June 17, 2005

IKEA Names

ikea_names.jpgIn the Pottery Barn Kids catalog baby name comments, Kaz wondered about people naming their kids after IKEA furniture.

That reminded me of an article I saw last year about how IKEA comes up with their product names. Whether you use one of their names, adapt their naming strategy to a language that's already supported by your keyboard, or just entertain your friends with your Jeopardy!-like wisdom, here is Margaret Marks's translation of the elaborate IKEA product naming conventions, which was originally published in Stern magazine:

  • Upholstered furniture, coffee tables, rattan furniture, bookshelves, media storage, doorknobs: Swedish placenames
  • Beds, wardrobes, hall furniture: Norwegian placenames
  • Dining tables and chairs: Finnish placenames
  • Bookcase ranges: Occupations
  • Bathroom articles: Scandinavian lakes, rivers and bays
  • Kitchens: grammatical terms, sometimes also other names
  • Chairs, desks: menís names
  • Materials, curtains: womenís names
  • Garden furniture: Swedish islands
  • Carpets: Danish placenames
  • Lighting: terms from music, chemistry, meteorology, measures, weights, seasons, months, days, boats, sailorsí language
  • Bedlinen, bedcovers, pillows/cushions: flowers, plants, precious stones
  • Childrenís items: mammals, birds, adjectives
  • Curtain accessories: mathematical and geometrical terms
  • Kitchen utensils (cutlery, crockers, textiles, glass, porcelain, tablecloths, candles, serviettes, decorative articles, vases etc.): foreign words, spices, herbs, fish, mushrooms, fruits or berries, functional descriptions
  • Boxes, wall decoration, pictures and frames, clocks: colloquial expressions, also Swedish placenames

    Where IKEA Gets the Names [transblawg]
    Waren Sie schon mal in Klippan? [stern.de, although you don't need to know German to understand "IKEA ist kult."]
    IKEA USA products A-Z [ikea.com]

  • 1 Comment

    When I was pregnant with my second baby a friend of mine and I went to Ikea to get baby furniture and I won my entire purchase thanks to a summer promotion. Woot woot! We decided that we should name the baby after an Ikea item, but I couldn't find anything I liked. Klippan? Tassa? Eh ... Niva is ok, but imagine explaining it to everyone the rest of your life. "Hi! I'm named after a cardboard lamp!"

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