IKEA changes its font to Verdana. This is not likely to result in a massive drop in sales.
"Verdana was designed for the limitations of the Web -- it's dumbed down and overused," Carolyn Fraser, a letterpress printer in Melbourne, Australia, told TIME. The design community is seemingly up in arms that IKEA would choose a "plain ugly" font. "Words can't describe my disgust," spat Ben Cristensen of Melbourne. "Horrific," lamented Christian Hughes in Dublin.
"It's more efficient and cost-effective," says IKEA spokeswoman Monika Gocic. So, IKEA has gone cheap and some think this will damage its brand. "The former typeface definitely better reflected IKEA's design philosophy, giving it a very special, unique flavor that actually fit the company's style," Vitaly Friedman told TIME. Vitaly is editor in chief of the online Smashing Magazine, which is dedicated to Web design. "With Verdana being used all across the Web, IKEA's image not only loses originality, but also credibility and the reputation that the company has built since the 1940s."
There are many reasons to buy from IKEA but I doubt the font that they use is one of them. IKEA is successful because it makes stylish, affordable furniture, not because of the font it uses.
"You know, this recession can only be good for Ireland," the barber said to me. "Irish people, you know, are a bit brand-loyal. If it's advertised on TV they think it must be good. At first they didn't want to buy from Lidl or Aldi supermarkets because they hadn't been told in ads that they were good. But they're getting used to it. And now comes IKEA …"
The Web is resulting in the bursting of the ad-built branding bubble because web customers are much more fact-driven and less emotion-dragged. The very reason you're on the Web is because you have not allowed yourself to get carried away by your emotions. You want to do a bit of research, get more facts, get the best deal.
Branding is essential but has been hijacked by an approach that seeks to manipulate the emotions. The less sophisticated a society is, the more brand loyal it is; the more sophisticated a society is, the less brand loyal it is. And that's because of what branding has so often become-a way to get us to pay more for less.
Design is essential but too much modern design has been used to manipulate the senses. It seeks to reach into the unconscious and get us to do things that we might not do if we were thinking rationally.
Marketing and advertising have a considerable role to play on the Web. Without online advertising Google would not exist in its current form, because it gets the vast majority of its revenue from ads. However, many marketers and advertisers need to totally change their thinking.
The purpose of marketing and advertising used to be to get customers to do the things you wanted them to do. The purpose of web marketing and advertising is different. It starts off by accepting that the customer is on the Web to do something. It then focuses on helping that customer become more successful in doing that thing, not getting the customer to do something else.