Lorem Ipsum Fails: Why Real Graphic Designers and Advertisers Use Real Content

Lorem Ipsum Fails: Why Real Graphic Designers and Advertisers Use Real Content

Lorem Ipsum Fails: Why Real Graphic Designers Use Real Content

Lorem Ipsum is dummy text. It is something used to fill a layout gap when you have no idea what the content will be. For many, this is a standard. It is a standard, because they have no idea what the content will be, and because they do not understand their customer. This is particularly egregious when used in a business or in-house setting. The job of a graphic designer is to work with a set of branding standards so that the company can have a consistent message given to the people. The graphic designer’s job is to communicate. In the absence of communication, what is their job?

The reason Lorem Ipsum is such a mistake, is because you are actively acknowledging that you have no idea what the content for a product is or even what it should be. You don’t know who the audience is or what the message is. Isn’t that the graphic designers job—To move the brand forward? How are you supposed to move the brand forward if you don’t know what you’re saying or who you’re saying it to?

As a client, when you see Lorem Ipsum placed in a document, it is an active reminder that the person you’re working with has no idea what you are trying to do… or who you’re trying to do it for. Is that the kind of person you would really like to work with? Probably not. But what if this is coming from someone who works for you? If they’re your employee but have no idea about the positive aspects of the product or services that they’re communicating about, they’re doing you and your business a disservice. A marketer who doesn’t know how to market… A graphic designer who doesn’t know how to communicate… This is a serious problem. Not only does it point to a lack of detail, it points to a lack of understanding. This lack of understanding is compounded when work is not checked. It is certainly possible that in the day-to-day sprint, your graphic designer has so many things to do that they can’t be responsible for creating copy or editing existing copy. They might even go so far as to tell you “that’s not my job“.

I have known many businesses who find they have a graphic designer with no job when communication becomes “not their job“.

What Starts Off As A Time Saving Device…

When a designer fills in documents with Lorem Ipsum content, they will occasionally put in one or more sentences of actual content at the beginning to help further the idea that the rest of the text is important. As time goes on they get to see that paragraph so many times that it never crosses their mind they should give it any extra attention. However, when the project comes near to completion and everything gets started, the editor should be looking over all that text to catch grammatical errors, points which are off message, and to make sure that their business keywords are being used properly. Your marketing and graphic design team should similarly be covering that material to ensure that you are staying on brand message. But what happens if they fail ?

Surely if the graphic designer places the Lorem Ipsum placeholder text, they should have it in their notes to replace it. But what if your in-house designer isn’t working at peak proficiency or decides that it’s “not their job“ to check that text? Well, likely your marketer or your editor will have a job to check that text. What happens if your editor or your marketer is out of town or is so swamped with work that they failed to do their job, or are having some personal or work-based issues and choose not to look over that text? When the mistake goes to print who is at fault? Not the printer. They have no idea about your business, your business model, your vocabulary… They’re just there to print your materials.

Comes Back To Bite You.

So what happens when one or more people fail to do their job? Well, likely another person within your organization who is exhibiting great customer service will step forward and find that error. Is it possible to have a perfect storm where more than one person is off the ball? Absolutely. Here are some examples where that has happened in the workplace.

These are not school-based projects, but actual products which make it to market and are presented to the public.

Alicia Nagel notes in her blog that one such occurrence at a Chipotle Mexican Grill was let out, and then never commented on directly. Several people have guessed that it must have been intentional, but with no official word, We should probably note that the largest words here “Great Sadness” might have reflected the administration’s response when reflecting on the bil

Visit http://www.alicianagel.com/chipotle-bag-mistake-cover-up-or-insider-joke-for-graphic-designers/

Inadvertant Greeking was left in the Singapore Times. A secondary headline was filled, but never replaced. Unfortunately, this happens quite a bit.

Lorem Ipsum text left in documents. Not the best graphic design work

Certainly, you would see the mistake and install some stopgap measures in place. However, the Strait Times did it again just a year later.

In their blog post entitled: What happens when placeholder text doesn’t get replaced, Elezea points out several website, app, newspaper, and product mistakes.

Elezea points out Lorem Ipsum text on this fine french wine

Savour Bakery has placed out a  new series of bags this May (5/4/2019). Graphic Design Forum brought this image to their site, allowing free downloads.

Savour Bakery Lorem Ipsum Bags

Making It Right

If You Can: Correct the mistake in-house

What is the first thing that you should do if you find this error has happened? First, talk directly with the printer and find out who sent over the files. This is NOT about placing blame.

