it after they accept the design, so I can afford not to use lorem. :)

  23. Samir
    Permalink to comment#

    I agree that how clients get confused, but even when you put like other text instead of lorium. it just makes the webdevloper to be more confused.

    The best way is use lorium but replace when actually editing the content of the site.

  24. Permalink to comment#

    So, what? We’re meant to hold off our design process until we receive real content from a client?

    Bullshit copy is bullshit copy. It doesn’t matter if it’s Latin, Spanish or an article about wedding dresses – we’re not going to read any of it, so what does it matter in your design?

    Lorem Ipsum all the way – easy to generate, easy to copy, easy to paste.

    Actually I prefer Bacon Ipsum: http://baconipsum.com/?paras=5&type=all-meat

  25. Permalink to comment#

    I use Lorem Ipsum text all the time in initial design stages. That said, I always make it a point to ask my client how much text they expect to have on the page so I can design accordingly. Knowing if you’re dealing with one to two sentences vs five to six paragraphs greatly affects layout.

  26. Permalink to comment#

    I am a fan of Ipsum. I always push friends and clients that “the sooner I have your content and your copy, the better,” but it doesn’t really matter because they always work at their own pace on it. At least with Ipsum, I can finalize the majority of the design, and when asked, “When are we launching?” I can replay with, “Well, where’s that copy I’ve been begging you for?”

  27. Permalink to comment#

    Design can (and I would argue, “should”) influence content. Design is part of the message, not just there to support it. If the designer understands the message, there is no reason to wait on final content to begin “the design phase.”

  28. Simply put:
    Lorem Ipsum should be used as a placeholder AS YOU DESIGN.
    Just as you would use http://dummyimage.com/ to fill the space needed to hold the place of a graphic.

    There are countless designer that create WordPress and other HTML templates. They use Lorem Ipsum in their task.

    ?
    Right?

  29. Permalink to comment#

    As one who solely designs templates, I can say that Lorem Ipsum is very helpful as placeholder content.

    Every client uses our templates differently, and there is no way to predict what kind of content they will enter.

    I don’t think we can make huge blanket statements about dummy content.

  30. Permalink to comment#

    I want someone to invent Wiki Ipsum, so instead of some silly text it pulls in random Wiki entries. Whenever I ever have to use dummy copy I grab something from Wikipedia that’s somehow pertinent to the page I’m working on.

  31. Permalink to comment#

    I’m not even sure what this debate is about – if you have the proper research / conversations set in place with your copywriter, there is no need for either to be ‘out of context.’ I don’t design without talking to my writer, and my writer should never write without talking to me. It’s the marriage of Art Direction + Copywriting that creates a brilliant website, not one or the other first. Communication is our job, so communication is key.

  32. Human psychology is such that he always tries to read and comprehend the text, even in an unfamiliar language.

    A client receiving site design should not be interrupted for maintenance, trying to understand it and looking for errors or omissions, rather than to evaluate the design and page layout.

    I think the use Lorem Ipsum is quite reasonable, although there is another option: In the text box to write a title like “There will be news,” and fill in the block rote word “news”, etc.

  33. Gabe
    Permalink to comment#

    http://baconipsum.com

    Problem solved!

    • Gabe
      Permalink to comment#

      Seriously, though? Is using temporary dummy copy for our designs really something worth arguing about?

      Sounds to me like some people have too much time on their hands. I’m letting this one pass on by. I’ve got work to do!

  34. Permalink to comment#

    I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like bacon. Nice find.

  35. Les
    Permalink to comment#

    The human brain is an incredible and intuitive wonder of nature. If you seriously can’t evaluate a design that’s using ipsum then I have to wonder if your imagination cog is broken. Just be human, and it’ll come to you.

    That said, sure there are specific instances where fake text is inappropriate and real or at least temporary content can easily be deployed: key headings and titles, prominent lists, taglines, etc. But for body paragraphs, lorem ipsum serves a very useful purpose.

