Finnish Design sector 21

Ornamo’s annual Key figures on Finnish Design charts the state and trends of the Finnish design industry. The report explains the near-future economic outlook and development of companies in the design sector, their internationalisation, and their management of the pandemic crisis.

The economic outlook survey was carried out amongst Ornamo’s member companies between June and August 2021, with 103 companies responding. A special theme in this year’s economic survey was how companies use design expertise across different industries. The thematic questions got responses from a total of 108 member companies of the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce operating in industry, construction and services.  The result comes from a survey conducted in May–June 2021 that canvassed member companies of the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce; the survey was part of the Key figures on Finnish Design for the first time. The survey examined how companies use design expertise across different industries. A total of 108 companies operating in industry, construction and services responded to the questionnaire.


  • The economic outlook for the design sector has improved significantly since the drop in 2020. In the results, the pandemic crisis is reflected in the development of companies.
  • Nearly half of the respondent companies have developed new services and products during the pandemic crisis, and about one third have renewed their digital channels.
  • Significant growth in digital design is spurring the total turnover of the design industry, which reached nearly EUR 13,000 million in the statistical year of 2019.

Growing importance of design accross different industries

  • Design is becoming increasingly important and more integrated into business operations. Nearly 70 per cent of the design work is done within companies.
  • Most respondents said that the need for design or the demand for design services has increased over the past five years.
  • In addition, a significant number of companies anticipate that growth will continue over the next five years. Only a few
  • enterprises believed demand would fall.
  • • According to the respondents, the main benefits of design concern improved quality, usability and quality control of
  • products and services, as well as appearance.
  • • Design has exerted a major positive impact on the company’s competitiveness, which has made it possible to increase
  • market share.



Design-intensive industries EUR 3,280 million.
E.g., furniture, textile, clothing, leather, wood, glass, ceramic products, stone, metal
Decrease in net sales in 2010–2019: -2.2%
Employment 2019 total 15,578 persons, – 24.8%

Design service companies EUR 275 million
Graphic design, interior architecture, industrial design
Increase in net sales 2010–2019: +59.5%
Employment in 2019 total 1,930 persons, +27.6%

Art activities EUR 87 million

Increase in net sales 2010–2019 +31.5%
Employment in 2019 total 663 persons, -14.7%


Digital design EUR 8,230 million
Increase in net sales 2010–2019: +121%
Employment in 2019 total 41,866 persons, +58.1%

Architecture and landscaping EUR 731 million

Increase in net sales 2010–2019: +32.9%
Employment in 2019 total 5,856 persons, +12.6%

Design is widely used in various fields. Hence, the value of the design industry is significantly higher than its calculated size. According to Statistics Finland’s Regional statistics on entrepreneurial activity, the total turnover of enterprises in the field of design was EUR 12,600 million in 2019. Digital design has grown strongly in recent years and accounted for 65 percent of total revenue.


Design creates added value for products, services and processes in different fields, in terms of usability, quality and visuals.

The impacts of design can be widely seen in society and business. Design means many things, from designing utility goods to urban planning, from designing forest machines to spatial design, and from service design to creating visual identities.

As an industry, design responds to changes in the economy and industrial structure. Modern design appears in design, design thinking and strategic design. The trend from goods production to services is clearly visible in the sector. In general, service production is currently responsible for more than two-thirds of gross value added in Finland.

Economic Outlook 2021

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