The value added by design has traditionally been sought after by the consumer elites of Turkey. The largest part of the Turkish population neither has had the income nor the awareness of design. Under these circumstances, the new product development efforts of the Turkish industry have mostly been directed towards the more demanding consumer base of Europe or America.
As the Turkish economy continues to grow and the income level of the Turkish population increases, it is observed that the domestic market has also become a target for the industry. The once ignored needs of the local population started to be taken into consideration, and in fact they even have led to some product innovations (e.g. the automatic Turkish coffee and tea makers “Telve” and “Tiryaki” by Arçelik, the prominent white goods manufacturer). It can be said that there has been an upgrade in the design value of products produced for the local market over the years in at least some sectors, such as glass, sanitary ware, white goods, steel cookware and cutlery and furniture. The symbol of this phenomenon is the traditional Turkish tea glass which has been redesigned by prominent Turkish designers in recent years.
The design oriented manufacturing companies specializing in office and/or home furniture such as Koleksiyon, Nurus and Derin target the upper income level consumers having a taste for design. It can be said that a foreign agent has been the most influential in the democratization of design in Turkey, namely IKEA. Since its opening in 2005 firstly on the Asian side of Istanbul next to some poor neighborhoods, it has become very influential in creating awareness in design. It certainly fulfilled a void in the segment of children’s furniture as this was an underserved market in Turkey not only for individual consumers but also for corporate consumers such as operators of day care facilities.
A new phenomenon is the emergence of a new type of consumer seeing design as a means to express his/her identity. This is a positive development for designers to develop their own styles and find customers for their work.