What is “Lorem ipsum dolor…”

Have you ever seen a design layout and wondered, “What the heck is all this nonsense text?” Don’t fear, your designer has not developed a new, strange language for your design project. In fact, what is referred to as lorem ipsum is commonly used in publishing and graphic design as placeholder text in order to demonstrate the design and layout of a page. It has been the industry standard’s dummy text since the 1500s.

The standard passage used is:

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.”

Where did lorem ipsum come from?

Lorem ipsum consists of pieces of Latin words and phrases taken originally from Section 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil), written by Cicero in 45 BC. The book is a treatise on the theory of ethics very popular in the Renaissance.

The original passage began, “Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem,” which has been translated as, “Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure.”

There are many variations on the standard passage, some with little resemblance to the original.

Why is it used?

So why do designers and publishers put all that nonsense text in your proofs? Lorem ipsum allows you to focus on the presentation of a design without getting caught up in what the text says. Besides, your text may not have been written or provided yet. Instead of getting held up waiting for content, designers can move forward using placeholder text that is exactly the size and length they need.

So the next time you stumble across some text that starts with Lorem ipsum, know that the designer hasn’t gone nuts! The text will be replaced with actual content later down the road.

Third Party Resources

What is Lorem Ipsum
Lorem Ipsum on Wikipedia

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Phyllis Meyer said on May 18, 2009:

Thanks for clairfying that…I’ve seen “Lorem ipusum..” numerous times, I just didn’t know what it meant!  I’ve learned something today

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