Profile of An Artist


To try to describe and define Erkki Ruuhinen ́s artistry can be quite challenging. For a friend of well over four decades, like myself, the task is even more challenging because one has to try and remain neutral, keeping a certain professional distance to the subject person.

It would be so very easy to just say that Erkki is the most skilful, the most punctual, the most accurate, the most artistically talented visual designer I ever met. (Have met quite a few.) But not just that. If there were ́A Decathlon ́ type of competition in Visual and Related Arts, Erkki would make a most perfect candidate for the highest glories, with his multiple skills ranging from being a graphic designer, typographer, type designer, calligrapher, poster designer, symbol designer, identity designer, painter, photographer and writer.

He ́s been awarded in Finland and around the world nearly two hundred times. In 1969, and again in 1989, Erkki received the State of Finland Prize in Art and Design, still being the only graphic designer ever awarded twice with this stately prize. In 1986, Erkki was granted ́The Platinum Peak ́, the highest national trophy for outstanding excellence in planning. He ́s been working in several leading advertising agencies and then, since 1983, running a consultancy of his own, Erkki Ruuhinen Design. In 2012, after nearly 50 years in day-to-day business, he finally slowed a bit down, to spend more time with his good old fancies, such as painting, photography and calligraphy. Wanting to keep up with changing times, Erkki then took on digital publishing, too, examples of which can be seen on this and on his other websites.


As a natural crown for his merits in graphic design, Erkki was appointed Professor of Visual Arts in 1996, for a 5-year term.

But there ́s one thing, in particular, that needs special attention about his personality. When browsing his websites, wandering through those hundreds and indeed thousands of pieces of work, I ́m sure you will spot the very same thing that I spotted and learned to appreciate during my early years already, as his colleague and close workmate.

With Erkki, every single draw counts. Every little line and spot have a role, a function. A job to do, a message to carry.

And vice versa: there ́s nothing irrelevant, not a draw included, without a purpose. For someone like myself, for whom all unnecessary decorations, frills, bells and whistles, always tend to give the creeps, working with Erkki and waiting to see whatever exciting there might be coming this time, no such risk ever existed!

So, please dive into Erkki Ruuhinen ́s world of visual art. Enjoy the clearness of his thinking, enjoy the beauty of his design. Even behind the simplest form, a multitude of highly meaningful layers can be found. It ́s like peeling onions. One knows the core is there. Godspeed!

Martti Kirsitie

A friend and colleague (copywriter) for well over four decades