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Lorem Ipsum Has to Die

by Stefan Rössler on March 2, 2015 –

header-loremipsum

Designers around the whole world know and use Lorem Ipsum or whatever type of text as placeholder.

The portfolios of some colleagues are full of commissioned works showing only placeholder texts instead of real information.

Some people may think that this is of no importance but I am actually absolutely unable to understand this…

If you read one of my last posts, you already know what I’m getting at: Design is much more than just pretty images.

Designers who work with no content and therefore use Lorem Ipsum, are not designers but decoration experts.

Lorem Ipsum is an excuse... Click To Tweet

Lorem Ipsum is an excuse…

An excuse for not having to worry about real design issues.

An excuse for not having to worry about content.

An excuse to be able to deal with unimportant details.

In short, an excuse for designers who don’t want to do their work.

So what if we use Lorem Ipsum?

The image below is intended to be a (very) schematic representation of a webpage.

The gray area represents menus, header graphics and other global elements of a website.

The white area represents the content area: the area in which designers enter their Lorem Ipsum.

content-image

Design is communication and the purest form of interpersonal communication is language.

This is what it was invented for: to communicate with each other.

The job of a designer is to give shape to this communication.

Design is for communicating with each other. The job of a designer is to give shape to this… Click To Tweet

If designers simply use Lorem Ipsum instead of real information, they are not creating communication but only the framework in which it takes place.

I’m not saying that a beautiful frame is not important, but compared to the content, I would describe it as mere decoration.

And while we are delving into these metaphors of images and frames, it should also be said that good frames enhance an image and don’t distract the viewer’s attention from it.

The problem for designers – and web designers in particular – is that they use way too much time on designing frames without knowing anything at all about the images that will be displayed inside them later on.

The results are screenshots of webpages tha,t although they look great in a portfolio, are over designed because they distract attention from the actual content.

What can be used instead of Lorem Ipsum?

There is no substitute for Lorem Ipsum and there is no quick fix for this problem either.

The question should therefore be: Why should Lorem Ipsum die?

The answer is: Because it is an excuse to indulge in decoration without having to think about design.

To find a solution we as designers will have to pay greater attention to the real task we are working on.

If, for example, you are making the website for a company, developing a visual language it is not enough.

Designers should instead pay attention to the content.

We ask our customers to send us the information and then we see what we can do with it.

What part will go to the finished website, what is uninteresting and can be deleted, how can the content be displayed in the best possible manner?

The more time we take to understand our customers and especially to understand our customers’ customers, the better our design will be.

When we no longer use Lorem Ipsum as an excuse and start creating real information, we will develop truly creative solutions and not only header graphics and navigation styles.

P.S: If you’re interested in creating websites by focusing on the content first, read how design better websites by writing them first.

Note: This article was originally published in 2011 with the title Lorem Ipsum muss sterben in our Simplease blog and has been translated from German.