Lorem Ipsum: usage

diagonal layout based on Lorem Ipsum Lorem ipsum is a pseudo-Latin text used in web design, typography, layout, and printing in place of English to emphasise design elements over content. It's also called placeholder (or filler) text. It's a convenient tool for mock-ups. It helps to outline the visual elements of a document or presentation, eg typography, font, or layout. Lorem ipsum is mostly a part of a Latin text by the classical author and philosopher Cicero. Its words and letters have been changed by addition or removal, so to deliberately render its content nonsensical; it's not genuine, correct, or comprehensible Latin anymore. While lorem ipsum's still resembles classical Latin, it actually has no meaning whatsoever. As Cicero's text doesn't contain the letters K, W, or Z, alien to latin, these, and others are often inserted randomly to mimic the typographic appearence of European languages, as are digraphs not to be found in the original.

In a professional context it often happens that private or corporate clients corder a publication to be made and presented with the actual content still not being ready. Think of a news blog that's filled with content hourly on the day of going live. However, reviewers tend to be distracted by comprehensible content, say, a random text copied from a newspaper or the internet. The are likely to focus on the text, disregarding the layout and its elements. Besides, random text risks to be unintendedly humorous or offensive, an unacceptable risk in corporate environments. Lorem ipsum and its many variants have been employed since the early 1960ies, and quite likely since the sixteenth century.
Lorem Ipsum: common examples

layout based on Lorem Ipsum Most of its text is made up from sections 1.10.32–3 of Cicero's De finibus bonorum et malorum (On the Boundaries of Goods and Evils; finibus may also be translated as purposes). Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit is the first known version ("Neither is there anyone who loves grief itself since it is grief and thus wants to obtain it"). It was found by Richard McClintock, a philologist, director of publications at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia; he searched for citings of consectetur in classical Latin literature, a term of remarkably low frequency in that literary corpus.

Cicero famously orated against his political opponent Lucius Sergius Catilina. Occasionally the first Oration against Catiline is taken for type specimens: Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? (How long, O Catiline, will you abuse our patience? And for how long will that madness of yours mock us?)

Cicero's version of Liber Primus (first Book), sections 1.10.32–3 (fragments included in most Lorem Ipsum variants in red):

Cicero writing letters; from an early edition by Hieronymus Scotus Sed ut perspiciatis, unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam eaque ipsa, quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt, explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem, quia voluptas sit, aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos, qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt, neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum, quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci[ng] velit, sed quia non numquam [do] eius modi tempora inci[di]dunt, ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit, qui in ea voluptate velit esse, quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum, qui dolorem eum fugiat, quo voluptas nulla pariatur?
Lorem Ipsum: translation

The Latin scholar H. Rackham translated the above in 1914:

De Finibus Bonorum Et Malorum But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?

On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain. These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammelled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. But in certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains.
Lorem Ipsum: variants and technical information

Adobe Fireworks Lorem Ipsum plugin In 1985 Aldus Corporation launched its first desktop publishing program Aldus PageMaker for Apple Macintosh computers, released in 1987 for PCs running Windows 1.0. Both contained the variant lorem ipsum most common today. Laura Perry, then art director with Aldus, modified prior versions of Lorem Ipsum text from typographical specimens; in the 1960s and 1970s it appeared often in lettering catalogs by Letraset. Anecdotal evidence has it that Letraset used Lorem ipsum already from 1970 onwards, eg. for grids (page layouts) for ad agencies. Many early desktop publishing programs, eg. Adobe PageMaker, used it to create template.

