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How to take professional product pictures – 5 tips

Having good product pictures at a company web page or at a catalog, is first and foremost a testament of the products high quality, as well as the professionalism of the product maker. A carelessly taken snap can make a quality product look like a cheap knickknack, whereas a good, professional picture not only gives proper information of the product but also lures the customer into buying it. As many of us non-photogenic people know, taking good pictures is not easy, that’s why it pays off to hire a professional photographer, for professional work. There are many things to be taken into consideration from positioning and lighting to location and props. The most important thing to keep in mind is that all the choices the photographer makes are to be based on the product itself and its visual image, not on the photographer’s artistic view. All though in best cases these two can be combined, resulting not only to professional but unique pictures as well.

Should the pictures be taken at a studio or out in the nature? Should there be a live model or a propped setting? What kind of filters, if any, should be used? All important questions to be answered beforehand. Designing the product shoot in advance is crucial and saves a lot of time and effort at the actual photo-shoot, where, especially at outdoor locations, time is the essence as the weather might change at any point (at least here in Finland). It is also important to know the product in advance in able to understand how its qualities and material is best brought forth. The more work is done beforehand and at the actual photo-shoot, the less editing needs to be […]

By |maaliskuu 31st, 2017|Categories: Yleinen @en||0 Comments

10 years of Valona design – from artisan to an entrepreneur

The Journey
Flexible working hours, be your own boss, take a day off whenever you feel like it, do the kind of work you want to do. Sounds appealing to be an entrepreneur, when you look at it like that. On the other hand not having fixed working hours means your day doesn’t always end at 5 pm sharp, sometimes it ends when you go to sleep. Taking a day off means not getting paid for that time and being your own boss often means demanding more from you than anyone else ever would. Plus there is the added excitement of whether your business will succeed or not. Still interested in being an entrepreneur? It’s no wonder some people never have the courage to become one, while others have to gather up their courage for a few years. Elina Mäntylä the CEO of Valona waited two years and worked as a free artist before she was ready to begin her career as an entrepreneur. A school teacher, who went to study design in Aalto University of Art, Design and Architecture, finally fulfilled her dream in 2006 when she founded Valona design – now turning 10 years. According to Elina it has been quite an adventure and the journey is not over. I interviewed Elina to get a closer insight on what it has been like to work as a CEO of her own company in the past decade.

To Elina being an entrepreneur means freedom of doing things in her own schedule, in her own way without having to restrain her creativity. Having such passion for her work and being able to do her own thing is what makes her happy. She believes that everyone should be […]

By |heinäkuu 6th, 2016|Categories: Yleinen @en|Avainsanat: , , , , , |0 Comments

5 tips on naming your product

Finding a suitable name for your latest product design, might turn out to be the hardest part of the whole creative process. Finding a perfect name for your product is almost as challenging as naming your child – or sometimes even more challenging. The process is similar: you create something in an innovative flow, maybe have a working title for it but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really look like the name you had in mind. After all, the name is crucial for the success of any product (maybe also of the child). Nomen est omen, they say and they are correct. After all, whatever you choose is for forever (not entirely true, but for the sake of the story let’s pretend that rebranding doesn’t exist).

There are many ways to start the quest for a perfect name. But first we need to understand a few things: A) what is your product B) what market area are we interested in C) who are our competitors. Whether a product is technology item or design artifact, defines a little what kind of a name we can consider in the first place. With design artifacts names can be more symbolic for example naming a wedding ring “Eternal flame” (tacky, I know) is ok but you surely wouldn’t buy a computer called “Rainbow unicorns magic box”. Well maybe some of you still would. Also knowing which market areas your product will be sold at, can help you to know which name to choose or at least which not to choose. For global markets the name has to be international and easy to pronounce in every language, so it’s not like “Jäätelötötterö” (it’s an actual word in Finnish). […]

By |kesäkuu 16th, 2016|Categories: Yleinen @en||0 Comments

From the heart and to the mail box

-The quest of the perfect gift
Summer is often the time of celebration. Graduations, weddings, birthdays and christenings. At least in my case, along comes the age old problem of what to get someone as a gift. Money or gift cards are often seen as impersonal but wouldn’t you rather buy something for someone that he or she actually enjoys. I know I would. After all buying a gift that ends up at the bottom of the drawer or in the back of the closet is a complete waste – for both the giver and the receiver. An even bigger challenge comes with giving gifts to someone whose celebration you cannot attend to and have to send the gift by post. Glasses and kitchen ware are easy to break and the bigger the package the larger the cost. Not to mention the hassle of picking up the package from the post office, especially at rural areas.

Giving gifts has always been important to Elina Mäntylä, the CEO of Valona. She loves to delight other people with presents and that’s exactly what she aims on doing with her products as well, bringing joy to people. That’s why she has emphasized the packaging of her products. Jewellery, birch crystals and other wooden décor items are packed in such a way that they are easy to post to someone even in an envelope. Easy to give as gifts. The innovative idea behind the packaging of Valona’s products is that the package is thin enough to fit through a mailbox. As the product is packed so that the pieces are taken separate, it is also guaranteed that the product will arrive unharmed to the receiver. Once the gift is opened the […]

By |kesäkuu 10th, 2016|Categories: Yleinen @en|Avainsanat: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Local sourcing – when ethicality counts

”Kylmä, kallis, kaukana” – cold, expensive and far away, these are the words that are sometimes used to describe Finland. And it’s true, for being expensive at least, especially when it comes to Finnish work. According to Eurostat’s article in 2015, Finland was the 7th most expensive country in the EU district, when looking at labor costs per hour. Yet for some reason there are still entrepreneurs such as Elina Mäntylä, the CEO of Valona, who prefers to use Finnish companies for producing, even though it might be economically preferable to find another solution. Maybe produce somewhere where labor costs were more affordable and taxation was at a competitive level. But for Elina it is more an ethical decision than it is economical.

Valona subcontracts primarily with small Finnish companies to produce the designs Elina makes. All her birch plywood products made by using laser cut technology are made in Finland. So why produce in Finland? To Elina it is a question of employing Finns and therefore supporting also the Finnish economy as a whole. Being an entrepreneur herself, she feels that it is important to support other business owners in a country as small as ours. Another important reason for Elina to manufacture Valona´s products in Finland is transparent and ethical sourcing. Knowing the producers personally ensures that the working conditions of those producing the products are ethical and materials are easily traceable. Something that is not guaranteed in countries with cheaper labor costs. Having a personal contact with the producer also makes the producing process easier, as Elina is able to meet up with the manufacturers as often as it is needed, to assure the end result is as good as the design. Knowing […]