Category Archives: Product Design

Building 3D with Ikea


Every year, CGSociety goes to SIGGRAPH, one of the premier conferences on innovation for the computer graphics and VFX industries in the world. In 2012, we watched as Martin Enthed, the IT Manager for the in-house communication agency of IKEA, gave a short presentation. He told us how their visualisation team had evolved from the use of traditional photography for the IKEA catalogue to a system today, where the bulk of its imagery is CG. I remember leaving the auditorium (which was packed) thinking, “Those natural-looking photographs in the IKEA catalogues are amazing. I can’t believe they’re mostly CG. It’s incredible.” It was such a great presentation that we went and saw it again in 2013 when it was an official talk, and figured you guys might like to know how IKEA did it – what they had to build and innovate to get their still images to look so real. So we made a time to catch up with Martin, and asked him how and why IKEA decided to make the leap from traditional to digital.


Ikea Communications


Martin Enthed and his team work in one of the many IKEA companies, IKEA Communications AB. “When it comes to products,” explains Martin, “IKEA of Sweden designs and develops the product range. The global marketing and communication department decides what communication about the range is important to reach the consumers. We then create concepts and communication ideas, which we produce in different ways. We do the assembly instructions you all know so well! We create product images, labels, the IKEA catalogue, the website, prints for in-package and on-package etc. We do most of the global communication for IKEA. All the communication we create and produce should ultimately help consumers to understand how IKEA can help them create a better everyday life.”


In the summer of 2004, IKEA decided to change the way they produced their product images. They made the first tentative moves toward CG rendered, rather than photographic, images. “We made 8 or 10 quite bad product visualisations by today’s standards,” says Martin, “but it sparked something and we continued to work at it. In the fall of 2006 we first showed a product in the catalogue. The first CG piece of furniture was a chair called “Bertil”. Read more…




‘Invisible’ Bike Helmets Are A Real Thing Now

Are you a cyclist who is also concerned about how you look while cycling around town?

If so, then two Swedish industrial design students have solved your problem and have created an “invisible helmet” for cyclists.


Bike helmets are a very important safety feature, especially for those who cycle around a busy city where both drivers and pedestrians can be a problem. But there is no denying that it can be difficult to find a stylish bike helmet and then there is the issue of the helmet hair.

The idea for the invisible helmet came to life in 2005 as part of a Masters’ thesis, when Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin were studying industrial design at the University of Lund.The Hövding (invisible helmet) is actually an air bag, which uses a helium gas cylinder to inflate when its sensors detect a sudden jolt.

The helmets are also CE labelled, which means they comply with EU safety standards and have undergone a variety of safety tests.

Here is how it works:


Mobile charging stand

This term the Higher Product Design classes have designed and manufactured Mobile Phone Charging stands. They were asked to produce a holder which could support their phone when it is plugged in and charging. We used the laser cutter to cut out the designs which were created in Autodesk Inventor. Here are a couple of examples.

Transplant jaw made by 3D printer

Advances in Rapid Prototyping materials.

A 3D printer-created lower jaw has been fitted to an 83-year-old woman’s face in what doctors say is the first operation of its kind.

The implant was made out of titanium powder – heated and fused together by a laser, one layer at a time.

Technicians say the operation’s success paves the way for the use of more 3D-printed patient-specific parts. read more…