Posted in History & Literature

Lorem Ipsum

In graphic design, placeholders are very useful as it allows you to design a template, then substitute in the appropriate material, such as photos, when the design is finished.
This is particulary useful when designing the overall layout, as you can play with the spacing between items, how big the image should be, et cetera.

The same is true for text, but it is not as simple as you would imagine.
You could paste in a block of text that is an excerpt from somewhere, but this comes with the issue that it is distracting. This is because we are hardwired to start reading a line of text to understand it. Therefore, the designer is distracted from seeing the overall layout as they see the trees instead of the forest.
You could type gibberish text, but this does not look aesthetically pleasing at all.,

An elegant solution is the Lorem Ipsum text. Lorem Ipsum has been used in the printing industry since the 1500s. Ever since, it has been the gold standard in printing and design, both analogue and digital.
As an English speaker, Lorem Ipsum almost looks like normal text, but on closer inspection, you soon realise that you have no idea what it says. However, it is not complete nonsense – it is in fact a collage of text taken from a piece of classical Latin literature called “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC.

The standard Lorem Ipsum passage that the industry still uses to this day is largely unchanged since the 1500s. It goes as follows:

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.”

Posted in History & Literature

Elements: Four Elements Of The West

Human beings have believed that all matter can be divided into basic elements for a very long time. Although we now know that the basic building block of the universe is atoms, what did ancient people believe matter was made of?

In ancient Greece, the seat of Western culture, it was believed that everything was made from the four elements: earth, fire, water and air. According to Aristotle, every element has a primary and secondary characteristic, with the four characteristics being hot, cold, dry and wet. Air is primarily wet and secondarily hot, fire is primarily hot and secondarily dry, earth is primarily dry and secondarily cold and water is primarily cold and secondarily wet. He also spoke of a fifth element (quintessence) beyond the four elements. The name of the fifth element is aether and it is a pure and heavenly element that cannot be corrupted like the earthly four elements. Furthermore, it was thought that aether was the element of the sky and stars were composed of it as they were heavenly, not earthly.

The four classic elements of ancient Greece had an impact not only on physics and chemistry, but also on philosophy and culture (the concept of the four elements is popular in modern games too). The most interesting example of these is a theory by Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, that states that the human body is composed of four bodily fluids (humours) and an imbalance between the humours caused diseases. The four humours are yellow bile (fire), black bile (earth), blood (air) and phlegm (water). Furthermore, he believed that the four humours affected personalities too. For example, an excess of black bile (“melan chole” in Greek) would cause a person to become introspective and think negatively, leading to depression or “melancholy”. This is quite possibly the first medical records on clinical depression.

The four classic elements of ancient Greece can also be found in ancient Egypt and many other ancient civilisations. It also had a significant influence on alchemy in the Middle Ages.

(Image source