Print Design course excursion to Helsinki

 Just arrived to HKI.

The Print Design course of autumn 2012 made an excursion to Helsinki to visit places relevant to our interests.

These places included:
- Book publishing company Otava's HQ
- Finnish Illustrators' Association AKA Grafia
- Ateneum art museum
- Sarjakuvakeskus AKA Helsinki Comics Center

Our journey began from Tampere railway station where we boarded a Pendolino-train to Helsinki. The Pendolino, infamous due to its previous performance during finnish winter, was having a strong day and got us to our destination in time.


Helsinki seemed to be struggling with a lot of snow everywhere. Weather was windy but our expedition succesfully thrusted its way to Otava publishing company's headquarters. At Otava we received a warm welcome from Art Director in Chief Otava Education Mirella Mäkilä and Senior Graphic Designer Päivi Puustinen.

Our hosts Mirella Mäkilä (2nd from the left) and Päivi Puustinen (3rd from right) showcasing book covers.

The headquarters was beautifully decorated with literacy-themed ornaments. We sat down with our hosts in the third floor where they had prepared a stunning showcase of samples from Otava's publications. Personally I was thrilled to see the finnish language textbook "Särmä". The name of the book could be translated to "Edge" which it surely had compared to any previous textbooks I had skimmed through.

We looked at book cover designs as well as layouts and acquired valuable information concerning working as a freelancer in the graphic design and illustration industry. One more note about the publications: I really like the way this intelligent and edgy stuff seems to have raised its head in literacy lately.

After our session we headed to the bookstore downstairs, where some very interesting findings were made.

Suddenly it was lunch time. Some had a nice Christmas meal at Aalto University's cafeteria. Some chose the good old Mickey D's.

Burger crew.


Then we rushed back to Otava to catch up with the rest of our expedition to carry on to the headquarters of Grafia which is an association for finnish illustrators. At the spot we were again warmly welcomed and taken to a cozy conference room to watch a very up-to-date looking slideshow on Grafia's statistics.

The most interesting part of this visit for me was to take a look at Grafia's Vuoden Huiput -publications. These publications featured acclaimed graphical publications, web design and even videos. In addition to this some valuable information about the industry was given.

Surroundings at Grafia were inspiring.

Helsinki Comics Center

A choice was given after the Grafia visit to either go to the Ateneum art museum to see an exhibition on symbolism or check out the comics center in Arabianranta. The choice was hard but eventually I went for the comics. When we arrived to the place, the feeling was very different from the earlier places, which were oozing with an industrial feeling.

The comics center felt more humane than the previous spots. We grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down to read some comics and discuss them. Mr. Joronen came up with an idea to do a comic about the experience of this particular trip so that each person of our group would draw a panel and improvise the plot. The result came out to represent the Arabianranta trip better than I could ever explain in plain words. Hopefully we get it as an update to this post soon.

A quickly made ground plan of the comics center.

We hopped on the train back to Tampere just in time. Deducting from the atmosphere, people were tired but happy.