  36. Permalink to comment#

    I use Lorem Ipsum for one major reason: with a real text, a whole design might get thrown away because the client didn’t like the text.
    With placeholder text, client (or just your colleague or boss) can focus on the design and not the content.
    Have you ever been in a meeting where you had to repeat something like “Don’t worry, it’s not the final wording”, “It’s not the definitive text”, “The naming might change”. I’m sure you have.

    Otherwise, using a copywriter -or just have your client validating the wording and text- during the wireframe step removes (most of) the need for fake text during the design step.

  37. Permalink to comment#

    One client of mine asked, “What is that language? Spanish?? Do you speak Spanish too?”

    …an awkward moment.

    I like Ipsum, however, I only use it on small parts of web designs. It pretty much only falls under body copy and I never put it large parts of the design, like a big typographic header. That would be silly.

    As for the large parts that are most likely to be read by the user/client I like to get creative and make up verbage. I find that the client usually ends up using the words in some way.

  38. Permalink to comment#

    I think of Lorem Ipsum as wireframes for content. Just as a gray box stands in for a button or image in a wireframe, the Latin text stands in for the English. The point of wireframes is to approximate the design in a clearly unfinished way for the purposes of evaluation and development. As long as that’s the purpose of Lorem Ipsum, what’s wrong with that?

  39. Permalink to comment#

    There will always be a need for placeholder text for print layouts, UI wireframes, etc. I definitely try to promote good content planning for projects beforehand, but when relying on other contributors it’s not always realistic to have live content to work with, so Lorem Ipsum is a big YES for me.

  40. Permalink to comment#

    In my opinion, there is no right or wrong answer, only context. For instance, if I am working with a large company with a healthy budget, I’ll insist on applying rigorous methods to the design process. That starts with, and includes some of the following practices and tools:

    • understanding who the stakeholders are
    • perhaps some visioning
    • Content Review
    • Information Architecture
    • sketches
    • wire frames
    • comps (because some stakeholders feel they must see it before they can understand it)
    • prototypes
    • development
    • etc.

    With a large company, you might also get your content in a reasonable time, or it may already exist. However, when it doesn’t, the bigger the bureaucracy, the longer you’re likely to wait for content.

    With a small organization, such as a small business or a non-profit, their knowledge of Web practices might be limited, or they may still be developing their business let alone having polished content on hand. In these cases, Lorem Ipsum helps you give the client some space.

    However, I have found that no matter how early you ask for content, or how strongly you press for it, if a client doesn’t have it, they simply don’t have it. There is plenty of work that can be done sans content, and using Lorem Ipsum is just like using any other tool. Use it when needed, and use it wisely.

  41. Andy
    Permalink to comment#

    I’ve been in the design business for 25 years and what is now called “lorum ipsum” used to be merely “dummy text.” We’d measure out the rough character counts, cut it up and paste it down on the layout boards using waxers (yes, I’m that old). It has its uses in any production schedule. Arguing against its use seems to me to be missing the point.

  42. Permalink to comment#

    Where I’m really lost is how this is even a hot topic. How did a group of people rise up to hate filler text? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

    If anything, what the design world is really realizing is typography and copywriting were luxuries in the past and now they are becoming a requirement for high end professional design.

    • Permalink to comment#

      Agreed. It is a pretty worthless trending topic of late.

      IMO if you have enough time to think about this sort of thing then you have too much time on your hands.

      Life is too short. Just do it.

  43. Permalink to comment#

    I use lorem ipsum on my designs especially if the client is more on the design aspect. For me its a case to case basis. I see you still support lorem ipsum though on your site bottom links :) http://html-ipsum.com/ which is of course helpful for me… Thanks!

