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Placeholder Text

A.K.A. Dummy Text, or Filler Text

Placeholder text goes by many names: lorem ipsum, li europan lingues, dummy text and greeking to name a few.

It’s grown to become something of an artform, and there are countless filler text generators sprinkled around the web that provide a modern take on this classic staple of the design industry.

The Two Most Popular Dummy Texts

The two most famous types of dummy text are:-

The Modern Alternatives

Many modern alternatives often incorporate humor or other content that actually detracts from the primary purpose of filler text: to be unobtrusive, yet provide the feel, look, and texture of filler text.

To avoid creating a distraction, when starting a new design project, we always go back to one of the old mainstays: lorem ipsum or li Europan lingues.

Both have realistic-looking sentence structure and word shape, but are foreign languages that won’t create a distraction during a design review meeting.

Other Classic Dummy Texts

In addition to the well-known paragraph-length placeholder texts Lorem Ipsum, and Li Europan Lingues, there are several other filler texts.


The first four letters of the QWERTY keyboard are often used as filler text when a full block of text is not needed.


The twelve most common letters in the English language are another popular choice when a designer just needs a meaningless phrase to test our typography and layout.

Now is the Time…

This phrase originally appeared as a typing drill, and dates all the way back to 1889. If you’re looking for a short phrase to use as you work on typography and layout, this one has vintage appeal.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party.

The Fox & the Dog

When testing out typography it’s a good idea to pick a pangram: a phrase that includes every letter in the alphabet. This phrase does just that, and makes an ideal choice for font selection.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

The Argument Against Filler Text

If you’re thinking that filler text seems pretty boring and uncontroversial, you’d be wrong.

Surprisingly, there is a very vocal faction of the design community that wants to see filler text banished to the original sources from whence it came. Perhaps not surprisingly, in an era of endless quibbling, there is an equally vocal contingent of designers leaping to defend the use of the time-honored tradition of greeking.

The argument in favor of using filler text goes something like this: If you use real content in the design process, anytime you reach a review point you’ll end up reviewing and negotiating the content itself and not the design. This will just slow down the design process. Design first, with real content in mind (of course!), but don’t drop in the real content until the design is well on its way. Using filler text avoids the inevitable argumentation that accompanies the use of real content in the design process.

Those opposed to using filler text of any sort counter by saying: The ultimate purpose of any digital product, whether a website, app, or HTML email, is to showcase real content, not to showcase great design. You can’t get a true sense for how your content plays with your design unless you use the real thing!

Let’s Just Agree to Disagree

Before things get too heated, let us jump in and say that both sides make valid points.

Using real content during design can distract designers and design review teams alike away from the design, and insisting on always using publication-ready content can be a real drag on the design process.

On the other hand, if you use poorly formatted filler text you may get a completely false sense of how your design will interact with real content.

We propose a compromise: Only use filler text that has been edited for length and format to match the characteristics of real content as closely as possible, and use real content where possible, and where it doesn’t create too much distraction.

Relax and do whatever fits with your design process. Don’t set a lot of restrictive hard-and-fast rules.

Use filler text where it helps your design process, but use real content if you’ve got it, as long as it doesn’t distract and slow down your design process.

Design is an evolutionary process, and filler text is just one tool in your progress-pushing arsenal. Use it where it makes sense to use it, and pull it once the natural process indicates that it’s time to roll out a descendant built with real content.