Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2006

Capstone Advisor

Roderick Martinez

Honors Reader

Marcene Sonneborn

Capstone Major

Communication and Rhetorical Studies

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

Communication | Communication Technology and New Media


My longtime fascination with Scandinavian design inspired me to pursue an honors thesis project in spite of the many obstacles that would have to be overcome. As I began to design a project plan, my research led me to focus on one specific area of Scandinavia. Finland seemed to be one of the most interesting countries that Americans probably know the least about. Boasting one of the best educational systems in the world and an impressive design history, this quaint population of only about five million has completely transformed their homeland since the devastation left by World War II. The initial goal of my thesis project was to travel to this fascinating nation and discover firsthand the secrets being held from the rest of the world.

During the two summers I spent living in Finland, I was completely immersed in the culture. By living with a Finnish family, spending free time with newfound Finnish friends, and rarely seeing any other visitors, I gained a truly inside perspective on the culture. After orienting myself in my new environment, I started to conduct my qualitative research by conducting many interviews, mostly with individuals from the Finnish design community. As time progressed, my interest in the young designers, who were the future of Finland, only grew. They represent a unique generation of Finnish creatives who are promoting their own designs, redefining modernism, and also starting their own companies. They are citizens of the world who have developed a sense of global values. In meeting with these dynamic emerging designers and engaging in casual conversation, I gained great insight into the Finnish culture and the challenges these designers face as they fight to establish relevance in a powerful design history.

A book was chosen as the appropriate vehicle to communicate my message for purposes of broader accessibility and clear and concise delivery of the subject matter. Since design is a powerful visual experience it was also important to provide high-quality and accurate color representations of the work I would be featuring. As I approached the design of my book, Pure: life and design in Finland, it was a challenge to balance my own design with the work of the designers who were the subject of my book. I intended my design to showcase and support the visual examples of the Finnish designers, not make its own statement or be noticed as a separate design element. To me, my work is a representation of a pure lifestyle and level of design inspired by nature and for the good of the community and the culture.

I came to Finland as a naïve American unsure about the future, and returned home as an ambassador for Finnish design, with ideas and a value set that I intend on expressing throughout my design career. Finland encompasses values for a sustainable society and is a laboratory for future design and global concepts. This treasure is still largely undiscovered—but it is my mission as a designer and author to let the secret out.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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