• Dan CortesDan Cortes, over 8 years ago

    Lorem ipsum is just a tool, you shouldn't denounce the tool just because it's sometimes misused.

    If I'm designing a product's homepage, I'll take a stab at writing main CTA and body copy, but if I'm designing how a blog will look, I'm going to use lorem ipsum. In the latter example, the copy actually does not matter. It only matters that I show how all the elements would sit on the page.

    That said, if someone is using lorem ipsum for things like nav items, yeah, they're doing it wrong.

    26 points
    • Stefan RösslerStefan Rössler, over 8 years ago

      Hi Dan,

      thanks for the reminder that Lorem ipsum is just a tool and we're not allowed to blame it. I don't want to blame anyone for using it either, I just think there are better ways to do it.

      If you're designing a blog, why don't you just take an existing article to show how the final design will look? You need a real article anyway to address all the different subtleties like lists, quotes, and headlines in meaningful ways. Why putting time and effort into making all these things up and pasting in Lorem ipsum to fill the page? It seems unnecessary to me.

      Even if you haven't written your first article yet, you can just copy and paste an article you like or think future articles might be like. You could then also read the article while designing it to better judge the quality of your work.

      What do you think? Anyway, thank you for your comment :)

      4 points
      • Zach JohnstonZach Johnston, over 8 years ago

        That's a great suggestion Stefan. And using a real article not only helps you design for the subtleties, it also acts as a constant reminder for what the purpose of the design is. Why should this

        tag be bold? Oh yeah, because people often skim read and need the key points to stand out.

        3 points
      • Dan CortesDan Cortes, over 8 years ago

        Hey, using live copy for things like blogs is definitely an option.

        For me, a benefit of Lorem Ipsum is that it's I don't get caught up reading it. I can just drop text and see how it lays out and my brain won't instinctively start reading what's on screen. Another benefit is that I have Lorem Builder right there on my menu bar—also, I realize I might be biased :-)

        1 point
        • Sam GoldSam Gold, over 8 years ago

          In the same vein, it also helps for the client to not get caught up in the details of the blog's content and stay focused on your blog's structural designs. Filling with real content is a good exercise to keep in mind how your product will be used, but I think it can be better to have an extremely neutral content for deliverables.

          2 points
    • Ed FairmanEd Fairman, over 8 years ago

      I whole-heartedly agree. I just find the article totally redundant.

      0 points
  • Gabriel BrodersenGabriel Brodersen, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

    Lorem Ipsum is an excuse. An excuse for not having to worry about real design issues.


    The question should therefore be: Why should Lorem Ipsum die? The answer is: because it is an excuse to indulge in decoration without having to think about design.

    Couldn't disagree more.

    And to those who also disagree, here's a tip I use frequently (using Mac OS X):

    In System Preferences > Keyboard > Text , you can add your own auto-fill shortcuts.

    Example, if I type lor, then it will auto-fill a few paragraphs of Lorem ipsum text! It's such a convenience to be able to get a few text paragraph down instantly, in any program or website.

    To me it's just tool, and a question of priority and resources. And it's convenient to use text, that everyone and your coworkers know, is just a temporary placeholder.

    EDIT: I also use shortcut 'abc' to get a large set of characters to test fonts with. If you guys have any tips yourself, I'd be happy to hear them :)

    9 points
  • cliff nowickicliff nowicki, over 8 years ago

    Its fantastic when you have all the content first. However, there are some places where content comes as the client brings it in and the designer has no choice but to use Lorem Ipsum. I've been in places where content is first and in places where a lot of it comes in last and there are deadlines. In a perfect world, Lorem Ipsum wouldn't be needed.

    6 points
    • Stefan RösslerStefan Rössler, over 8 years ago

      Thanks, Cliff. I think you're right.

      I think that's the reason why I started to learn how to write and help my clients with their content. It actually turns out that they pay you much more if you're not just designing their website, but help them with their content too.

      I still have this memories of me filling the blanks countless times with Lorem ipsum and other placeholder texts in the past. I didn't feel responsible for the copy, but after I've realized that the copy is the whole point of why a website exists, I started to re-evaluate my beliefs.

      That's when I thought that Lorem ipsum must die. To be honest with you, I still use it from time to time, but sometimes a headline just wants to scream ;)

      3 points
      • cliff nowickicliff nowicki, over 8 years ago

        I find when I'm working freelance projects where I have actual client face to face meetings, I get all the content when I need it. When I work in-house, it's almost the opposite. At least its just for copy and not headings.

        1 point
        • Stefan RösslerStefan Rössler, over 8 years ago

          Hmm … it's actually the same with us too. It happens from time to time that a client doesn't deliver content on time. The way bigger problem though is the in-house projects you are talking about.

