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Lorem Ipsum has been the known default for dummy text. Per a search the last discussion in regards to alternatives is two years old. I thought I would post a new thread on this topic. So, what are updated alternatives to Lorem Ipsum?

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Hey, it's called Greek text. I have a college degree; I'm no dummy. :) –  Lauren Ipsum May 27 '13 at 10:47
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7 Answers

The appropriate alternative to Lorem Ipsum is a sample text in the language in which the site will be published, using texts that are typical of the intended content, in literary style at least.

The reason is that with dummy texts, you will not see how real texts will behave. Lorem Ipsum texts tend to be pig Latin, nonsense English or something like that. Therefore, they lack letters like é, ß, ô, digits, and special characters, and their average word length tends to be small. The more the actual text content will differ from the dummy language, the more problems of text formatting (like inappropriate shapes of some characters in the chosen font or lack of hyphenation when it would really be needed) will go unnoticed.

The usual argument for using Lorem Ipsum is that it prevents people from getting distracted by the text content, so that they can focus on the visual design. This is largely an imaginary problem. It is in fact more of the problem that people will not try to read the text; often it will not be noticed that the design makes texts too difficult to read (and impossible to read to many people) – due to things like too small font size (often made worse by using dark gray and not black text) too artistic copy text font, too large line length, too small line height, etc.

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It's not "an imaginary problem" at all. I have worked with several clients who become distracted by real text. We had to take additional steps like putting the text in magenta to make sure it was clear that the copy was a placeholder. People absolutely read the copy in designs and assume it's real, and argue about it. –  Lauren Ipsum May 27 '13 at 10:50
    
It is extremely easy to tell at a glance when the typesetter forgot to finish importing or removing FPO (lorem) text. If you use "typical text" you cannot tell without foreknowledge of the intended content. I often alter the "normal/unstyled" text with an obvious color as I import to make it obvious that I forgot to style something. –  horatio May 28 '13 at 20:56
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If you check out Project Gutenberg, you'll find heaps of public domain text that can be used as filler. I remember a tutorial book I have for...DHTML and CSS I believe it was, where they used text and illustrations from Alice in Wonderland. While it was clearly placeholder text, it was much more interesting to follow than just gibberish Latin. Real world text tends to expose more quirks and little idiosyncrasies in your design, too, as opposed to fake text that you can shape to fit your design perfectly.

To each his own (I use lorem ipsum quite a bit, too!)...different situations call for different solutions.

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I've always used choice passages from Alice in Wonderland. I got my text at PG too. Good stuff. I've found that it puts clients in a good mood. They read a few paragraphs chuckle and then accept that it's all placeholder. Makes for a good presentation ice breaker ;) –  plainclothes Aug 14 '13 at 4:19
    
The problem with using English text as filler, and the reason that Lorem Ipsum was created, is that people may actually start reading the text instead of just looking at its design, layout and typographical choices. Lorem Ipsum is designed to prevent people attempting to read the text. That said, both have their uses. Alice in Wonderland (or similar) is great for testing the readability of a particular font, a situation that does call for people to attempt to read the text. –  thomasrutter Aug 23 '13 at 2:28
    
@thomasrutter Not disagreeing with your point. I just find that the word makeup of Lorem Ipsum tends to work differently than real-world text, and you can arbitrarily trim sentences to avoid widows/orphans. It looks nice, but it's harder to see how body copy will actually behave. –  Brendan Aug 23 '13 at 13:46
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There is a handy picker for alternatives to Lorem Ipsum here:

http://chooseyouripsum.com/

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I think best thing is to write some useful information about the site/design/parties/whatever instead of Lorem Ipsum.

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that would be ideal but that is not typically logical or optional when you are creating templates or are just getting paid for the design and not technically for creating content. –  Gramps May 28 '13 at 15:33
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Another option is to use scribbles or lines as textfiller, a technique otherwise known as Greeking.

You can look into the following fonts to accomplish this:

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You can't ask for alternatives for Lorem Ipsum without specifying why you want an alternative. The reason for this is that each alternative has a specific reason for existing.

Lorum Ipsum is nonsensical text that doesn't look like English (it looks a bit like Latin, but it's actually a bunch of nonsensical words strung together). The reason it exists is to stop people from attempting to read the text. Thus, it draws attention away from what the text says and instead draws attention to the design.

Lorem Ipsum is great for previewing a design, or previewing a font, when you don't want people to be paying attention to the copy.

Benefits and drawbacks of Lorem Ipsum over a sample of text in English

  • Benefit: People aren't tempted to read the text. What the text says won't distract people from looking at the design.

  • Drawback: People can't read the text. If you actually wanted to test the readability of a font, Lorem Ipsum makes it hard because it's specifically designed to prevent people reading the text.

Benefits and drawbacks of Lorem Ipsum over square blocks, etc

  • Benefit: You can still demonstrate the typeface that the text will be set in, and approximate things such as the font weight, font style and other typographic choices.

  • Drawbacks: Pretty much none. There is no advantage to using square blocks or similar over Lorum Ipsum. The only possible situation where I think it'd work is if you specifically did not want to demonstrate a particular typeface.

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