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Lorem Ipsum is Killing Your Designs

By now you should have heard the meme that content is king; you’ve probably heard it frequently, in fact. This is because there is a remarkable amount of truth behind it. The copy, images, video and other miscellaneous content are the reason that your visitors are both going to and remaining on your site. Sites like Craigslist1 prove this to us time and again.

Design should be the extra layer, therefore adding to the experience that helps visitors locate wanted information, read said information, or simply accomplish a task. The very second you make the decision to place Lorem Ipsum into your mock-ups, you have done a great disservice to your design, content, website and users.

“By adding Lorem Ipsum to the design you are essentially dressing your king before you know his size.”

The problems will eventually have a domino effect on your site, sometimes without your awareness.

Also consider the following Smashing Magazine articles:

The Obvious and Usual Suspects Link


What are some of the bad things that have happened because of Lorem Ipsum? Link

  1. Lorem Ipsum has distracted clients from design mock-ups for decades, leading them to ask countless questions on why their site if filled with an unknown, foreign language.
  2. It has often created confusion between the designer, developer and the copywriter or content provider.
  3. It even gets pushed live sometimes without anyone noticing.

Just Another Visual Element Link

When you are designing with Lorem Ipsum, you diminish the importance of the copy by lowering it to the same level as any other visual element. The text simply becomes another supporting role, serving to make other aspects more aesthetic. Instead of your design enhancing the meaning of the content, your content is enhancing your design.

Here’s a sample of the dreaded Lorem Ipsum:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Integer eu enim et eros posuere consequat id in libero. Aliquam pellentesque pulvinar aliquet. Curabitur sollicitudin sagittis consequat. In lobortis semper lacus et aliquet. Morbi luctus, tellus et imperdiet iaculis, ante eros sodales leo, in rutrum odio nunc at mi. Donec ac risus eu lorem vehicula sodales lacinia tempor ipsum. Curabitur sit amet quam leo. Donec faucibus posuere libero, a tincidunt elit auctor vitae. Vestibulum sed dui at erat lobortis sagittis a nec purus. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Etiam ultrices lacus ante.

Tailored to Fit? Link

No Lorem Ipsum

The person writing the content then gets lead down a dangerous path; they begin to write according to what has been laid out with Lorem Ipsum in the design. They effortlessly continue for paragraphs on matters that could easily be simplified into a single sentence. Content could be added that simply doesn’t need to be there.


Putting the Right Foot Forward Link

In an ideal situation, you would be working with a content specialist from the very beginning. Let’s face it, this doesn’t happen nearly as much as it should. Instead, the client is writing the copy for the website and it gets handed to you just before launch.

It’s time to reverse that thinking; you should be receiving and discussing the content even before the commencement of the design. When you are hired for the job, make it known to the client that you need the copy up-front and list the reasons why.

Still having problems? Write your own copy. Seriously, do it. This way when it comes to finalizing both the copy and the interaction, the copywriter will have an understanding of the point you were trying to make.

Kill Lorem

Now stand up. Put your left hand on your Mac or PC and the right one in the air and say: Link

“I, [your name here] vow to never use Lorem Ipsum in my designs ever again.”

In Defense of the King (Content)

Defense of the Content

Thanks everyone for your input and arguments against. You’ve brought up some great points. It really crazy to think that fake Greek text is so controversial. That said, here is my rebuttal to some of the main points that have been brought up against my article.

The Title Link

Defense 1

The title is a bit extreme and was written to grab your attention. Lorem Ipsum will not kill your site design. What it does is it takes away some of the ability to provide the best possible solution for your design problem. You can of course still create great, beautiful, awesome designs with lorem ipsum but it takes away resources to solve your problem.

Change Link

Defense 2

I realize that this would not be an easy change both for you and for your clients. I am essentially suggesting you fix something that doesn’t seem broken. Just because using Lorem Ipsum is easy and it fits smoothly into your current process doesn’t make it right.

Having Final Copy Link

Defense 3

In no way should you have nor do you need final copy. First rough drafts work. It gives the designer and idea of what needs to be communicated. Once it is in the design or in code doesn’t make it final. Your copy should be a living working document that is continually changing along with your design.

If the copy becomes distracting in the design then you are doing something wrong or they are discussing copy changes. It might be a bit annoying but you could tell them that that discussion would be best suited for another time. At worst the discussion is at least working towards the final goal of your site where questions about lorem ipsum don’t.

Lorem Ipsum as a Tool Link

Defense 4

Lorem ipsum is more of a work around than a tool. It allows for your clients to be lazy and for you to have to deal with fake text. It’s only a tool because we HAVE to use it unlike other graphical tools like grids that enhance the design.

Dealing with Clients Link

Defense 5

I clearly didn’t cover this enough, That is my fault. I’ve found that when you describe your process up-front and tell them that you need at least an early draft of the copy, most clients are okay with that. I explain to them that through this process, they will get a better overall product. If they’re not okay with that, well, I have the luxury of ditching them. I would rather spend my time looking for clients that will work with me instead of against me, wasting my time fighting for a good product.

Writing Your Own Copy Link

Defense 6

I almost removed this part before sending the article over because it has the potential to be very dangerous. I probably should have. It has been one of the ways that I have gotten around the client issue for headlines and sub-copy. I understand that we are trying to put food on the table and writing considerable amounts of body copy would be unreasonable. I also realize you are relying on your designer to know how to write, at least a very little bit, and that can be scary.

The point I tried to make is that you and your clients need to be thinking, understanding and gathering content before the design. Using Lorem Ipsum is a way to half-heartedly go about the most important part of your site.

Its been used in the print world for decades because they know exactly how many characters they can put on the page. Magazine or newspaper designers get early drafts of articles or at least a synopsis of the article before they start there work. I am suggesting you get the same.

The bottom line is design is an enhancement to your content. Nothing more. If you have an awesome design but junky content then no one will buy, use, read, or interact with it. This is the problem with a ton of Flash sites out there. If you have awesome content, users will find a way to work with the design (**Ehem** Craiglist5).

For those looking for extracurricular reading:

What are your thought about Lorem Ipsum? Do you think as designers, we should eliminate its use, or do you think that Lorem Ipsum still has its place in our design mock-ups? Have you had any unfortunate incidents that have happened with clients because you used Lorem Ipsum? We would love to hear what you say about it, so please do leave a comment below. Thank you for reading the article and we hope that you will share your opinion with us and to the rest of the design community.

Footnotes Link

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Kyle is a designer, front-end developer and part time astronaut. He is a good listener and loves to play in the snow. He also has red hair. Be sure to visit his blog at where he designs, writes and plays or say hi to him on Twitter.

  1. 1

    I disagree. You’re presenting a design, not a full working website with content. At that point, the client just don’t need to look at that. Just be clear that you want their opinion about how it looks.

    If a developer has made something working, but the design isn’t ready, the client doesn’t need to judge the looks. If a copywriter wrote some text it might be in another font than the actual site. And if a photographer made photos for the website, it might be cropped after he/she shows them to the client.

    Just be clear about all those things. In the end it will all come together. With good project management and communication to the client (and within the team!) that won’t be a problem.

    • 2

      I agree with Tom.

      Not all the clients have the content ready with them. Clients give you an idea about their product and ask you for the design first.

      Also, as a designer, I am entirely focused on how the website should look. It would be extremely tough for me to make content for every project that I am handling. This would waste a lot of my time.

      Till date, I have not faced any problem with Lorem Ipsum. As Tom said above, “With good project management and communication to the client (and within the team!) that won’t be a problem.”

      • 3

        “This is true. While we can say communication is key and it won’t be a problem, the fact of the matter is: It has and will continue to happen.”

        Yep but with (real) content there’s a big chance you’ll end up in an endless discussion about that content on that page.

        With bigger projects you have to work in stages. The next thing is a interaction designer that want to show his prototypes in a real design instead of wireframe? Finally you’ll end up showing a full working website in the first stage of the project. That’s why I say.. it’s more important to have a good project management and make things clear to your client :)

    • 4

      I agree that it really depends upon the kind of website you are working on.

      I have absolutely no problems if I get the content beforehand. This is infact an ideal situation wherein you have the content and you just focus your thoughts on designing. Moreover, this could add more value to your design. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Hence, it’s not possible to completely abandon using Lorem Ipsum.

      I hope my clients read this article and give me the content beforehand. That would make my work easy! :)

    • 5

      “When you start design a site with only the slightest idea of what the content is you start to make the design a more important part of the web site than the content.”

      In alot of cases I dont think this makes a difference. The design should be able to handle any ammount of content and since content often changes I think not designing around content is a better way to work.

      Long live Lorem Ipsum, if clients are confused send them over to

      Cheers Jad, thanks for the article.

    • 6


      Those are some great supporting material that definitely backs you up. We all know that Jeffrey Zeldman and Andy Rutledge definitely know what they are talking about. :)

      Let the debate rage on!

    • 7

      “I also feel the post assumes there is data or copy to begin with, when in some cases content hasn’t been created.”

      I don’t think he’s assuming anything. If you read what he says, Kyle even wants you to refuse to start a project until you at least have a first draft of content.

      Also, I think you meant to say that he assumed data is static? :)

    • 8

      I have to also agree with Tom.

      Understanding the client’s work flow is extremely important — and must be understood before diving into the design. My experiences have shown most copy writing is done near the end or during the development of the site.