Most text editors like MS Word or Lotus Notes generate random lorem text when needed, either as pre-installed module or plug-in to be added. Word selection or sequence don't necessarily match the original, which is intended to add variety. Presentation software like Keynote or Pages use it as a samples for screenplay layout. Content management software as Joomla, Drupal, Mambo, PHP-Nuke, WordPress, or Movable Type offer Lorem Ipsum plug-ins with the same functionality.
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diagonal layout lorem ipsum Korean: 국민경제의 발전을 위한 중요정책의 수립에 관하여 대통령의 자문에 응하기 위하여 국민경제자문회의를 둘 수 있다. Greek: Λορεμ ιπσθμ δολορ σιτ αμετ, μει ιδ νοvθμ φαβελλασ πετεντιθμ vελ νε, ατ νισλ σονετ οπορτερε εθμ. Αλιι δοcτθσ μει ιδ, νο αθτεμ αθδιρε ιντερεσσετ μελ, δοcενδι cομμθνε οπορτεατ τε cθμ. Japanese Lorem Ipsum: 旅ロ京青利セムレ弱改フヨス波府かばぼ意送でぼ調掲察たス日西重ケアナ住橋ユムミク順待ふかんぼ人奨貯鏡すびそ。
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Russian Lorem Ipsum: Лорем ипсум долор сит амет, пер цлита поссит ех, ат мунере фабулас петентиум сит. Иус цу цибо саперет сцрипсерит, нец виси муциус лабитур ид. Ет хис нонумес нолуиссе дигниссим. Chinese Lorem Ipsum: 側経意責家方家閉討店暖育田庁載社転線宇。得君新術治温抗添代話考振投員殴大闘北裁。品間識部案代学凰処済準世一戸刻法分。悼測済諏計飯利安凶断理資沢同岩面文認革。内警格化再薬方久化体教御決数詭芸得筆代。 Indian Lorem Ipsum: पढाए हिंदी रहारुप अनुवाद कार्यलय मुख्य संस्था सोफ़तवेर निरपेक्ष उनका आपके बाटते आशाआपस मुख्यतह उशकी करता। शुरुआत संस्था कुशलता मेंभटृ अनुवाद गएआप विशेष सकते परिभाषित लाभान्वित प्रति देकर समजते दिशामे प्राप्त जैसे वर्णन संस्थान निर्माता प्रव्रुति भाति चुनने उपलब्ध बेंगलूर अर्थपुर्ण Armeninian Lorem Ipsum: լոռեմ իպսում դոլոռ սիթ ամեթ, լաբոռե մոդեռաթիուս եթ հաս, պեռ ոմնիս լաթինե դիսպութաթիոնի աթ, վիս ֆեուգաիթ ծիվիբուս եխ. վիվենդում լաբոռամուս ելաբոռառեթ նամ ին.

Arab Lorem Ipsum: غينيا واستمر العصبة ضرب قد. وباءت الأمريكي الأوربيين هو به،, هو العالم، الثقيلة بال. مع وايرلندا الأوروبيّون كان, قد بحق أسابيع العظمى واعتلاء. انه كل وإقامة المواد. Hebrew Lorem Ipsum: כדי יסוד מונחים מועמדים של, דת דפים מאמרשיחהצפה זאת. אתה דת שונה כלשהו, גם אחר ליום בשפות, או ניווט פולנית לחיבור ארץ. ויש בקלות ואמנות אירועים או, אל אינו כלכלה שתי.
Lorem Ipsum: when, and when not to use it
Do you like Cheese Whiz? Spray tan? Fake eyelashes? That's what is Lorem Ipsum to many—it rubs them the wrong way, all the way. It's unreal, uncanny, makes you wonder if something is wrong, it seems to seek your attention for all the wrong reasons. Usually, we prefer the real thing, wine without sulfur based preservatives, real butter, not margarine, and so we'd like our layouts and designs to be filled with real words, with thoughts that count, information that has value.

The toppings you may chose for that TV dinner pizza slice when you forgot to shop for foods, the paint you may slap on your face to impress the new boss is your business. But what about your daily bread? Design comps, layouts, wireframes—will your clients accept that you go about things the facile way? Authorities in our business will tell in no uncertain terms that Lorem Ipsum is that huge, huge no no to forswear forever. Not so fast, I'd say, there are some redeeming factors in favor of greeking text, as its use is merely the symptom of a worse problem to take into consideration.

