The Secrets Behind How IKEA Names Its Products

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Do you love walking through IKEA and reading off all the product names out loud? Ever wonder how they decide on those names, anyway?


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During the recent IKEA festival, the Swedish retailer revealed a little more info on the magic that goes on behind the scenes. There's a very particular process for naming IKEA products, it turns out.

For starters, an ideal new product name uses four to six letter and includes the letters å, ä, or ö. The team then has to make sure there's no copyright infringement — and everything gets double-checked by the legal team.

Hunker got some additional insights from the IKEA Range and Supply team. (For some background, the range team "is responsible for developing and designing the overall IKEA product range" and the supply arm deals with areas like supplying products to franchises, according to the company's website.)

First off, each product type comes with its own guidelines. The teams shared that IKEA sofas and chairs take their names from cities and villages in Sweden. The Klippan loveseat, for example, is named after a town with a population of around 7,700 people. Ektorp is another pin on the map of Sweden, and the name of this sofa.

There's a lot of creative thinking and problem-solving involved in general — and only four people are on the product-naming team. The company estimates that it replaces around 2,500 items a year. This means the team needs to come up with roughly eight new names a day. All of them are then catalogued in a giant database, which contains any potential names that might work. It's also used to cross-reference whether any new ideas have already been used.

And, no, they can't hide swear words in the names for fun — not in Swedish, or any other language. Other inspiration for names comes from insects, common names for people, and more.

What's in a name? Turns out it's a complicated process, but a clever one at the end of a day, for IKEA.