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Lorem Ipsum is Killing Your Designs


Click here to go straight to the rebuttal:
In Defense of the King (Content)

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 Craigslist 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.

The Obvious and Usual Suspects Link

Jibberish Text

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** Craiglist).

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.

Smashing Book #5

Hold on tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? For example, Smashing Book 5, packed with smart responsive design patterns and techniques.

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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

    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!

  4. 16

    Thanks for the comment Kuswanto. :)

  5. 17

    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

  6. 19

    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.

    • 20

      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.

  7. 21

    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.

    • 22

      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? :)

  8. 23

    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.

    • 24

      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.

  9. 25

    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 :)

    • 26

      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.

  10. 27

    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:


  11. 30

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

  12. 32

    “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.


  13. 35

    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).

    • 36

      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?

      • 37

        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.

      • 38

        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!

  14. 39

    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.

    • 40

      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. :)

    • 41

      I agree with you Mike
      I believe that when you have some text you can see the style of writing (for example one person writes more or less formal). the design must comply with the content, not vice versa

  15. 42

    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.

    • 43

      “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. 44

    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.

    • 45

      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. 46

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

  18. 48

    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.

    • 49

      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. 50

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

  20. 52

    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.

    • 53

      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. 54

    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.

    • 55

      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. 56

    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. 58

    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…

    • 59

      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. 60

    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.

  25. 62

    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 ! :-)

    • 63

      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. :)

      • 64

        I don’t say you should stick with the big “ISTOCKPHOTO” logo on you mockup. But you don’t need either tho work with full 300dpi images.

        What do you do when you want to take photoshoots for your concept ? You pay a photographer for each concept ?

        Sorry, this is a nice article, I enjoyed it, but I must disagree. At least in 90% of the cases.


  26. 65

    “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.

  27. 67

    This is a really good article, it does bring to light a few issues, though I find that when designing I usually go to and, to get around any language issues, usually just copy and paste the “background information” not only does this stop clients from saying “i dont understand what is written on my site” it gives them a nice bit of information.

    Generally I find that that’s the only issue I have with using Lorem Ipsum, I generally get a good idea of how much copy my clients are going to have by keeping my copywriter close to hand and going over briefs with the client and copywriter. From the brief i generally get a concise idea of how much room for content i will need.

    The other way to get around space in design is to create something that will have some elasticity with regard to content area.

  28. 69

    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.

    • 70

      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.

    • 71

      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.

      • 72

        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.

  29. 73

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

  30. 75

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



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