ikea It’s always illuminating to see how companies that have built their brand on one look, product or service change direction. For instance, IKEA, known for its strict aesthetic of understated and monochromatic furnishings, has taken a seriously dramatic swing toward color and bold graphics to appeal to an audience it was missing — men.

The story: The company’s “fashion meets furniture” approach has led to a first-time-ever collaboration with a fashion designer. The collection by UK menswear designer Katie Eary was dubbed “Giltig.”  With Giltig’s tagline, “live a little louder,” the limited-time collection includes colorful, almost hallucinogenic images of fish and cats on housewares, a cushion covered with eyeballs and brains, and blood-red dentures on a cooking apron. Eary told Fast Co. Design that her inspiration for the collection was a cross between her younger brothers and a psychedelic, burnt-out Johnny Depp from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Future collections promise to be equally diverse such as a black-and-white, India-inspired collection from Stockholm-based designer Martin Bergstrom.

The lesson: IKEA is not afraid of a little reinvention to remain fresh and relevant as a lifestyle and design force. By doing so, it’s driving new traffic and eyeballs (and not just the ones on Eary’s cushions) to its overall brand.

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