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A Brief Story of Lorem Ipsum

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There are two types of people. The ones that saw it without paying attention and those who are surprised to see the content of their website wrote in latin. Far from a latin translation of your content, Lorem Ipsum is the nickname we give to replacement text. But… What’s the point of doing that ?

The use of replacement text comes from the printing industry. It permits to calibrate the layout, until the definitive text comes out. It was logical to see Lorem Ipsum in webdesign and DTP. Traditionally, we use latin text for different reasons :

  • First, it gives a better typographic filling overview than a repetition of short sentences such as “this is false text, this is false text, this is false text”.
  • Latin text allows to work on the layout without being distracted by the content. The designer doesn’t waste time reading and stay focus on its objective.
  • The use of latin, thus, an incomprehensible text, allows to quickly spot replacement text after proofreading. Then, there are less possibilities to let it through the final version of  the delivered document.

Don’t forget that Lorem Ipsum have some disadvantages tho :

  • Because replacement text is aimed to be unreadable, it’s easy to forget to check the readability !
  • Sometimes, it can force authors to fill the document with true text. Psychologically, they can think that writing less characters than replacement text is not good.
  • Replacement text blocks designers. They cannot highlight the true content. If everything is false text, there is nothing to embellish.

So, what is the origin of Lorem Ipsum ? It comes from an authentic latin text that is approximately 2000 years old. Focusing on the word “consectetur”, which is pretty uncommon, a teacher of the Hampton-Sydney College identified the original extract. It’s a text from Cicéron, wrote in 45 BC called “De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” which means “Supreme Means and Supreme Woes”.

Now you can shine among your colleagues. No need to thank me 😉

4 Comments

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