Renaissance man

19 November 2012 | This 'n' that

The graphic designer Professor Erik Bruun has been awarded the Helsinki Design Award, created to celebrate World Design Capital Helsinki 2012.

Worth 10,000 euros, this special one-off award is intended to highlight the remarkable work of Erik Bruun (born 1926). His internationally recognised life’s work – from the 1950s onwards – includes commercial posters, book and journal design, logotypes, postage stamps and bank notes, photography and nature posters. Recently his best designs of the 1950s have been experiencing a renaissance as, for example, printed material and posters.

Finnish nature, its flora and fauna, in particular endangered species, have been close to his heart, and his Saimaa ringed seal poster became the emblem of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.

Erik worked with us at Books from Finland as Art Editor from 1976 to 1990. He has lived for decades in an old wooden house on the UNESCO World Heritage Site islands of Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) in Helsinki harbour, and his observations of his winged friends, various sea birds, were often the subject of discussion over Books from Finland layouts.

The logo he created for Books in 1978, a quill with an eagle’s eye, featured on the covers of almost 50 issues of the journal; the illustration here, with the text Images from Finland, is from a catalogue introducing graphics and poems from a portfolio published by Eurographica in 1978.

Our editorial process went digital in the early 1990s –  but Erik still works with his quills and pens, not with computers.


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