      Having a solid project manager or a skilled freelancer will eliminate the majority of the issues derived from “filling space” with lorem ipsum.

    • 9

      Kyle you have completely missed what Andy Rutledge was trying to portray.

      “Where is the content?”
      “What content will be on this page …and on this page?”
      “Who is writing the content?”
      “When will you deliver the content?”

      One obviously cannot design a website without knowing what’s going to be in a website. Each page should be designed according to its content ONLY to a certain extent. That’s when Lorem Ipsum comes to play. If you don’t agree, try designing a page like Ebay without dummy text. It’s not the same case for every design, but to say that dummy text such as Lorem Ipsum should be completely abandoned is completely absurd. Thanks (I know this topic is quite old but I figured I would put in my 2 cents).

    • 10

      Great article, but I agree with Tom & Adit.

      Design & content work hand in hand & so I always design with content in mind. I do use Lorem Ipsum & am a big fan of it. Most of my clients do not have all the content ready to go at the start & I don’t demand it either. Let’s face it, when you run your own business, not everything falls into place as it should.

      If my clients were big budget clients, who could afford a copywriter, photographer, designer etc etc then it would be different, the website could be co-ordinated & managed ideally to suit each process.

      So I use Lorem Ipsum & explain to the client when the mock ups are initially presented that it is a representation of where & how the content (when supplied) will be inserted. In a perfect world, I would love to have both content & design basically completed when presenting to the client for the first time, but most of the time, it just doesn’t work that way.

  2. 11

    Useful information for designers and “clients” both. At the time of starting design we should have content ready for that project but most of the times content is delivered on the later stage, which is not good for design.

    Frankly speaking “Lorem Ipsum” is part of a design these days as more & more of template marketplaces are full of themes which uses Lorem Ipsum. So its good if used in right place and bad also. I use Lorem Ipsum in almost every project i do because we get content in mid phase of project always and its not possible to wait for content every time.

    Anyways a very nice article.

    Thanks for sharing

    • 12

      That’s a good point, more and more marketplace templates are using them, but I believe a custom-built site is always and will always be better than using a template. (Considering you are a good designer)

      Also, let me ask you, why not try asking for the content before you start the project?

      • 13

        Yes You are right that custom-built site is always and will always be better than using a template but still if you surf through sites like you will see hundreds of designers selling templates so for them “Lorem Ipsum” is very helpful.

        Regarding your second question :

        Jad I always ask client to provide content before i start on a project but 7 out of 10 times content is sent to me in the mid phase of the project… :)

  3. 14

    Thanks for the comment Kuswanto. :)

  4. 15

    I keep reading the argument that Clients never have their content ready when you start designing. How can you start designing when you don’t have any content and context to design within? Force your Client to deliver a first round of content before you design. Obviously there will be text edits, but this first round content will give you a better start then if you used Lorem ipsum.

    It may be difficult the first time you try this, but after you’ve done it once you’ll keep recognize how helpful it is.

    Nice article Fiedler.

    • 16

      I completely agree with you on this Mike. While in my opinion, you don’t need the content for the entire website, I am a firm believer that you at least need to be able to have the content for at least the homepage and an inner page.

      As a designer, it just makes life so much easier. :)

  5. 17

    Totally true. I’m not using lipsum since october 2009 when i changed the text of a project and saw a BIG difference. Awesome article!

    • 18

      Thanks for the comment Rafael. Wow! Since Oct. 2009? I guess you do see a big difference when you actually have your own content.

  6. 19

    I use those foreign wisdom words only when i’m stuck on what to put down in a mockup.
    well, i’m lying. i always use the lorem ipsum, but i won’t kill any designs anymore. thanks, u remind me. :D

  7. 21

    I have yet to work with a client that has had all copy ready up front. Most of the time they are changing copy up until the site goes live and sometimes even shortly after. Professionals outside of the creative realm will never fully understand the importance of having all of the information up front. Unfortunately, there will always be a need for dummy text and there will always be pros and cons for using it.

    • 22

      I actually have had a lot of clients come up to me with all the content in hand.

      I recently designed a website for a lawyer and he had over 100 pages of content ready to go before I even started the mock-up. I think if we explain to them our reasoning, they would not mind co-operating at all.

  8. 23

    Well, personally, I think Kyle has most certainly brought up a very pertinent point.

    A design will ultimately house actual content, and dummy text, whilst serving well as a placeholder; will do little to project the actual look and feel of the website. Besides, most of the clients I’ve worked with often have bits of content already done up which I encourage them to use for the preliminary design stages.

    As designers, we have to conceptualise the site design as a whole entity with actual content.

    • 24

      Great thought Josh. We definitely need to visualize the entire website as a whole and it’s really hard to do that with “dummy text.” I wonder why they call it that anyway? :)

  9. 25

    I agree that the best case scenario is that content should be provided prior to design work beginning. After all, if the design is meant to support the content, how can it do so when it does not know what the content is? Sadly, however, best case scenarios are somewhat rare and final copy is rarely ready in the early stages of a project. My personal fall-back plans are:

    1. If it is a site redesign, I use existing copy from the client’s current site if possible. Sometimes the current copy is horrible, but in most cases, I find that it is a good starting point and adequate for mockup purposes.

    2. If no suitable copy currently exists, I use passages of text in the public domain (I prefer Edgar Allen Poe works) rather than Lorem Ipsum text. At least with the text from Poe, I don’t get asked why there is a ‘foreign language’ on the site.

    One item I have to disagree with is the idea of ‘writing your own copy’ as a blanket solution to this problem. Most designers are not writers and crafting some copy, even if it is intended to be a sample, may do the project a disservice.

    If you are a skilled writer, then by all means craft some copy, but you should also charge for that work. A writer who knows how to design wouldn’t simply throw in a free design mockup because one was not readily available, would they?

    I heartily agree that Lorem Ipsum text must go, but ‘placeholder text’ is a reality we must find a way to work with the best that we can.

    • 26

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jeremy. I really appreciate you taking the time and explaining to us your plans / fall-backs about Lorem-Ipsum. It’s really some great advice and maybe something that some of the pro-lipsum people should look into.

  10. 27

    This is a tough one! I actually think Lorem Ipsum as helped me in the design process, 90% of the time, especially with web design projects, the content is not ready, so I do a mock-up using Lorem Ipsum for body copy, I communicate with the client that this is just a mock-up and things will change depending on the final content. I would prefer having all the photos and body copy for a project before I start, but as we all know, most clients don’t have all the information ready at the start of a project.

    Writing body copy for a client is a great idea, but that would be an extra charge to the client, it takes extra time to write content, especially if in the end the copy will not be used. My suggestion would be to, request all content before the start of a project in your contract if not… let the client know that you will be using placement text in your first draft of the design. Personally I think Lorem Ipsum should be used in moderation :)

    • 28

      I do agree with you on not writing your own copy. Out of Kyle’s points, that’s probably something that I would personally disagree with. Sure, I’ll write headlines and sub-headings but never the copy. It’s simply too time-consuming in my opinion.

  11. 29

    Amen Kyle.

    Designing with fake data = fake design.
    This “argument” has been around for decades.
    Lorem Ipsum’s equally evil twin is wireframing. Both are designers’ crutch…

    I’m backing you up, Kyle:


    • 30

      wireframing an evil!! that’s a surprise!!

    • 31

      Thanks for backing up Kyle, but can you please explain to us why you think “wireframing” is evil? Interesting…

  12. 32

    it’ll never happen. Doesn’t happen in real life. Nice concept but this is fail. LONG LIVE LOREM IPSUM!

  13. 34

    “Lorem Ipsum is Killing Your Designs”

    That’s a little over the top. In an ideal world getting the content before you start is best, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Many of my clients want the design first and I’m not going to write copy for free. That is just plain bad business.

    Every case is different and to lump all of design into that statement is unrealistic. But I get your point.


    • 35

      yes, what you commented is true, i agree with it.

    • 36

      Thanks for your comment Stephen, and yes, that title that Kyle wrote isn’t exactly true. He just wanted it to be an attention-grabber, which obviously, it worked. :)

  14. 37

    Lorem Ipsum is like any other design tool – you need to know how to use it in moderation, and where and when it is appropriate. The most important thing to communicate in the design comp in regards to the copy is the length of each piece and its purpose on the page. If Lorem Ipsum can do this for you, then by all means use it. These are a couple of general pointers that I observe.

    • I NEVER use Lorem Ipsum for headers, “hero” text or menu items. If I don’t have copy for these, I write them.

    • When I use a chunk of Lorem Ipsum, I will start the first paragraph off with something like “This is the teaser paragraph, which should outline the full article in 100 words or less.” This way the client knows what’s up.

    • With regards to the length of the pieces, I look at the client’s existing site, if possible, and if not I go to their competitors to get an idea.

    The final point brings up a whole ‘nother debate, which is whether you as a designer ought to be making recommendations about the length of copy (spoiler alert: I say hell yes).

    • 38

      Chris, thanks for stopping by. Thank you for those general pointers. I think even if you are a huge lipsum fan or if you hate it, everyone can still consider these pointers.

      By the way, the last point is a great idea. While we don’t want to or have to write the copy, we should definitely make recommendations especially with the homepage.

      By the way, you have one of the nicest sites around, did you use Lorem Ipsum on your initial design?

