How Lorem Ipsum became web design standard

Did you know Lorem Ipsum dates back to 45 BC?

If you’ve ever had a website design built by a creative agency, you may have wondered why the sample website content was written entirely in Latin.  The text, known to digital designers as Lorem Ipsum or “filler text”, is essentially a temporary placeholder for the text. It’s commonly used in the graphic, print and publishing industries for previewing visual mockups before the final copy is entered. You may recognise the first few words as “lorem ipsum dolor sit amet”. In the world of web page design, it’s a useful strategy for graphic designers and their clients to get a visual feel for the piece of text without being distracting.

Origins of Lorem Ipsum

It was always believed that Lorem Ipsum was simply random Latin text, however this is not the case. The roots of this unique language can be found in a piece of classical Latin literature dating back to 45 BC – over 2,000 years ago. The passage is like a modern-day DJ mashup of the Roman philosopher Cicero’s De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, which translates to On the Extremes of Good and Evil. The text itself is on the rather long side, but it’s thought that Lorem Ipsum specifically originates from section 1.10.32 to 33 of the text. The most recognised portion of the text goes:

“Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.”

Don’t worry, we’ve found the English translation, which was transcribed in 1914 by Harris Rackman.

“Nor is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure.”

Fast forward to the 1500’s when an unidentified printer took Cicero’s text and scrambled it to create a type specimen book. So how did this book of scrambled text become an industry standard for typesetters around the world?

1960’s rise to popularity

Five centuries later, the use of Lorem Ipsum became popular after Letraset released an innovative product, dry transfer sheets, which could be rubbed on anywhere. The dry transfer sheets contained passages of Lorem Ipsum, letters and numbers in a variety of fonts and sizes. Anyone who worked in a creative medium took to these like a duck to water to display their work professionally. Since then, Lorem Ipsum found its home as filler text for the creative industry.

Our favourite Lorem Ipsum generators

Web designers and digital artists are always looking for ways to spice up their Lorem Ipsum game with interesting and sometimes odd filler text. Our favourites include:

  • Cat Ipsum – for any cat lovers, this is a great way to litter your copy with more kitty
  • Bacon Ipsum – for a tastier, meatier and even spicier filler text
  • Hipster Ipsum – for a hipper, more artisanal filler text sans your standard cappuccino

Our team of iFactory Brisbane website designers know a thing or two about finding the right type for your website. Whether you’re looking to refresh, rebrand or start a-new, iFactory can help develop a tailored digital solution for your business. Get in contact with us today.

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