  44. Matt Ryan
    Permalink to comment#

    I design website for a large media organisation. Content changes daily. To tell me not to use lorem ipsum, because I should design around the content is absurd. Should I work out the next 12 months potential headlines and create a mock for each one? I’m sick of this grandstanding “Don’t use sliders” “Don’t use Lorem Ipsum” ” Don’t use drop-shadows” “Don’t use Helvetica”. How about you jump down off your high horses and “Stop making broad statements!”

    Just do your job, what ever it needs, use it. Stop telling others how to work.

  45. I often use Ipsum text for clients as many of my clients would like to add their own content either that or at the time of hiring me to design they haven’t completely finished writing the copy they want on the website so using Ipsum text allows me to design something and show them what it would look like fleshed out with text.

    The only point against Ipsum text that I can possibly thing of right now is that the text used may or may not be the correct length which may make some designs not look the same as they would when the real copy is added.

  46. Permalink to comment#

    In most cases the designer already knows what content will be on a specific page. But he does not yet have the final text. So why not use Lorem Ipsum text? I do not see a problem as long as the designer knows the content of the text.

  47. Permalink to comment#

    I agree with Lorem Ipsum critics

  48. In our humble opinion, this is a matter dictated by the situation. When working on the initial design phases of a project which can have too generic content or content which is generated dynamically, there is no other feasible option, but to resort to some sort of dummy or filler text. In cases where we have clear cut content – or an idea about the niche which the content will represent – right from the beginning, then we go for a custom written copy.

    This situation varies from one client to another. In some cases we have content in the initial phase, in others we don’t have them at the starting phase. So in cases where we don’t have any idea about the copy that is going to be used in the later stages of development, we go for ‘Lorem Ipsum’ as it is safer to use something that is just a filler than writing something fictional.

  49. i use lorem 2 dot com

  50. Antony
    Permalink to comment#

    Lorum Ipsum is perfectly acceptable for wireframes and mock ups, it keeps the project agile and allows copy writers to be working on content whilst the design is being worked up.

    By throwing in actual content clients are more concerned with nit picking the content and finding typos than concentrating on the GUI.

    Most of the sites I design with CMS backend so I need to make sure the design can work in a generic way in that content can and will be updated regularly.

    For pages that are very specific then I may instead use actual content.

    Lorum is your friend, use it!

  51. Permalink to comment#

    If your halfway through the project and the customer can’t figure out what to write in place of Lorum Ipsum – the project comes to a standstill – then you’re in trouble.

    Even if it’s in the contract that the client is responsible for content – and the project stalls – don’t expect to get referrals from them.

    After the the Lorem Ipsum has been added a customer might provide a 500 character description for a space that can only handle 300 – and you’re in trouble again.

    If you have never made an attempt at writing copy you’re missing out. Many times you’ll find that the slogan you wrote ‘made’ the design – and saved you countless hours of design time trying to fill a gap.

    If you’re not going to help with copy then you will become angry when a client provides too much and the quick solution is to reduce the font size – which ruins the design. You’re in trouble again because you really wanted this site to go on your portfolio.

    Lorem Ipsum isn’t the issue. The problem started at the planning and quoting stages. Do your research before quoting – if they have no copy, add time to the quote to allow for copy research and design adjustments.

  52. Permalink to comment#

    I think before you even design or get the content, you need to know what your doing for your client.

    Once you know what they want, then you can come up with a design that can incorporate some of the things they want highlighted and maybe a bit of ipsum if the full idea isn’t fleshed out.

    You don’t want a design with 10 place holders for content when the client isn’t giving you that much to begin with. Secondly, you don’t want 10 pages of content to sift through to see what would fit best in the design.

  53. Richard
    Permalink to comment#

    For those who are lazy to write “real text” but don’t like Lorem Ipsum try http://www.fillerati.com/. It will generate real paragraphs from classic books.

    I use it instead lipsum because i agree that the text must be readable and not ignorable like lipsum is.