      • 39

        Great, thanks for answering Chris. That’s great since you wrote all the copy and you designed it, the workflow must have been a lot smoother compared to having to deal with a client and a copywriter. Thanks!

      • 40

        To answer your question about lorem ipsum on my site, I actually wrote and designed in tandem, which I felt was really beneficial. This allowed the content and the presentation to constantly adapt to each other’s requirements, rather than one taking the lead. Of course, most projects have a separate designer and copywriter, so this would be impossible.

  15. 41

    Here’s what I run into. Most clients I have worked with either get confused or defensive if there is anything BUT lorem ipsum on the page prior to their copy being delivered. As I am indifferent to this debate, but with past experiences I feel using placeholder text alleviates any confusion as to which version of the content is correct (due to many revisions throughout the process), and will also show where the content needs to be inserted. I have had an instance where a site went live with copy I provided, instead of lorem ipsum, only to have the client come back to me with the correct material and a message saying they would never use me again. Obviously, a rare instance, but nonetheless it just makes things easier to say upfront that this is in place until the readied content is submitted.

    It also helps if working on websites that you show it’s flexibility by placing in various amounts of text. This will show that if new content is added it won’t affect the overall design/layout of things, but rather it’s adaptability to any future changes the client may have.

    • 42

      “Most clients I have worked with either get confused or defensive if there is anything BUT lorem ipsum on the page prior to their copy being delivered.”

      You can always ask for the copy before starting the project. :D

      But anyway, your last paragraph and argument is a good one. What about when a client wants to change text? How do we test for that? That’s a great thought. ;)

  16. 43

    While I appreciate the enthusiasm of this article, I don’t share the viewpoint. Ok, in a ‘perfect world’ clients would know what they want, projects would be tenaciously organized and content would be written (in approved, final form) before design commenced. Of course, that would be really helpful to have all copy and know what content goes on which pages and the length and style of the writing. This scenario is likely to occur, in maybe 1 in 1,000 projects.

    For the vast majority of web design projects, I’ve found Lorem Ipsum filler copy to be a valuable design tool. It flows nicely, like real copy and is a great substitute for blank space, boxes or horizontal lines, which are sometimes used to simulate text.

    I don’t think it’s good advice for designers to take it upon themselves to write website copy. Besides being a substantial time-waster, the client hasn’t hired a web designer to become a SME on their business and wear a copywriter’s hat. Instead, the designer should focus on IA and UX, carefully planning out flows and functions with user behavior at the fore. The design mockups are meant as a springboard for the project where the designer presents page structures, grids, design motifs, color themes and specs typography.

    With proper project management and communication, explaining web design mockups and setting client expectations – it’s easy to avoid the client from getting hung up on content, but rather get their attention focused on overall design approval so that development can begin.

    Typically, copy is written and refined after the client has approved the designs and while developers are busy transforming the designer’s vision into a working model.

    In this article, I didn’t find compelling enough arguments to take the ‘anti-Lorem Ipsum’ oath. The alternatives are not based in efficiency or reality.

    Thanks for the post and good discussions.

    • 44

      After such a well-written argument, then you are definitely free to choose what works for you. Kyle just wanted to share his thoughts on why he doesn’t use Lorem Ipsum, but I guess it works for you. Thanks for leaving your comments on Design Informer. It definitely adds more to this discussion.

  17. 45

    I use it, but I break it up. I make different sized sentences and paragraphs and lists.

  18. 47

    Well It´s true, I mean “Lorem Ipsum” sucks. But you have to think something about this. There are many situations in what clients don´t let you stuff and even they don´t know well what they want to say or sell with the designs, and this even worse in web because content is usually longer.

    It´s disgusting work like that, and sometimes clients work in contents when they see “something” made, something visual I mean.

    The uthopic way to work should be the one you get all contents before you begin to design. But this situation it´s not as common as it´s suppose to be.

    • 48

      I agree, it’s not too common, but the more designers start asking for content beforehand, sooner or later, it will become a standard practice. That’s what we should strive after.

  19. 49

    There is a time a place for greeking text. Your point is overkill.

  20. 51

    great article. As someone posted above I tend to break it up when I use it, however it’s never ideal and I usually try to get the content before the project starts. When you don’t have the content though it’s a must to help you show the client where text would go.

    • 52

      As long as you try, then I guess it’s okay to use it as a last resort. What I don’t understand is designers who will start without even trying to obtain a rough draft of the content?

  21. 53

    Though I see your point. I completely disagree. I have presented designs with actual copy and the focus became the content not the visuals. A LOT of good things come from Loren ipsum like how much content is needed or, font size, font style, etc. When Lorem Ipsum is presented as a mock up Element the client is just fine. presenting anything else is a dis service to your design and client.

    • 54

      Well, if the content stands out to the client and not the design, then we might need to explain to them the whole situation. Either way, for or against Lorem, communication plays a vital role.

  22. 55

    In an ideal world Lorem Ipsum wouldn’t be required, regardless of it’s aesthetic merits. But anyone with even a couple of years experience in commercial design knows that it is almost 100% necessary because content comes last. Why’s that? Well, without sounding bitter, that’s the part where the client is expected to actually work.

    Where lorem ipsum is used it is to give a visual representation of copy in place. I’ve yet to meet a client stupid enough to wonder if it was actual authentic content that I had written. If that does happen folks I suggest you get out of there! And isn’t a client who is want to question why this strange language is in place not the exact same client who would be more confused with content you had written yourself?

    Again, it’s not ideal but Lorem Ipsum is not killing any of my designs. Some may be beaten slowly to death by less desirable clients of course…

  23. 57

    I’d like to respectfully disagree with this.

    You have good intentions — of course content should inform design (otherwise we’re just producing art/wallpaper/whatever you want to call it) but it is possible to produce an informed piece of visual communication without having finalised copy.

    It’s not the same as ‘doing a layout’ or ‘doing a logo’ in absence of any context; Lipsum is just a convenient way to see how copy will flow before you have finalised content.

    If you wait to receive said finalised content for every piece of design you produce you can’t be very productive…

    • 58

      I agree, you might not be very productive, and that’s why you should immediately state the requirements before taking a project. That way, the client knows what’s expected of them and it doesn’t take them months to finish the content.

  24. 59

    I do agree with the sentiment here. You never know what a design is going to look like until you have the real content in – I’ve told this to clients before to try and get real content in to aid the design process. The design process isn’t finished until I get that copy.


    When that’s not available (and importantly I have no input on the content) I consider Lorem Ipsum the best solution.

    The simple explanation to clients is that it’s traditional dummy copy used for ever in the print industry, so it’s never been an issue for me when clients haven’t known what it is.

    There are several bonuses: The client doesn’t think you’re taken it on yourself write the copy for them or that you’ve put the wrong copy in. No inaccurate placeholder text can make it in, which is easy to do. Also, no rude or unprofessional placeholder text can ever make it in at any stage.

    A much more subtle point is that if you put some made up copy in and it shows even a small misjudgement or a wrong assumption about the client or product, it can show poor research on your part or lack of affinity with them.

    So yes to prioritising content over design in the workflow (that’s the ideal situation) but I still see it as a preference to making stuff up when you’re waiting for content from somewhere else. No placeholder content can give you the finality of design that the real stuff will.

    • 60

      Well said Matt. I’m glad you are open-minded when it comes to the Lorem Ipsum issue.

  25. 61

    I strongly disagree with this article, sorry. If you don’t have definitive (or close to) texts, go Lorem !

    Of course if you have a headline, you better have a mockup of what you want to say even if it is not definitive, but for bodycopy, lorem ipsum is fine, really !

    “Lorem Ipsum has distracted clients from design mock-ups for decades” That’s half true…
    I’ve seen more times a client say “Oh, we need to correct this number”, “We can’t say that”, “There is a typo there” than “what is this this language”.

    It’s the contrary in fact “Wrong informations distracts the client from the design”. It’s really painful to hear a client saying “This is wrong” when you just want to know if he likes the design.

    You can give him another document with the text, so he makes the different between the content and the container.

    We don’t make brochures mockups with high definition pictures or take the final shots before showing the idea to the client, so why coming with a half completed text ?

    But this article makes its point, I just disagree with it ! :-)

    • 62

      We don’t make brochures mockups with high definition pictures or take the final shots before showing the idea to the client, so why coming with a half completed text ?

      Actually, I will respectfully disagree, but I think we should be using high-quliaty images in our mock-ups. I mean, they only cost a couple of dollars, why not use a high-quality image that doesn’t contain a watermark? It definitely makes us look more professional, and they won’t get distracted. :)

  26. 63

    “Lorem Ipsum is killing our designs?”

    I complete agree with you… But I when I was a fresher in web designs industry, Lorem Ipsum was all way in my “clipboard “. It was easy to just paste readymade contents. But Now a day I don’t often use Lorem Ipsum becoz as you said “Lorem Ipsum Kills Our Designs”

    Great concept. Beautifully executed.

    • 64

      Thanks Jaisa. We’re glad that you liked and agreed with this article. :)

  27. 65

    1) What is more distracting to a client is to put in actual copy. This happened to me 4 weeks ago. I thought I’d try putting actual content in and the client spent the two hour meeting discussing the semantics of the marketing message. Only when I put Lorem Ipsum in could they focus on design because:

    2) The copywriter isn’t going to have copy complete before you start design. How can it confuse the developer? He can put in Lorem Ipsum as a place holder that can be switched out later for the real copy by the developer or (if you’re using a CMS) by the client or copywriter.

