How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

The Ikea logo represents one of the most successful furniture manufacturing companies in the world. With more than 400 stores across the globe, Ikea is known for manufacturing and designing ready-to-assemble furniture. Contemporary designs at affordable prices are what make this Scandinavian company extremely popular.  

Ikea has been manufacturing products of unparalleled quality for several decades. The Ikea logo represents the exceptional design and comfort of the products manufactured by the furniture company. Let us look at some sales figures to understand how Ikea has managed to attract customers for almost 75 years.

According to a report by Ikea, the retail sales of the company reached EUR 41.9 billion in FY 21. The report further mentions that online sales grew by 73 percent this year. The numbers are positive and indicate further growth for the Scandinavian giant.

Ikea’s “online channel welcomed five billion people this year.”

Ikea: a brief history

Founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, Ikea began its journey as a mail-order sales business. The company began selling furniture five years after being founded. In 1958, Ikea opened its first store in Älmhult, Sweden, under the name Möbel-IKÉA.  Möbel is a Swedish word meaning furniture. 

The company started opening stores outside Sweden in 1963; however, it had to wait for over four decades to make its furniture available in the United States, its second-biggest market after Germany.

The company had to face supply chain disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company continues to fight challenges due to inflation; however, Jesper Brodin, Global CEO of Ikea, is positive about a bright future. In an interview given to CNBC, Jesper mentions the following:

“We are living in a generation that is not used to managing inflation; it is a new concept to us. At the same time, we need to be mindful of the bandwidth of the future because the main cause of the inflation has been the pandemic. So we need to have some resilience and understanding that as things stabilize from an economic perspective there are reasons also to be optimistic,”

Here is the full interview.

The Ikea logo

Ikea is an acronym that stands for its founder’s name, surname, and a farm close to his house! The first two alphabets of Ikea, “I” and “K,” stands for Ingvar Kamprad, the founder, and the letters “E” and “A” are the initials of Elmtaryd Agunnaryd, the farm near his house.

The Ikea logo has gone through several redesigns, but it has always stood out from the crowd. Most logos adopted by the company are simple, stylish, and contemporary, just like Ikea’s products.

Interesting read: Cheat-sheet to starting your interior design company.

The evolution of the Ikea logo

The evolution of the Ikea logo. Ikea changed its visual identity almost 13 times in its history.

Ask any marketing expert, and he will tell you that changing your company’s visual identity too often can make you look indecisive and can present itself as a major roadblock if you intend to foster brand recognition through your logo. While it is true that one should refrain from changing the visual identity of his company repeatedly, experimenting with the logo can also yield positive results.

The Ikea logo has gone through several changes before finally adopting the one used today. Let us explore each one. 

1951

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

The first Ikea logo was introduced in 1951 and remained with the company for only one year. The logo design looked like a traditional wax seal with the wordmark in the middle. The logotype was executed in lowercase cursive and was placed within a thin white outline. The word “Kvalitets” appeared just above the wordmark, while the term “Garantí” was placed right below it. “Kvalitets Garantí” is a Danish word meaning “Quality Guarantee.”

1952

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

In 1952, Ikea completely overhauled its look. The company’s new look featured an abstract puddle-shaped background with the wordmark placed diagonally over it. The cream and light brown color palette appeared perfect for the furniture company.

Good read: The best color combinations for logos

1953 – 1955

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

The 1953 logo was a cleaner counterpart of its previous version. The abstract background turned to light beige, while the vertical stripes were removed. The term “Agunnaryd” was placed at the bottom right corner of the emblem.

1955 – 1956

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

In 1955, Ikea reimagined its logo in a yellow and black color palette. The abstract background turned yellow while the wordmark was changed to black. The symbol and the wordmark were positioned to the left of a horizontally stretched black rectangle, while the word Agunnaryd found its place to the right.

1956 – 1957

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

Ikea’s experiment with its logo continued with its new emblem in 1956. The company’s new logo saw fresh design elements being added. The black rectangle was turned into a light beige square, while the emblem became black.  “Agunnaryd” was also replaced with “Almhult.”

1957 – 1958

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

In 1957, Ikea introduced a brand new logo for its first furniture line. The emblem was turned black and placed on a yellow square with a black outline. The words Mobel and Almhult were written on the top left and bottom right, respectively. The wordmark was turned white with a yellow outline.

1958 – 1962

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

The abstract “puddle” that was created in 1952 was finally replaced by an oval shape in 1958. The wordmark was placed above the oval, while the yellow square was changed to black. The black lettering of the wordmark was refined to make it logo cleaner.

1962 – 1965

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

For the first time, the logo began to appear like the one in use today. The Ikea logo got its iconic look in 1962. The diagonal wordmark from the 1962 version was now placed horizontally over the oval. The glyph above the “E” that the audience was used to seeing was also removed.  “Mobel” and “Almhult” were brought closer to the oval symbol.

1965 – 1967

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

From 1965, the logo consistently began to appear like its current version. The logo turned monochrome in 1965 and remained with the brand for two years.

The new Ikea logo appeared contemporary and stylish.

1967 – 1981

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

The 1967 emblem  was a cleaner version of its previous counterpart. The white outline from the black square was removed, along with the tagline. The contours of the logotype were also refined to make it look professional and sophisticated.

