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The IKEA Catalogue 2017

WRITER: HANNAH MAGNUSSON

Translated into 33 languages, in 48 different markets, reaching about 255 million people, this year’s IKEA Catalogue welcomed everyone to be themselves. The statement was clear: IKEA products aren’t designed for consumers, they’re designed for people. And the reality? People are human, and humans are not perfect.

Alongside this year’s bold statement; the IKEA Catalogue introduces an editorial approach for the very first time. Amongst the wide array of products and inspiration, every couple of pages you’ll find a story. Topics range from real peoples’ homes and dreams, to an up-close peek into the IKEA world. Additionally, they’ve launched a newly developed digital experience, and a new IKEA Catalogue app. The goal? To be accessible to everyone. But what does the IKEA Catalogue look and feel like from inside IKEA? Lead Art Director, Zara Blomqvist shares her experience.

A close-up of the lead art director Zara Blomquist.

What do you love the most about working with the catalogue?

“The catalogue is the only platform where we’re able to produce content that is consistent on a global level. Aside from the store, it’s the place where the IKEA Concept and home furnishing ideas reach the largest amount of people. My favourite part is when creation and production are happening at the same time. I love being ‘the spider in the web’, weaving it all together. That’s when I feel I’m able to dream about what the end results will be, while still enjoying the process.”

What’s the hardest part?

“Just the large scale of everything!” (Over 200 people were involved in creating the IKEA Catalogue this year, which means roughly 102 000 hours of work. If the catalogue were to make laps around the globe, it would make about 38 of them Yes, 38!) Zara continues, “Then of course, there are also many small details to take into account. Like every single article number for each product, and all the translations.”

Something about the Catalogue that no one would know?

“We build all our home furnishing solutions based on insights and trends that are happening around the world. Home-visits are a large part of the process. It’s where we begin the catalogue journey to collect inspiration and knowledge. This year, we visited a very interesting home in Berlin. We were so intrigued by their kitchen. It was all black, elegant and uniform with sleek lines. It had everything you could imagine in order to turn a compact area into a very attractive, smart way of living. And that’s actually how one of the kitchen solutions in this year’s catalogue came to life. It’s so valuable and important for us to be inspired from real homes. Because, what we’re doing is about people - learning about their lives at home in order to make it better.”

What’s your favourite story this year?

“What home is like for a refugee without one’. It’s a highly relevant topic today, and one that I hope reaches out to many hearts. It’s also affected me on a personal level - seeing all the non-governmental organizations and everyone involved. It’s special, because it has little to do with the commerciality of the catalogue. It’s about something that everyone can relate to - the simple fact that we all want, and need, a place to call home.”

What can you share about the future?

“Everything is moving in a more editorial direction. Storytelling is something that we want to share more and more of because it’s important for people to know what kind of brand they are engaging with. We want them to know who the IKEA brand is. We’re constantly working on developing the digital side as well - to make the experience more user-friendly and accessible to the many. Another exciting initiative is the movement towards e-commerce. We would like to share our ideas and inspire, as well as give you the opportunity to act immediately if there is something you like. It’ll be very interesting to see in which direction the print catalogue will go…"

Three words that sum up this year’s production?

Zara pauses before saying, “Turbulent, but in the positive sense. New movements. And thirdly: Forward.”

And some more highlights…