    3) Pages with no content, old content, or incorrect content get pushed live sometimes, what’s your point? Whoever is in charge of launching the site should make sure this never happens. If it does go live with Lorem Ipsum, it’s easier to spot than old or incorrect copy.

    4) Copy takes awhile to write. There is alot of back and forth between the copy writer and the client. If the designer waited until the copy was written, it would blow any timeline by weeks or months. Perhaps only weeks with a small site, but what about sites of 100 pages or more? Very often a timeline is set for the entire project, say 2 months for a small website. If the copy takes 2 weeks to be written and refined, you’ve now lost a quarter of your design and development time.

    It’s true that with a print project it is difficult to design around Lorem Ipsum. But with a web project, there is no “writing to fit”. The content area is meant to be flexible due to the differences in type rendering by different browsers, devices and platforms.

    • 66

      Thanks for bringing up these concerns Michael. I’m just surprised that the client spent two hours discussing the semantics of their marketing message with you. Sorry to hear that.

      What you should tell them before the meeting is that the meeting will solely be about the design. :)

      Thanks again for writing your thoughts and sharing them in the discussion.

    • 67

      This article reminds me of a forum topic on a racing website. A guy broke a set of Rhino Ramps. Twice. And then posted how dangerous they were. There were a ton of comments. People that had used Rhino Ramps for years, sometimes 10 or more, without problem, but now they knew how unsafe they were and would never use them again.

      The thing was, I couldn’t find a single other instance of complaint about Rhino Ramps anywhere on the internet. Not a single case of them breaking – but this guy broke TWO. Which tells me that this individual was using them wrong, and the ramps themselves were not faulty. This was evidenced further by the fact that other people said they had used them for years safely…but now giving them up because someone wrote an article saying “you should never use these”.

      If a designer should wait until they are handed final copy before designing because your design should ONLY fit the actual copy, this creates several immediate problems.

      1) If the copy changes pre-launch, then your design is destroyed, because it ONLY fits the copy first handed to you. If this weren’t the case, then the dummy text wouldn’t be an issue, because the design would be able to handle changing content.

      2) If the site uses a translator, or even has separate pre-made pages in different languages – Spanish, French, etc – the design fails, because if it only works with the English version of the original content, and the dummy text doesn’t…then nothing will. Good design is not language specific. Typesetting, colors, spacing, white space – these things are not relative to a body of content, but they do matter in terms of visual appeal. Someone that didn’t speak a word of English could visit this article, look at the layout of the text and determine good line, good contrast, without having any clue to the actual content and say whether or not this page looks good.

      3) If the site happens to grow in the future, same situation. If the design is so closely tied to the actual word-for-word content of the text, that you cannot remove one body of text and replace it with another, the site cannot grow or change. I cannot think of a more poor technique of design than one that completely handcuffs a company’s ability to grow.

      Craigslist was used as an example of quality of content vs aesthetic design. I’m not sure this is a strong example, although it’s probably the most commonly used. If you were to take Craiglist in the design phase, remove the names of all the cities and replace them with Lorem Ipsum, under the heading “US Cities”, would we still not understand that this is space dedicated to cities in the United States? If Craigslist’s layout were so closely designed to the ORIGINAL content, Craigslist would only be a fraction of what it is today. It was originally simply local here in the San Francisco area. Not global. The fact that CL was able to plug in additional cities with complete ease, and an absolute ability to be fluid – rather than stuck in a situation of fixed content – allowed it to become what it is today.

      “It’s filler text. It’s to show you how the page will look once we plug in the actual content”.

      That just isn’t that a difficult message to convey. If the client is too dumb to understand that much, then there will be no communicating with them at any level, so what is on the page doesn’t make a difference.

      • 68

        That was a brilliant defense of Lorem Ipsum, Mark! Well done! I like the way you started with that story about the ramps and then transitioned it to your commentary on Lorem Ipsum.

        “If the copy changes pre-launch, then your design is destroyed.”

        Well, that’s not necessarily true. Kyle even mentioned that all that is needed is just a draft. Let me explain my reasoning behind all this.

        I think as designers, we are able to make a design more creative if we had the actual content. For example, we can read the contents and pull images out of the content that was written. We can also style a quote from the content, and really tailor-fit our designs. This is what Jason Santa Maria and Dustin Curtis has been able to do in their blogs, and blogs are supposed to be standard, normal looking, designs. How where they able to do it? By writing the content first before designing the page.

        I personally don’t think it ruins the design of a site. Anybody can download a theme from Theme Forest and just fill it in with your content, and the site won’t look bad. It’s just my opinion that when you have the content in front of you while designing, you are able to come up with something more unique, more creative, and more special. That’s just my two cents. :)

        Thanks again for taking the time and articulating your thoughts about the article. I really appreciate the effort.

  28. 69

    awesome work. I was drafting a similar article yesterday, but your is better :) well done.

    • 70

      Well, your opinion is always a good one. We’d love to see your published article. :)

  29. 71

    Wow! I had never thought of it. Brilliant article.


    • 72

      Hopefully, this article changes your mindset when it comes to content and design.

  30. 73

    Kyle – I love the fact that you took the time to write a rebuttal for this.

    “The point I tried to make is that you and your clients need to be thinking, understanding and gathering content before the design.”

    I couldn’t agree more with that statement. Even first draft copy (which may even be the text on the client’s current site slightly reworked) will allow us to create designs that are better suited to the content.

    I liken it to designing a package for a product without having any idea what the product is, how big it is, or what the overall feel of the product may be. How could you design a package to contain something if you have no clue what it needs to contain? Yet we do this with Web sites all the time.

    “Just because using Lorem Ipsum is easy and it fits smoothly into your current process doesn’t make it right.”

    Bold statement, but very true. Well said, Kyle, well said.

    • 74

      Thanks again for participating and adding your two cents Jeremy. Looking forward to working with you again here at Design Informer. Hopefully, sooner than later. :)

  31. 75

    I believe a good designer should know a thing or two about writing content and relating content to the ideas and the needs of the client and the usability requirements of the user. In many situations I trust myself more than most to generate headlines and calls to action that reinforce and inform the design. There are many elements that should never be shown to a client as lorem ipsum.

    However, that being said, there are still good uses for lorem ipsum in the design process.

    I do believe that professional copy writing improves design, but since many clients will not hire one, I would be hesitant to ask them to generate it for me without design direction because they will often make poor decisions about length and subject matter. Generating the lorem ipsum gives them the constraints they need to help them write better copy.

    Even if they do hire a professional, I would want to collaborate with them rather than have them throw something over the wall as a “design requirement” before I start.

    Also there are some elements that require lorem ipsum such as a news article template that should be able to accommodate varying amounts of text.

    • 76

      Thanks for your well-thought out reply, Craig. I really agree with the points that you made.

      I believe a good designer should know a thing or two about writing content and relating content to the ideas and the needs of the client and the usability requirements of the user.

      That’s exactly right in my opinion. Also, the point you made about collaboration, that’s definitely a great thing to have with the client and the copywriter as well. :) Thanks again!

  32. 77

    I’m really surprised this post ignited such a huge debate… don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing, a good debate is always healthy for us as community. It’s just that don’t see what all the fuzz is about: a very good and clever point was made.

    Whether we agree or not is OK. We all have our judgement and there are cases of cases.
    More importantly, no one is dictating any ultimate truth here.

    I absolutely enjoyed this article, absolutely agreed with it, and absolutely had fun reading people’s opinion.

    thanks for sharing guys

    • 78

      We’re glad you liked the discussion. It’s always a joy to read people’s opinions and the way they present them. ;)

  33. 79

    Sure. And brainstorming and note-taking are the mortal enemies of the enemy of the writer.

    Context, people.

    • 80

      I’d love to hear more of what you mean. I think Kyle’s article is within context.

  34. 81

    I’ll never use a Lorem Ipsum, I always fill it with content before I will check the previews.

  35. 83

    In a perfect world the client would always supply you with the content ahead of time. While I love it when this happens it often is not the case and we need to get a site design (fairly) stable while content is being developed. Lorem Ipsum is a tool and if used as a tool can be very helpful in putting those placeholders in to keep the process flowing.

    And yes, I have had clients who got confused by the gibberish text on the screen before so it is important to get all that cleared up in the beginning so you don’t waste time trying to explain what it is and why it is there.

    We all have many tools that we use at times and if you use Lorem Ipsum as one of those tools it works fine.

    • 84

      In a perfect world…

      I’ve read that a lot from these comments. In reality, we do have a choice whether or not we want to use Lorem or not, as long as we specify to the client beforehand. I guess with existing projects, it will be hard, but with new projects, I don’t see it being a problem or an issue. :)

  36. 85

    I personally have mixed opinions with this one. I agree Kyle, maybe try getting a couple of blog posts together that has different styles, such as a tutorial, a list post, an article post, and a showcase post. That way, you can at least design around them…

    Personally, here at the Design Informer, I actually spend quite a bit of time styling and designing my article posts, as you can see with this post.

  37. 86

    So you agreed with Kyle? No turning back now Nicole. ;)

  38. 87

    Thanks mate!

  39. 88

    I’m definitely looking forward to hearing what you have to say Jason. Please shoot me a link to it once you have completed it.