    • yellowIpsumAteMyHomework
      Permalink to comment#

      so, that is what CONTENT is?

      words from classic books.

      what about words from CliffNotes?

      how about some words from Peoples magazine?

      or quotes from celebrities, generated from TMZ.com?

      what about from famous George W Bush speeches?

      it’s REAL content, ain’t it?

  54. John Sweden
    Permalink to comment#

    To Lorem Ipsum or not?

    Really, nobody cares except those who live inside the locked ward of their own heads.

    If you want to test the real weight of your opinions (any opinions), go outside on a clear night and shout your opinions at the stars. Really *shout* them out.

    If you do this sincerely I guarantee you will be permanently cured of being a windbag.

  55. Brad Bodine
    Permalink to comment#

    Like button needed for John Sweden’s comment.

  56. Permalink to comment#

    I am using fake content while I am creating design for one site or another, because client usually doesn’t offer content in first place and I really do like to see how the end result will look like. Of course it’s better to work with the content that will be there but I like to use placeholder so I can see what I have to do to make it look cool.

  57. Charlie
    Permalink to comment#

    It’s hard to remember a project where all the final copy/content has been available during the beginning of the design process. And sometimes, as Chris mentions, copy will evolve as the design process unfolds.

  58. I agree with people that use fake content just for the creating the design and use it as placeholders. I don’t particularly understand the problem/argument :) the fake content for me is really like a thing that exists there and I use just because it is there and I don’t have any feelings about at all.

    lots of cat love.

  59. yellowIpsumAteMyHomework
    Permalink to comment#

    i truly can not believe this is an actual argument. i don’t know, can’t even remember one project where all copy approved and ready to go. most of the time, there’s no copy.

    now, that is just COPY, when there is no copy, and the design has to be approved yesterday, which is always the case, and i am the designer, so i use Lorem to indicate that it is TEXT.

    i do not use Lorem to indicate images, color palette, layout, grid system, concepts. i do not use Lorem to indicate design.

    i do not use Lorem to indicate CONTENT. because i do not know what it is or am responsible for it.

    really, are we talking about actual jobs?

    why are we generating so much busy meaninglessness?

    because we can, or because we can’t help it as if it were an involuntary body function?

  60. I can see both sides of the argument. Lorem Ipsum is quite handy to use when you have a customer who wants to write their own content and they also want the designs asap.
    This therefore means that you can either create a design which has no content or add Lorem Ipsum; which will mean that you can design things such as headers and the way the paragraphs are laid out. I have personally found Lorem Ipsum to be quite a handy tool and I’m in favour of it.
    I can understand where the critics are coming from though, because if you are the designer and have a client who is not too fond of giving you much to go with (which is most), then Lorem Ipsum isn’t always so effective because they normally will complain that you haven’t written anything; so whilst trying to save time you have just added more.
    So the argument can go both ways, it’s really a matter of opinion and there isn’t a right or wrong one.

  61. Steve
    Permalink to comment#

    Stupid argument is stupid. That is all.

  62. Ben
    Permalink to comment#

    It’s not the most egregious thing in the world to use but I personally agree with the critics. Happy Cog has a “no lorem ipsum” policy, and Happy Cog makes very good websites.

    Without knowing what the content is, you can’t really design things. Say, for example, you design a sidebar widget with 3-4 lines of fake content but then the actual content that goes in there occupies something more like 10-12 lines. You might need to either redesign the widget, or worse realize that content should be presented in a different way somewhere else.

    Using fake content boils down to making a lot of assumptions that might not best serve the actual content that goes in. Insisting on having the content first will force people to put more thought into the content and save development time. Leaving content until later in the design proces when things are more likely to get rushed makes for bad content.

  63. Permalink to comment#

    I somewhat agree with Ben. To be able to create a successful design for a client, as designers we must know to some degree what content needs to be on such and such a page. If the client has no ready made content then an in-depth talk with the client must be held to find out exactly what they require. For example, should a certain part of the design house 100 words or 300 words? This information can then be used to create a more accurate design which uses Ipsum more appropriately.

