After 50+ years, the furniture store IKEA has changed it’s signature font from Futura to Verdana. For those of you who do not already know this (and why would you?), Verdana is a what we call web-friendly; this means that when you view it on your computer screen, it will appear as the designer intended and further, this will apply to all computer screens, using all browsers and operating systems.
With a font like futura, which was designed way before there was an internet, the words (or logo) will not look the same on the screen as it would in print. Then the designer must make a decision – what font would be a good replacement for the web?
Well, Ikea doesn’t need to worry about that any longer since Verdana is nothing if not consistant. Apparantly, this caused quite a stir on the internet. Google Ikea font change and you will see a host of articles from the Associated Press to Business Week and many assorted blogs.
Of course, I cannot present a piece of tech “news” without a little commentary.
While it seems on it’s face to be a somewhat insignificant news item, Corporate Identity is a really important component of any business. Ikea’s 50-year run with the Futura font has ensured that the logo and associated catalog, advertising and other printed media is instantly recognizable and associated with the Ikea brand.
Some of the online commentary has been in the vein of “who cares?” while others (typofile.com) proclaimed it “a bad day”. Change can be a very good thing, but when it comes to your corporate identity, you’d be surprised at how it can affect your customers and your bottom line.
Case in point – did anyone else notice the huge change in the Tropicana Orange Juice packaging? I did and I can say that it was lost on me. They have gone back since to get closer to their “roots” and it’s better now, but for awhile it was looking like the generic supermarket brand. Tropicana is a premium product and the package redesign simply did not reflect that. Consumers were in an uproar and so the decision was made to pull the plug on the new look.
Take a look and let me know which you prefer. No matter what your preference, we can all agree that the change was dramatic and the end result was not the desired one. No one wants their well-established brand to mistaken for something else.
A good lesson.