Sanna Annukka, how did you become a designer?
I graduated in 2005 with a BA (Hons) in Illustration from the University of Brighton. After graduating, I started selling limited edition silk screen prints of my artwork at a Scandinavian design shop in Islington, London. One lucky print sale to a friend of the British band Keane led me to creating the artwork for Keane’s second album ‘Under The Iron Sea’. This period saw me join forces with a London-based creative consultancy, Big Active, firstly on the design for the album and then as part of their select number of represented artists.
What inspires your work?
I’m really proud to be half Finnish so my Finnish culture and childhood memories of Finnish summers play an important role in my work.
I adore folklore (particularly ‘The Kalevala’). Nature/wildlife, Finnish landscapes and the ethereal quality of light on a midwinter’s day in Lapland. Also, Scandinavian design from the 50s- 70s.
How do you usually work? What is your design process like?
I always start off by creating sketches; I can get a bit obsessive about drawing something until it’s just right. A classic case was when I designed my ‘Karhut’ print which depicts nine bear heads. I drew at least a hundred different bear heads until I was satisfied with nine to use for my design. Once I’m happy with a drawing, I scan it into my computer to use as a template. The rest of the design is developed in either Photoshop or Illustrator. My favourite process to work in, however, is screen printing. Far more fun and involving than sitting by a computer! Every year I release a new range of limited edition silk screen prints of my artwork.
What do you think is the most important quality of a designer? Originality is essential.
What does the word Marimekko bring to your mind?
What is it like to design for Marimekko?
It has been an interesting journey! Many pleasures and challenges along the way. I’m very grateful for the experience.
What do you want to communicate with the fabrics that you have designed for Marimekko?
That we have fantastic folklore! ‘The Kalevala’ is something our nation should be extremely proud of. My prints are modern depictions of some of the wonderfully enchanting tales. Now there’s an opportunity for everyone to have a hint of Finnish folklore in their homes.
Where would you like to see your patterns used?
My ambition in life is to decorate the world with beautiful patterns. To know my fabrics will be in people’s homes makes me feel very honoured.
If I’m thinking along crazy lines, I would love to see a Finnair plane decorated in my ‘Kanteleen kutsu’ design. A Marimekko and Finnair collaboration! Perhaps even have the plane interior upholstered with bold fabrics. That would be fun!
What do you dream of?
Having my own ‘mökki’ in the Lappish wilderness – a place my fiancé and I can escape to every so often.
See all of Sanna Annukka’s designs at AlwaysMod.