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Greeking is placeholder text used by graphic designers and desktop publishers in layout proofs when the actual copy to be set either isn’t available or isn’t desired. Often greeking (also often referred to as placeholder, dummy, or FPO (For Position Only) text) is used even when text to be set (or a suitable facsimile) is available, but when the designer wants the viewer to focus on the layout rather than the text. Studies have proven time and again that, when presented with design proofs containing human readable text, people instinctively read and focus on the text more than on the design. To a creative trying to get a client to approve the proof of an article mechanical or a website design, keeping the viewer focused on the layout is important.

Since the 1500s Lorem Ipsum has been the standard for dummy text in the printing, typsetting, and graphic design industries. It began life as a galley of type an unknown printer scrambled to build a type specimen book. According to the website honoring this venerable piece of creative history, “Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old.”

So is Lorem Ipsum just Latin nonsense? “Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of ‘de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum’ (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, ‘Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..’, comes from a line in section 1.10.32,” says

If Lorem Ipsum is Latin, why is it and similar passages of non-human readable text (or text approximations) called Greeking? Ever heard the phrase, “it’s all Greek to me”? Like the infamous “play it again, Sam” Casablanca line that was never actually spoken in Casablanca, “it’s all Greek to me” is a bastardization of a genuine literary line.

In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene II, Casca responds to Cassius: “Nay, an I tell you that, I’ll ne’er look you i’ the face again; but those that understood him smiled at one another and shook their heads; but for mine own part, it was Greek to me.” Another source credits the origin of the phrase to a Medieval Latin proverb “Graecum est; non potest legi,” which translates to: “it is Greek; it cannot be read.”

Wherever the term Greeking came from, you can get some of the best Greeking, including Lorem Ipsum,

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