Typographic Logos that Missed

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IKEA Changes Typeface After 60 Years; Customers Start Petition

In 2009, Swedish furniture retailer IKEA changed its typographic logo from Futura to Verdana.

“I thought that something had gone terribly wrong, but when I Twittered about it, people at their ad agency told me that this was actually the new Ikea font,” Mattias Akerberg told Time magazine. “I could hardly believe it was true.”

A petition was quickly started with thousands signing on to protest the change. What would make a company known primarily by its iconic Futura logo change it?

According to the Time story, IKEA’s spokeswoman Monika Gocic said, “It’s more efficient and cost-effective.”

Verdana is a “web-safe” font, meaning it’s a global typeface – think generic vs. custom – but why would it matter? The typographic logo is a graphic image. It’s not recreated for print or web each time the brand appears. The change was also associated with the company’s interest in modernizing their brand.

Did the change affect sales? Apparently not. The company posted a 6.1 percent net income gain for its 2010 fiscal year. In 2011, the company announced a record year with a nearly 7 percent increase.

The Gap didn’t seem to fare as well as IKEA with the public criticism. In October of 2010, the company decided to change its 20 year-old logo to one that appeared trendy, but created a design disaster when it used Helvetica, a move that got designers talking.


“Choosing Helvetica in 2010 is inexcusable. It’s a 63-year-old typeface that is as bland as grilled chicken without salt and pepper; that it was a popular choice in the 1960s and 1970s for corporate identity, spilling into later decades does not make it any more appropriate,” Armin Vit, designer and and co-founder of UnderConsideration told Creativity Online.

Six days after the launch of the new logo, the company discarded it and went back to the familiar, two decade old friend.



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