The Democratic Design Manifesto

The Democratic Design Manifesto

The core element of IKEA is called Democratic Design and aims to change life in five dimensions, making products that are simultaneously beautiful, functional, good quality, affordable and sustainably produced.

What does Democratic Design mean and what does IKEA want to achieve with it? Our ‘Democratic Design Manifesto’ provides the answers.

We want to shake the world up, make it a better place. And we thought we’d start by making everyday life better. More human, more fun, simpler, smarter, and better looking. And we want as many people as possible to be able to experience this great everyday life. It’s a big, fun, amazing challenge, and we seem to be virtually the only ones taking it on. Some companies make beautiful but very expensive things. Others devote themselves to making super-cheap things, but perhaps with very little lasting value. Our mission is bigger than just design, bigger than just low prices. Our mission is the almost impossible idea to combine beautiful form with good function, long-lasting quality, produced in a sustainable value chain with a low price.
The designer Nike Karlsson in IKEA's timber store

We want to make truly great things available to everybody. And we want to do it in as responsible, playful and curious a way as we possibly can.

We want to do it from the foundation of our idealistic dream of really, actually creating a better everyday life for the many people. | We want to shake the world up by showing that it is possible to create products where both the quality and the function exceed people’s expectations. That it is possible to create products where sustainability is not only about taking responsibility for the entire production chain, but also helping people to live more sustainable lives. That it is possible to create products that show a form that stuns you and makes you happy. That it is possible to create products that have such a low price that as many people as possible can afford to buy them. We believe it is possible to include all these five dimensions and we call it IKEA Democratic Design.

An IKEA designer jumps onto an air-filled mattress.

Our idea about Democratic Design is rooted in a tradition of functionalism and humanism. And it’s also a product of our playful attitude towards challenges. We want to change the world. But we can only do that if we’re curious. We can only do that if we dare to explore new collaborations, new materials, new ideas. We can only change the world if we have the courage to change ourselves a little. To think differently, bravely, crazily, innovatively. We can only create change if we’re open to everything and maybe even a bit naive, even hopeful. We can only shake the world up if we dare to challenge and provoke each other a little. We can only change the world if we dare to make mistakes.

You can find the interview with Marcus Engman, Head of Design at IKEA, and the history behind Democratic Design in the blog.

Tags: DDD Democratic Design Democratic Design Days Design Stanley Nielsen Sustainability

Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2018