  40. 89

    You’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t even take it serious, I hear you saying this:
    “It really crazy to think that fake Greek text is so controversial”.

    Lorem ipsum… is fake LATIN. Greek text is a whole different font. Our numbers (1, 2, 3) are Arabic, our font is LATIN.

    Furthermore, I think the article is so hypocrite. Almost all designers get pissed if a client is too pushy about the design. He hired you to make the design. Then please: STAY with the design. If the client wants content, he should hire somebody for that.
    I think it’s very hard for some people to visualize the content ‘in there’ if there isn’t any content written yet. Sometimes a designer just has to use Lorem Ipsum because the client expects him to!

    • 90

      Asking for content doesn’t mean that you are interfering with the client. We need a basis for our design and that’s what the content is for. We can’t just design the site just to design the site, we need to design it around the content, and we can’t really do that with Lorem Ipsum. Well, technically, we can, but it just won’t turn out as great as if we designed around the content. :)

  41. 91

    A big thanks to you Kyle for sparking discussion. It’s really good to hear what people in the design community have to say about this issue.

  42. 92

    It is definitely a must, Mary. Also, I’m sure the client will be more than willing to get the copy to you in the beginning of the design process if you explain to him that “Content is king” and that the design should be around the content and not the other way around.

  43. 93

    Cost you the job? That has never happened to me.

    But I do agree with your compromise. I think that works because while you are working on the homepage, then they will have time to write the rest of the content.

  44. 94

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, it’s definitely my preference to have all the content before the start of the design process.

  45. 95

    That’s a great site for people who don’t want to use Lorem but an alternative. Thanks for sharing it. :)

  46. 96

    Like your sense of humor. :)

    When I started reading, I was about to delete it because I didn’t realize that you actually commented.

    it is not a do or die situation.

    I agree, that’s why I think we should be open to suggestions, such as this article, but ultimately, we should stick with whatever works best for our projects.

  47. 97

    Hey, that’s definitely a great idea, to pull content from their old site. Most likely, they will be just re-using it. The problem is with clients who have never had a website. I suggest giving them some suggestions about content length, etc.

  48. 98

    I’m glad you agree with Kyle. But I think the issue is not whether the filler text is in Greek, Latin or English, it’s about the design preceding the content, which in reality makes design King over content.

  49. 99

    That’s true, you can always opt for a elastic content area, but that’s not always the ideal way. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  50. 100

    That’s true. Look at that link that I attached earlier. It’s hilarious. :D

  51. 101

    Well, to answer your question, what you use is the actual content. Ask for it before starting the project. They can make revisions to it, but it’ always good to have the general idea of what is going to go on the page.

  52. 102

    You’re right Aaron. It’s not going to happen… unless we make it happen. We should definitely start asking for content before we start the design. :)

  53. 103

    That makes sense and that’s really why there is such a danger with Lorem Ipsum. We tend to use it just to make our designs look better. Long live the KING!

  54. 104

    It’s really nice to read the opinion of a professional copywriter and content specialist. :)

    Definitely adds another perspective to this discussion.

  55. 105

    Ricky, thanks for the comment. I agree with you, it definitely should just be a last resort, not our first option.

  56. 106

    Interesting topic and easy to see why Lorum Ipsum may be too distracting. I guess the next topic will be about the “Lorum Ipsum” of visuals and that’s stock photography in comps which, to me, can cause just as many headaches and misconceptions.

    I made this one of the my three links of the day on my daily design blog Design Thought for the Day”:

    All the best, Ted

  57. 107

    This is a tough call and I’m not 100% sold on Lorem Ipsum killing your design thing. But I never recall using lorem ipsum on web design, I use them mostly on print. I find it too idealist but nevertheless, it’s a good article.

  58. 108

    I am a brand identity developer, not a web designer – so I guess I’m having a hard time visualizing just how the Lorem text could hurt a design. Have I used it before? Yes. Was it an issue? No.

    I would love to see an addendum to this article including a visual example of a design with the text, without the text, and with “fake copy” that is related to the design. But maybe that’s just me because I am a visual person.

    In my head, if I were a website designer, I feel that I would be stepping over a line to supply anything other than the greek text because by supplying fake yet relevant copy could a) unknowingly make the client steer the project in a whole new direction b) upset the client because they see it as imposing ideas on them or giving them the impression that what they are currently working on isn’t good enough for you – or c) end up making more work for you the designer because they will want to use your copy but not pay you for it because it was just something you “threw in” and was not an agreed upon task that was clearly stated in your design contract. In my head, writing for a company and designing for a company are two separate jobs.

    However, this was a great article regardless of what I think and I love that the comments add to it’s greatness. I’m going to be passing this one on for sure! Thanks much! :)

  59. 109

    Great article. We banned greeked copy from all wireframes and comps about six months ago. It has made it far easier to sell our work to clients and prevented a ton of internal confusion.

  60. 110

    Andrew, you pretty much just summarized what I have been trying to say with all of my comments. That is exactly the point that I was trying to make.

    When you have the content, it’s a lot easier to be more creative. :)

    Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts and adding more value to the discussion.

  61. 111

    I get the point, but I disagree with this article, basically because I’ve never had any problems with my clients seeing this latin text in the mock-ups.

    In an ideal world, I would get all the content before starting the project, but that rarely happens… so most of the time, I find Lorem Ipsum very useful. Of course the design might have to change a little when the content is received, but I always let my clients know that the design process isn’t completed until I get the content anyway.

  62. 112

    I have been using Lorem Ipsum in my designs for over 10 years – in a way, clients don’t know exactly what they want to say in the website – we help them figure out their navigation links, and what type of text goes on each page, and then we suggest a copywriter to help with the actual wording.

    Even if the client gave us the copy in advance, it would usually be too much text! This is the most common problem.

    Here is an ideal world scenario:

    1. We have a meeting and with the client agree on the site structure.
    2. We have complete freedom whit word counts etc and we design a functional design which shows where headline and body copy would be – using trusty Lorem Ipsum
    3. When the design is approved, we give word counts to the copywriter or client and they stick to them
    4. The final site looks like the design we planned!

    We do have one copywriter who prefers us not to design until she has written the copy. But other copywriters are happy to fit into our designs.

    Having read all the comments, I think I am going to test the idea of insisting on copy in advance, and see if this helps with the efficiency/workflow without affecting the design. This would ONLY work if we used an experienced website copywriter!

  63. 113

    Robin Ogilvie-Stewart Barrow

    January 7, 2010 10:21 pm

    i don’t even know where to begin with the inaccuracies of this article in not using greeking copy to aid design. if you let ‘content’ run away with itself just on the merit of what it is, then you have a worse problem than adding in greeking.

    In the same manner as shooting or creating your own assets, you plan out how to frame that content. You may have an idea for the way the design needs to be communicated as the relationship between both visuals and copy need to interact there is no difference in this than directing the wordsmithing. There is nothing wrong with greeking copy, if you know what you are doing, its not that greeking is the problem is the designer using it.

    never the less, well written article, although cheap shot and readership numbers ;)

  64. 114

    Chris O'Donnell

    January 7, 2010 10:34 pm

    I very much disagree with nearly all aspects of this article.

  65. 115

    There is no excuse for using lorem ipsum.

    It’s lazy.
    Excuses like “My client will concentrate on the copy versus the UI” =
    1) good, they’re supposed to concentrate on the data
    2) as the designer, you need to manage and guide your clients during feedback sessions. If they run wild for 2 hours on copy, maybe it needs it. If not, start handling and designing the meeting expectations. Designers need to design and guide real experiences… like a meeting. If you can’t do that, that’s your problem, not the UIs.
    3) if you want clients to only worry about the UI elements, you’re a stylist, not a Designer.

    By not understanding the data/content, you don’t understand the interface… and more importantly, the decisions people make by using your software. You need to understand the data and find the core stories.

    Low fidelity comps = low fidelity feedback. The more true the data is, the truer the response. At the very least, grab data that feels like the data set you’ll eventually get. If you can’t find like-data, start crafting it yourself. Another excuse is, “I don’t have time to create content.” It’s part of our job to Design and have a system engineering approach to problem solving. By whipping up content that has a whiff of truth, it gets closer to the final product… way closer than utterly useless lorem ipsum. And occasionally, your data or copy will be good enough for production.

    And real data won’t blow up production. How many times have you seen lorem ipsum on a real service (like Obama’s campaign contribution site to Mobile Me signup screens)? That’s criminal.

    There is no reasonable counter to Kyle’s ban lorem ipsum call.
    Again, fake data = fake design.

    • 116


      Three words.

      Amen To That.


    • 117

      Using lorem ipsum does not prevent you from establishing the content areas and functionality of a page. On the contrary, low fidelity comps allow for more attention to the functionality and purpose of the entire page. It’s the same principle behind generating several thumbnail sketches before delving into design details.

      The more information the better, but the process behind getting that information and determining it’s relevance and length requires a creative/collaborative process. I have yet to see a better solution at exploring copy placement and length in relation to the overall function of a page presented.

      If a design breaks when the client added real content, then I would suggest re-evaluating design techniques because layouts should provide enough versatility to allow for content tweaks.

  66. 118

    I’ve really appreciated the comments here from copy writers and non-designers. It’s only reinforced my belief that separating content and design is not a clean process.

    I still feel that lorem ipsum is actually a very effective engaging and visual way to engage the client about copy guidelines.

