Lorem Ipsum

As anyone involved in web design, publishing, that kind of thing knows, you never want to use actual English text as a placeholder in a design. You don’t want the client to read the text and assume that you are saying what they didn’t want to say. So most of us use what is called “Lorem Ipsum,” and have done so since the 1500’s. This way the client sees text and sees how it works with the layout but they don’t get all mixed up in trying to read it and think that is what you are really going to use.

Lorem Ipsum is a chunk of text, in Latin, and has been traced to Cicero. It looks like this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing 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. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

But what does it mean? Until today I never bothered to check. But I’m building a new site (finally!) and also have short timer’s disease on the job and, well, I decided to look. I’m just so impressed. And I will use Lorem Ipsum until I die knowing that not only does it do a good job at placeholding but in many ways it speaks to me, to my heart.

1914 translation by H. Rackham

But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing 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. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?

Wow. 2000 years old…

4 thoughts on “Lorem Ipsum

  1. I find it quietly amazing that such a ubiquitous bit of text, see neverywhere in designs and in typesetting, should have such a profound meaning. I’ve wondered what it meant, but not enough to go check! Thank you for showing us where a gem may be hidden, in plain view!

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