On the last episode of Rate the Ad, we asked you to opine about IKEA's dramatic change of (type)face. The furniture giant's latest catalog had replaced its 50-year-long go-to font Futura with the more computer-friendly Verdana.
Reader Wakeman360 recognizes both the pros and cons of the decision, and called Futura "a daring type choice for IKEA. In design schools we conventionally teach students to avoid using Verdana in print. Matthew Carter designed Verdana for Microsoft in 1996 with the intention of creating a face that would read well on-screen at small sizes. By breaking typographic conventions and using this face in integrated branding (and print), it could be argued that IKEA has made a 'bad' choice. On the same hand, perhaps it could be argued that Verdana is so bad, it's cool. Although Verdana is dated, one cannot help but appreciate the risky decision made to resurrect an under-used Carter typeface. There is cohesion between the IKEA wordmark and the letterforms of Verdana. Maybe in this case a risky type choice actually works."
Others, however, were more concerned with the shift to all-caps. Kykimo was all over it, praising its nod to a modern-day design aesthetic. "This is a good change, I LOVE it. Ikea is no longer the same company it was 50 years ago. The lower case did made it look more approachable, but it was somewhat informal and outdated. With the direction that the company is going, the all caps change does make a statement."
Reader jberthelet saw the caps-craziness differently, however. "Aside from the loss of character and slight 'disconnect' that the new font generates, the decision to use ALL CAPS instead of the traditional Ikea lower case makes for a much less sympathetic feel. I am a brand builder and don't expect this change to create any large scale panic or generate any visible or perceptible impact on Ikea and think that the brand stewards at Ikea probably feel that the brand needs to grow with its customers—who aren't the traditional students or first home buyers of the past, but who are more mature customers in the market for good design at a fair price and who compare Ikea to other furniture retailers. In the long run, it just makes the brand that much less approachable. Is that a bad thing? I think so."
For our next installment of Rate the Ad, let's pretend we're back in the good old pre-economic slump days and visit this new site from restaurant Maloney & Porcelli. Having trouble justifying that high tab at your last business dinner? Expense-a-Steak aims to turn your extravagances into "responsible" expenses by creating more practical-looking receipts to cover for your T-Bone or stripper bills. Is this recession-era brand utility? Or is encouraging people to cook their books severely out of touch with our post-Madoff/AIG reality? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.