You begin with a text, you sculpt information, you chisel away what's not needed, you come to the point, make things clear, add value, you're a content person, you like words. Design is no afterthought, far from it, but it comes in a deserved second. Anyway, you still use Lorem Ipsum and rightly so, as it will always have a place in the web workers toolbox, as things happen, not always the way you like it, not always in the preferred order. Even if your less into design and more into content strategy you may find some redeeming value with, wait for it, dummy copy, no less.

Consider this: You made all the required mock ups for commissioned layout, got all the approvals, built a tested code base or had them built, you decided on a content management system, got a license for it or adapted open source software for your client's needs. Then the question arises: where's the content? Not there yet? That's not so bad, there's dummy copy to the rescue. But worse, what if the fish doesn't fit in the can, the foot's to big for the boot? Or to small? To short sentences, to many headings, images too large for the proposed design, or too small, or they fit in but it looks iffy for reasons the folks in the meeting can't quite tell right now, but they're unhappy, somehow. A client that's unhappy for a reason is a problem, a client that's unhappy though he or her can't quite put a finger on it is worse.

But. A big but: Lorem Ipsum is not t the root of the problem, it just shows what's going wrong. Chances are there wasn't collaboration, communication, and checkpoints, there wasn't a process agreed upon or specified with the granularity required. It's content strategy gone awry right from the start. Forswearing the use of Lorem Ipsum wouldn't have helped, won't help now. It's like saying you're a bad designer, use less bold text, don't use italics in every other paragraph. True enough, but that's not all that it takes to get things back on track.

So Lorem Ipsum is bad (not necessarily)

There's lot of hate out there for a text that amounts to little more than garbled words in an old language. The villagers are out there with a vengeance to get that Frankenstein, wielding torches and pitchforks, wanting to tar and feather it at the least, running it out of town in shame.

One of the villagers, Kristina Halvorson from Adaptive Path, holds steadfastly to the notion that design can’t be tested without real content:

I’ve heard the argument that “lorem ipsum” is effective in wireframing or design because it helps people focus on the actual layout, or color scheme, or whatever. What kills me here is that we’re talking about creating a user experience that will (whether we like it or not) be DRIVEN by words. The entire structure of the page or app flow is FOR THE WORDS.

If that's what you think how bout the other way around? How can you evaluate content without design? No typography, no colors, no layout, no styles, all those things that convey the important signals that go beyond the mere textual, hierarchies of information, weight, emphasis, oblique stresses, priorities, all those subtle cues that also have visual and emotional appeal to the reader. Rigid proponents of content strategy may shun the use of dummy copy but then designers might want to ask them to provide style sheets with the copy decks they supply that are in tune with the design direction they require.

Or else, an alternative route: set checkpoints, networks, processes, junctions between content and layout. Depending on the state of affairs it may be fine to concentrate either on design or content, reversing gears when needed.

Or maybe not. How about this: build in appropriate intersections and checkpoints between design and content. Accept that it’s sometimes okay to focus just on the content or just on the design.

Luke Wroblewski, currently a Product Director at Google, holds that fake data can break down in real life:

Using dummy content or fake information in the Web design process can result in products with unrealistic assumptions and potentially serious design flaws. A seemingly elegant design can quickly begin to bloat with unexpected content or break under the weight of actual activity. Fake data can ensure a nice looking layout but it doesn’t reflect what a living, breathing application must endure. Real data does.

Websites in professional use templating systems. Commercial publishing platforms and content management systems ensure that you can show different text, different data using the same template. When it's about controlling hundreds of articles, product pages for web shops, or user profiles in social networks, all of them potentially with different sizes, formats, rules for differing elements things can break, designs agreed upon can have unintended consequences and look much different than expected.

This is quite a problem to solve, but just doing without greeking text won't fix it. Using test items of real content and data in designs will help, but there's no guarantee that every oddity will be found and corrected. Do you want to be sure? Then a prototype or beta site with real content published from the real CMS is needed—but you’re not going that far until you go through an initial design cycle.