Design of the month: Moomins

As a Finnish person living away from my home country, I have learnt to appreciate all the wonderful things it offers. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, or whatever.

Finland has given the world a lot of oddities such as salty liquorice, pickled herrings, sauna and some very bizarre bridal shower rituals (a lot of them involve nudity and rye bread. Don’t even ask). In my opinion, Moomins are probably the best thing to come out of my country. I know the Finnish education system is constantly ranked at the top of the list in Europe and the world, and that the Finnish baby box caused all sorts of commotion when the world found out that we give every baby born a box full of goodies and then let them sleep in it[1]. Even those boxes have Moomins all over them (see image 1) and Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (a major organisation promoting children and families welfare in Finland) has released Moomin-related learning material to aid development of social skills in young children. So really, everything good that comes out of Finland, has something or other to do with Moomins.

Moomins were first introduced to the world in the 1930s when their creator, Tove Jansson, drew a sketch of a troll looking creature on the wall of an outdoor toilet in the middle of nowhere in southern Finland[3]. The mischievous trolls, who look like the result of a hippo and a koala bear having babies, live in Moomin valley and get up to all sorts of mischief. Jansson wrote and illustrated books about their adventures and over the decades, they have taken on a life of their own. Today, a new 3D TV-show about Moomins is being crowdfunded [4], adventure parks, cafes, plays and exhibitions are happening all over the world, including one in London’s Southbank Centre [5].

(image 1 [2])

The designs range from brightly coloured mugs and toys (see image 2) to more subtle, elegant and adult friendly designs (see image 3). The Moomin brand tends to collaborate with reputable manufacturers such as fashion brand IvanaHelsinki[6], tableware powerhouse Arabia[7] and furniture design house Artek[8].

(image 2[9])

(image 3[10])

Today, Moomins are a staple in every Finnish home and I even went back home to test my theory. During my week’s visit to Finland, I visited over half a dozen homes of friends and relatives and they all had stacks of Moomin stuff in their cupboards, walls, shelves, beds, saunas, kitchens and many more (see images 4, 5 & 6).

What kind of a Finn would I be if I didn’t have Moomin paraphernalia of my own? Come on over to my house for a coffee and we’ll drink with Moomintroll and Snorkmaiden.

(image 4)

(image 5)

(image 6)

(image 7)

It seems like the UK is starting to notice the awesomeness of Moomins, and their creator Tove Jansson, as the first major retrospective of her illustrations is taking place in the Dulwich Picture Gallery in late 2017[11], Adventures in Moominland has been extended until late August 2017 and the shop in Covent Garden continues to sell great Finnish Moomin products.


[1] Lee, H., 2016, Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes,

[2] The updated Moomin Edition Finnish Baby Box + discount code for Moomin fans,

[3] Tuominen, A, 2014 Muumien maailmanvalloitus alkoi huussin seinältä,

[4] Gutsy Animations, Helsinki, Finland, Indiegogo campaign,–3#/

[5] Adventures in Moominland, 2017,

[6] Paola Ivana Suhonen,

[7] Arabia,

[8] Artek,

[9] Images from: Moomin – A worldwide brand  brochure (PDF),

[10] Images from: Moomin – A worldwide brand  brochure (PDF),

[11] First UK retrospective of Tove Jansson set for Autumn 2017,

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