Q: Lorem ipsum dolor whoosey whatsy? Why did the designer translate my brochure into Latin?

A: On’tday orryway. (If you’ve forgotten all the Pig Latin you learned in middle school, that means don’t worry.) Your final project will be in English. That’s just filler text.

Why Latin? Wise designers discovered that if you present clients with typography, graphic and layout choices using text in the native tongue, many of them will be distracted by the text — even if it’s clearly unrelated.

To focus clients on the visual elements, designers use prefab nonsense text — sometimes called “Greeking,” “Jabberwocky text” and “dummy text” — complete with long and short words and punctuation. The most famous is the Loren Ipsum riff, which isn’t entirely nonsense, but rather some abbreviated, rearranged Cicero musings on pleasure and pain.

It’s easy to get this text through a lorem ipsum generator. If Latin isn’t your thing, you can go online and find placeholder text in Esperanto or Morse Code or use QuarkXpress and generate Klingon (which at this point may have more speakers than Latin — Qapla’!).

Note: Nonsense text gets printed more often than you’d think. Make sure you replace it all and do a spell check before you send the final file to the printer.

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