Is Lorem Ipsum killing your design ? close

Matt Jukes
Matt Jukes
In Musings, Codegent College
26th March 2010
Is Lorem Ipsum killing your design ?

It’s not unusual that in a digital agency the producer will say to the designer “ just put in some Latin, and we’ll put the copy into the CMS later”. This got me wondering; by doing this are we relegating a very important part of our messaging to an afterthought in the creative process. Is Lorem Ipsum killing design?

We have all heard a thousand times, that “content is king”, but do we really believe it? Websites are information services  and as much as this may offend many designers, the User isn’t coming to the website you are designing to Marvel at your use of colour, or be impressed with your choice of typography; they are there to find the information they want. Don’t get me wrong the design is far from irrelevant, but it's role is to make the user feel comfortable and guide them to the CONTENT they are looking for.

Have a think about how “normal web users” use  websites. The people I am talking about are people like your parents, the type of person who uses the scrollbar to scroll, the person who uses the internet every day, but won’t know what a browser is. These people are more than happy to ignore the design and put up with cumbersome usability, as long as they can find the content they are looking for. Good copy is responsible for helping people find what they are looking for and good copy should be clear, concise, and informative. Throwing some copy in at the end will more than likely be none of these things. If the content is the most important part of any website,  why aren’t copywriters embedded into the beginning of the process of  all digital agencies? They are the ones who can make the real difference to the success of any website.

Have I offended all the designers reading this yet?

You shouldn’t be offended. We should encourage designers to be part information architect , part copywriter and of course part designer. We need designers to think about the user at all stages of the design process  and get them asking the two most  important questions “Where do we want the user to go?” and “ what messaging can we use to get them there”. From a user perspective the advantage in this approach is clear, but there is an added advantage to the designer themselves. By placing considered copy into your design your clients will better understand the messaging, making it easier to get sign-off. The other advantage to the designer is not trying to force the final copy, which is always twice as long as the Lorem Ipsum placeholder, into the keyframes. Everyone's a winner.

So before you hit cmd+c on the Latin,  stop and think about what you should actually be saying.