Design without Lorem Ipsum

Back in August 2009 I made a vow never to use Lorem Ipsum again!

Partly because I could recite more words of Lorem Ipsum than I could numbers of Pi, but mainly because I noticed it encouraged bad design habits and impeded feedback and discussion in client meetings.

I don’t agree with some of my thoughts from 2009, but this reasoning still stands:

The problem with using Lorem Ipsum is that it doesn’t give a proper sense or provoke thoughts as to what will eventually replace it.

So has a year sober of Lorem Ipsum been beneficial?

I can say unequivocally that designing websites without Lorem Ipsum has improved my website design massively. Here’s three reasons why:

  • Design looks more professional and bespoke. You’re probably charging the client a lot more than the cost of a stock template, so don’t make it look like one.
  • It forces you to acquire a deeper understanding of the client’s business. To design their website you should be able to quickly write sample headlines, navigation, and micro-copy specific to them (not necessarily good copy – but relevant copy). Not only does this help you nail the design, but is also impresses the client and ensures their confidence in you.
  • Considering words is important. Sometimes they will be long and if the final content doesn’t fit into your design – that’s your fault. There are always reasonable limitations to content length. With a design that considers this from the start the boundaries will be understood and worked around by both designer and client.

These benefits are invaluable to a successful project. Any misunderstanding of the brief and client are caught early. It’s perfectly fine to clear things up in the first design meeting, it’s not so good when the website is being built and populated.

I still use Lorem Ipsum from time to time. It’s useful for showing large paragraph designs like a blog post (where writing the whole thing would be silly). I just make a point of testing the design through extremes of short and long content.

Do you design with Lorem Ipsum? Leave a comment! Let me know your experience.


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