Graphic Designer Geeks Out: IKEA

This past weekend, I attended a district-level AdFed conference — listened to some above average speakers, ate some below average hotel buffets. At one workshop, the speaker brought up the fact that IKEA doesn’t list their website on the majority of their print ads. The majority of the room responded to this revelation with shock. I, however, turned to my fellow attendee/coworker and shrugged. IKEA is a four-letter word. Their website is simply that four-letter word dot com. I am not at all bothered by the fact that they don’t squeeze it on to an otherwise lovely minimalist ad. With all the other verbiage and disclaimer copy designers have to place in ads today, I even found it refreshing.

I know some marketing people are reading this and thinking, “She’s a designer; of course she’d think that.” However, I’m a designer who took my required marketing classes seriously and worked for a large PR firm for awhile. I’d like to think that those experiences instilled in me a balance of advertising tactics and design esthetics. Hence, why I was still thinking about this IKEA web address issue later in the day and into the next morning. The question is, I think, (and I’m curious for reader opinions) if the website is simply the name of your company, must you place it on everything? Isn’t society trained enough now to enter the name of your company dot com? And if that doesn’t work, do a quick Google search to find the web address? I give IKEA’s research and marketing teams the benefit of the doubt on this question. (They’re Swedish; I’m part Swedish. I trust my people.) I’m sure before that first ad without a web address ran that there was a nice, long chat (over lefse, lutefisk and strong coffee) and those in favor of not including the web address successfully defended their case. What better way to check the results of advertising than to look at the sales figures? IKEA experienced a 7% increase in sales from September 1, 2007 to August 31, 2008. And despite a significant recession in the US, a 1.4% increase from September 1, 2008 to August 31, 2009.

For more on the Swedish furniture maker, read 5 Things You Don’t Know About IKEA (But Should!)

And if you haven’t heard about IKEA’s recent font change, read the controversy behind it here.

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