Refreshing and bold

The passage experienced a surge in popularity during the 1960s when Letraset used it on their dry-transfer sheets, and again during the 90s as desktop publishers bundled the text with their software. Today it’s seen all around the web; on templates, websites, and stock designs. Use our generator to get your own, or read on for the authoritative history of lorem ipsum

The passage experienced a surge in popularity during the 1960s when Letraset used it on their dry-transfer sheets, and again during the 90s as desktop publishers bundled the text with their software. Today it’s seen all around the web; on templates, websites, and stock designs. Use our generator to get your own, or read on for the authoritative history of lorem ipsum.

Until recently, the prevailing view assumed lorem ipsum was born as a nonsense text. “It’s not Latin, though it looks like it, and it actually says nothing,” Before & After magazine answered a curious reader, “Its ‘words’ loosely approximate the frequency with which letters occur in English, which is why at a glance it looks pretty real.”

As Cicero would put it um, not so fast. The placeholder text, beginning with the line “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit”, looks like Latin because in its youth, centuries ago, it was Latin.

It’s difficult to find examples of lorem ipsum in use before Letraset made it popular as a dummy text in the 1960s, although McClintock says he remembers coming across the lorem ipsum passage in a book of old metal type samples. So far he hasn’t relocated where he once saw the passage, but the popularity of Cicero in the 15th century supports the theory that the filler text has been used for centuries. Placeholder text to mockup various fonts for a type specimen book.

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There was that time artists at Sequence opted to hand-Sharpie the lorem ipsum passage on a line of paper bags they designed for Chipotle—the result being a mixture of avant-garde, inside joke, and Sharpie-stained tables. Those with an eye for detail may have caught a tribute to the classic text in an episode of Mad Men (S6E1 around 1:18:55 for anyone that didn’t).

Of course, we’d be remiss not to include the veritable cadre of lorem ipsum knock offs featuring:

  • Bacon Ipsum – Served all day. “Bacon ipsum dolor amet chicken turducken spare ribs.”

  • Hipster Ipsum – In case you’re in need of a “shoreditch direct trade four dollar toast copper mug.”

  • Corporate Ipsum – “Leveraging agile frameworks to provide a robust synopsis” from eight to five.

  • Legal Ipsum – Fully unlicensed legalese for those times you don’t want to pay $400/hr.

Second, use lorem ipsum if you think the placeholder text will be too distracting. For specific projects, collaboration between copywriters and designers may be best, however, like Karen McGrane said, draft copy has a way of turning any meeting about layout decisions into a discussion about word choice. So don’t be afraid to use lorem ipsum to keep everyone focused.

One word of caution: make sure your client knows that lorem ipsum is filler text. You don’t want them wondering why you filled their website with a foreign language, and you certainly don’t want anyone prematurely publishing it.

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