This Is How IKEA Chooses Its Product Names
IKEA has been around since the 1940s, and if you think you know everything there is to know about the Swedish furniture giant, well, maybe you do. But while scrolling TikTok recently, I came across a delightful video about how IKEA chooses its product names, and I learned something new.
TikTok user @dougiesharpe posted a video from inside an IKEA warehouse explaining the company’s naming conventions. While you might know that IKEA uses Swedish words for its products no matter what what country you’re shopping in, Sharpe notes that each product category has a theme. The system still used by product namers today was created by IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, because he was dyslexic and had trouble remembering numerical product codes.
“Since all the names of the products were already known by Ingvar, he could easily visualize and memorize his products without any difficulty,” Sharpe says.
Some categories relate to the products; for example, bathroom accessories are named after Swedish lakes and bodies of water. Some others are a bit tongue in cheek, like rugs, which are named after Danish towns and cities (presumably so the Swedes can walk all over their Scandinavian neighbors).
Here’s a list of products and their naming conventions:
- Bathroom items: Names of Swedish lakes and bodies of water
- Linens: Flowers and plants
- Bedroom and Living Room Furniture: Norwegian places
- Bookcases: Professions and Scandinavian boy’s names
- Bowls and Vases: Swedish place names, adjectives, spices, herbs, fruits, and berries
- Boxes, Pictures, and Wall Decorations: Swedish slang expressions and Swedish place names
- Children’s Products: Mammals, birds, adjectives
- Desks and Chairs: Scandinavian boy’s names
- Fabrics and Curtains: Scandinavian girl’s names
- Outdoor Furniture: Scandinavian islands
- Kitchen Accessories: Fish, mushrooms and adjectives
- Lighting: Units of measurement, seasons, months, days, shipping and nautical terms, Swedish place names
- Rugs: Danish place names
- Sofas, Chairs and Dining Sets: Swedish place names