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Posted on 2021-08-16

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). And here is a lorem ipsum tattoo.

“I’ve heard the argument that “lorem ipsum” is effective in wireframing or design because it helps people focus on the actual layout, or color scheme, or whatever. What kills me here is that we’re talking about creating a user experience that will (whether we like it or not) be DRIVEN by words. The entire structure of the page or app flow is FOR THE WORDS.

Whether a medieval typesetter chose to garble a well-known (but non-Biblical—that would have been sacrilegious) text, or whether a quirk in the 1914 Loeb Edition inspired a graphic designer, it's admittedly an odd way for Cicero to sail into the 21st century.

McClintock's 15th century claims:

  1. Whether a medieval typesetter chose to garble a well-known.
  2. The 1914 Loeb Classical Library Edition ran out of room on page.
  3. Survived not only four centuries of letter-by-letter resetting.


Nick Richardson described the translation “like extreme Mallarmé, or a Burroughsian cut-up, or a paragraph of Finnegans Wake. Bits of it have surprising power: the desperate insistence on loving and pursuing sorrow, for instance, that is cheated out of its justification – an incomplete object that has been either fished for, or wished for.”

“I’ve heard the argument that “lorem ipsum” is effective in wireframing or design because it helps people focus on the actual layout, or color scheme, or whatever. What kills me here is that we’re talking about creating a user experience that will (whether we like it or not) be DRIVEN by words. The entire structure of the page or app flow is FOR THE WORDS.”

"And that’s why a 15th century typesetter might have scrambled a passage of Cicero"


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.

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