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Erkki Ruuhinen

Erkki  Ruuhinen

Erkki Ruuhinen

Joutsa, Finland

Calligrapher, Graphic designer, Professor of Art and Design, Member of the Type Directors Club of New York


Erkki Ruuhinen, Professor of Art and Design, Graphic Designer, born 1943.

Erkki Ruuhinen is one of the top names in Finnish graphic design and is also one of Finland′s world-renowned designers. He is known as a versatile designer specializing in business emblems, logos, and designing corporate image systems, i.e. design management. In his professional field he is known for his uncompromising and determined striving for aesthetic quality, clarity and purity. This approach permeates his entire output.

Through his work and ideas, Erkki Ruuhinen has had a major impact on the development and growing esteem of Finnish graphic design. Throughout his career, he has worked to gain recognition and importance for his field as a contribution to Finnish design and to make graphic design be broadly seen as an important design area that serves all communicative purposes and corporate action. His contribution has been important both in the improvement of visual profiles of Finnish companies and design work in practice.

At the beginning of his career, Erkki Ruuhinen worked with two leading Finnish advertising agencies. In 1983, he founded his own agency specializing in graphic design, visual corporate image designing and consulting (Erkki Ruuhinen Design). His agency designs annual reports, posters and various printing products as well as business emblems, logos and corporate visual image systems for companies of all sizes in Finland.

Erkki Ruuhinen also lectured on graphic design and facilitated three major shifts in this field in Finland. He was the originator of the Top of the Year competition, which has since developed into a top-ranking annual review of Finnish graphic design and advertising. He was also involved in setting up The Best Campaigns of the Year competition, the aim of which is to improve strategic thinking in Finnish design, marketing, and advertising. Erkki Ruuhinen also presented the idea of nominating a Graphic Artist of the Year, the purpose of the nomination being to gain yearly media attention for graphic design in Finland.

Erkki Ruuhinen was the first graphic designer to be nominated Graphic Artist of the Year in 1985. A year later he was invited to join the world′s top society of typographers, The Type Directors Club of New York, as its only Finnish graphic artist member to date.

He won the Platinum Top Award in the Top of the Year competition in 1986. This award is the competition′s highest recognition, given to a designer whose creative input has influenced the development of the entire field in Finland. Erkki Ruuhinen is also the only graphic artist to have received the State Prize for Industrial Design twice, in 1969 and in 1989.

Erkki Ruuhinen′s work in design has been published in many books and some of the world′s most prestigious graphic design periodicals, such as: the Graphis Magazine, the Japanese Idea Magazine, and German Novum Gebrauchsgraphik. He also participated extensively in exhibitions in: Finland, Europe, the USA, Japan, Australia, and South America. His posters are included in the collections of poster museums in: Lahti, Amsterdam, Paris, Tokyo, and Warsaw.

In recognition of the importance of his work for Finnish graphic design, Erkki Ruuhinen was appointed Professor of Art and Design in 1996. This was the first time a graphic designer ever received such recognition from The National Council for Crafts and Design.

Author works

Type + Italics

White drawing paper, pencil, broad-nib pen, original size 42 × 30 cm.

Whisky Textura

White drawing paper, pencil, broad-nib pen, 30 x 42 cm, 1980, 1978.

"Art is a never-ending story" triptych. Left part

Paper, digital pen and tools, digital print, 60x42 cm, 2008.

"Art is a never-ending story" triptych. Central part

Paper, digital pen and tools, digital print, 60x42 cm, 2008.

"Art is a never-ending story" triptych. Right part

Paper, digital pen and tools, digital print, 60x42 cm, 2008.


White drawing paper, broad-nib pen and pencil, original size 42 × 40 cm, 1982.

William Morris

Brause nib, white drawing paper, original size 60 × 80 cm, 1983.

Four Logos

White drawing paper, sharp-pointed nib pen, pencil, 30 x 42 cm, 1981, 1984, 1979, 1978.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo

The work is done in a laser glass, 8x8x18 cm, 2012
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