Duration: Seven years.
Location: Helsinki, Finland, and New York City.
Key creatives: Jonatan Eriksson, Inka Järvinen, Matti Kunttu and Antti Uotila. We met during our studies at the University of Art and Design Helsinki, now known as Aalto University. After graduating from college, we collaborated on freelance assignments, so it felt natural to set up Tsto together.
Cultural influences: Our influences vary from popular culture and movies to fine art, literature and critical theory. It’s also great to see what our colleagues around the world are up to; Japanese graphic design has always had a strong foothold in our hearts.
Favorite projects: We cherish our collaboration with the Finnish furniture company Artek. We started working on smaller assignments for Artek several years ago and recently created an identity system for its Helsinki flagship store. Our collaboration with Artek also led us to work with the iconic Swiss design company Vitra; we just designed the identity for its pop-up store in the Meatpacking District of New York. The art exhibition venue Taidehalli (Kunsthalle Helsinki) is another one of our favorite long-term clients, for whom we had the pleasure of redesigning its identity back in 2014.
Work environment: Our studio is split up between Helsinki and New York, so a fair amount of our time is spent on Skype, organizing projects between two continents. The Helsinki studio is in a cozy street-level office space with big arched windows. The New York studio is in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
Approach: Graphic designers are sometimes expected to be problem solvers. We see ourselves more as “problem creators.” We believe it’s important to dig as deep as possible into every job, and as no two are alike, there are no guidelines. Taking tasks apart and looking at their core elements are practices we have employed for a long time now. There can be surprising opportunities for new design directions when this is done with good attention.
Aspirations: Creating good work for good clients; hopefully, we can continue to do this in the future!