I always wondered how they came up with the names for products at IKEA. I found out today that apparently they had ‘cracked the code’ , or at least found the pattern(s) for the names. So the next time you see a JERKER or JONKOPING named product, check your cheat sheet with the naming standards, now in Wikipedia:
IKEA products are identified by single word names. Most of the names are either Swedish, Danish, Finnish or Norwegian in origin. Although there are some notable exceptions, most product names are based on a special naming system developed by IKEA.
- Upholstered furniture, coffee tables, rattan furniture, bookshelves, media storage, doorknobs: Swedish placenames (for example: Klippan)
- Beds, wardrobes, hall furniture: Norwegian place names
- Dining tables and chairs: Finnish place names
- Bookcase ranges: Occupations
- Bathroom articles: Scandinavian lakes, rivers and bays
- Kitchens: grammatical terms, sometimes also other names
- Chairs, desks: men’s names
- Materials, curtains: women’s names
- Garden furniture: Swedish islands
- Carpets: Danish place names
- Lighting: terms from music, chemistry, meteorology, measures, weights, seasons, months, days, boats, nautical terms
- Bedlinen, bed covers, pillows/cushions: flowers, plants, precious stones; words related to sleep, comfort, and cuddling
- Children’s items: mammals, birds, adjectives
- Curtain accessories: mathematical and geometrical terms
- Kitchen utensils: foreign words, spices, herbs, fish, mushrooms, fruits or berries, functional descriptions
- Boxes, wall decoration, pictures and frames, clocks: colloquial expressions, also Swedish placenames
For example, DUKTIG (meaning: good, well-behaved) is a line of children’s toys, OSLO is a name of a bed, JERKER (a Swedish masculine name) is a popular desk, DINERA (meaning: dine) for tableware, KASSETT (meaning: cassette) for media storage. One range of office furniture is named EFFEKTIV (meaning: efficient), SKÄRPT (meaning: sharp or clever) is a line of kitchen knives.
A notable exception is the IVAR shelving system, which dates back to the early 1970s. This item is named after the item’s designer.
Because IKEA is a world-wide company working in several countries with several different languages, sometimes the Nordic naming leads to problems where the word means something completely different to the product. A well known example was the bed frame GUTVIK. As the word can be pronounced Gootfick it invites German-speaking people to understand it like gut fick which is somewhat close to “good fuck” in German.
Company founder Ingvar Kamprad, who is dyslexic, found that naming the furniture with proper names and words, rather than a product code, made the names easier to remember
How about that! Well, now I can go to an IKEA without scratching my head so much.