          Most of the time these in-house project tend to fade into the background because we're so busy keeping deadlines on client projects. That's why I always write my own copy for in-house projects to kind of get them off the ground.

          Thanks for sharing this observation!

          0 points
          • jj moijj moi, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

            Of course writing your own copy would be ideal. But there's still a time and a place for lorem. There're situations where you have zero time to write anything and you have tight deadlines to make, or when you have very limited, vague or classified information from the clients to start with. Using copy from similar articles are worse than lorem ipsum because the first thing people always see is a typo or why the copy doesn't make sense (given you also have zero time to find a perfect fit appropriate piece) and so they lose focus on the design feedback you can't afford in the only 30 minute-timebox meeting with super busy people.

            0 points
            • Stefan RösslerStefan Rössler, over 8 years ago

              I totally get what you are saying. Especially the part that people just can't help reading text, is something I can confirm from my own experience.

              Actually, that's the reason why an old article (even with typos) is better than lorem ipsum. When you show your client a layout with lorem ipsum they will only comment on things like typography, colors, and other visual design cues. Why would you want feedback on these kind of things from clients?

              I think there's no need to explain a general page layout to a client (who is not a designer). Most of them don't care about our craft as much as we do, and they're right to do so. It's our job to get the layout right (which means to support the content) and we shouldn't have to ask them for their opinion on some random page designs featuring lorem ipsum. Of course you want their approval, but they don't need to understand why you choose different design patterns that adjust to all kinds of texts.

              If you show them for example an old article instead of filling a page with lorem ipsum, you could probably get them to talk about their content. It just so happens naturally, maybe because they realize that the article you're using is old and telling you how they plan to deliver new ones in the future.

              It's important to use real content to keep the discussion on this rather than just visual design decisions. If you don't focus on content, you will find yourself in meaningless debates with clients who want you to make their logos bigger and buttons look more activating.

              I think, we should not cultivate this kind of discussions with our clients if we don't have enough time for them. Maybe they have a slightly different taste than we do (or even worse, there are multiple stakeholders with different tastes). I would not show these people lorem ipsum mockups just do discuss why someone likes or dislikes a color or a typeface I've chosen.

              But of course you're right, sometimes you need a placeholder text and you need it quick. That's where lorem ipsum will come in handy, but not produce great work, but to get shit done :)

              Thank you for your comment!

              1 point
  • Greg BowenGreg Bowen, over 8 years ago

    It is as much a UX designers job to define what kinds and how much content to include on a page as the writing department. Content and design should work together and it is through this conversation that great things get built.

    2 points
  • wim roegelswim roegels, over 8 years ago

    If you want to discuss content with your client, use content. If you want to discuss design, use lore ipsum.

    1 point
  • Jeff EscalanteJeff Escalante, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

    This seems like it's been written by someone who has never done work for a client. The fact is, clients can hardly ever produce content and assets for you in a timely manner. So when that happens (which it does, nearly every time), you have two choices.

    First option, and the one presented by the author here, is don't do any design work at all and demand that they produce the content upfront. This leads to a bad and stressful relationship with the client in addition to missed deadlines or overtime work because you were sitting around doing nothing and waiting for them to produce content, then they inevitably produce it super late and you have to do the whole thing by an impossible deadline.

    Second option is do your design work ahead of time and use lorem ipsum, accept that while it's total bullshit that the client can't produce assets beforehand, this is necessary to keep the project on track, then when they do produce content that inevitably doesn't exactly fit right, take the time to make adjustments rather than waiting to implement the entire design.

    That's why lorem ipsum is used in the real world. Don't get me wrong, I think it is 100% required that the client should produce assets before any work starts. I entirely agree that design should be based on the content. In an ideal world, everything would go like this. But as we are all well aware, this is not an ideal world, and therefore this piece is not really useful, and lorem ipsum will not die.

    1 point
    • Stefan RösslerStefan Rössler, over 8 years ago

      Hi Jeff,

      thank you for taking the time to share your opinions and experiences. I really appreciate this!

      I can understand your two options and want to propose a third approach: instead of choosing between sitting around doing nothing and doing cargo designs (designing without content) you could actually try to get your head around your client's business.

      You can start by looking at their current website to understand what they're doing. After you have a basic idea, you can try to propose some website copy (if there's no one else writing it). This way you will automatically encourage your clients to read and criticize your writing in order to A) provide you with better content or B) hire an expert to write it.

      Either way, you will be able to use real content instead of lorem ipsum. You just have to use your imagination and produce something yourself (even if it's wrong). I realize that this goes far beyond what most of us see as design, but I also think it's exactly the kind of design work that matters more than any other one.

