When I think of Ikea, I think of efficient, clean, simple and functional items and design. When I think of the typeface Verdana, I think of making my US History papers look longer in APA Format. This is why my head hurts a little, as a designer, when I think about the fact that Ikea has changed– for the first time in 50 years– the design for their international branding.
I took a look at the new catalog with my roomie (also a designer) and we both sighed a little bit. We wondered out loud,Verdana?! It’s not clean looking! Verdana was made for computer screens, why the heck is it being used for a print catalog? … It doesn’t look right. It’s ugly.
Ikea used a modified version of the typeface Futura called Ikea Sans. It was used on EVERYTHING in the store in different colors and weights. Futura is severely overused by amateur designers, but it’s very sharp and particular, and is visually associated to Ikea. It’s also the only typeface to make it into space.
After a few minutes of seeing if it would grow on us, we came to a final verdict: Verdana is clunky and generic looking. Ikea is cheap, but the design and presentation never looks cheap. It would seem that the author of this NYtimes article had similar feelings. I’m over it, and –as an analytical artist, I’ve moved onto other rationale for a switch (functionality).
Either way, I don’t think it deserves a petition. Yes, someone made a petition. The Short Form Blog got pretty sassy about it, too. Um, I say that we save petitions for something other than typefaces. What do you think?
After reading a few more articles while writing this, I’ve decided I agree with Ikea for the switch and not with the thousands red-faced designers across the land. Designers out there are probably raising their T-squares in protest at me, but Ikea has sold me with their rationale:
“….abandoning its own version of the Futura font because it wanted one that would be effective in many different languages and on the Web, and that Verdana was designed for just that purpose.”
I agree. But this still feels like the argument you have when your Mom wants you to get a pair of butt ugly– excuse me– ’sensible’ shoes for school.