IKEA, Sweden’s Jewel
In addition, the agency produces several seasonal and product-specific books such as The Smart Kitchen, Professional Office Furniture and IKEA Summer.
IKEA’s creative personnel break some of the traditional rules of catalog design, such as using sans serif type, some black type against dark backgrounds and occasionally type over a busy background. At the same time, they’ve implemented some truly inventive design ideas. For example, the catalog shows a completely furnished room in which certain items are circled with a number that refers to copy at the edge of the page. So rather than showing a desk lamp by itself, you see what it looks like on a desk. What’s more, the catalog is filled with charts and schematics that show designs, sizes, colors and prices, enabling the merchandisers to display one item but list its many variations.
In addition to the full-color books, the internal agency creates black-and-white fliers, buying guides showing all parts of a furniture series and ideas for combinations—always with prices shown. Because the catalog is designed to drive store traffic, every IKEA retail establishment stocks the SKUs in the catalog. In addition, the mega-stores—such as the monster you see along the New Jersey Turnpike near the Newark Airport—offer many more items.
Everything about IKEA is alive, stylish and friendly—from the bright blue and yellow logo (the Swedish national colors) to the light, airy page designs and the copy that invites you in. Following is an example from a recent catalog edition:
At IKEA we think of the catalog as the starting point for new products and ideas. Now more than ever it has been our goal to launch new items in both the catalog and in the store. In fact, this year we will introduce nearly 2,500 new products making it possible for your home to be as up to date as you are. But that’s not all that’s new. We have also been able to lower prices on some very popular items and hope you’re as happy about this as we are. In keeping with the IKEA philosophy, we believe that good design and good quality are only meaningful when they come at a good low price.