I'm working on a bunch of wireframes where I have a mix of near-final and copy-guide text.

Near-final copy are text that our visual designers should use in their designs verbatim, and copy-guides are descriptions of the kind of text our copywriter will provide at a later date.


Near-final: This is a password-protected area.

Copy-guide: Short congratulatory message.

Does anyone have any styles or conventions that they use to differentiate them in their wireframes?

4 Answers 4


I personally denote placeholder/guide text by wrapping the text in square brackets.

This follows with the general thought behind using square brackets, which is that they "are mainly used to enclose explanatory or missing material usually added by someone other than the original author, especially in quoted text." Source: Brackets on Wikipedia.

  • 2
    I've also seen bracketed text to refer to dynamic variabls. For instance: "Welcome back, [user name]:"
    – DA01
    May 29, 2012 at 17:50

Wireframes aren't designed to be content repositories. I've seen it used that way, and invariably it fails as it becomes a beast of a document that becomes a nightmare to keep updates and, ultimately, never is.

My advice is to remove the responsibility of copy from the wireframes altogether.

  • I think they could be. Sometimes we perform usability tests on wireframes and in those cases text is important. Also, it's a good idea to hint the amount of text we want to use. May 30, 2012 at 11:08
  • If you're user testing, they're not wireframes. They're some form of prototype. As for hinting at text amounts, it's nice, but again, usually an inaccurate element within a wireframe so I still argue that's too much responsibility for the wireframe.
    – DA01
    May 30, 2012 at 14:17

My friend is a professional copywriter and the designs they work on always have the placeholder text "greeked" aka filled in with good ole lorem ipsum. If they have a link, then they put the text and link in blue and in brackets.

The context created by the text's placement is usually enough for them to decide what needs to be filled in and where.

If the context is unclear I would personally just highlight the placeholder text.


I am a big fan of "TBD Header" or "Ipsum Lorem Headline" type sentences in my wireframes.

This helps keep the design conversation separate from the sketch of the wireframe, which is usually intended to represent overall site structure and content flow.

For internal designers, I usually recommend they visit the existing site and use existing copy when doing designs.

If the wireframes are looking for new content ideas, I will take the time to write and use new text whenever possible.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.