With our publications, we aim to support and promote independent, critical, multidisciplinary and human-centred research and art. Our 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. This is reflected in the visual features of our publications. It is important to us that our books are of excellent quality both visually and in content, and on par with highest international standards. Professionals, researchers and students are our main target audience.
Having international reach is integral to Aalto ARTS Books and we actively collaborate with other universities and publishers. Approximately half of our publications are in English and all titles are available globally through our online store. We also produce ebooks to ensure easy and fast access to our content.
History – Where it all started
It all started with a small, grey, hand-typed and photocopied booklet in 1984. This bilingual publication predicted an international future: Designforschung – Design Research. With this, 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 were developed ambitiously in the 1990s. The first dissertation to be published was Päivi Hovi’s Advertising Imagery in Finland in 1990. Now, 30 years later, we have published more than 200 doctoral dissertations in the fields of arts, design and architecture.
The intriguing design solutions of doctoral dissertations have prompted many to ask: is this really a dissertation? The visual style of our books reflects the values at the heart of our university: high-quality and innovative creative design.
Over the decades we have published various textbooks and manuals, many of which have become staples in their field. These books are widely used in teaching.
The impact of design, arts and architecture permeates people’s everyday life. Our books are about making this impact more visible and better understood. This was as true in 1984 as it is today.
We strive to bring our books to a global audience and increase the visibility of our authors. We help authors network and coordinate translations of their books. Works by our authors have been translated into several languages, including Chinese, Spanish and Romanian.
Aalto ARTS Books participates in Aalto University’s international conferences as well as various literature and promotional events. We send review copies of books to leading specialist media outlets, and many of our titles have received visibility in art and architecture publications.
Aalto ARTS Books participates in international literature events such as the Frankfurt Book Fair annually. Being the book industry's largest event, the Frankfurt Book Fair is Aalto ARTS Book's shop front for the world – hundreds of thousands of visitors have the opportunity to get to know our books. 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.
Collaborative publications with universities
Aalto ARTS Books collaborates closely on publications with other universities. Our partners have included the 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 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 which examines sustainable development design projects was published in celebration of Mexico City as the World Design Capital of 2018. The book was also published in English titled Design as Freedom in Practice.
Sanna Tyyri heads Aalto ARTS Books’ international collaboration projects.