Why I Like Lavern & Shirley Better Than Lorem & Ipsum

It’s time to see the first layout of your new project. You follow the link and view the page for the first time. It’s beautiful! The photos look great! The layout is handsome. Everything looks in place and appropriate, except…. In place of punchy copy your design team has given you gibberish. The words themselves look good, but reading them tells you nothing! It’s a block of Latin-looking text starting with Lorem Ipsum.
 
I hear this confusion a lot from my own clients: “What is this text?” “What does it mean?” or even “I don’t speak Latin, how am I supposed to understand this?”
 
Who are Lorem and Ipsum? 
The truth is that the Lorem Ipsum text is simply placeholder text— an attractive block of words to fill the space the finished copy will occupy later. It helps the copywriter visualize the length and placement for headlines, subtitles and supporting text to better get your idea across. It helps the designer determine where to place design elements in relation to the text. It helps you, the viewer, to see the plan we have for expressing your ideas, how much space they may take, and what the visual accompaniment will be—all before the copy exists. It also doesn’t take attention from the layout as real copy would, because you can’t understand it.
 
This particular garbled Latin has been used as dummy copy since the 1500s. It makes no sense even in Latin, but it has survived into the digital age.
 
Swimming Pools, Movie Stars
When providing layout samples, I prefer to use filler text in the native language. Punctuation, quotations, word and sentence length are more appropriate when you use the native language for a layout. It's also easier for reviewers to find errors because they can actually recognize what is being presented, but are not distracted with "editing" because at this stage it is not the content that is important.
 
In addition, page breaks often cause problems in online layout. If we use text that follows the natural flow of language, it becomes much easier to foresee problems that might come up in actual usage. Here’s some example text to show what it looks like:
 
Thank you for being a friend. Traveled down the road and back again. Your heart is true you're a pal and a confidant. Here he comes Here comes Speed Racer. He's a demon on wheels. A man is born he's a man of means. Then along come two they got nothin' but their jeans. 
 
Got kind of tired packin' and unpackin' - town to town and up and down the dial. They call him Flipper Flipper faster than lightning. No one you see is smarter than he. Here's the story of a lovely lady who was bringing up three very lovely girls.
 
This text came from a website called TvIpsum.com. The site makes up example text blocks at varying lengths using the theme song lyrics of well-known TV shows. It’s one of several sites you can use to generate your own example text. Not only is it fun, but I find it a more practical way to layout example text because of the use of common English. These pop-culture references that can be understood by my clients, but more importantly, the clients can visualize the use of their content more effectively. 
 
There are many great alternatives to Lorem Ipsum text available online, and we use a variety of them to provide layouts to clients. A few of our favorite sites for “real English” sample text include:
 
 
The next time your designer is working on a layout, ask them to be creative with the Lorem Ipsum text. You may just find that it helps you better understand their goals, and it will certainly be entertaining.