      BTW: as a web designer you probably know more about websites than ordinary people (even if they are good at writing). I think it's our responsibility to get involved into the heavy lifting of creating great content, for it's only way for to deliver a great web design.

      And of course you're right, lorem ipsum will never die. It's like one of those super villains in comics ;)

      0 points
      • Jeff EscalanteJeff Escalante, over 8 years ago

        Sure, that's a decent option. But you'd have to do this before the contract was signed and charge more for it, and make sure they are ok with this. If you are doing the copywriting, you need a longer deadline and a higher project cost to compensate. If you are hiring someone to do it, you also need to manage another employee. And no matter how it's done, they will probably want to "approve" the copy, which will still probably take a long time, they will suggest changes which you'll have to go back and forth on, etc. And while that's happening, are you just waiting on the design and dev still?

        None of these options are any way near ideal. I think the decision here is a matter of trying them all out and seeing how they pan out. Personally, I use a mix between using lorem for longer pieces of content, and just taking a random stab at writing something myself for shorter pieces. Sometimes the client is ok with the short pieces I wrote myself and they end up staying, and something they want something different. I don't have the time or interest to hire and manage an extra person for content writing, or writing long blocks of copy for a client's business that I am not super concerned with, which is why I'll usually lorem those pieces and expect them to eventually produce something, making sure to allow the design to flex around them since they are longer pieces anyway and are expected to change length.

        0 points
  • James Young, over 8 years ago

    I don't think I've ever worked on an actual real life project where all the content has been available up front no matter what the client. I sometimes wish I worked for a company who only had clients that did provide everything in an incredibly structured and easy to work with way and never changed their minds.

    That said, if you're into prototyping and need to use placeholder text check out surprise lipsum

    1 point
    • Stefan RösslerStefan Rössler, over 8 years ago

      Hi James,

      I know what you're saying. No client has ever provided us with all the information needed in an incredibly structured way. I guess things like this just don't happen in real life :)

      What I do, is to just write the content for our clients. I do some research and write the content for let's say an article on their website. I then send them this article and they usually tell me everything that's wrong with my text.

      That's the key information we need. If I would only send them Lorem ipsum they would have needed to start from zero. Most clients are not good at creative writing so some kind of template is highly useful for them. At first they can just change all of my mistakes, later one they can use my suggestions to write the content for other parts of their website.

      It's just natural for me to think about the content of the website. If I don't do, I have no idea where to start with my design efforts.

      0 points
  • Adam T.Adam T., over 8 years ago

    Live and let live man, so many of these articles around here. Do what you will, just do it well.

    1 point
    • Stefan RösslerStefan Rössler, over 8 years ago

      Thanks, Adam. You're right! Sometimes I just get so emotional about design that I exaggerate to get as much attention as possible.

      1 point
  • Thom StoodleyThom Stoodley, over 8 years ago

    Huh? I wouldn't go so far to say it has to die I'm afraid.

    [Bit of an essay, sorry]

    Perhaps Stefan should focus this on web designers in the first paragraph and potentially change the header image to a nondescript website rather than a picture frame as its rather misleading from the start of who the article is intended for.

    Sometimes it takes much longer for a copywriter to create the 'content' or have it approved before the design stage which is why placeholder text is implemented. If you're twiddling your thumbs then this is not your fault but rather your client. When they see there’s copy missing they’re more likely to send it to you.

    What I think the article's trying to address though is that too many 'designer's' jump straight into the design stage without thinking about the context or the way information is communicated. You also have to remember Lorem Ipsum was never really intended to be used on the web so it may appear inadvertently when published.

    Either way having a live website with placeholder text is foolish. If you see it, flag it – maybe they don’t know it’s there, or if they do maybe they forgot to update it.

    Choose your ipsum

    1 point
    • Stefan RösslerStefan Rössler, over 8 years ago

      What I think the article's trying to address though is that too many 'designer's' jump straight into the design stage without thinking about the context or the way information is communicated.

      That's it! I think no one is to blame for this. It just so happens that designers are often not responsible for the content (they might not even know for sure, what the content will be in the end). That's why they jump straight into the design stage.

      I think they have some more options:

      • They could talk to their client and ask them for content (most of them will do).
      • They could teach their client in workshops how to create great web content (some might already do this as well).
      • They could do the heavy lifting themselves and become content specialists (those who do, could certainly charge more money for their service)

      Anyway, thank you for your comment, Thom :)

      1 point
  • Andrew ZimmermanAndrew Zimmerman, over 8 years ago

    "Lorem Ipsum is an excuse. An excuse for not having to worry about real design issues. An excuse for not having to worry about content."

