Estonian design is a rapidly evolving creative field that involves product design, service design, graphic design as well as fashion design, although design is increasingly considered a tool or process to solve problems in a human centred and creative way.As of 2014, design is under the administration of the Ministry of Culture. Earlier, design belonged to the area of government of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. Design policy was part of Estonian business policies for 2007-2013. In 2012-2013 a national action plan for the area of design was implemented. This constituted the first phase of a national support policy that aimed at developing design use. The objectives of the action plan were to increase the use of design among businesses and to foster the development of design as an important sector of the creative industries. At the lead and in cooperation of various ministries and organisations, activities were carried out to increase design awareness, knowledge and skills, the development of design bureaus and increasing their export was supported, and design education quality was promoted.
The Ministry of Culture cooperates with the Ministry of Social Affairs and other institutions and organisations to advance the inclusiveness of the living environment regarding the aspects of accessibility for all.
The Ministry of Culture carries out "Design Ladder" studies exploring design implementation among enterprises in the private sector, as well as among the state enterprises and foundations in the public domain. These surveys provide a viable overview of current situation and opportunities for progression.
In addition, within the competition for the Entrepreneurship Award, every other year Enterprise Estonia hands out the title of the Design Implementer of the Year, with the objective of drawing more attention to those businesses whose success has significantly increased as a result of the strategic implementation of design in the development of their goods or services or in the management of their business. The Entrepreneurship Award competition is the highest recognition in the country for outstanding and progressively minded businesses. Read more about it on the EAS website.
Design education can be obtained at the Estonian Academy of the Arts, master’s level programmes are available at the Tallinn Technical University (design and product development), and at the University of Tartu Pärnu College (service design and management). Applied higher education can be obtained at the Tartu Art College, the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences, the Tallinn University Haapsalu College, and EuroAcademy. Vocational education is available at the Kuressaare Regional Training Centre and the Tartu Art School.
In 2015-2016 an elective course on design for high school students was created in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Research as well as the Estonian Design Centre. The course "Design Process" was run as a pilot in six high schools across Estonia in 2017. Since then, its materials together with implementation guidelines are published at the state curriculum database.
More than 1000 people are employed in ca 700 companies that operate in the field of design.
Total revenue in the field is around 35,5 million euros.
The largest financer in the field of design is Enterprise Estonia, in addition to some grants awarded by Cultural Endowment of Estonia. The Ministry of Culture supports designers in their creative work through the Estonian Association of Designers, Estonian Graphic Designers' Association and a non-profit organisation Eesti Disainikeskus (Estonian Design Centre).
Design plays an important role in creative industries, which has also been funded since 2007 from the European Union structural funds. A creative industries measure developed by the Ministry of Culture and implemented by Enterprise Estonia aims at fulfilling the objectives of the “Estonian Entrepreneurship Growth Strategy 2014-2020”.
Design, design thinking and design competence is considered an important innovation driver for entrepreneurship, industry and the public sector, thus a priority for involved ministries, institutions and organisations.
The Ministry of Culture introduces Estonian design abroad in close cooperation with the Estonian Association of Designers and Eesti Disainikeskus (Estonian Design Centre).
Estonian Design House
Tallinn Design House
Overview exhibition of Estonian design – Size Doesn't Matter
State support system for businesses, the aim of which is to enhance Estonian business and regional policies.
A development centre in and promoter of the field of design, established in 2008 by the Estonian Academy of Fine Arts, Tallinn Technical University, the Estonian Association of Designers and MTÜ Eesti Disaini Instituut (Estonian Design Institute). The aim is to be the link in the chain that connects the designer and the client, as well as being an advocate of the mind set “design as the creator of added value and the amplifier of innovation.”
Estonian Association of Designers
An association that unites and represents designers, which was founded in 1989 with the general purpose of speaking for Estonian design.
Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design (ETDM)
The museum’s collection was initiated in 1919 as part of the collections of the Estonian Art Museum. Today it offers the largest and most comprehensive overview of Estonian applied art and design.
Adviser (Architecture and design)
Phone +372 628 2207