Placeholder Services

In the last year, there’s been a wave of helpful placeholder services. What’s a placeholder? Well, when you’re working on a new website, isn’t it a waste of time to use stock images, cropped to the right dimensions? A placeholder service allows you to automatically use a random image at the desired dimensions with minimal effort.

In the last week, I’ve compiled a list – in no particular order – of what I consider to be the most useful and flexible placeholder services on the web. Certainly, for most of you, you’ll end up picking one or two of the following to use in your own projects.

1 – PlaceKitten


A quick and simple service for getting pictures of kittens for use as placeholders in your designs or code. Just put your image size (width & height) after our URL and you’ll get a placeholder.


  1. <img src=”″ />
  2. <!– Black and White –>
  3. <img src=”″ />

Follow the url with your desired dimensions. For example, if I needed a 450 x 300 placeholder image, I’d set the source attribute of an image tag to:

2 –


A quick and simple image placeholder service.


  1. <img src=”×150″>
  2. <!– Set Colors –>
  3. <img src=”×150/292929/e3e3e3″>
  4. <!– Add Text –>
  5. <img src=”×150&text=Hello World”>
  6. <!– Set Image Type –>
  7. <img src=”×150.png&text=Hello World”>
  8. <img src=”×150.gif&text=Hello World”>
  9. <img src=”×150.jpg&text=Hello World”>

Note that, with this service, you set your dimensions more traditionally, rather than separating the widths and heights into segments. is a bit different in that, rather than using photos for placeholders, it instead uses more traditional solid color images, which might be more appealing to some designers.

3 – SheenHolders


Add some Sheen to your designs and prototypes with Charlie Sheen placeholder pictures. Simply change the width and height in the URL to get your custom placeholder.


  2. <img src=”×550″ />

If you want your web designs to be winning, then you need the Sheen!

4 – FlickHoldr


Get placeholders related to the site you are developing, by pulling images from flickr based on tags.


FlickrHolder is helpful in that, in addition to using Flickr photos as the placeholders, it also allows you to choose a desired tag as the third segment. You can even choose to display photos in black and white.


  1. <img src=”″ />
  2. <!– Apply one or more tags –>
  3. <img src=”,sun” alt=”” />
  4. <!– Need black and white? –>
  5. <img src=”,sun/bw” alt=”” />

5 – LoremPixum

Placeholder Images for every case. Webdesign or Print. It’s simple and absolutely free!


  1. <!– Default –>
  2. <img src=”″ alt=”” />
  3. <!– Black and White –>
  4. <img src=”″ alt=”” />
  5. <!– Tagged –>
  6. <img src=”” alt=”” />

6 – PlaceDog


Dogs are so superior to felines. Just choose your dimensions in the pathname and share the doggie love on your projects.


  1. <img src=”″ alt=”” />
  2. <!– Black and White –>
  3. <img src=”″ alt=”” />

7 – DummyImage



DummyImage is particularly nice, when compared to some of its competitors, in that it offers a great deal of flexibility. Let’s take a look at some of the available options.

  1. <!– If you only pass a width, a square will be generated –>
  2. <img src=”″ alt=”” />
  3. <!– Width and Height –>
  4. <img src=”×400″ alt=”” />
  5. <!– Apply background and text colors –>
  6. <img src=”×400/292929/e3e3e3″ alt=”” />
  7. <!– Set image type –>
  8. <img src=”×400.png/292929/e3e3e3″ alt=”” />
  9. <img src=”×400.gif/292929/e3e3e3″ alt=”” />
  10. <img src=”×400.jpg/292929/e3e3e3″ alt=”” />
  11. <!– Custom Text –>
  12. <img src=”×600&text=Your Mom Goes to College” alt=”” />
  13. or with background and text colors…
  14. <img src=”×600/292929/e3e3e3&text=Your Mom Goes to College” alt=”” />

8 –

A clean and simple way to help align your layouts. No complex grid frameworks necessary.

Certainly, is unique compared to its peers because its focus is on creating grid images, which can then be applied to the background of your web design during production. View a live demo here.


Applying a background grid requires the following format:[total width]-[number of columns]-[gutter size].

  1. /* Generate a 960px grid, with 12 columns and 30px gutter */
  2. body {
  3. background: url( repeat-y center top;
  4. }

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