How Lorem Ipsum Kills Your Designs


Designers and publishers have been using Lorem ipsum for decades to fill in areas where they expect text to go. Even some versions of Microsoft Word let you insert Lorem ipsum text into your documents. The meaningless, fake-Latin seems to function pretty well as a placeholder for future text. Until, that is, you learn how using Lorem ipsum in design kills your work.

Have you gotten so used to Lorem ipsum that this idea seems ridiculous? Let’s consider the negative effects that it can have on your designs.

You can’t test some interactive elements with Lorem ipsum

Someone who creates static designs for print material might think that Lorem ipsum plays a fine role while waiting for the copywriter to produce text. After all, you need to get started on your design work, and you know approximately how much space the writer’s content will fill. Why not use Lorem ipsum?

(Actually, Lorem ipsum doesn’t work that well for print material, either, but more on that later.)

The problems with Lorem ipsum become obvious when you start making designs with interactive elements. Nonsense text cannot replace real, interactive data.

When you build a prototype, you need stakeholders to see how the product will function. Imagine sending someone a link to a prototype that includes interactive rows and columns. Clicking on a filter should sort the data according to the user’s needs. With Lorem ipsum, the user doesn’t know whether your filters work because they can only rearrange nonsense.

It’s nearly impossible to determine whether a filter that should arrange names alphabetically works correctly; you only have Lorem ipsum. When you replace Lorem ipsum with real data though, it becomes clear whether the filter works.

Designers can forget to replace Lorem ipsum

You always think that you will replace Lorem ipsum as soon as you have the text that will get published in your design. There’s no way you could forget to add the content that a copywriter has worked hard to create, right?

Unfortunately, Lorem ipsum gets left in designs much more often than acceptable. It has happened to Chipotle, the Singapore Times, the Strait Times, Savour Bakery, and countless other companies. In fact, the Strait Times put policies in place to prevent Lorem ipsum from getting included in its print publication. A year after establishing the policies, Lorem ipsum appeared in the newspaper again.

Whether you’re creating an interactive website that a company uses to generate leads and process purchases or you’re making a package that holds some mystery food, Lorem ipsum can kill your design.

It can happen to anyone

It’s tempting for experienced graphic designers to blame Lorem ipsum mistakes on beginners or amateurs who shouldn’t have been given jobs by large companies like Chipotle. The fact of the matter is that a mistake like this can happen to anyone.

Writers know that editing their own work can feel impossible. Confirmation bias makes it easy for your brain to skip over your own mistakes. Instead of seeing the mistake in front of you, you see the image of what you intended.

Confirmation bias happens to graphic designers, too. There are strategies to undermine its negative effects, but looming deadlines can make it impossible to set aside the time they require.


You don’t really save time by using Lorem ipsum

A lot of designers will say that they use Lorem ipsum to save time and streamline their process. Lorem ipsum might make it a little easier for you to start working on a design while you wait for copywriters to finish their jobs, but it doesn’t really save you much time.

Having someone else review your work is the most effective way to prevent Lorem ipsum from getting published. Ideally, you want someone who doesn’t have any connection to your project. More distance makes it easier for the person to recognize issues.

Drafting someone else to review your work has some obvious disadvantages. First, it doesn’t really save the design agency time because you need to pull a colleague away from another project. You end up logging more hours because you need someone to look over your work.

Second, you could have avoided the entire Lorem ipsum problem from the beginning. Perhaps it makes sense to use the nonsense text during your first or second round of ideas. By the time you create a prototype, though, you should have removed the Lorem ipsum by replacing it with real content.

You can’t always control how quickly copywriters finish their work. You can, however, use UXPin to generate real data and text. Forget Lorem ipsum! You can add real data to your designs.

Once you add data to an interactive element, you can test the feature’s performance. As mentioned above, you can’t get reliable results by testing interactive elements that contain Lorem ipsum.

Lorem ipsum designs will not impress stakeholders

At some point in your design and prototyping process, you will need to share your work with stakeholders who have authority to make decisions about your project. Lorem ipsum designs have never impressed anyone. They lack authority and create a half-baked impression that will make managers and clients scowl.

It’s so much more impressive to approach stakeholders with real data that they can interact with. You don’t have to feel ashamed to tell them that it’s fake data. The data will change repeatedly anyway. The point is that decision-makers get to see how your designs really work—and they don’t get distracted by weak Lorem ipsum they’ve seen a hundred times before.

Generate real data in UXPin prototypes

Start improving your designer and developer workflow by following this 47-point checklist. It’s not as daunting as it sounds. Plus, it will keep you on track to submit every project before their deadlines.

As far as eliminating Lorem ipsum so it doesn’t kill your designs, get a design and prototyping tool that doesn’t force you to rely on garbled text. Not convinced that UXPin can really make your design job that much easier? Sign up now for a free trial. You don’t need to provide your credit card information, so you don’t take any risks when you create an account.

We’ve seen graphic design teams revolutionize their project workflows by adopting UXPin’s superior features. Give it a try to see whether it can streamline your processes, give you more impressive prototypes, and finally help you get rid of that annoying Lorem ipsum!



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here