Seija Virva Hirstiö / Designer, documentarist and author.

Creative and meaningful designs

Design is a a tool to deliver a meaningful voice to society (someone said). I have made short videos for the online magazine of Save the Children Finland, trying to enlighten difficult subjects of adoption and child care. One of my first documentaries in the nineties was to document the situation of child labor in Thailand for the Trade Union Solidarity Centre of Finland. I feel strongly about children´s situation.

I have also contributed a video to a concept of ethical bank and to a sustainable clothes´designer. Whatever the subject is my attempt is to mix creativity, emotions and hard facts. I feel that it brings even most challenging subjects closer to the audience, makes it easier to emphasize and remember the video.

This is also true with webpages and graphic design. People are so overload with information that it makes easier to connect with the subject and the people when there is also emotional information available, including moving media and animations. At the same time it is important to design with right logics so that the  audience finds easily what they are looking for to be able to make the right decisions over the subject.

Designer is a maker who creates something through a relationship with other people

I think it helps to be a good designer if you experience world in its diversity by yourself. I have always been a traveller, free spirit. Nowadays I am a digital nomad.

After finishing high school in Finland, I did hitch hiking around Europe and lived in eco-communities until I found buzzling life of big cities in the eighties. Then I lived in a rebellious squatting scene of south London and moved to New York to fall in love with a city. Run clubs, studied television production, made videos and had best job in Manhattan as a bike courier. I learnt Ventura, one of the first graphic design programs and did layouts to magazines, and posters.

In my late thirties I became a mother and encountered a need to have creative learning opportunities for children. I therefore started summer forest camps and piloted a free school. I also got into studying massage and weaved hand colored bonchoes. I had a long period of unemployment, having a need to sort out my head and wrote a book about my trauma history. Digital era had reached media production whilst I had been a mother full time and I re-educated myself into the media skills and documentarism again and had my bachelor´s degree.

I started working with video, documentaries, web design and VOB e-books, which is a new platform created by me and my partner. As a “grown up” I did Workaway volunteering just to get back in touch with the world. Recently I had a documentary collaboration in Indonesia learning about peace making and strict Islam. My biggest challenge yet was to start a co-creating project with survivors of trauma and dissociation disorder. Together we produced a book and digital book with videos and created a community for producing more books and raising consciousness about the subject.

I believe this lifestyle has served me and my fellow workers well and benefited my customers as I can stay open minded better this way than just hanging around with other designers in closed circles…at least I hope so. I also believe in clear communication, listening first and being kind and I think it all comes with having enough of challenges in life.

CONTACT: seija@heartwavesdesign.com

Jukka Turunen / Coder and digital nomad. Always expanding his mind with endless curiosity.

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