E tu, Ikea?

Justin Jurek

There can be only one.

There can be only one.

In case you haven’t already heard (and I don’t know how you haven’t), Ikea changed it’s typeface. The venerable and much beloved Futura has been ousted by Verdana, an upstart font from the Web side of the tracks.

As a fan of both Ikea and Futura, I have to say, this leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I have nothing against Verdana in it’s natural habitat. In fact (nerd-joke alert, nerd-joke alert), it’s definitely one of my Top 10 System Fonts to use on the Web. But in print? Print??? I just don’t know.

There are strong arguments for and against this drastic change. Being both extremely Scandanavian and extremely pragmatic, Ikea felt it was time to standardize it’s fonts across all media. Any designer worth her salt knows how limiting the current stable of web-safe fonts is, and there are efforts underway to free us from the tyranny of Georgia, Trebuchet and their ilk. But until that day arrives, Ikea wants to communicate the same way to it’s customers, whether online or in print.

The common argument against the switch goes something like this:

“WHAT??? IKEA DID WHAT??? Why are they using a Web font for print? Futura is the bestest font ever. I mean, have you seen a Wes Anderson film? All his credits are in Futura. And when you kern those letterforms just right. Boom! Rationalism. Geometry. Everything that Ikea is about. And… uh… I like Futura a lot…”

So there it is. Will more web-safe fonts make the jump to large-scale commercial projects, or is this a one time deal? Discuss.


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