  64. Interesting note, i hate lorem and cant look at it any more. Me too recoment the fillerati.com site, it awsome :)

  65. Permalink to comment#

    I don’t feel you cant design something without knowing the content. Your design should be flexible enough to accommodate for any amount of content.

    I don’t like lorum ipsum but sometimes it actually required because the client can’t deliver the content.

  66. I find it exceptionally difficult to design any decent wireframe without finished, signed-off copy. Exceptionally! Lorem Ipsum only goes so far. But sometimes, it’ll have to do.
    I’m a firm believer in form following function…

  67. Eddy
    Permalink to comment#

    Using dummy text is often the only solution because you either don’t have the content or the content will be created gradually (like a blog). I don’t see why there is a discussion: if you have the content, you will use it, if you don’t, you won’t.
    If the issue is lorem ipsum vs other dummy text, then I reckon this is only important when designing the width of content (e.g. if the site will be in English, then you need English text to see which width is the easiest to read).

  68. I agree completely Chris,

    My clients, for the most part, are just starting out. They don’t have content, so I use ipsum for mockups. It sometimes helps them get a feel for how much text should be on a page, etc.

    The company I work for has lots of content, so it makes more sense for me to design around what they have.

  69. Ben
    Permalink to comment#

    Lorem ipsum is more “canvas-in” thinking in a time when web design is emerging as its own unique type of design after having been long dominated by designers with print backgrounds.

    I think what we’re finding out as experts is that web design is a type of design where content and accessibility is of utmost importance and as such it should in effect determine the design.

  70. Permalink to comment#

    A good rule to follow is to not start designing until the client has provided all of the content necessary for the project. This usually helps the client process and refine on their own time and allows the designer and developer to follow a fixed schedule.

    • Permalink to comment#

      That’s a great rule. Unfortunately it’s also one that doesn’t fit very well into real-life scenarios. Unless you’re work is in such demand that you can afford to make these sort of demands on your clients more likely than not you’ll be resorting to Lipsum-style texts.

      I think Steve said it best: “Stupid argument is stupid.”

      Would any designer PREFER design-relevant content over lipsum text? Of course! But we’re not going to get that every time. We also can’t make content demands upfront while still expecting to get a clients work. This is why Lipsum exists, and it is why it will continue to be used regardless of what blogger decides to be controversial by decrying an industry standard as foul.

  71. Coss
    Permalink to comment#

    It’s ideal that clients will present all text beforehand, but it rarely happens that way (especially in a high-volume design environment). There are those of us who don’t create or enforce the policy of the company’s process of working with clients, so we go on what we have.

    When I present initial designs, I usually have the number of pages, URL and that’s about it! Lipsum helps the clients envision the design with the text in place (and gives them ideas about what I think of the amount and placement of text on the site).

  72. Permalink to comment#

    i agree with your point:
    Design and content should fit each other
    use real design for real content

  73. I use lorem ipsum purely as a place-holder to show the customer where his content would go, in most cases I don’t always get the content at hand until after they have seen the design. Lorem ipsum is only used as a canvas and content place holder and should be seen as only that.

  74. Permalink to comment#

    I stopped using Lorem Ipsum because my Editorial Design teacher told me to start using real text. Latin (or fake Latin) is so different from English -or in my case German- in word length and capitalization that the real text won’t fit the layout. This is a huge problem in print design, maybe not so in web design.

    • Permalink to comment#

      I wonder if your Editorial Design teacher was right though? Modern German and English are both heavily influenced by Latin, and as a native-speaker I have to say the standard Lipsum blurb mimics English word length pretty effortlessly.

      The other thing that makes me raise my eyebrow is this real text != lipsum argument. Lipsum text has been an industry standard since the 60s, and has arguably been widely used since the 1500s. Particularly in Print design. The idea that for 50 years people have been doing it incredibly and absolutely wrong to such a degree that the real text won’t fit a preformed print layout seems somewhat questionable.

