Greeking: My Guide to Lorem Ipsom

Atlanta graphic designerPreparing your designs for presentation can be enhanced by the use of Greeking in your layouts. The question is how to use that pesky “Lorem ipsom dollop” text in your layout to your advantage. In this post I have outlined the different variations of Greeking with notes on situations when you might use them.

Greeking can prevent some clients from focussing on copy when you would like your client to focus on broader issues first, like concepts and marketing strategies. In other instances with other clients, they can become distracted by the “Lorem ipsom dollop” text when they are looking for real content in your layout. The key to using Greeking to your advantage is to be aware of the context in which you use it.

I keep text files with different samples of Greeking to copy and past into layouts. I structure the Greeking in sentences, combining shorter sentences mixed with longers sentences. I insert punctuation for realism. I maintain ideal sentence and paragraph length to illustrate to clients how and why properly structured copy is more visually appealing and, therefore, legible.

Wrong-Reading Greeking

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diem nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut lacreet dolore magna aliguam erat volutpat. Ut wisis enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tution ullam corper suscipit lobortis nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.”

Use wrong-reading Greeking whenever you are in an initial creative presentation where you want a client to focus on higher-level issues like designs and concepts based on marketing strategies, and you are several steps away from working through specific copy issues. I sometimes present this way to make an initial point about why content is so important.

Right-Reading Greeking

“Acme Chemical is best known for its support and customer service. Founded 25 years ago by John Smith, Acme maintains its headquarters in Texas with global offices in 3 other continents. With over 500 employees, Acme serves customers with state-of-the-art widgets for every occasion.”

Use Right-Reading Greeking when your client has already provided copy for a project, or when you feel a client’s current content is appropriate for use in a new project. Humans are self-centered creatures, and sometimes when a client sees their name in your layout, it can go a long way to selling the creative. I also use Right-Reading Greeking in tight spaces when the nature of a client’s copy may be filled with longer words. In these cases (instances like charts, tables, captions, etc.) I want to illustrate the realism of hyphenation or bad line breaks, and why or why not the copy has been used a certain way in a design.

Wrong-Reading Greeking With Right-Reading Insertions

“With headquarters in Texas, Acme Chemical is known for superior customer service and support. Ut wisis enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tution ullam corper suscipit lobortis nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Contact us today for more information about how we can solve your widget problems.”

Whenever I try to make a point about how content should be structured appropriately (for example, with a well-written headline, use of subheads and calls-to-action) I use Wrong-Reading Greeking with right-reading insertions in certain spots. In some instances, the simple use of greeking with the client’s name sprinkled throughout can help bring the design in focus for a client. While other times I am trying to make a point to a client that the content must come first, and must be rewritten, restructured or re-purposed for the medium.

Insert inevitable debate here: Which comes first, content or design?

In a perfect world, I would present design AND content at the same time because I am a designer and a writer. But I do not work in a perfect world, and sometimes clients overrule my recommendations and will not allow for content development and copy writing in the budget. In these cases I may use Wrong-Reading Greeking With Right-Reading Insertions to show a client why they should invest in good content development and copy writing.

The key to using Greeking to your advantage is to use it intelligently and in context.