Red Dot Award: Product Design

Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2020

Fiskars, Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2020, creates the extraordinary through tradition, innovation and curiosity

For the 32nd time, the Red Dot Award: Product Design has awarded a design team for its outstanding overall design achievement. This year’s honorary title “Red Dot: Design Team of the Year” goes to the Fiskars Design Team led by Petteri Masalin. The title recognises the consistently outstanding design accomplishments of the Creative Design Lead and his team. It is the highest award for a sustainable design policy. The Finns’ extraordinary performance will be celebrated as part of the Red Dot Design Week. This development sees Fiskars join the ranks of Ferrari, Apple and Adidas to enter the Hall of Fame established in 1988.

“Sensations of the ordinary”

This year’s winner, Fiskars, is one of the world’s oldest companies. Founded in 1649 in a place called Fiskars, which gave the company its name, it can now look back in 2020 on a 371-year history. During this impressive time frame, Fiskars has evolved from ironworks originally to a successful, global firm that manufactures household scissors and gardening equipment alongside frying pans, pots, kitchen knives as well as axes and watering systems.

The reasons for Fiskars’ success include the ergonomic nature of the products and their user friendliness, but also their technological innovation and pioneering combinations of materials. Furthermore, the appliances and tools are designed in a way that creates an irresistible attraction. Fiskars products enrich the everyday lives of consumers sustainably. The universal scissors launched on the market in 1967 is symbolic of this design claim. Fiskars was the first at the time to combine plastic with metal to make the scissors, creating a light yet precise everyday aid. The ergonomically shaped handles are described by other designers as “Sensations of the ordinary”. Another distinctive feature is the Fiskars Orange® colour used for the plastic handles, which has since been patented. The colour has since gone on to become a hallmark of the company.

Winning Red Dots for 30 years

Fiskars has been garnering success in the Red Dot Award: Product Design for 30 years, as Professor Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of Red Dot, ascertained in a discussion with Petteri Masalin and Michael Thomson from Design Connect London: “Fiskars is always a successful participant. There are very few companies that have a success rate of almost 100%, but Fiskars is one of them.”

In the year 2000, the Finns received the highest distinction in the competition, the “Red Dot: Best of the Best”, for a lopper. It can be used to cut branches at heights of more than three metres. The product’s innovative characteristic is that the head of the shears sits on a long pole and is operated using a pulley system and a bicycle chain. The garden and pruning shears from the “PowerStepTM” series, which are executed in a manner that is as convincing as it is innovative, won the Red Dot: Best of the Best in 2009. These special shears make it possible to automatically distribute the force needed to cut branches and twigs into up to three steps. Other products in receipt of this highest accolade include the Fiskars Waterwheel XL and the Norden axes. The latter marry excellent-quality wood with advanced technology and new materials: The handle is made of hickory wood and an innovative FiberComp material, making it virtually indestructible. In the 2020 competition, an award has also been given to Fiskars Comfort Nozzles & Wands, which provide a well-executed concept for effortless watering.

Tradition and innovation excellently merged

The basis for all of these successes and for the title “Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2020” lies partly in the inspiring Nordic countryside, from where the feel for values like quality of life and sustainability stems. In addition, the company is distinguished by a high level of innovative power. To bring both of these together, the Fiskars Design Team led by Petteri Masalin pursues an integrated design process. This involves being mindful of customers and the market, functionality and user friendliness, technology and material without losing sight of where the company comes from and the brand’s tradition. “It’s my job to help the team to improve and to find a new way to incorporate the DNA and the brand philosophy into every product in the Fiskars portfolio,” Petteri Masalin tells Peter Zec and Michael Thomson. The consistently high design quality of the products bears testimony to this successful symbiosis.

Unbridled curiosity for good design

The woods of Finland are where Petteri Masalin comes up with a lot of his ideas, as he notes when speaking to Peter Zec and Michael Thomson. Close collaboration with experts like gardeners or chefs also provides impetus for Masalin and his team. They help the design team to understand how their products work. Furthermore, this curiosity means that numerous prototypes are made and intensive product tests are carried out. The entire process centres around the users, for whom these innovative, ergonomic, high-quality and long-life products are designed and produced. “The products accompany them throughout their lives, maybe for 60 or 100 years,” says Petteri Masalin hopefully.

Exhibition in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen

From 23 June 2020 to 24 January 2021, the Red Dot Design Museum Essen will present the special exhibition “Onnellisuus – designed by Fiskars”.This exhibition designed by Fiskars itself will show how the designers manage to make the everyday extraordinary. This attitude is also reflected in Fiskars’ choice of exhibition title, “Onnellisuus”, the Finnish word for happiness.