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Lorem Ipsum

8th April 2020

No we haven’t forgotten to add our blog title! Usually (and purposely) an overlooked feature of design, but right here, Lorem Ipsum is actually the feature!

Sometimes you may come across a strange looking phrase beginning with the words Lorem Ipsum.  It can be found in prototype design work and early stages of website developments. It is a concept that our team are very familiar with, but it is not unheard of for a client to report back a “glitch” or “gobbledegook” showing in their initial design drafts or upon the first glimpse of their new website. There is no shame in not understanding why it is there. Well, up until we published this blog, now there really is no excuse!

What is Lorem Ipsum and why do we use it? 

Lorem Ipsum is simply placeholder text. When showing a design, people often focus on the written content within the design, rather than the design and typeface itself. 

To rectify this, creatives tend to use Lorem Ipsum in place of meaningful content, to reduce any distractions that may detract from the overall design. It is used when final copy isn’t quite finalised, but also to temporarily replace content. This process is often referred to as “greeking” and it allows designers to focus on form without the distractions of content that may influence the design. 

Due to the arrangement of the words and letters, the phrase Lorem Ipsum takes the form of written content, without making sense to the reader. It manages to recreate the sentence and word structures that we use in the English language, without creating content that may distract from the design. There are loads of Lorem Ipsum generators available which produce randomly generated text using the content from Lorem Ipsum, sometimes with additional nonsensical words added in.

Where does Lorem Ipsum come from? 

Whilst to many, the phrase may seem to be complete nonsense, a keen eye might be able to spot that it is in fact based around Latin. The origin of the text is from a piece of Latin literature written in 45 BC, thus making it over 2,000 years old! The original phrase can be found in Cicero’s de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum (meaning The Extremes of Good and Evil) in sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 and discusses the theories surrounding ethics.  

It is amazing how the text has survived that long, and even more so when you consider what it is used for. 

What does Lorem Ipsum actually mean? 

Much of the Lorem Ipsum used today is pseudo-latin, as parts and sections have been edited and misaligned as time has gone on, meaning when it is used as placeholder text it likely no longer translates accurately. 

We, as an agency, are certainly guilty of taking small sections of given Lorem Ipsum and stitching it together to suit the length of copy we require, when pasting them into printed design drafts and websites. 

However, it is the case that there is sometimes still some literature magic, albeit occasionally, hiding behind the nonsense

Here is an excerpt of original  Lorem Ipsum that is in use today: 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing 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. 

According to H. Rackham, the translation of this is as follows: 

             But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing of a pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. 

To many, including us, the literal translation is surprisingly philosophical! 

So remember, the next time you come across this strange looking phrase, it may just have a secret message hiding within it, waiting to be translated. It could equally, be complete nonsense. **Immediately heads to Google Translate.

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