1981

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

Ikea refreshed its look again after fifteen years. While most design elements remained the same from the 1967 version: the color was changed. Black was replaced with red to communicate the passionate personality of the furniture brand.

1982 – 2019

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

Ikea changed its logo again the following year, only this time the Scandinavian giant found its “true colors.” The iconic yellow oval with the blue wordmark placed within a blue rectangle came into existence in 1982 and remained with the brand ever since. However, the furniture brand made a partial refresh in 2019.

2019 – Present

How Ikea Changed Its Visual Identity Through The Years

The present Ikea logo is a lighter version of its previous counterpart. The logo evokes the feeling of reliability, safety, happiness, and professionalism. 

Interesting read: How to choose the right brand colors that’ll be a winning bet for your business.

Color and typeface of the Ikea logo

The blue and yellow colors of the Ikea logo are inspired by the Swedish flag: the origins of the company. The colors symbolize comfort, warmth, positive energy, reliability, and professionalism. The combination was first used in 1982 and has defined the core personalities of the brand ever since.

The typeface appears very close to Magnum Sans Serif Extra Black; however, the font has subtle sharp serifs that add to the overall sophistication of the logo.

What makes the Ikea logo different from its competitors?

While it is true that Ikea changed its logo over a dozen times, it finally stuck with the one it most resonated with in 1982. The current version of the logo has been with the brand for almost forty years, albeit with a few tweaks. Let us explore why the logo stands out when compared to its competitors.

Simple

One of the key ingredients of the Ikea logo is its simplicity. The emblem is minimal, flat, and attractive. Simplicity is a vital element of a good logo. Be it Gucci or Reebok, some of the best logos in the world are unbelievably simple.

Simple logos highlight only the key areas of a brand’s personality. A creative professional will filter out excessive design elements to focus only on revealing the vital aspects of a company by taking cues from the brand’s mission and vision.

The Ikea logo is executed using a combination of blue and yellow along with oval and square shapes to communicate reliability, security, and happiness: the key areas of the furniture brand.

Memorable

The goal of a good logo is to create a connection between the customers and the brand. A simple logo, devoid of extra design elements, can easily be remembered by a customer.

According to several studies, the brain simplifies complex information to remember it. An uncomplicated design is custom-made for the brain. And the reason? The brain does not have to work overtime on simplifying it.

A designer uses several secret design elements, such as colors and symbols, to create a simple logo. When customers recall your logo easily—they are more likely to associate it with your brand and values.

The Ikea logo is memorable. The color combination and the typography makes it a logo worth remembering.

Relevant

One key quality that most iconic logos share is that they are relevant to the market their brands target. They are uncomplicated and communicate the brand’s identity and personality clearly.

A creative professional knows the power of colors and fonts. He knows that colors can trigger different emotions, allowing the customers to come closer to the brand.

The Ikea logo is a great example of a relevant logo. Although the company made several changes before finally settling for the present logo, it successfully defines the brand identity and is relevant to the market its company targets.

Timeless

Another key element that makes the Ikea logo iconic is that it never followed design trends. The furniture brand experimented with various color combinations, symbols, and fonts but never did it follow current trends—one reason the company’s brand identity never got affected adversely despite numerous logo changes.

Another vital attribute of a timeless logo is that it is not cluttered with unnecessary design elements. The Ikea logo is clean and focuses on what works.

A timeless logo is one that remains effective and relevant even after years have passed. Like McDonald’s “Golden Arches” emblem or Coca-Cola wordmark, the Ikea logo has only grown in stature over time—the mark of a timeless logo.

Now that you know what sets the Ikea logo apart from its competitors, it’s time to explore some lesser known facts about the furniture brand in the bonus section.

Bonus: Five interesting facts about Ikea

Ikea creates furniture that are stylish and contemporary, plus they are affordable, but do you know when they sold their first flat-pack furniture or how many copies of the catalog are printed every year? Let me quickly answer these for you.

  1. The first flat-pack furniture was sold in 1956

Yes, you heard that right! Gillis Lundgren invented flat-pack furniture, the same person who designed the Billy bookcase. Gillis, a draftsman, was hired by Ingvar to design flat-pack furniture for his company. Lovet was the first item under the category to be sold in 1956. The leaf-shaped table became very popular after being launched.

  1. More Ikea catalog copies are printed than Bible

The Ikea catalog is printed in 29 languages and distributed to more than 180 million, compared to the Bible’s 100 million.

Rumors have it that Ikea spends 70 percent of its marketing budget on catalogs.

  1. 2000 products are introduced every year

The Scandinavian giant launches almost 2000 new products every year. The products are sold everywhere the company exists.

  1. The names of the products are Swedish

Since Ingvar was dyslexic, he chose simple Swedish names and words to identify the products. Ikea curtains, for example, are given geometrical terms, whereas bathroom products are named after bays, rivers, and lakes.

  1. They sell entire houses

No estate agent required! Unbelievable but true. I saved the best for the last. Launched in 1996 in Sweden, The BoKlok House is built around the concept of “modern homes for the masses.” The flat-pack houses cost a faction of the price of a regular home.

The bottom line

The Scandinavian giant has been in the trade for several decades and has managed to become the market leader in the furniture business. The Ikea logo perfectly represents the company’s vision: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”

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