A Christmas stamp for 2016 - a design competition for Finnish illustrators


The winning entries was designed by Sini Ezer and Sari Airola

The winners of the Christmas stamp design competition, organized by Posti and the Finnish Association of Illustrators, have been selected. The first prize was divided between Sini Ezer from Espoo and Sari Airola from Helsinki for their designs Girl and squirrel and Run my reindeer, respectively. The two winning illustrations will become the Christmas stamps for 2016.

Marika Maijala from Helsinki placed second with her illustration Night before Christmas Eve. The third prize was awarded to Mirva Liimatta from Tampere for her illustration entry entitled Let Christmas come.

The goal of the illustration competition was to find an image that depicts the Finnish Christmas and Christmas spirit and works in stamp size. The competition was opened last December and a total of 236 entries were submitted by the deadline in April.

"The great interest in the competition was a positive surprise. It was a pleasure to organize a competition together with Finnish professional illustrators. The winning entries and their themes depicted Christmas harmony and sharing time splendidly," says Design Manager Tommi Kantola from Posti, who chaired the six‑member panel of judges assessing the entries.

The four awarded illustrators describe their work

Sini Ezer, Espoo / Girl and squirrel
"In my opinion, Finnishness is connected with a clean, beautiful natural environment accessible even to city dwellers. I chose to illustrate a girl and a squirrel. The joy sharing became my theme. In the background is a wintery backyard that recalls brisk, frosty weather and clean snow. My aim was to depict a traditional Christmas atmosphere while introducing a new, fresh element through layout and coloring."

Sari Airola, Helsinki / Run my reindeer
"To me, one of the most important aspects of Christmas is friendship and caring for others. I wanted my stamp design to conjure up friendship and warmth. I selected classic Finnish Christmas characters, a reindeer and an elf. The reindeer is related to Father Christmas and Lapland, and Finnish elves traditionally care for farm animals and the inhabitants of forests. My stamp design depicts the friendship between the two characters during a Christmas trip."

Marika Maijala, Helsinki / The night before Christmas Eve
"To me, the best time of Christmas has always been the night before Christmas Eve, when the anticipation of Christmas is about to end but the peaceful Christmas holidays are still to come. When I was a child, the most important and fun part of the night before Christmas Eve was fetching a Christmas tree from the forest. This is something I often did alone with my father. This childhood memory helped me select my design method: a free, uncomplicated crayon drawing."

Mirva Liimatta, Tampere / Let Christmas come
"I chose traditional Finnish crafts as the topic of my stamp entry. Straw is a diverse and beautiful material. In my entry, bullfinches flock around a sheaf of straw. I tried to capture the spirit of anticipating Christmas."

Two members of the Finnish Association of Illustrators in the panel of judges

Illustrators Sanna Mander and Ilja Karsikas, who have also designed stamps, represented the Finnish Association of Illustrators on the panel of judges. The Posti art committee, which decides the themes of stamps, was represented on the panel of judges by graphic designers Matti Remes and Jukka Kinanen as well as Posti Design Managers Tommi Kantola and Petri Pohjolainen.

The two winners of the design competition shared the EUR 6,000 first prize. The entries which came second and third were awarded EUR 2,000 each.

An exhibition will be held to showcase all the entries submitted to the competition in size A4. The time and place of the exhibition will be decided later.

Image material for the media

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