I work with kitchen designers all day, all week. I love kitchen designers. I am awed by their elegant mix of creativity and precision. Most of them are really nice people also, doing work they love. I would not say bad things about anyone in this field.
The problem with IKEA services design is not the people who do it. Some are IKEA sales staff trained to use the IKEA planer tool (most). Some may have actual kitchen design expertise before they start working at IKEA (a few). I have seem some IKEA plans done by IKEA services that were fine. They are better than the dozens homeowners send me every week that they drew up themselves. That IKEA online planner tool is no place for a homeowner with 10 or 20 thousand dollars burning a hole in their kitchen project budget, so to speak.
OK so what IS wrong with IKEA Services design if it's not the designer? It's the PLANNER itself. It's a low end, free, layout tool. It's fun to use. It's like a toy or a cool little iPad app. Go ahead and try it out if it will download and run on your computer. Often it won't, or it hangs up. Have fun with it, get to know your kitchen dimensions and move some cabinets and refrigerators around.
HOT TIP: However, DON'T base your entire project on a layout created with the IKEA planner!
Your layout AND your finished kitchen, are going to as constrained, as limited, as inelegant, as the drawings the planner produces.
Let's look at IKEA planner design, versus ours. Here is a 2D and a 3D view from an IKEA planner plan.
I try to prevent mediocre kitchen remodels several times a day. I can only show, and try to explain about the difference. Trying to save a bit on design by using IKEA Services is a false economy. You save nothing, and often the kitchens cost more than the ones we design. And take longer, because the drawings can be ambiguous to a contractor, which adds labor costs. Skip the gold plated microwave and invest in pro design. You will be so glad you did.
(Request my free IKEA kitchen budgeting eBook)