There's a technique that Facebook uses in their Timeline where it'll show fake "content" blocks while it's waiting for the real content to load. From a distance, it looks like the content has already loaded even though the only thing on the display is abstract shaded rectangles as Greeked text.

The only way I've seen this implemented is Facebook-style, where text is replaced with horizontal rectangles. This gives a particular look and feel to the page while it's loading. Are there other acceptable styles of Greeking and if so, what are they and where are they used?

  • Do you have a particular use-case in mind and want to know if this would be appropriate? This post would do better if it were written as such, otherwise you'll just get people leaving link-only answers like "example.com does this" which isn't really ideal for this Q&A site.
    – JonW
    Feb 26, 2015 at 16:37
  • The intended use is in a search form, where I have to go off to the server to fetch the parameters for the search. Feb 26, 2015 at 18:18
  • Do the search results all come back at once? Do the results use infinite scrolling and you want to add a greeked text result at the end to indicate content will replace it soon?
    – DaveAlger
    Feb 26, 2015 at 20:24
  • This isn't for the results; it's for the search entry form. Something like Shirt color: [_____] Shirt size: [_____ v ] Shirt text [______] where it first has to ask the server for the fields (color, size, text are not hardcoded in the UI) Feb 26, 2015 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


Greeking is the generic term for showing fake text

Greeking is a way to emphasize form over details. (Greek symbols aren't required)

Lorem ipsum is probably the most familiar kind of greeked text. It allows looking at text formatting without actually having any content. Designers and developers often use lorem ipsum text to imitate real words with little risk of anyone getting hung up on fake/incorrect content because it's obviously fake and incorrect.

1. The infamous hamburger menu icon

The hamburger menu icon represents a list of content without actually being content. This qualifies as Greeking and is used by Google Inbox (among others)


2. Facebook shows text wrapping around an image using abstract Greeking

The most abstract form of Greeking is using shaded rectangles as symbols in place of where actual content will go. The main advantage of using rectangular Greeking is that it works regardless of alphabet. Pretty much the only localization that needs to occur is flipping the image so the rectangles read left to right for certain locales.


3. Video games often use abstract Greeking as well

To reiterate the fact that something is written on a page or sign in a video game, designers will showing something resembling text. This happens on some items in the game Minecraft.

Video game greeked text is probably a limitation due to pixel resolution but it also allows adding many signs in a town without having to generate real text content for each one.

minecraft sign minecraft book

  • 1
    Typo here: Loerm ipsum. :)
    – A.L
    Mar 11, 2015 at 16:32
  • 1
    haha - it's funny how purposefully meaningless text can have a typo - fixed
    – DaveAlger
    Mar 11, 2015 at 18:17

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