What do the cities of Dresden, Montreal, Gwangmyeong and Seattle have in common? In addition to being important cities in their respective countries, they are four cities that have IKEA stores! It seems that no matter where you go in the world, this Swedish company is not far away. Have you ever wondered about the meaning of the four letters in the name or where the IKEA logo came from? Let's take a closer look today!
Founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, IKEA is a Swedish company. IKEA is also an acronym of the founder’s first and last name, the name of his parents’ farm, Elmtaryd, and his home town, Agunnary. Ingvar had the entrepreneurial spirit at a very young age; at 7 years old he sold matches delivering them by bicycle. Over the years, he began selling stationery, fish, frames and finally furniture. In 1945, he launched his first catalogue to meet the growing demand of his customers. In 1953, he converted a workshop into his first showroom. His main inspiration for his furniture was the FFF motto, functionality, form and ease.
In 2019, there were 433 stores around the world. Although most of the products are not made in Sweden, they have a Scandinavian touch that has made the company famous.
Despite what you might think, the IKEA logo has not always been blue and yellow. The first version was much different from the current one. Created in 1951, the first IKEA logo was round in shape and dark red. The letters were italics and small, and the terms KVALITETS GARANTI (guaranteed quality) were added on the outer edges. Unfortunately (or fortunately in our case), this logo was only used for one year.
By 1952, IKEA had a new logo. It looked a little more like the one we know today. This time, the name of the Swedish company was written in square capital letters. The major difference with the current logo was that everything was tilted. Other than that, the red coloring turned to brown. One wonders why IKEA decided to use brown for its logo as it is not a color widely used for branding. It is important to mention that most of the company's furniture at that time was made of wood. According to our page on the meanings of colors, brown is often associated with solidity and stability, in addition to being a very present color in nature.
In 1967, after different versions and variations, we finally got the logo that would serve as the foundation for IKEA's upcoming logos. The circle of the original logo was transformed to become an oval. The whole thing was put in a frame creating the shape that we know well. This logo was initially in black and white, but in 1981 it became red and white for a year. Then, in 1982, the company opted for blue and yellow for its logo which are the colors still used today.
Did you know that the IKEA logo was changed in 2019? This is actually one of the redesigns of the last year. However, it was only a small change. The colors were kept, and the dimensions, spacing and serifs were changed. First, the letters were brought together slightly. Then the inner oval shape was reworked to be a little rounder. This created a look that the outer shape of the logo was a little squarer and not as long. Finally, the serifs at the end of the letters were softened. This is proof that you don't need to change everything when redesigning your logo.
The first inspiring element of the IKEA logo is most certainly the choice of colors. Although they tried different color combinations over time, it was really the use of blue and yellow that helped them create a strong and recognizable brand image around the world. The choice of these colors is not insignificant, these are the colors of the flag of Sweden. This company is proud of its origins and is the best-known Swedish company. It is also important to mention that blue is a colour that inspires confidence and calm with yellow representing optimism and abundance. These are definitely colors to consider when creating your logo.
Second, the company has always been able to use its name as the main element of its logo, like French luxury brands do. Don't be afraid to use your company name for your logo. The important thing is to choose the perfect font that will represent your products and your values. In the case of IKEA, they probably wanted to show the solidity of their furniture by using thick and imposing characters. Finally, your country or region can certainly be one of the sources of inspiration for your logo. For example, for its logo, the car manufacturer BMW was inspired by the coat of arms of Bavaria, the region where the company was founded.
In conclusion, you now know that the IKEA logo has not always been blue and yellow. You never know how a company will evolve over time and it is important that your logo evolve accordingly. Take inspiration from your values, but also from your origin when creating a logo that will be the basis of your brand image. Happy creating!