The 2018 version of the maternity package features illustrations by Robert Lönnqvist, 29, of Helsinki. He is one of three winners of an invitational competition organised by Kela. The other two winners are Aya Iwaya and Ilona Partanen.
The theme of the competition was Working Together for Well-Being, and participants were instructed to design something that portrays Finland and Finnishness.
Bear meets giraffe
The new version of the maternity package features a bear, a hare, an elephant and a giraffe, along with other creatures, romping amidst trees and blue lakes.
– I decided to draw animals not found in Finnish nature because I wanted to convey a message of tolerance. My hope is for Finland to be an open country that respects diversity, Lönnqvist says.
Seeking inspiration, Lönnqvist thought back to his own childhood in Finland and the feelings it evoked in him. The memories were like a gentle daydream.
– I wanted to draw a connection between the peaceful slumber of a child and its parents’ dream of the child growing up safe and sound in tomorrow’s Finland. I hope that all of us in Finland and the rest of the world will be able to live in harmony and will teach our children to do the same, Lönnqvist says in a message accompanying his entry.
Education and free-lance illustration work
Lönnqvist is in the Master’s programme in Visual Communication Design at Aalto University, and is currently completing a student exchange at EnsAD Paris. He graduated from a programme in graphical design at the Lahti Institute of Design in 2016.
Alongside studies, Lönnqvist has done free-lance work, including assignments for the magazines Mondo and Huili. Among his latest works are wall illustrations made for Unisport, a sport and exercise centre for students in downtown Helsinki.
Almost like a Nobel prize
Kela held a competition to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the maternity package, inviting 15 promising young designers to participate. The winning designs will be used as illustrations for the next several versions of the maternity package.
Lönnqvist says that he was excited to take up the invitation.
– I had no hesitations because I think the maternity package is a fantastic thing. After finishing my entry, I felt that this is exactly the kind of work I should be doing, Lönnqvist says.
He was at a café working on a design with a group of friends when he got the call that he had been selected as one of the winners of the competition. That was one phone call that he says he will not soon forget.
– It felt a bit like I’d won the Nobel Peace Prize.
More illustrations by Robert Lönnqvist can be found on Instagram under the account name rakastaja_roobert.
Text: Helinä Kujala