Latest international trend hitting Finland’s design scene – consumers to get involved in design process

Finnish designers are increasingly involving consumers in the design process. The new trend is also expected to be a visible presence at this year’s Ornamo Design Christmas.

“The industry’s been talking about consumer-led design for more than 15 years now. Finally, it looks like businesses are really starting to embrace this new opportunity,” says Petra Ilonen, Project Manager at Ornamo.

“This new-style approach obviously calls for seamless collaboration between designers and digital developers, and this is an area where Finland is doing particularly well. One of the first iterations we’ve seen of this trend is Kristian Saarikorpi’s Jevelo mobile app. With Jevelo, customers can design their own jewellery and then hand the design over to Fiskars for 3D printing,” Ilonen explains.

Ornamo’s Design Christmas market brings together established and up-and-coming Finnish designers and artisans at Helsinki’s Cable Factory from 1–3 December 2017. Consumer-led design is expected to be a visible presence at the event this year. Children’s clothing brand MINUJU plan to get their customers stuck into the process before a single stitch has been sewn. Using the company’s new design platform, children and their parents can decide for themselves whether they want their new garment to feature pockets, a zip or even a hood.

“One of the most pressing environmental challenges the fashion industry faces is the large surplus of perfectly usable but unwanted clothing. It is exactly this that Minuju plans to tackle by inviting customers to submit their orders before the clothes are made. Their staff will also be on hand at the Christmas market to give advice on clothes recycling and repairs. It’s a bit like the WI for the digital generation,” Ilonen says.

Other Design Christmas exhibitors to embrace consumer-led design include Muototalo Bravo and Napa Agency, who have joined forces to create a brand new product range based on a new printing technique that means products can be customised to their customers’ individual preference.

Going for growth through digital

Finnish design industry businesses are planning to invest heavily in new digital resources in the next few years according to results of the 2017 Ornamo design industry economic survey. The survey set out to explore industry views on digital environments and their importance. The findings highlight the key role investment in digital capabilities is set to play in the future, with nearly half of all respondents reporting that they are planning to increase their investment in digital within the next two years.

Ornamo is one of the organisations involved in raising the profile of the Finnish design industry through the website. The website is aimed at both businesses and consumers and brings together service design, product design and artisanal objects on a shared platform. The service has also been set up to list larger online retail sites and artists’ individual websites following the results of an Ornamo consumer survey which indicated that consumers struggle to find these online.

Finnish appeal

There is huge demand for new events and new digital platforms that make products more accessible to consumers. The Ornamo consumer survey showed that as many as 90 per cent of Finnish consumers are interested in buying Finnish design but 30 per cent say they can’t find the products when shopping.

Finnish people’s interest in domestic design is also reflected in the findings of a recent survey carried out by industry body Finnish Textile and Fashion. According to their survey, 40 per cent of Finns also have a preference for domestic clothing brands.

This year’s Design Christmas event will be used as an opportunity to find out more about the work done by designers. Ornamo Project Manager Petra Ilonen will be touring the venue and interviewing stallholders to give them the opportunity to share the stories behind their creations.

Ornamo Design Christmas, 1–3 December 2017
Kaapelitehdas: Merikaapelihalli, Puristamo and Valssaamo, Tallberginkatu 1, Helsinki
Opening hours: Friday 15:00–19:00 Saturday and Sunday 10:00–17:00.

Further information:
Featured Design Christmas designers:

Media image requests:

Petra Ilonen, Project Manager, Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo
tel: +358 (0)46 878 2572,

Saara Argillander, Communications Coordinator, Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo
tel: +358 (0)46 909 2610,