  75. Permalink to comment#

    That’s why I used different kind of lorem ipsum: http://chrisvalleskey.com/fillerama/

    :)

  76. Permalink to comment#

    Good post. I agree with your points. Thanks for sharing.

  77. Permalink to comment#

    I am very comfortable designing and using lorem ipsum as temporary content. i don’t know what the fuss is about. different strokes for different folks. :)

  78. Permalink to comment#

    Generally if its an early concept ‘lorum ipsum’ is fine… its just when the concepts get sent to people who are not working on the project that it seems to present a problem. Some folks just don’t understand that its just there as a placeholder. I even had someone say they don’t know why I was translating everything into French. I guess not everyone is a designer and not everyone is familiar with ‘lorum ipsum’.

  79. Permalink to comment#

    the point is you will not get the complete data before hand
    for mock designs you gotta use lorem ispum or anything else
    and anything you use would be fake content as it is not the one provided for site
    sp personally i find it fine to use it

  80. Permalink to comment#

    It’s funny that this is an issue pressed to designers. Web sites are by nature a collaborative effort, utilizing multiple disciplines including: illustration, design, front end development (UI), back end programing (DB), marketing and copy writing,
    1) Lorem Ipsum is usually used for body copy. Which is bound to change and be varied. Is someone going to accesses the look and feel of a design by reading body copy? When I do a thumb nail sketch for a print add.. should i be trying to suggest and write actual copy instead of “greeking” in squiggly lines?
    2) If we are concerned about the font size of actual words “Lorem Ipsum…” how they will look when used in headings, as opposed to the actual words intended copy, then we must be forgetting the FLUID nature of the web and its UAs.
    3) It’s bad psychology. Unless you are contacted and paid specifically for writing content in addition to ( not as part of) the web design this encourages the following in clients:
    a) Knit picking behaviour. As mentioned in an earlier comment, a client will often spot a typo or some “better way of phrasing” and unconsciously ( or conciously out of laziness) switch mode from critiquing the design and functionality to editing content.
    b) If the content is not specifically addressed as a separate issue in the designer/client relationship it gives less incentive to be actively involved in the project and closer to to ” You know what I like… work your magic and I’ll be back to critique everything when you are done.” This brings what should be professional relationship with good and frequent communication to an emotional relationship with lots of guesswork and “intuition”.
    4) Business acumen. I find it odd that some web design services will throw in a logo when you get a site design. Tho 1/10 the logo actually looks line on the web page itself i t still makes me wonder how much “branding forethought” was put into creating the trade mark and making it represent the brand in an appealing way to its potential customers, thought a variety of media as opposed to just as a website mast head. Not to mention it being print ready and on different color formats etc. Something Similar comes to mind with web copy. It shouldn’t be “just put in something you think will represent me and attract customers.. and check for typos!” Unless you are offering SEO copy as an ADDITIONAL service , or have a personal involvement on the project, seems to provide half-assed results. If you are a designer , DESIGN; if you are a copywriter , WRITE COPY. If you are both , do both… but clients seldom understand that they must be done one step at a time… and billed accordingly. Doing otherwise devalue your work and be detrimental to the product.
    5) Templates. many client don’t even KNOW what they WANT to say. This is a enough of a semantic challenge when designing a template for them to use. But to actually (AGAIN) guess what they would want to say? That’s a bad bet.
    6) Expertise. Even if you are a skilled communicator. I doubt you can write copy for the nuances String Theory or the intricacies of the internal workings of the Hemi engine in Ford truck with out SOME research. I consider that research additional billable time and/or the responsibility of a client, especially if teh web page content is meant to of a proprietary nature. ( see #3 & 4).
    7) Practice safe design; use a concept. But what if the words “Lorem Ipsum” in the Hxs do not help convey the meaning of the bg images? Well, if the client had something in mind, or feels that attached to the visual idea you have proposed , really, he/she should have at least discussed some headers or mottos to use in the mock up.
    Beware that attempting to write your own headers is double edged sword. You could write a Hxs in support of the images in your design only to find that your client doesn’t like “cats” or “blue”. Double the wasted effort. If you are that set on NOT using LOREM for headlines, then you must interact with your client enough to have an approved concept and perhaps approval of your “witty heads”. This akin to having at least PARTIAL content from the client , is it not?
    IMHO, this is a case of “where does a web site design begin?” Similar to the discussion of wire-frames, where some client claim they can’t understand it unless they see the graphic design–but the design SHOULD come after the wireframe to semantically account for ” content-type” and hierarchy. But of course now we could suggest , sarcastically, that the mock-up shouldn’t use Lorem Ipsum either. In short , use of Lorem Ipsum use proportional to client involvement and as such is really a client issue, not so much a designer issue.

