I know this is a topic that goes round and round and I’ve read a few blog posts recently about lorem ipsum and how harmful it can be to a good web design.

There are arguments on both sides, but this is how I see it…

I’ve designed with both lorem ipsum and live copy, on the whole, in my experience, lorem ipsum gives greater flexibility than live copy.

Using live copy suddenly makes the web design come to life, but is this actually a good thing?

The design suddenly becomes a living, breathing document and this can be a danger.  A danger that can push the design into the background and suddenly the project turns into a “do you have the latest copy on this design, I’m sure version…b had ‘services’ not ‘what we do’ didn’t it” type of project.

This takes away from what the designer is doing – designing the site.  Now I’m not an advocate of web designs where you have to limit copy, when I design, I aim to account for fluid copy and allow the design to look good with small, medium and large amounts of copy.  This is probably why I find lorem ipsum less of sticking point.

In the real world, live copy isn’t always available at the beginning of a project, mid way through a project or even right near the end of the project, this is why lorem ipsum will never die.  I’ve worked on some very small projects and some very big projects for blue chip clients and this is still the case, even with a long-winded, many-month project plan with hundreds of milestones.

If you can get hold of draft copy before you start a design, great, but be warned, copy may well overshadow the design and you could well end up with something that isn’t as great as it could have been.