Design incorporated: IKEA as personal experience

Dimitar Trendafilov

Punctum, 4(1): 165-178, 2018
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2018.0010

Abstract

Providing deep and memorable experience to the consumers—in various manners and through all channels possible—is undoubtedly amongst the key factors for success in contemporary markets. Moreover, companies need to consider the trends of gamification, personalization, eco-living as well as the extremely short life-cycle of their products. In this context, design is getting more and more important in branding and consumer’ perceptions about the quality and benefits of the product available. It serves as a tool of communication not only for what the product is, but how it works and how exactly it will become part of the everyday life of the consumers as well. As such, design, in branding perspectives, has an active role and engages consumers in new kind of relationships that go beyond pure aesthetics. This article is an effort for a socio-semiotic analysis of the set of practices that IKEA implements regarding the use of design as a main basis on which it tries to create, deliver and maintain value of its huge global audience. What makes the company unique is its multimodal approach in terms of design-based brand management, point-of-sale design, furniture design, entire home interior solutions, catalogue design, and last but not least, lifestyle design. We can easily point out that it has built its own brand meaning by forming a recognizable and self-centered semiosphere, that highly influences the whole category it operates in, and sets the rules in people’s self-expression, on the one hand, and their attitude towards the notion of ‘home’, on the other-home as constantly moving ‘immobility’ similar to fashion trends and practices. IKEA is a very good example of design semiotics, applied in marketing activities and real life as successfully mixing its own production with customers’ desire for designing their own unique world of objects.

KEYWORDS: experience design, fast fashion, interactivity, multimodality
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