I wonder how many of you, with time on your hands, ever tried to cast you minds back to the good old days of school and tried your hardest to translate the most common text in the history of web and graphic design. You may have struggled with the conjugation of the verbs, the nature of nouns and pronouns and the seemingly devilish way this Latin text evaded your analysis and failed to make much sense at all – (maybe you even cheated and tried Google translate but still no real insight was garnered).

Breaking the news gently – IT ISN’T REALLY LATIN!!! (Not entirely true as the words are Latin in origin but the text itself isn’t designed to enable a literal translation as it’s nonsense).

The story begins in BC 46 or so with the famous Roman orator, politician, philosopher and all round thinker, Cicero when he produced a treatise “On the Ends of Good and Evil” – “De finibus bonorum et malorum”.

Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet consectetur adipisci velit

Neither is there anyone who loves, pursues or desires pain itself because it is pain”

Certain sources cite that the text was used, randomly mixed up, as early as the 1500’s in early typesetting and it also contains text from The Platonism of Antiochus of Ascalon, jumbled up with Cicero’s original but it has been in modern use since the 1960’s, as dummy text for those wonderful yet troublesome Letraset transfer sheets and later as placement text generated by Pagemaker – DTP software for the Apple Macintosh.

Why use the text at all ?, I hear you shout from the desktops. For graphic designers, the use of random text avoided the need to produce copy which might distract the viewer from page layout and the nuances of the design itself – after all, graphic designers have always been better at ‘colouring in’ than writing wonderful passages of compelling text to wow the reader and keep them enthralled until the final paragraph of witty and ……… (oops, sorry, got carried away with myself there).

The use of Lorem Ipsum has also been cited, by conspiracy theorists, as containing a hidden message – from Illuminati to Agnus Dei to Roswell it would seem. Sadly, I don’t subscribe to those points of view and can report that nowadays, Lorem-like text is available freely in text editors and plugins in a variety of flavours – there is even a Samuel L Jackson version for a more aggressive set of nonsense which can be used in page layouts (I would always suggest you read through the dummy text to make sure that your clients aren’t exposed to any weird stuff inserted for mischievous purposes).

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam hendrerit nisi sed sollicitudin pellentesque. Nunc posuere purus rhoncus pulvinar aliquam. Ut aliquet tristique nisl vitae volutpat. Nulla aliquet porttitor  big hairy armpits venenatis. Donec a dui et dui fringilla consectetur id nec massa. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed ut dui ut lacus dictum fermentum vel tincidunt neque. 

See what I mean?

Finally, I do have to report one instance when Lorem Ipsum almost lost us a client. During a meeting, when showing this particular company the first version of their website, the client became quite indignant and almost left the room after saying ” This is just a load of nonsense – I don’t even understand a single word of it”!!!!!!!!!!!!! OK, so we did manage to pull it back from the brink but Lorem Ipsum did seem to exert a strange and mystical power over the uninitiated!

If you have gained a deeper understanding of the world of Lorem Ipsum then we would love to hear from you – I will assume that the Pulp Fiction version isn’t the only ‘out there’ dummy text out there!

More articles you might like
  • Are You Ready to Blaze an eCommerce Trail with Magento 2.0?

    With over a quarter of a million online shops on the Magento platform it is fair to say that the market has grabbed the functionality and flexibility of Magento 1.x with a great deal of enthusiasm and in many cases worked around any functional constraints ‘without concern’ (albeit with some fancy API and developer budgetary  Read More

  • A brief history and meaning of Lorem Ipsum

    I wonder how many of you, with time on your hands, ever tried to cast you minds back to the good old days of school and tried your hardest to translate the most common text in the history of web and graphic design. You may have struggled with the conjugation of the verbs, the nature  Read More

  • Iconic Design Part Three – Gurus or guerrillas? You decide!

    I suppose when making the choice as to whether a designer of international note is either a force for development and motivation – a guru, or a force for destruction and revolution – a guerrilla, the choice is probably very much based on your relative point of view and the timing of that viewpoint. After  Read More

Whatever your
next project . . .
we’d love to help
‘make it a success’ . . . . get in touch now

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this with your friends!

Choose you favourite social network below