Graphic design and packaging


Tapio Wirkkala's phenomenal drawing skills were noted at an early age and one of the first design competitions that he won was in 1939, for a postage stamp for the subsequently cancelled Helsinki Olympic Games planned for 1940. He renewed this achievement in 1951 for the Helsinki Olympics of 1952.

The best-known poster by Wirkkala is for an exhibition of the Finnish Arabia factory held in Amsterdam, which he drew directly on the lithographic plate.

Tapio Wirkkala's most widespread work in graphic design, which was known by all Finns, was a series of Finnish markka banknotes, which were introduced in 1955 and remained in use with minor variations until 1981.

Wirkkala designed a large number of labels for the products of Alko, the Finnish state liquor monopoly. The best-known of these were for Koskenkorva grain spirits and Three Lions brand whisky.

He also created packaging for the Paulig, Marli and Sinebrychoff companies and the Alko liquor monopoly.             The Finlandia Vodka bottle designed by Wirkkala was made from 1970 until 1999.