Ikea: Private Brand Design That Sings Sweden

You know you are a great retailer when you have the confidence to select great design that delivers on your BRAND. You know you’re a great designer when you manage to make Private Brand anchovy-style fish fillets look tasty. So when Swedish retailer Ikea selected Stockholm Design Lab to redesign its packaged foods the challenge was daunting.

The agency opted for a stripped-down look, with lots of white space, text, and big icons, a variation on the generic white packaging that has consumed Private Brand design for the last few years. In this case however it perfectly delivered the Ikea design aesthetic and enhanced the overarching brand experience.

According to  Fast Co Design 

The simplicity of the design belies the challenges of the design brief. Ikea, purveyor of oppressive Swedishness that it is, insisted that the designers use the company’s house font, Verdana, exclusively. They also had to maintain the products’ Swedish-language headings–this for a company with more than 300 stores in 41 countries, 40 of which, presumably, do not understand Swedish. That placed “high demands on the design to be self-explanatory and inspirational at the same time,” the designers say.

So the designers resorted to the international language of pictures. It’s hard to imagine something called “Skarpsill” (the aforementioned marinated sprat fillets) flying off the shelves anywhere outside of Sweden, but slap a cutesy fish on the can (with the nose cleverly doubling as the stay-tab), and you know exactly what you’re looking at, whether you’re in Saudi Arabia or the Dominican Republic. If only Ikea’s assembly manuals were that easy to read.

Via Fast Co Design 


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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.