    I think the root of the problem people are trying to address is that they haven’t found a way to engage the client about what their design and business needs are before they begin the design. Lorem ipsum is not the culprit, and throwing pre-fab content over the wall before design starts is not the solution.

    The best method I’ve found is to start the client off with wireframe detailing content blocks and site map. At the end of the day though, the light usually doesn’t go on for the client until they see the actual design.

  67. 119

    I disagree… I use Ipsum to mock things up. Copy is part of layout, it’s part of design, it turns into an element. People ask me “how does that sound” I tell them… honestly I do not read you copy and look for typos. My job is to make this look visually appealing.

    If a copy block calls for 250, 500, 1,400 words. Get that many from their site. It is much easier than hiring a copy writer to do research on a subject for a mock-up.

    I got tired of clients reading garble that made sense (jabberwalky) but took the focus off the true design. They got so caught up in reading this jabber that I had to steer them back to what the focus was.

    Ipsum catches them for a split second then they are back to the important stuff, proofing design.

    I will continue using Ipsum. :)

  68. 120

    If you think having Lorem ipsum go live is a problem, you haven’t seen anything like the damage that ensues when something that could be taken as actual copy ends up going live. The history of such events in newspapers goes back for decades, and there was a case just last year involving millions of dollars of stock-market losses when an old story was inadvertently released into a CMS as if new. Dummy text has to be obviously dummy text, and Lorem ipsum is an excellent solution.

    In our age, you can’t wait to start design until the final copy has been written, approved, and possibly signed off by legal.

    Besides, we need to divorce content and presentation. Yes, the design has to serve the content, but that doesn’t mean a competent designer can’t come up with a presentation that suits the content without actually having the content at the concept stage.


  69. 121

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit…

    Had to do it. Nice article but in the real world not practical.
    Maybe write an article on an HTML How-To cross browser template.

    Now that is practical.


  70. 122

    Lorem Ipsum is actually good. You can show the copy writer how you want the text to be laid out. The thing is in most cases (most of the websites are cheap crap) copywriter have no idea how the text in web works so at least you can show him with dummy text that paragraphs looks better when short, lists and bullet points on web sucks and a lot of plain text looks like Lorerm ipsum even if it is not lorem ipsum :) And the thing is even shite websites has some CMS and this gives to client oportunity to fcuk up the text in any time (what happens in most cases), so better is to design keeping in mind that text can be one paragraph or 3 screens and lorem ipsum gives the possibility to test these kind of scenarios. So, go on and write I will never use Lorem Ipsum again and will design crap banners for the rest of life…

    And submit comment button TOTALY SUCKS!!! … it is not even a button.

    • 123

      Thanks for sharing your opinion with us, but there’s no need or room for swearing and cursing on this blog. We don’t mind if you disagree with the article, but please do so in a respectable manner.

      Oh, and I think you spelled “totally” wrong. :)

      And one more thing, about the submit comment button, I just wanted to be a little creative with it, that’s all.

  71. 124

    Really interesting article and comments. I agree lorem ipsum makes people lazy, and there should be far more emphasis on content. I wouldn’t ever start a web design without having a siteplan and content outline. Otherwise the design is just window dressing and probably won’t work with the content.

    When doing layouts, I use a mixture of real text and Latin text. Real text for headlines, feature panels, navigation, and Latin text for body copy, with a note saying “dummy text follows” so clients aren’t confused. Sometimes I use real text for body copy, and just cut off the bit that’s too long, so the client can see what fits.

    I often write text for intro paragraphs, quotes, etc, but as not all web designers are natural copywriters (or good spellers!) that may not work for everyone. Be careful – clients will get bogged down with the words, which is fine at final approval stage but not so good at initial design stage. That’s when lorem ipsum has its place.

  72. 125

    This is almost as ridiculous as that one article attacking the use of grid systems.

  73. 126

    Hello. Isn’t it our Job to create flexible layout? A good layout shouldn’t have great differences between lipsum and real content. This is exactly why our job is so complicated: the final render should look the same on any browser of any OS, with different contents.
    To me, a design looking bad after adding the content is obviously not worked enough.
    What would you say if the architect who draw your house tells you: ‘you will never have child, relax, just extend your tiny bathroom to that blue-pink bedroom which is obviously a loss of space’
    I will use the lorem ipsum since it is a great tool when used well: you can choose the length of the text, so don’t hesitate, render multiple texts in your design!
    See you

  74. 127

    It all depends. When you fill the site with rough copy, clients tend to zoom in on the copy and pointing out spelling errors or correcting phrasings instead of watching at the design. Sometimes I REMOVE the rough copy and replace it with Lorem Ipsum, just to avoid that!

  75. 128

    This is amongst the most ridiculous posts I have ever read.

  76. 129

    Robin Lundgren

    January 8, 2010 4:36 am

    Hahah, great joke dude! This is gonna stir up some angry mob.

  77. 130

    very interesting :D

  78. 131

    Well, Lorem Ipsum has been, and will still be a life saver for us people design websites. I’m sorry, your article does not make any sense.

  79. 132

    I think what annoys me most is the constant referral to your “design” when it seems that you’re actually referring to website design. That is your line of work, and good for you. Lorem ipsum may not be suitable for your needs. I design for print – anyone remember print?? I layout several newsletter-type publications and there is simply no substitute for Lorem ipsum, as there is no other convenient way of communicating to clients how long an article can be, in how many words.

    So “design informer” I thought I’d take it upon myself to defend the use of Lorem ipsum, and its usefulness. To my fellow PRINT designers: Print On!

  80. 133

    Honestly sometimes putting dummy text thats off message expedites getting the correct content . If you can supply something in the right tone and length, you probably get the right information much more quickly than a slug of lorem ipsum.

  81. 134

    Steve Great link… { }

    You need something to mock things up. Educate your clients on what it is you are doing. Tell them you are putting in “Mock-Up” “Garble” text… So they know what it is you are doing. We have to explain WHY we do things to clients all the time. This is just another “thing” you have to explain. But, one they are educated they will understand.

    I’m one that using Ipsum, I have for 10+ years and it works great. I don’t want my client to read actual copy and have them loose focus on the core design that is being presented.

    Bottom line, you have to use something. And I for one am NOT going to go out and hire a copy writer to spend time on researching a subject for a mock up.

    I control the design therefore I control how much copy goes into it. If I design is something that needs 250 words. I will set my Ipsum, typeface, leading, kerning and tell my writer I need 250 words and drop it in after the design has been approved. It works, i do it all the time.

  82. 135

    I agree with this post 100%. While I am fully capable of designing a site using dummy text, the results have always been better when I use actual content (even if it is not the final or client-provided text). I never use Lorem Ipsum anymore, and it has not only improved my designs, it has also helped the clients I work with.

    A client will sometimes sign off on something pretty, without considering how the design will accommodate the actual content. If as a designer, you are only concerned with the aesthetics of your creation, then you are not really a designer, you are a decorator, and you are doing a disservice to both yourself and the client.

    GREAT article!

  83. 136

    I am seriously giggling hysterically, I’m so delighted.

    First of all, the fact that people feel so passionately about their work–and which approach is going to help them end up with the best final product–is awesome. 167 comments? COME ON. Great.

    Secondly, the fact that there’s a raging debate about whether content or design should come first is also super awesome.

    That said, I have, in fact, asked an entire audience of 500+ people to raise their right hand and swear never to use “lorem ipsum” in their designs again.

    Whether or not to use placeholder text is, in fact, not the primary issue. The issue is that we RARELY consider, plan for, or complete content content before (or even alongside) the visual design process. We don’t practice content strategy.

    If you are designing for empty spaces where content should be, you’re not designing for effective messaging. Or successful task completion. Or compelling storytelling. You’re designing something for people to look at. And looking at your design is not why people have come to your site or to try out your application.

    However, in reality, I know all to well that designers are almost never designing after project owners/clients have figured out what they want to say, how they’re going to say, who’s going to create the content, what it’s going to look/sound like. And in those cases, “lorem ipsum” seems like the only choice.

    It’s not. Write your own copy. Or, at least, write some words that give an idea about what’s going to go there: messaging, copy objective, how it maps back to the business objective and user goals. Take responsibility for what that content is going to say, so that you can have a conversation in reality about whether or not the design fully supports the message and user tasks.

    It’s not a matter of whether placeholder text can work or not. Sometimes, I think it can. But ultimately, you can design the most beautiful wrapping paper in the world… but if the gift itself is unusable, or not useful, or boring, or of poor quality… no one’s going to care about what it looked like before they opened it.

    If you can a) begin to understand–and articulate–the complexities of planning for and creating web content, and b) clearly scope the effort for clients at the *beginning* of a project, you’re much more likely to end up with something to work with when it comes time to design. You’re not going to win the battle every time. But at least you can start to fight for a more effective design process.

    For more on content strategy:

  84. 137

    To preserve the quality and relevance of your design work use content.

    • 138

      Oh by the way Kyle, thank you for this mind boggling facts, it sure stirred a lot of GREAT Designers……

  85. 139

    I acknowledge Kyle’s opinion that using Lorem Ipsum could cause some problems, but it also helps in the design process. We need to use something in the form of text and images to help form the design, because the content is part of the design in the layout of it. This goes for both print and web design. You need to see how the type flows and where to place images in order to form the balance of positive and negative space in your design.

