Marimekko & Finnair – A brand collaboration made for and in the heavens

branding agency

A Brilliant Brand Design Partnership
As a creative brand agency with a truly global view we’ve long been fans of the Marimekko brand with it’s striking visual language. And this year on a trip to Europe to meet with our brand and marketing peers as part of the E3 international network of creative agencies we flew from Singapore to the beautiful (if bloody freezing) Helsinki and back with Finnair. So when I came across this meeting of the minds – if-not the brands – I was delighted by what feels to me like a match made by and for the heavens.

Marimekko has been engaged to create a signature collection to be used on-board Finnair flights of textiles for blankets, aprons, bags and cushion covers, and tableware – plates, cups, mugs, teapots. The aircraft featuring the Marimekko kit has been beautifully adorned with matching livery. I know if I was walking through the boarding gates and spotted the plane through this windows my design heart would skip a beat in anticipation. In reference to the brand design collaboration, Finnair’s CEO Mika Vehviläinen said; ‘Our goal is to become a design airline, and bring our customers unique experiences for all five senses.’ A beautiful and bold vision for the airline in a category that seems much more focused on stripping costs, competing on price and loading-up the pointy end of the plane with premium paying business passengers.

The first Marimekko styled Finnair airbus A340 is currently flying between Helsinki and Asia. It sports Marimekko’s signature 1964 unikko floral print by Maija Isola, depicted in the blue and yellow colors Of Finland. With more aircraft due to follow suit in 2013

Finnair has a strong design heritage, and this cooperation brings our design thinking to
a new level,
‘ says Mika Vehviläinen, Finnair CEO. ‘Our goal is to become a design airline,
and bring our customers unique experiences for all five senses. cooperation with Marimekko
is an important step towards this target. Finnair aircraft will become roving ambassadors
of timeless finnish design and creativity, giving our customers a special experience when
they fly with us

We hope that Marimekko’s sympathetic unikko poppy flowers flying up in the sky as well
as our other iconic prints as a part of the in-flight experience bring joy to people around
the world,
‘ says Mika Ihamuotila, Marimekko CEO. ‘Lately, we have wanted to connect
Marimekko’s colourful design and fashion with surprising parties and forms of art, such
as ballet, modern dance or visual arts. Now it is time to do something unforeseen up in the
sky. I believe that the Marimekko and Finnair design collaboration will bring to hectic and
often grey air travel joy, peace of mind and beautiful memories.

My sense from my short time in Finland was that these two brands are representative of the passion, style and pride of many Finns, both brands have a genuinely international footprint and in the way of local brands going global become pseudo ambassadors. Not only does the brand collaboration have a wonderful synergy, but from my experience of Finnair, this injection of colour, texture and Finnish style is precisely what is missing from the current bland offering. What a truly inspired win for both brands.

brand identity agency

Dave Ansett
Chief Cre­ator of Brands

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All images courtesy of Finnair and Marimekko.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Dave,

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this post what a treat for readers. Both brand’s personality came through loud & clear as well as their brand passion to give the audience an emotional experience. Elvis Presley line comes into my mind: “Do something worth remembering!”
    And that is precisely what both brands did.

    Thank you and will share it .

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