  81. Permalink to comment#

    Having the proper contents every time would be great, but it’ s not always possible. Of course with the right content the design can be shown in his best way, but I think that it’s not the designer the best one for the best content and all of us know how much is important a good content.

  82. Writing copy is for copywriters (& sometimes the client), not the designers.

  83. J-P
    Permalink to comment#

    http://baconipsum.com/ is always fun though ;-)

    I agree with the above people – there must be a distinction, especially from a publishing environment (which is what web publishing should look to first) – between copy-editing/authoring/proofing and design/typesetting. Copy is great to have, but rarely exists at the point where a designer is approached.

    It is every designers prerogative to educate clients for the good of us all. Once they understand how the bill is going to be split, they should understand the way each project is split up and managed… let’s face it, there’s always going to be multiple stages to any design.

  84. It seems to me this kind of debate is usually fueled by people trying to forge themselves as industry thinkers, get traffic and responses on their blogs.

  85. People are just bored of Lorem Ipsum. I’ve recently found a alternate solution to add a bit of sweetness to my design. It’s called Cup Cake Ipsum and it’s really friendly and funny looking.
    Highly recommended http://cupcakeipsum.com/

    Cheers

  86. Greg
    Permalink to comment#

    Is there anyone here in the professional industry who has ever get definitive content BEFORE starting to work ? Seriously ?
    Nobody discussed this anti-lorem trend before because it’s pure bs.

  87. Permalink to comment#

    This is the funniest thing i’ve heard today :)

  88. Sergio
    Permalink to comment#

    Lorem ipsum helps a lot, mostly when your client doesn’t give you all the info, so you can start design and don’t loose precious time waiting for your client to give you all the info, in fact i haven’t ever begin a project with all the copy text, but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t start working.

    PD, sorry if my english is not the best, is not my native language

  89. Permalink to comment#

    Over the years I’ve found Lorem Ipsum to be extremely beneficial when doing client work.

    I’ve found that when “real content” is used, the client generally focuses on the content and almost completely ignores the design. They usually end up pointing out grammatical errors and sending over copy changes, rather than providing design feedback.

    I think Lorem Ipsum is perfectly ok for mock-ups. I also think that once a design is finalized/approved and the “real content” is ready to rock, one should plug the real content into the design and make any necessary adjustments.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the states!

    Cheers :)

  90. Shameless self promotion, but kinda relevant as the project was actually inspired by this blog post…

    To answer the question: Lorem Ipsum versus real content… I think the answer is neither!

    Although it good, if possible, to design around a clients content it’s also ignoring the fact that the point of building on a CMS is that the content can change!

    I’ve just finished creating a little web app that generates all the markup that a client can create using the WordPress Tiny MCE editor. So hopefully, you can test your themes more fullly and you’ll no longer need to go back and make CSS tweaks after your clients play with their content!

    http://www.wpfill.me/

  91. jordanpark
    Permalink to comment#

    I also read about critics on loreum ipsum on number of sites. I agree also. We can use till we don’t have original content.

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