    Lorem Ipsum, grey boxes, and even stock images are tools like Photoshop to help develop the final product for the client. The ideal would be getting the copy and images from a client that is going to be used in the design when first starting the project. Not likely. I end up using these tools until I can receive content from the client, or in some cases write it myself (most times I have to take the photos as well), I just charge for it.

    When I have the dummy text in the design, is when I am showing the client the “rough comps or prototypes” for them to pick from. I then request the content before finishing the design for final approval. This is where I totally agree with Kyle, you need the content that is actually going to be in the final to tweak the style and layout before presenting it to the client for a revision and/or signoff. I vote sign-off.

    There are a couple steps I take to help with getting content faster. I find out if they have images right away, if not I setup times to take them myself or refer a friend to do it. I know several Freelance Photographers and copywriters, but if they want to write their own, I ask for it page by page, so they don’t get over whelmed and put it off. I also ask for brochures, and if they have them it is my backup plan to pull information from.

    Again another great article and conversation starter.

  86. 140

    The Middle Way
    Its true. I sensed this on our current project, an ERP product website. It allowed the client to go through the design, approve it, and then complaint at the end they wanted “that” in too.

    We had to go through another design iteration because of that.

    Maybe we can come to a middle way between leaving Lorem Ipsum altogether and having everything in it.

    A step-by-step process: headings first, then sub-headings and lastly paragraphs.

  87. 141

    Robin Ogilvie-Stewart Barrow

    January 10, 2010 4:30 pm

    Disagreeing with you doesn’t mean we’re missing the point Kyle. The worst thing about this whole article is that someone new to this might actually listen to you.

  88. 142

    It seems many of you are still missing the point.

    The design should be enhancing the meaning of the content. Every decision that you have made in the design should be dictated by the data, copy or other content.

    Without the content, how are you making educated meaningful choices in your design? How is the design adding to the content? What are the reasons to your choices besides making things pretty?

  89. 143

    I agree with Kyle that many are missing the point here. You cannot succeed if you simply don’t have context about the design problem which is anchored in content and the overall intent or message. As web designers (assuming that’s what we’re talking about here) we must take an active role in shaping and defining the content so that the end product is cohesive in purpose and effectively achieves the overall design objective.

    There are many steps we can take to address this problem and I’ve outlined many of them in a similar article in Boxes & Arrows several months ago.

  90. 144

    Thanks for pointing that out. I just fixed it. Cheers!

  91. 145

    From what I read, I thought many did. (Notice I didn’t say everyone)

    How would designing with real content be harmful to someone new at designing? What is bad about starting to gather content before the design? What are the benefits to using lorem ipsum over real content?

    If you have the time, I would love to hear more of your point of view in all of this.

  92. 146

    -For dynamic content: you should have an idea of what will be created, limits to the content. Test those limits with content (both min and max) no lorem ipsum.

    -For foreign language’s: How can you plan for particular nuances with different characters and ligatures and the problems that each will bring without content? Using real content you can test and rework your design according to each cultures unique rules.

    -No copy?- Like I said write your own. Even if you replace it with lorem ipsum for the client. Knowing what you would like in the space will help you commit to the correct size space and focus that content should occupy within your design.

    -Yes there are a ton of what if’s and I’ll admit I have not worked on every piece of design in every kind of situation.

    You don’t need to wait for content to be finished. Quite opposite you should be working and adapting the copy and design to best fit the message that you are trying to get across. I understand that the real world will not wait for final copy but at some point it needs to be created. Why not try to at least work through the content while you are working through your designs?

    I totally agree with you. A designer needs to be making decisions on the fly. We need “reworking, reworking and reworking” and the process needs to be mailable. As designers we need to be continually changing and adapting to the best techniques.

    How do you know how much copy will get the message across? How do you relate the image and copy with other content when you don’t know what the copy is?

    Like Kristina said “Whether or not to use placeholder text is, in fact, not the primary issue. The issue is that we RARELY consider, plan for, or complete content content before (or even alongside) the visual design process. We don’t practice content strategy.”

    You are right that any blanket case will be wrong no matter what. Using real copy is not always the right solution but neither is using lorem ipsum for everything.

    Again, the point I tried to make is that you and your clients need to be thinking, understanding and gathering content before the design. If you are planning the content but still using dummy text then you are still working towards that goal.

  93. 147

    Also Defense of Lorem Ipsum” by Karen McGrane

    A great response and defense of Lorem Ipsum.

    • 148

      That’s a well-written article. Great read! Thanks for sharing it Kyle. :)

  94. 149

    Just one more argument for content strategy. On behalf of all of us web writers, thanks Kyle!

  95. 150

    The best projects that I’ve ever designed have been projects where the writer and the designer worked together to come up with concept, copy and supporting graphics and imagery.

  96. 151

    This jas really opened my eyes. You are exactly right when you say that Lorem Ipsum puts the client in a position where they feel like they have to create text to fit the area that Lorem Ipsum has covered. I have also come across times when the client has asked why a foreign language has been used on their website. My thinking has always been before that it was a very common method and that most people knew that Lorem Ipsum was just a placeholder but that is not always the case.

  97. 152

    Great article, man! I agree in some points, but in my humble opinion the ‘Lorem Ipsum’ it’s a fake only to get the idea, the ideal it’s all images and text are ready to use in layout, but in most of time it isn’t the praticle, ’cause sometimes the design it’s the first thing the client look for. I making me understanding, sometimes I made a mess with my words…rs Mainly in

  98. 153

    There are times I use greeking and times I do not and they are very specific and change from client to client. I work with all non-profits and campaigns and not the typical corporate world or advertising for companies. But here is another idea that is ofter helpful to me.

    I ask the client for a piece they have done in the past that might have similar content … or if they dont have one ask them what organizations they consider to be “peers” or “competitors” … and I use copy they are familar with that has (previously been approved) and explain to them why I did that. It allows them to easily see (when comparing the old piece) how much more or less they need to write or in reverse it allows them to show me how much more they will need to have room for. For Clients that are truly clueless (not that i have any) I angle a light magenta or grey (8%) NOT LIVE COPY DO NOT READ across the block in extra bold all KAPS.

    On the rare occasions I have raw copy from them or first roughs I do the same but say FIRST DRAFT NOT FOR REVIEW or such.

    Hope this helps!!!
    Creative Guide,

  99. 154

    Well I use lorem ipsum when client does not have the content ready and he just wants to see the layout with dummy text.

    But yes I agree with the points mentioned in this article, sometime it can be a pain in the a** for the developer to code the site and fit the paragraphs correctly.

  100. 155

    Hi man, I undertsand what are u talking about and yes, in someway u’re right but i don’t agree with you. I think that Peter Wesseldine said exactly what I was going to say.
    We can say that using Lorem Ipsum for web pages is not the best thing to do because on the web the copy is very important and i refer to it’s SEO function but…it’s better that using “bla bla bla” and again “bla bla bla”.

    Lorem Ipsum have an important role in graphic design or better, in press design where u have to simulate entire pages made by 500,1000 or more words…

    Lorem is not killing the design, every designer must to know how to use his weapons in the right way, that’s all. Every project needs different aproach and for this reason we can’t kill Lorem Ipsum. A good pro knows when and how to use it.

    Anyway good article with good point of views.

  101. 156

    peter wesseldine

    January 13, 2010 2:08 pm

    The original use of lorem ipsum or any kind of placeholder text was to give feedback to press editors and the like from the layout team as to the length of an article.

    A reporter / writer would be asked to submit a 500 word piece for example based on the information that had been acquired from the studio based on a pre-defined layout. This was merely an in-house affair

    Client proofing was not it’s sole intention but eventully it became common place for designers.

    If you think Lorem Ipsum is killing your designs – just remember it’s origins – you are after all using it out of context for using it as a proofing tool in the first place.

  102. 157

    WOW! I’m really amazed at all the comments that were made in this article. Thanks for sharing your opinions to everyone. I’m glad that you folks are so passionate about this issue. :D

  103. 158

    The title and this post are just a little over the top.

    Content is always changing, being edited, etc. and asking for it up front from the customer is sort of like them asking you to make them some mockups on a trial before they agree to hire you.

    Obviously by some of the suggestions I’ve read through the post like writing your own copy, Kyle has never worked professionally and isn’t very productive. Anyway, thanks for the laugh!

    • 159

      @Jason, I think you are being unprofessional by that comment of yours. If you can’t say anything nice about the writer, just keep it to yourself. We are here to share our opinions, to gain and to learn from each other. Please nothing personal, no cursing or saying of bad words. You are what you are based on your comments. Just a penny for your thought!

      • 160

        BTW Jason, I know you did not curse or say a bad word but please be professional.
        That’s all.

  104. 161

    Nice article, I totally agree with you. Lorem ipsum just doesn’t look “real” when your using it in a design. I usually make up some text that’s about the same subject as the design.

  105. 162

    maybe you can put explanations and some notes about the designs and features of the site instead of Lorem ipsum

  106. 163

    I sort of agree with Kyle on the subject but Lorem Ipsum is SO convenient, quick and efficient. I try to make abstraction of this odd, cold looking text and look at the overall design. I also beg my clients to do the same until they give me the “final copy”. Ideally, we would love to have all the elements before starting a job. But let’s not kid ourselves… that almost never happens.
    Great subject Kyle!

