The graphic designer Erkki Mattsson studied at the Central School for Arts and Crafts from 1938 to 1939. However, when the Finno-Russian war broke out in 1939, his studies were interrupted.While attending evening classes, Mattsson worked for the interior design department of the department store Rake Oy.
In 1945, after the war, Erkki Mattsson began working as a commercial artist at the advertising agency Suomalainen Mainonta Oy. When the agency was acquired by another advertising agency, Oy Mainos Taucher Reklam Ab, Mattsson started working for the latter. In 1949, Mattsson moved to the advertising agency Yhteismainos Oy, but after only a couple of years the advertising agency Oy SEK Ab offered him a job as manager of the agency’s studio department. He remained in that post for ten years. Mattsson describes his years at SEK as ‘busy but rewarding.’
‘The graphic designers at SEK were given the opportunity to plan and create advertisements for prominent Finnish companies. At the time there were many freelance graphic designers with the company and each had their own worktable. In addition, the agency paid for all the art materials. During the busiest times there were no cards for clocking in and nobody counted hours.’ Mattsson also recalls that the atmosphere was very good and relaxed, thanks to the managing director Aarne Salomaa and his successor Frans Saalaste.
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