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Expedit? Billy? Here's the genius way IKEA names products

Walking through the showroom of IKEA, have you ever wondered how they come up with the product names — when you’re not wondering how to pronounce them? There’s actually a thoughtful logic behind each one.

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IKEA designer Jon Karlsson spilled the naming convention at a product showcase in New York City in January. According to Quartz, he explained that there’s a whole team dedicated to this very job.

RELATED: IKEA’s 2017 catalog is full of space-saving furniture

The names get assigned from a database of Swedish words. The strict naming convention was created by IKEA’s founder Ingvar Kamprad, who suffered from dyslexia. Since he had trouble remembering the order of numbers, he preferred to use names instead of item numbers.

RELATED: IKEA: Here’s the right way to pronounce it

Each category of products is named after something. For example, bookcases are named after professional occupations (“Expedit” means “shop keeper”) or Scandinavian boy names, like the “Billy” bookcase.

The company sells over 12,000 products, each one with its own name that is consistent across worldwide markets.

Below, see some of the most interesting IKEA product naming conventions:

  • Bathroom articles – Swedish lakes and bodies of water
  • Boxes, wall decoration, pictures and frames, clocks – Swedish slang expressions, Swedish place names
  • Children’s products – Mammals, birds, adjectives
  • Desks, chairs and swivel chairs – Scandinavian boy names
  • Fabrics, curtains – Scandinavian girl names
  • Kitchen accessories – Fish, mushrooms and adjectives
  • Lighting – Units of measurement, seasons, months, days, shipping and nautical terms, Swedish place names
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Ikea to customers: Stop having sleepovers in our stores

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