“Let’s use a different picture,” MaryEllen told the ETR marketing team while discussing a sales promotion last week. The one we have is FPO.”

Huh? What’s FPO?

MaryEllen explained that back in the days before computers revolutionized graphic design, ads and sales promotions were laid out, piece by piece, on a board.

“If you had to change a line or a paragraph,” MaryEllen said, “You would use a razor blade to cut it from the board, and then you’d paste something else down in its place. When you were done, you’d send the whole thing as ‘camera-ready artwork’ to the printer.

“But if you were including a photograph or other high-resolution image,” she continued, “that couldn’t be pasted on the board. It had to be given to the printer separately. So to hold its place, you’d draw a box where the photo would go, paste in a rough sketch, and write ‘FPO’ on it. That stands for ‘For Position Only.’”

“Did you know that?” Jessica Kurrle asked the team. Charlie Byrne was the only one who did. “It’s sort of the graphical equivalent of using lorem ipsum as a placeholder for copy that hasn’t been finalized yet,” he added.

Well… now you know it too!