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Lorem Ipsum Who?

If you’ve ever contracted web or graphic design work, you’ve probably seen it: indecipherable placeholder text where your content will eventually go. It’s called lorem ipsum, but what is it?

History Lesson

Also called ‘Greeking’ or ‘Greek copy,' people have been using lorem ipsum since the 1500s! Typesetters for early printing presses were sometimes tasked with creating specimen books to demonstrate what different fonts looked like. For the same reasons we use placeholder text now, they used placeholder text then: it had to look like real words, but not distract from the type by actually making sense.

“It’s not Latin, but it looks like it!”

So what does it mean? Nothing.

What language is it? Almost Latin?

The most common lorem ipsum passages don’t mean anything. They’re nonsense words believed to have been created by a typesetter scrambling passages from the Greek orator Cicero!

“Lorem” isn’t even a Latin word -- it’s the second half of “dolorem,” meaning “pain” or “sorrow.” Thus Lorem Ipsum was born, and began its long journey to ubiquity. – Rosie Cima, 2015 for priceonomics.com

In the 1960s, designers who needed filler text for advertising designs used iron-on transfer sheets filled with placeholder text. A popular transfer sheet manufacturer, Lestraset, used lorem ipsum. Now, most design programs (including Adobe products like InDesign and Photoshop) have an option to simply fill a text box with lorem ipsum. You can also go to lipsum.com and generate as much Latin-looking, Greek-originating, place-holding nonsense as you like!

Nonsense, But Useful

Lorem ipsum and other placeholder text is an excellent tool when designing for unknown or dynamic content, like SiteViz’s editable content areas and dynamic content. Here at Global Reach, we can’t precisely predict how you’ll be customizing your website as time goes on, so using placeholder text during the design process allows us the flexibility to accommodate whatever comes up!

No Me Gusta Lorem Ipsum

Not everyone appreciates lorem ipsum. For some, the nonsense is distracting to the review process. Some graphic and web designers ascribe to a strict content first approach, so any placeholder text is a no-no. And there’s always the danger of forgetting to remove the placeholder before printing the label for your wine!

Close up of a bottle of wine showing lorem ipsum placeholder text instead of a real wine description.

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