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Sep 3, 2009 | The IKEA Furor

Just as Tropicana and Pepsi bungled over rebranding, IKEA now has been added to the list, and this time over something slightly less obvious. It’s that feeling you get when you feel like someone’s rubbed your fur the wrong way. If you were a cat, that is.

Customized futura font IKEA catalog Verdana font IKEA catalog

Still, the change is pretty obvious if you flip through the 2009 catalog and compare it to the recently unveiled 2010 version. IKEA has gone ahead and changed its signature font, a customized combination of Futura and New Century Schoolbook, to the bland and easily obtainable Verdana. Futura was, well, futuristic, even for its time, when it was first put to use in the 1920s, and still remains hip and chic today. Verdana, on the other hand, well, it does its job as an online typeface because it’s easy to read. Nothing particularly attractive beyond that, degraded, naturally, by the fact that everyone on the surface of the Earth has it. It’s like as if the Obama campaign suddenly decided to adopt Arial.

Original Walmart font New Walmart font
No one, for example, really cared when Walmart changed its logo.

I can imagine the conversation the IKEA executives had in their offices at Älmhult, in Sweden:

Exec 1: “It’s high time we had a IKEA facelift, what what?”
Dahlvig, CEO: “Yes, I agree.”
Exec 2: “We should change the catalog font!”
Exec 1: “What a brilliant idea.”
Dahlvig: “What font should we choose, then, if we’re to abandon what we have right now?”
Exec 1: “Well, I’m not very familiar with fonts, let me see.”
Pulls up Microsoft Word
Exec 2: “There! That font. It looks kinda like what we have but it’s a bit more… modern?”
Dahlvig: “Great idea! Put it on the printing press!”

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 at 9:53 pm, EST under the category of User Interface, Web design. Both comments and pings are currently closed.