We’ve all been there, it’s the last day of your current design project – all the UI, beautiful and in place with everything working how it should. There’s just one thing you’ve left… the walkthrough copy! The onboarding introductions?! The content details text! Looks like there’s actually a few things left to do – and you’re just one moment away from copping out by slapping it all with some classic lorem ipsum in the hopes it becomes someone else’s problem. Hold up!

Before you make that choice, I’m here to tell you why that’s not the best practice – and why as product designers we should be taking more control of not just what we’re showing, but also what we’re saying. It’s more important than you think. Hear me out…

So, what is lorem ipsum? A quick breakdown from our friend the internet, “Lorem ipsum, in graphical and textual context, refers to filler text that is placed in a document, design or visual presentation. Lorem ipsum is derived from the Latin “doloremipsum” roughly translated as “pain itself.” Well… if that isn’t a red flag I don’t know what is.

Disturbing translations aside, let’s get into the whys:

  • You gain a better understanding of your product

First and foremost, you know the design that you have created better than anyone else in your team. You’ve been with this product since day 1, through user journey mapping and wire-framing, so you’re now essentially part of the furniture. If you’ve avoided writing copy yourself and still don’t have any idea what to write… maybe you’re not so clear on the product spec after all, and have been too focussed on the visuals. For example, the walkthrough screens of an app generally detail the core USPs of said app – you, the creator of said app, are in the most optimal position to be able to write those. 

  • Clients will appreciate the direction

“The client will most likely want to change the text, so I’ve just put placeholder text in there…” Wrong! Well, for the most part. It’s true that clients will more than likely want an input on what the text in their product says, however you as the designer should be taking charge in what those points actually are. You’re actually benefiting your client even more by at least trying to write the copy, and then they will have some form of template and starting point to make changes to. Building the language of a product is an organic process, and a bunch of nonsensical placeholder text isn’t helping anyone on either side.

  • Development will get more context

As designers who have been through each creation stage of a product, we know the design inside and out. However when this gets handed over to the development team, sometimes there’s points where perhaps a function is misunderstood etc. – something that could have been benefited with just a little more context on the screen, and relevant and accurate copy text can help with exactly that. This also eliminates any guess work that has to be made, and you know what they say about assumptions…

  • Encourages you to be in control of tone of voice

There’s nothing worse than creating a beautiful design, only for it to be plagued by someone else’s hammed up copy text. This is your opportunity to take the reins and define the tone of voice of your product, which in turn creates less work and demand from others outside of your creative vision, who might not necessarily get what you’ve been wanting to say on screen. 

So there we have it, plenty of reason as to why you should ditch the idea of using lorem ipsum and start taking control over what you’re saying in your design. We designers shouldn’t be shortchanging our creations by ignoring the importance of language and the weight that it holds. Even if you think you’re not so good with words, we all have to start somewhere – just put fingertip to keyboard and give it a shot…

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