We bet you know exactly which scissors we’re talking about. And you know exactly where they are in your mum’s cupboard.
Designer Olof Bäckström’s iconic orange-handled scissors are the most well-recognised scissors globally. The company Fiskars have sold over a billion pairs of their scissors worldwide, so if you’ve never seen them you’re living under a rock.
Now the classic scissors are celebrating their 50th birthday at an exhibition at the Helsinki Design Museum, in Bäckström’s native Finland.
The scissors carry a large sense of national pride. It’s funny how such a small product can have such a great impact on a whole country.
According to Professor Pekka Korvenmaa of Finland’s Aalto University, “They’re the most widely-spread Finnish design product. In Finland, when we say ‘scissors’ we mean Fiskars. There are no other scissors – more or less – so it’s taken for granted.”
Korvenmaa also added, “Its success comes from the ergonomic performance – the shape and grip of the handle. You take the scissors into your hand and feel the fit.”
Over the years, Fiskars has played with a range of colours for their scissor handles, such as red to denote left handed scissors. However, the iconic orange is definitely their best selling product and the colour ‘Fiskars orange’ is even a registered trademark in Finland.
Apparently, the colour was a complete mistake. When they began constructing their scissors, they used black, green and red plastic. The man mixing the plastic has just made an orange-coloured juicer, and he used up the leftovers on some scissors. As a result, the orange scissors ended up being the favourite when Fiskars’ employees were voting on final colours.
Since the 1980s, a few changes have been made to the scissors. A more durable plastic has been introduced and the cutting angle has gone through improvements, but the iconic orange has remained.
The exhibition Our Scissors is showing at Design Museum Helsinki until 29 October 2017.