The truth in advertising has been there all along


160312 All-Day Breakfast—The truth in advertising has been there all along—#149

Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet consectetur adipisci velit —Cicero, De finibus bonorum et malorum

Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, (but occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure.) —Cicero, The Purposes of Good and Evil

[Fragments of this text (in bold) from over two-thousand years ago have been used as placeholder copy in preliminary advertising layouts for the last thirty years.]

If you’ve ever had to create a comp, or a mock-up, a rough layout, you will recognize these words: lorem ipsum dolor sit amet…

One of many variations of “Lorem ipsum”

Designers know the first few sentences by heart, having used this phrase countless times to fills up space until the real copy (writing) is finished. This kind of dummy-text is called greeking even though it is obviously Latin.

As a fledgling designer, I stared at this writing a thousand times but never thought about what it meant. I just knew it was written by Cicero: one of the most influential orators, philosophers, and politicians of ancient Rome.

Lorem is actually a cut-off work. In one print edition of Cicero’s The Purposes of Good and Evil, the word dolorem is broken, hyphenated, and made to span two pages.

[T]he Latin text finishes page 34 with “Neque porro quisquam est qui do-” and begins page 36 with “lorem ipsum (et seq.)…” —Wikipedia

We should technically refer to all this as ‘lorem ipsum, where the apostrophe makes up for the absence of do. Every time a creative director says, “Fill it up with ‘lorem ipsum,” they are really saying, “Fill it up with the pain.”

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