Ikea Does Emoji

Few things in life are certain. Death and taxes make two. Other contenders for immoveable universal principles might include the inevitability that any Ikea flat-pack furniture you buy will be revealed to be missing a crucial piece/contain a large, unsightly crack once you’ve hauled it home, spent your Sunday clearing the spare room to accommodate it and unboxed 90 percent of the pieces.

Accumulating domestic clutter, the natural entropy of home order — which drove you to Ikea to buy another storage unit in the first place — might well be another. Couple-based visits to Ikea descending into full-on domestic warfare/divorce are perhaps a third.

And now, in the current App-ozoic digital era, we can add emoji to the list of life inexorables. Aka the stickers that have spread through social platforms like a particularly virulent strain of influenza.

Blend the latter two contenders and the formula dishes up Ikea’s new keyboard app for iOS and Android, Ikea Emoticons, with as much inevitability as a trip to Ikea being bookended by a plate of steaming meatballs and some lingonberry jam.

What Ikea has actually created here is a set of what are (mostly) emoji, with a couple of actual emoticons thrown in for good measure, to humanize all the virtual furniture — and at least keep up the pretense that it’s interested in helping mobile users better express their feelings. (We’ll let them off for getting their ‘emo-clature‘ in a twist. They are Swedish, after all, so mostly we should be thankful they didn’t call the app ‘Uttryckssymboler’. Or ‘Lack Lingo’. Or something.)

Instead of having to remember Ikea’s twee own brand names for the stuff it sells, like Lack and Klippan and Billy and, er, meatballs, users of the app can communicate their furniture-based desires to each other via emoji instead. How cute! How lovely! How [insert slightly-creepy-looking-heart-with-outstretched-hands emoji]! (Although, strangely enough, Ikea appears to have failed to include a Lack in its emoji collection. But you will find Billy. And Lampan. And Poäng. And a picture of an Allen Key. And did I mention meatballs?)Ikea emoji

Ikea reckons the keyboard will be useful when couples need to tell each other where at home they left their keys. Or not to be so untidy with all that clutter they bought from Ikea, but ya know tactfully, without causing a big ol’ barney. Or something. Domestic bliss presumably leads to more furniture purchases.

While social messaging platform Line has turned its kawaii digital mascots into real-world plush toys and other merch, Ikea is turning its real-world products into cutesy stickers. As branding plays go, it’s spectacularly blatant. Encouraging people to transmute their communications out of the lexis and into branded icons that make real-world products instantly recognizable and strangely familiar really just needs a video clip of someone sitting in a high-backed chair stroking a cat to feel complete…

There, much better.

You can check out Ikea Netherland’s promo video for the app below.

The app joins a raft of new keyboards on iOS — possible since Apple opened up system-wide keyboards to third parties last fall. Android, meanwhile, has always sanctioned alternative keyboards.