When asked if we could put the ‘IKEA’ back into a publication read by some 211 million people each year we happily rose to the challenge. This is how we did it...
As with everything IKEA, we needed to apply IKEA creativity. Doing the most obvious thing and taking the printed catalogue to digital platforms was not going to be enough– instead we needed to bring digital channels to the IKEA printed catalogue!
So alongside our friends at McCann New York, from the outset we recognised the important role print plays within user decision making process, so our ambition was to extend the life of the printed catalogue using new technology - to add to it not take away. We saw potential in using augmented reality and image recognition technologies in a meaningful way, making it possible to offer additional and valuable content that consumers simply could not get from a printed publication. This included:
- Inspiration films
- Product stories told by the designers (e.g. about the material and its sustainable impact)
- Alternative product shots (e.g. an X-ray of the inside of a wardrobe, 3D model of a table)
- Assembly and ‘how to’ guides
- Alternative product colours, sizes, room-set arrangements
The print pages tease the additional materials with a smartphone icon that encourages shoppers to scan to see more. It uses image recognition and not QR codes, which makes it convenient to add further content to other pages in the future.
Following IKEA's brand ethos of simplicity, we kept the interface design very clear and simple. We wanted the design to look classic and be intuitive without drawing attention to itself or distracting from the catalogue which we wanted to always be the main focus. People should notice the products rather than any design flourishes in the interface. To achieve this we used black and white as the main colours for the interface with the addition of the IKEA brand colours (blue and yellow) as highlights. The typography was clear and anything unnecessary was removed leaving the app with a simple, understated design.
The mobile and tablet digital catalogue is for both Android and iOS, which was launched in July 2012 in the USA and the rest of the world. In less than a month there were more than 1 million downloads. The application received a lot of attention from the media with 137 media placements totalling 200 million impressions.