    I disagree. Of course, design's goal is to successfully communicate a message to a recipient. I agree that Lorem Ipsum doesn't lend itself to the fine details of design, but I believe it is a prerequisite to the details.

    Does one need to use actual content to clearly communicate? I don't think so. Lorem Ipsum works great for focusing on the design patterns: visual hierarchy, color choice, and interactions. In those scenarios Lorem Ipsum actually helps. If I ask a user "where is the title of the page?" or "what is the subject of this page?" I don't want people to read the copy; people should be able to know where to find the page header, distinguish a blog entry, a text link, a subheading, or a product configurator. Gestalt principles don't need final copy.

    Once the general framework is done, then work on the details using actual copy. For example, is it better to design a spec sheet using a table, bar graphs, a video, or paragraphs of copy? Those are clearly important design tasks, but the designer first needs to establish other design foundations.

    As Mr. Cortes remarked, "Lorem ipsum is just a tool..." A good tool is used for its purpose and Lorem Ipsum has a purpose in the design phase.

    1 point
    • Stefan RösslerStefan Rössler, over 8 years ago

      Hi Andrew,

      thank you very much for your comment. Very interesting!

      I can totally understand where you're coming from and am a vivid fan of Gestalt and other design principles myself. You're definitely right: you don't need the content to be real to communicate through design.

      However, I see a problem with this approach. If a designer establishes too many design foundations without knowing the content, he will end up producing mere copies of previously conceived designs. You know what I mean: it's like more and more websites tend to look the same because everyone uses the same frameworks.

      I think that's because of designers not starting with content. By ignoring the actual content at hand, they start building a foundation based on previous experiences. They reproduce something that has already been invented before, only to fill it up with "content" later.

      If we would start with the content and begin with writing our websites, we might discover completely new ways to display information and create new design patterns for exactly the kind of content we need do show. At least that's the theory behind it :)

      1 point
      • Andrew ZimmermanAndrew Zimmerman, over 8 years ago

        I get what you're saying. I just believe that there are parts of the design phase where you don't want to focus on the content; it is too early to sweat the details.

        I suspect we agree 90%. I would not be as bold in proclaiming death to Lorem Ipsum. Rather, I'd say there's a part of the design phase that requires one to move beyond the general and to the specifics, which is what the content is.

        1 point
  • Bastien LemeunierBastien Lemeunier, over 8 years ago

    I will have to argue here, design frameworks are actually a good thing. The example I can give is when you create a news section, you have to give the frame in which you put content. You don't know and you can't deal with every single news content, because news content is dynamic, so... lorem ipsum.

    Dynamic = framework Static = you can focus in detail on the content

    1 point
    • Stefan RösslerStefan Rössler, over 8 years ago

      I totally agree that you can't know every single article on a news site. But why not just use one or two real articles to design the site instead of using Lorem ipsum?

      And yes, design frameworks are great! I've learned so much from them and am grateful for all these people contributing their spare time to develop all these useful tools for us.

      Thank you :)

      1 point
  • Savelle McThiasSavelle McThias, over 8 years ago

    I think this is one of those "in a perfect world" scenarios. I would love to have clients that care enough to provide content. Half the time I design a website, they ask me to provide my thoughts on content. I happily provide them with that, at an additional cost of course.

    Lorem ipsum is a fantastic tool and it won't be leaving my batman belt anytime soon.

    0 points
  • Shawn BorskyShawn Borsky, over 8 years ago

    Lorem ipsum is a useful tool for designers who live in the real world. Its incredibly useful to me, maybe not others but for me it works well.

    Most of the time, I find that I end up writing the bulk of content or squeezing it out of the customer. Its not about client education, knowing them or collaboration. Most clients don't have time and don't want to spend the time : perhaps understandably because they hired a professional to develop the solution for them. That's part of my job.

    If I am working on a layout or the "decoration" -- which btw is just as important as the content of the design. Sometimes, I just don't want to create, think about or brainstorm certain content at that moment. Lorem Ipsum is good to place-hold and allow momentum to continue.

    As many have already said, its a tool. Using it right is a matter of personal process. I and many designers use it with success and it does not need to die.

    0 points
  • Du HoangDu Hoang, over 8 years ago

    I feel like this article is written without the understanding of why Lorem Ipsum was invented in the first place. And it's not because of the laziness of "expert decorators."

    "Replacing meaningful content that could be distracting with placeholder text may allow viewers to focus on graphic aspects such as font, typography, and page layout."

    0 points
  • Crampa ...Crampa ..., over 8 years ago

    This is such a non-problem.

    0 points