With our publications, we aim to support and promote independent, critical, multidisciplinary and human-centred research and art. The publications play an important role in contributing to the societal impact of art, design and architecture.
At Aalto University, science and art go hand in hand which can be seen in the visual quality of our publications. Aalto ARTS Books publishes works that are of high-quality both visually and content-wise and fall within the cutting-edge international level. Our main target audience consists of the field’s professionals, researchers and students.
The international dimension is an integral part of our publishing activities. We collaborate with universities and publishers in the field. The digital format makes our books available at a faster pace.
History – Where it all started
It all started from a small, grey, hand-typed and photocopied booklet in 1984. This bilingual publication predicted an international future: Designforschung – Design Research. And so, a research series in the field of design was born.
With the support of The University of Art and Design Helsinki (currently Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture) President Yrjö Sotamaa, publishing activities developed in an even more ambitious direction in the 1990s. The first dissertation, Päivi Hovi’s Advertising imagery in Finland, was published in 1990. In the autumn of 2018, more than 200 doctoral dissertations in the field of arts, design and architecture have been published.
The visually distinctive appearance of the doctoral dissertations have made people ask: is this really a dissertation? The visual appeal of our books is at the heart of our university’s activities: high-quality and innovative creative design.
In addition to research literature, various textbooks and manuals have been published, many of which are the principal publications in their own field. Their content is widely used in education within their field.
The significance of design, arts and architecture can be seen in people’s everyday life. Our books are all about making this significance more visible and well-known. This is how it was in 1984 – and still is.
As most of our publications are written in English, they are targeted at an international audience directly through our online store.
Visibility and PR
We assist our writers in networking and in the realisation of translations. Aalto ARTS Books participates in Aalto University’s international conferences as well as literature and publication events.
We send novelty books to the top media of their field for review, and our books have received visibility through art and architecture field publications. Our authors’ books have been translated to various languages, such as Chinese, Spanish and Romanian.
Aalto ARTS Books participates in international literature events such as Frankfurt Book Fair on an annual basis. The fair, which is the largest event in the book industry, is a shop window to the world – hundreds of thousands of visitors have the opportunity to get to know our books at the fair. International collaboration projects have been conceived as a result of participation in the fair. Pekka Korvanmaa’s Finnish Design – A Concise History is an example of such collaboration. It was published jointly with the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2014 when Finland was the fair’s theme country.
Universities’ collaborative publication activities
Aalto ARTS Books works in close publication collaboration with universities in the field. Our collaboration partners have included, for example, University of Applied Arts Vienna, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Polytechnic University of Milan and the University of Nantes.
Curating as Anti-racist Practice (2018) was our first publication in the field of curating, and the publication was carried out in collaboration with University of Applied Arts Vienna.
Our first book written in Spanish, El diseño como libertad en práctica, was realised jointly with two Mexican universities: National Autonomous University of Mexico and Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. The book that discusses sustainable development design projects was published in celebration of Mexico City’s designation as World Design Capital 2018. The book was also published in English under the title Design as Freedom in Practice.
The person in charge of Aalto ARTS Books’ international collaboration projects is Sanna Tyyri-Pohjonen.
Our international literary agency is Idea Books, a Dutch specialist wholesaler and distributor of books.