Monday, January 25, 2010

Weird wonders of Ikea

The design starts from the smallest things. During the Christmas leave I visited Ikea, since my brother wanted to buy a bed and he asked if my car wants to give him a hand. So, we made a short trip deep into the huge blue-yellow box, where everything is perfect and world smells of plastic dreams and global.

Every time I visit Ikea or read their catalogue, I always start to wonder about the product names. They sound Swedish, they look Swedish, but are they Swedish? In many cases, yes. But there are words which don't come up in any dictionaries, even if they do wake associations in the real life. Ikea is an international company, though, and they don't expect everyone in the world to understand Swedish. But in Finland, where it's still our second national language, we are bound to connect the names into something very people-homeish. And Ikea is very good at that.

So, is there somewhere some kind of an Ikea name generator, which spruits out these names when needed? Some kind of a huge Ikea computer (blue-yellow box, of course), which creates random words out of letters? (Of course it discards all of the names that would raise negative feelings, like Gävla, Sjutton and Skit (I did actually check these!) and also everything that hints to racism or other indecent arousals.) Whenever useful words are created, they will be stamped to the products and trolleyed into the vast vaults of Ikea warehouse department.

I think I might have some use for such a name generator. Few days ago, I had great difficulties deciding about the name of this blog, for example. Or think about what kind of ideas you could get out from clever names. If you got an assignment to design, let's say a poster for an anti-nuke campaign, you could just type in the names of the former nuclear devices, set the theme ("explosive" or "radiant") and let the machine work for you some intelligent idea suggestions.

After all, design is all about creating feelings. To know how human mind works is to use it to one's advantage. The key to clever design is the thorough-thought package from the form to the meaning, use and name.

1 comment:

  1. Is there anything you can't find from teh internets?

    But seriously, there actually is a naming convention for Ikea products so technically a real Ikea product name generator would be quite easy to do.