IKEA is one of the world’s most recognizable brands. Established by Ingvar Kamprad in the Swedish town of Älmhult in 1942, the company brought flat-packed furniture to the masses. It now operates over 400 stores in 49 countries, and last year its website clocked up over two billion visits.
A big part of IKEA’s success in communication is down to its use of imagery. Before a visit to one of the iconic big blue stores, customers thumb through the catalog to plan a kid’s bedroom. Or, they’ll turn to the website to see videos of sofa beds or cleverly-designed compact kitchens.
The importance of imagery to the IKEA experience has provided the company with a massive challenge, though. While, say, Apple releases a handful of new products every year, IKEA has a vast range of products – roughly 9,500, in fact. Take into consideration subtle design differences from country to country and you’ve got over 15,000 different looking things.