Monday, August 31, 2009

Ikea Verdana

Illustration courtesy of idsgn, a design blog

Have you heard about IKEA lately? During the past week there seems to be much talk on Twitter and various blogs about IKEA changing their typographic standard. For instance Design Observer’s Michael Bierut, in the Observed column, mentioned it on 08.28.09. And, just the day before, David Barringer published his very interesting short essay in Design Observer (08.27.09), “Is There Bauhaus in IKEA?” (see post).

In fact, this morning, I heard a report about IKEA on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” titled, (Business) “Ikea Switches Catalog Typeface, Faces Backlash,” (click to listen and read transcript). And throughout the morning we’ve heard from alumni like never before. For a little while our network kicked-in after Matt K’s e-mail gave us a heads-up about the The Font Feud from Minnesota Public Radio (MPR NewsQ blog) posted by Marianne Combs.

At the risk of being hit with red tomatoes… while I understand the controversy I actually like Verdana in the IKEA context. Verdana is “an honest typeface” designed by type designer, Matthew Carter.


  1. this is pure crazy-talk. i am shocked.

  2. my initial reaction was very negative. i always thought that futura fit perfectly with ikea's modern aesthetic, but after a couple days of cool-down i think i can see why ikea did what they did. in an age where shopping is done increasingly online it does make sense for ikea to use a font that does well on-screen, and, frankly, verdana, in that sense, is a stronger font for their purposes.
    in print i'm a little bit more iffy on verdana. as long as they keep it under 24 pt., though, i think it should be fine. any larger than that and it starts to look really silly.
    so they had better not use it on billboards.

    but hey, at least it's not comic cans or papyrus.

  3. The Ikea controversy has gone mainstream…listen to this humorous segment from yesterday’s NPR Saturday show, “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” Panel Round I, with panelist Mo Rocca, which features:

    “Ikea Gets An Earful.”

  4. I wonder if this IKEA controversy will be a repeat of the Tropicana controversy...


Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the editor has approved them.