How IKEA Comes Up With Its Product Names

Original IKEA paper shopping bag.
Original IKEA paper shopping bag.
monticelllo/iStock via Getty Images

There is more to IKEA’s product naming system than non-Swedish people might think. Swedophones are familiar with the furniture store’s oddly specific conventions, but for most of us, Malm is just a line of bedroom furniture. IKEA’s product lines are named according to a set of guidelines from which the company rarely deviates.

According to Quartz, the company's product naming process is the result of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad's struggle with dyslexia. Kamprad found that nouns helped him remember and visualize products better than using code numbers, so he created a series of unusual naming conventions that the company still uses today.

A bookcase, for instance, is probably always going to be named after a profession, if it doesn’t have a boy’s name like Billy. Rugs tend to be named after cities in Denmark and Sweden, while outdoor furniture is named after islands in Scandinavia, like Kuggö, an outdoor umbrella named after an island about 125 miles west of Helsinki. Expedit, the beloved, discontinued shelving unit, means “salesclerk,” while its replacement, Kallax, is named after a town in northern Sweden. Curtains are named for mathematical terms.

Some of the other products have more descriptive names. Lack, IKEA's shiny living room furniture line, means “lacquer.” Sockerkaka, a bakeware line, means “sponge cake.” Bathroom products are named after rivers and lakes.

Some of the translations serve as little corporate jokes. The name of the toy line Duktig means “clever.” Storsint, a wine glass series, is the word for “magnanimous.”

Here’s Quartz’s list of IKEA taxonomy:

  • Bathroom articles = Names of Swedish lakes and bodies of water
  • Bed textiles = Flowers and plants
  • Beds, wardrobes, hall furniture = Norwegian place names
  • Bookcases = Professions, Scandinavian boy’s names
  • Bowls, vases, candles and candle holders = Swedish place names, adjectives, spices, herbs, fruits and berries
  • Boxes, wall decoration, pictures and frames, clocks = Swedish slang expressions, Swedish place names
  • Children’s products = Mammals, birds, adjectives
  • Desks, chairs and swivel chairs = Scandinavian boy’s names
  • Fabrics, curtains = Scandinavian girl’s names
  • Garden furniture = Scandinavian islands
  • Kitchen accessories = Fish, mushrooms and adjectives
  • Lighting = Units of measurement, seasons, months, days, shipping and nautical terms, Swedish place names
  • Rugs = Danish place names
  • Sofas, armchairs, chairs and dining tables = Swedish place names

Sadly, if a Swedish name sounds too much like a dirty word in another language, the product name will be changed in that country. Which is why you can’t buy a bench called Fartfull in an English-speaking country. At least, not anymore.

Blue Apron’s Memorial Day Sale Will Save You $60 On Your First Three Boxes

Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

If you’ve gone through all the recipes you had bookmarked on your phone and are now on a first-name basis with the folks at the local pizzeria, it might be time to introduce a new wrinkle into your weekly dinner menu. But instead of buying loads of groceries and cookbooks to make your own meal, you can just subscribe to a service like Blue Apron, which will deliver all the ingredients and instructions you need for a unique dinner.

And if you start your subscription before May 26, you can save $20 on each of your first three weekly boxes from the company. That means that whatever plan you choose—two or four meals a week, vegetarian or the Signature plan—you’ll save $60 in total.

With the company’s Signature plan, you’ll get your choice of meat, fish, and Beyond foods, along with options for diabetes-friendly and Weight Watchers-approved dishes. The vegetarian plan loses the meat, but still allows you to choose from a variety of dishes like General Tso's tofu and black bean flautas.

To get your $60 off, head to the Blue Apron website and click “Redeem Offer” at the top of the page to sign up.

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The Reason Target Has Those Giant Red Concrete Spheres Outside

These 2-ton concrete balls are for shoppers' safety, but they pose a risk of their own.
These 2-ton concrete balls are for shoppers' safety, but they pose a risk of their own.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

When it comes to brand recognition, Target has some of the strongest in the retail industry. The company’s name is reinforced by its red and white logo—a literal target—which can also be seen painted around the eye of its mascot, a Bull Terrier named Bullseye. All things considered, it seems like the giant red concrete spheres in front of the brick-and-mortar stores are just another way for Target to make itself so easily recognizable. But, as Taste of Home explains, they’re actually there for your safety, too.

The balls are called bollards, a word that used to mainly refer to the metal or wooden posts built along the edge of a wharf so that sailors had something they could tie their mooring lines around. These days, bollards is also used to describe similar posts in front of buildings, which help mitigate the risk of distracted drivers rolling right into the doors. While most places install more traditionally shaped bollards, Target isn’t the only business to take advantage of the opportunity to get creative—some baseball stadiums feature spherical bollards that look like baseballs.

Although Target’s bollards are supposed to keep shoppers safe from parking lot car accidents, the bright red spheres can be dangerous in a different way. In May 2016, a New Jersey mother sued Target for $1.6 million after her 5-year-old son fell from one of the bollards and shattered his elbow—an injury that required surgery and threatened long-term damage to his range of motion. The following year, another woman filed a lawsuit after one of the 2-ton bollards broke loose and hit her car.

Wondering what else you didn’t know about Target? Find out 15 surprising facts here.

[h/t Taste of Home]