An EKTORP by any other name...
IKEA's Secret Taxonomy for Naming Things
Credit: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images

Unless you speak Swedish, the letters on IKEA products may just seem like a jumble of letters. There are the Nordli and Nornås bed frames; Extorp and Knopparp sofas and the bathroom sinks Bråviken and Hamnviken.

But it turns out there’s a more sophisticated system at play for naming IKEA products than just throwing open a Swedish dictionary and pointing to a random word.

At a product showcase in New York last week, IKEA designer Jon Karlsson revealed that there is a team of product namers who abide by a very specific naming system, Quartz reported. Outdoor furniture is named after Scandinavian islands, bookcases are given professions or Scandinavian boys’ names and sofas are named after places in Sweden.

The full list of IKEA’s product taxonomy is available on Quartz.

The rules for naming were developed by IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, who struggled to remember item codes because of his dyslexia. In fact, IKEA itself is an acronym. The first two letters stand for Kamprad’s name, E stands for Elmtaryd (his family’s farm) and A stands for the town in which he grew up, Agunnaryd.

But don’t think that IKEA product namers abide by the rules 100 percent of the time. Last month, they began renaming products with frequent Google searches with their popular “Retail Therapy” campaign. A bottle opener became “Why Men Can’t Open Up,” a wireless charger for multiple electronics became “Dating Three At Once” and a moving box was renamed “How To Make Long Distance Work.”