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2019 Gold Best Design or Art Direction


Agency: Proximity London

Client: IKEA UK

Campaign Name: Soffa Sans

Campaign Overview

How do you make sofa planning exciting? By making IKEA famous for its hidden everyday creativity.


Everything IKEA does has hidden creativity that solves problems, such as dishwasher water pooling in upturned cups; the Swedish retailer’s cups have a groove that drains liquid.

All part of its “wonderful everyday” design philosophy.

Of course, it’s hard to get people to see this type of creativity - never mind talk about it. But IKEA wanted people to make some noise about its sofa planning tool.

Sadly, only 50 of's 250,000 daily visits were to use the tool, hardly the basis for a viral meme.

Patience was a virtue.

Proximity employed social listening to wait for anything interesting to crop up that could be turned into something major.


Proximity found a small group of tech fans subverting the sofa planning tool for their own amusement: drawing spiral sofas, words on sofas, phallus sofas… an idea was born.

IKEA Soffa Sans was released - a real, downloadable, usable font, built from 38 different sofa configurations on the sofa planning tool in multiple colours, 3D and 2D.

The font was promoted through the social threads, supported by IKEA’s own social campaign and website, and a PR push.

The font encouraged consumers to engage with the hidden creativity of our tool.

The creative approach was designed to reach an audience of design geeks and mainstream tech interests.

To involve them and promote sharing, the font was co-created, and rewards given in the shape of a free sofa.


Within two days, 84.2 million impressions were generated with more than 13,000 references on social.

The font earned £358,000 of free media, including becoming a UK Twitter moment.

It was picked up by Mashable, Financial Times, The Verge, CNET, FAST Company, Marketing Week and others.

The font generated a 6,695% increase in organic traffic to the sofa planner tool.

There were an average of 7,000 hits per day, and average hours spent within the planning tool increased by 1,023%.

Truly hidden creativity brought to life.

The Team

James Bartram, Strategy Director, Proximity London - Aaron Breuer-Weil, Junior Planner, Proximity London - Jay Packham, Senior Art Director, Proximity London - Ian Cochran, Senor Copywriter, Proximity London - Zoe Jones, Business Director, Proximity London - Alice Kenyon, Account Manager, Proximity London - Brian Eagle, Head of Design, Proximity London - Gemma Zhang, Designer, Proximity London - Lucy Aird, Designer, Proximity London - Mat Poscha, Artworker, Proximity London - James Norton, Artworker, Proximity London - Alex Thorpe, Animator, Proximity London - John Treacy, Executive Creative Director, Proximity London - Michael Creevy, Social Media Specialist, IKEA UK - Starr Cottrell, Junior Press Officer, IKEA UK - Rhianna Higham, Social Media Specialist, IKEA UK - Jason Black, Web Communications Manager, IKEA UK


Hope and Glory

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