  107. 164

    Come one man i have used Lorem ipsum since years, !! is standard and my designs still alive !!
    IS really effective when you dont have the real content.

    Im not agree whit the post !!


  108. 165

    I totally disagree with this post. Creating a mockup/template design specially when the given time allotment is fairly thin, can you write contents in 5-10mins to all 5 pages or more…more..???? I Don’t think so. Even writers take a lot of time to create such good article/content to provide for their audience/reader. Except if your site is full of pictures LOL. less contents =)
    Great effort in writing this stuff tho.

  109. 166

    Wow there’s alot of comment and I assume there’s lot of website linking to this one but how come it’s on PR 0? anyway just a thought.. Google should rate this one :)

  110. 167

    Good article and some very good comments. My thoughts:

    (1) I especially like the comment by #KristinaHalvorson

    (2) I especially like the comment by #Robin Ogilvie-Stewart Barrow

    (3) Using filler text CAN be a benefit in many scenarios, but can also be a detriment if it allows the design to go too far too fast without thought of content – especially pages such as Staff Bios, FAQ’s, Portfolios, etc…

    (4) If the task is merely “client provide content” then this is almost always a bad idea. As professionals, it is our task to educate the client on how users read content on the web, make suggestions as regards presentation of content and amount of copy. I often speak to my clients about “three levels of content” where the first level is one paragraph and a bullet list or pull quote, the second level is 2-4 paragraphs, and the third level can be the exhaustive history of the widget for those few visitors inclined to read a 5 pages article on the web (like whitepapers, for example).

    (5) If there is a team of copywriter, designer, photographer, and developer I feel like the designer should spend most of their time speaking with the copywriter. They can work in parallel, but the two areas are highly interactive and interdependent. Although designing without serious thought of content is obviously very sloppy, it seems just as silly for a copywriter to write text without speaking with the designer. A designer might say “we could use three boxes to highlight the service plans with read more links rather than a bulleted list…”


  111. 168

    It even gets pushed live sometimes without anyone noticing.

    This is so true :)

  112. 169

    the main problem i see with this is it assumes static content. i have found lorem ipsum to be quite useful, and one of the main ways is dynamic content. on many occasions i have been making a web page and using little test content but that is usualy a sentance or two at best, when i need to test if my layout is going to handle large amounts of text, like 20+ paragraphs i dont have time to sit there and right 20+ paragraphs, even jamming the keyboard repeatedly remembering to press space randomly in between. i need to work on the layout not the content (since the content will be provided by different users of the site)

    lorem ipsum has proven itself a good tool for that, also for giving a rough idea of how my layout is going to look with some content in it in nice little paragraphs and sentances. the content is important, and tailoring a layout to the content is nice when you have that luxury, but not everyone does.

  113. 170

    I use the Phase Express plugin to automatically fill in L-I text whenever I type the word Lipsu_. It saves time copying and pasting, but it just seems like a waste having customers ask me what is that foreign text doing on my…..

    SO, I’ve decided to write my OWN L-I text outlinging my services with clear instructions to replace. Nothing would drive a customer more batty to give me content than seeing ME advertise on their website!!!! Has anyone else written their own LI text?

  114. 171

    Sorry but there no quantifiable proof that using LI detracts from presented concepts. If you are even a decent designer / project manager then no site you are involved in should a launch with LI as live content. That’s a bigger issue than using LI.

    I use it, NEVER had an issue or even had to explain what it is. I will forge on.

    Well written post though!

  115. 172

    So true, people don’t understand the need for real content. For blocks of text, I think using Lorem Ipsum is fine, but when it comes to typography that’s important, i.e. in calls to action and summaries it is worth waiting for real content.

  116. 173

    What are some of the bad things that have happened because of Lorem Ipsum?

    1. Lorem Ipsum has distracted clients from design mock-ups for decades, leading them to ask countless questions on why their site if filled with an unknown, foreign language.
    2. It has often created confusion between the designer, developer and the copywriter or content provider.
    3. It even gets pushed live sometimes without anyone noticing.

    The above caused me to facepalm.
    Here goes:

    1. Explain to your clients what Lorem Ipsum is and why you’ve used it. Problem solved.

    2. See above, swap “clients” for whoever else you need to. Problem solved.

    3. You are lazy and stupid. You are the problem, not Lorem Ipsum.

  117. 174

    I adore the detail! My own youngster likes this particular thing! This is the triumph, get. As i wanted an item towards entertain my best 3.your five period past child , and this is just the point most people essential. He could be a normal capacity regarding your boyfriend’s period still really active and then was choosing bored with this baby bouncer salon chair plus playmat. This keeps your man engaged pertaining to long periods of time and hubby takes pleasure in any motion connected with swinging throughout. He can be nevertheless too limited great ft . almost never look the earth thus decide to put a pack below that will until the suspension coils stretch somewhat. It can be very substantial together with isn’t as simple go right from room to room seeing that her similar games. Entire, What i’m highly convinced together with should advocate this specific for you to everyone. Ohio, and it’s also a breeze construct. No more than required in relation to 10 minutes!

  118. 175

    this post is useful for designers but more to the clients who are lazy not to provide copy of the site so it leaves designer with no choice.

  119. 176

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the subject and found most individuals will approve with your blog.

  120. 177

    Seems that you’ve started quite a discussion here. I’d like to share my own experience with NOT using Lorem ipsum for client websites. The first website I wrote content instead using Lorem ipsum was back in 1997 (!). The people I was working for had no idea whatsoever when it came to webpages, html, css and the likes. Therefore I used real text to help them understand which topic the actual pages were about and what should be placed where. (I did the wireframe, the design and the development.)
    Altogether I did this with three client websites.
    I will not, never ever do it again! Why? Because the people seemed unable to understand what I was doing and why.
    The used my text online, they didn’t quite get it that the content should be replaced with their own words, the text was to short, to long, to narrow and to wide, etc.. It wasn’t to the point, it was not written in the style the client preferred, …….. in short, it was a nightmare.
    Fact is, I believe that I even LOST one client just because I wrote real content (as blind text/dummy text/”placeholder”) instead of using Lorem ipsum. He did like the design but found the text way too long (dig this!) and I never heard from him again. Of course I made it crystal clear that this text was not meant to be used in the final product….

  121. 178

    This article is really interesting….. i actually used Lorem ipsum in my early career but stopped it a long time ago.

  122. 179

    I am not a designer. I am a consumer of web design ideas. I agree with the idea of using actual content to develop a site design. I have vetoed design concepts because te fake text does not match our actual text and I cannot visualize how what we produce would fit the design.

    • 180

      1. Site components take up space.
      2. How the design uses space is more important than what goes in spaces that have content that will change.
      3. Developing text takes time.
      4. Putting text on the screen requires nearly no effort.
      5. Development of text does not involve the screen. It involves messages.
      6. Developing code takes much more time.
      7. Putting behaviors and objects to click on the screen requires much more work to get the screen/browser to react properly.
      8. Developing the text does involve the screen. Any non-space related changes take valuable energy from developing for the web.
      9. The web is not paper. It is a machine.
      10. How your content fits is peanuts compared to whether your customers can find items, log in, contact you, or make a purchase.

      Presentation is not king. Function is king.

  123. 182

    Oh and the blurb at the top is wrong.

    Not using lorem ipsum is giving the king a bunch of plans and not telling him which workers must do them.

  124. 183

    I have to say I found points to agree and disagree with. I use Lorem Ipsum for graphic design projects to show clients what their leaflets and brochures will look like, but I quit using them for websites. I “borrow” copy from similar websites to show the client what their site will look like to stimulate them to give me the content I need. I can’t work without information, and it’s not fair to just make stuff up.

    Writing your own copy is a fair thing to ask of a designer as a rule because many of us are decent writers, too. However, the copy we write depends on the information we get. Good information = great copy = excellent site. I fully agree that websites should be content-rich. How many sites are there where style rules over substance?

    Thanks for the insightful article.

  125. 184

    Wow, this is so true. How do you know how the content is going to flow in the site if it’s all fake content? How many clients actually have the content ready when you start designing the site? Or do you only start once you have all the finished content?

    • 185

      I usually start when I’ve got a few basic bits and pieces, then add some copy taken from other sites if the client doesn’t give me everything I need. I then tell the client what I’ve done to persuade him or her to give me more information.

      I daresay that other designers work the same way.

    • 186

      Thats what wireframes are for. Designer produces a wireframe of the site. Designer goes over the block areas and asks the client to produce text, assuming they agree on the design. Then Designer produces the actual design with the content provided by the client. If client does not provide all content, and I have to produce my own to occupy the spaces we discussed. Then afterwards if the client gives me disproportional text, I tell them to reduce or expand it to fit in the designated area.

  126. 187

    Corey Haggard

    April 7, 2011 12:26 am

    What a great article. Not sure if this web site has already been addressed but check out this Lorem Ipsum replacement

    Pretty sweet, especially for concept purposes.

  127. 188

    the same can be said for website templates. When a company purchases a template then the template dictates everything from content to design. If you notice all those bought templates that were then tailored to the companies needs, the design and aesthetics got broken.

  128. 189

    Haha, I totally agree although I’ll be honest that I am guilty doing the same when designing blog templates and websites. Remember etaoin shrdlu? Nice article and I will keep in mind that it can kill designs

  129. 190

    I’m sold, from now on I’ll be writing my own copy.


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