Nordic countries helping society with More Design

Nordic design is famed for its blond woods and clean-look typified by Swedish Modernism, but the region wants to promote another aspect of the industry that focuses on the contribution design can make across society.

For the first time, Finland, Norway and Sweden have come together this month to launch the 2005 Year of Design, co-ordinating an international effort to boost the awareness and use of design across private and public sectors. The countries are seeking to demonstrate how Nordic design has evolved since the 1990s, and where the future of the industry lies.

Sweden is spearheading the project, running activities from a dedicated campaign office in Stockholm, set up by the Svensk Form, the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design. The project was dreamt up in conjunction with the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation. It is backed by the Ministry of Culture and has a budget of about s6m (£4m).

According to Anna Rygard, project manager at Svensk Form, up to 1000 government-commissioned events, exhibitions, workshops, courses, lectures and day-care projects will be taking place over the year. A steering group comprising representatives from the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Public Art Council, the Arts Grants Committee, the National Swedish Handicraft Council, the University College of Arts, Craft and Design, and the Swedish Research Council will help manage the projects.

Events will include the Stealth Design project, consisting of shows and lectures promoting ‘invisible’ products such as installations and aircraft and ship design The 2005 Year of Design

There will be up to 1000 events taking place across Sweden. For more information visit

An event calendar for Finland’s Year of Design is available at, or from Design Forum Finland by e-mailing anna.varakas@design forum.fithat cannot be detected by radar, and Era 05, a congress on how design solutions can be applied to migration, demographic change and multicultural communities. There will also be various international events, such as Sustainable City, a Swedish-Chinese forum held in Beijing. New forms of transport-packaging design, interactive design and revised graphic profiles will also be introduced.

Rygard hopes more links will be made between businesses and the design sector that will help to ‘professionalise’ the industry and demonstrate how design implicitly affects the environment, use of resources, education, research, and consumer values.

‘During the 1990s we really developed good design and made international contact,’ she says. ‘But now is the time to build on that and show the different professional undertakings of design and how it affects all areas such as healthcare, hospitals, public schools, transportation, safety and security. We have to be better users of design overall.’

The event is being branded ‘Mer Design’, meaning ‘More Design.’ The logo has been designed by Swedish consultancy Happy Forsman & Bondenfors, and will run across all marketing literature, digital designs and campaign media activity.

The government wants to highlight seven priority areas

• working life and design

• design as a cultural expression

• public procurement

• design as a growth factor

• design for all

• sustainable design

• education and research

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