It may very well be that the graphic designer did not send the files, and that another team member did it, accidentally sending old files. If so, see if the proper files can be sent.

Secondly, talk with your graphic designer in a non-confrontational way about the issue and find out what has gone wrong. If it’s a simple file issue— no problem. Just turn in the right file.

Are you looking at a proof, or are you looking at 60,000 copies in a paper box? If you’re looking at a ton of finished products, talk with your printer and see if there’s anything that can be done to replace part or all of the copies at a reduced cost. If you have a graphic designer worth their money, they’ve gotten a proof copy first and you have caught it/can catch it at the proof copy stage. You’ll pay a little bit extra, but not too much because you’ve caught it early on. If you’re working without proofs or your graphic designer, editor, marketer didn’t catch it through at the proof copy and it still going to print… Again, you’re going to be making some cost changes.

First, try to correct the issue with the files. Then, try to correct the issue with your production flow so it doesn’t happen again. Is there a way you can work with the printer to get another set of printed materials at a heavily-reduced cost? They’ve already got the project and files set up, and the plates and the impositions should be set for your item. If that’s the case, pulling another set may not be too terribly expensive.

If You Must: Correct the mistake with your vendor

Second, understand that many printers will try to work with you. When your pieces look bad, it makes them look bad. You probably have a good relationship with the printer, and they want to keep a satisfied customer. They don’t want this one mistake to sour the relationship, even if it wasn’t their fault in anyway. See if you can work this into a win/win situation but committing to another print project in the near future if they can cut you a deal. Be specific about the project though. Don’t lie to get a good deal. That’s really bad business.

If All Else Fails: Correct the mistake with the public

Third, consider the reaction of the people: Did this item go out to the public? If it’s something small, like 300 postcards, is there a possibility that you could email or send a follow up item with a joke to try to smooth over the situation? Yes, it could be expensive, but is that cost incurred more than you lose by looking silly or unprofessional? Otherwise, if you have regular publications you could make a big joke out of it in the next issue, writing an entire comedy article where you outline something funny that happened because of it, or blaming it on gremlins.

Is it something that was sent out through social media? Again, you can always use this as a chance to intersect mistake with comedy. Can you make this into a set of additional pieces (so it seems like a funny series) or social media posts in a row maybe something about the account getting hijacked or disgruntled former workers, or a brand new hire… Perhaps industrial sabotage from your least likely competitor? Perhaps the joke could be that your least likely competitor took over your account and made several failures because they are incompetent. Don’t slander your competition though.

Is it something that printed out big and there’s no way to retract it, there is no way to make light of it, and there’s no way to brush it off? It’s probably just Lorem Ipsum after all, right? In that case perhaps a simple apology is in order. With proper copy writing, you may not have this problem in the first place, so perhaps you can find a way to make this issue to be one how you discussed the need for greater funding for your organization or department? Perhaps you talk about how exciting the new initiatives of your company are that everyone is overworked. Perhaps this is a way that you talk about the need for unpaid interns at your location in exchange for great letters of recommendation, excellent experience… You name the material.

Perhaps It Is A Sign

The truth of the matter is this: A business is really a well–oiled machine. If the machine is moving at a breakneck pace, something is going to fall through the cracks if too much is added to an already overworked staff of advertising, graphic design, and editorial or marketing staff. If your business is a machine whose members are used to completing essential daily activities, using that same crew for a great new initiative could be a cause for disaster. A team that works full-time on a daily activity and is added with a new push, is likely to slip on one subject.

Instead, why not continue To let your team do what they do best: provide a consistent set of services. However, if you have a large new initiative that needs a great deal of attention, an exciting new vision, and a level of service that gets everything done right the first time—perhaps you should consider partnering with a creative organization. Have you had an error in corporate or public communications that you’d like to recover from? Do you have a bold new initiative that needs an exciting touch? Does your company have a vision that you absolutely, positively cannot fall short on and cannot mess up? I’d suggest you get in touch with a creative group whose forte is customer service, detail-oriented excellence, and beautiful, beautiful designs. If you’ve got a company project coming up or you’re trying to recover from a terrible gaff, reach out to generate design, and we’ll be happy to discuss how we can work together to achieve your vision.

1 Comment

  1. Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking the time
    and actual effort to produce a very good
    article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never seem to get
    anything done.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *