Finland’s design sector body unveils new name

Ornamo, Finland’s professional body for the design sector, has announced a change in its name. The organisation represents a wide range of professionals and businesses within the design industry.

Formerly the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo, the organisation will henceforth be known as Ornamo Art and Design Finland. The same title will also be used in Swedish. The new Finnish title is Ornamo ry.

The decision to proceed with the name change was taken at Ornamo’s annual general meeting on 12 April 2018. It is based on the outcome of an advisory poll by the membership, which attracted responses from a total of 597 Ornamo members. The majority of the respondents voted in support of the Finnish title Ornamo.

The name change was prompted by the organisation’s desire to ensure that it remains well-placed to clearly communicate its identity amidst rapid ongoing change within the sector. This is particularly important as design expertise is becoming increasingly sought-after across a wide variety of industries. With design sector professionals set to perform an ever-broader range of roles in the future, Ornamo will also have the opportunity to extend its membership.

“More and more, people are turning to design to find solutions to a wide variety of problems and challenges, and the industry is attracting an increasingly diverse range of professionals. At Ornamo, our role and our identity have always evolved with the times, which is why it made sense for us to have this conversation about our name now,” explains Kristian Keinänen, Chair of the Ornamo Board.

“Our name is integral to our wider identity and it is important to ensure that it continues to reflect the membership and the wider industry as accurately as possible.”

More than a century of Ornamo

The organisation’s previous name, the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo, dates back to 1966. First founded in 1911, Ornamo was originally known as Piirto. In 1912 the name changed to Ornamo, the Finnish Association of Ornamental Artists. The word “ornamo” comes from Esperanto and means adornment or ornament.

Today, Ornamo is a national expert organisation tasked with promoting the interests of the profession. Members have access to a number of benefits including advice and support, training, events, networking and communications.

Ornamo members work in the design industry, where traditional job roles within the profession are continuing to evolve alongside new emerging specialisms.

In an increasingly digital world, designers have a key role to play in creating new user interfaces, services, smart devices and virtual and physical environments. Among Ornamo’s membership, interior architects, industrial designers, textile, print and fashion designers as well as artisans and artists represent some of the more traditional specialisms. They are joined by service designers, strategic design specialists, design directors and business owners.

Ornamo’s membership has seen steady growth in recent years. In April 2018, it comprised a total of 2,528 members, an increase of 122 on the previous year.

To be eligible for membership, prospective candidates will need to have a higher education degree and be working in a professional role within the design industry or using design methods and techniques in their work. Student membership is available to those pursuing a relevant qualification.

Since 2013, Ornamo has continued to monitor the design industry through annual economic reporting and industry surveys. This ongoing research activity forms a key part of Ornamo’s efforts to promote the interests of the profession. Ornamo business surveys have shown that Finnish design industry SMEs enjoy above average growth. Their outlook tends to be optimistic, with half of all respondents in 2017 expecting demand and the wider economy to improve in the next twelve months.