Yes/No Ipsum!

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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 =)