Competition for ideas

What will the VR trains of the future look like?

The idea competition was very popular

In August-November 2023, we organised a competition together with the Ornamo ry to find ideas for the visual appearance of future trains. The competition was a way to find a way to make the visual identity of the trains more in line with our renewed brand. The idea competition attracted a lot of interest and we received a gratifyingly high number of entries as well as votes in the public vote. We would like to warmly thank all the designers who participated in the competition!

The jury selected 10 finalists from 186 entries. The jury's assessment focused on the usability of the idea and the potential for further development, as the criteria for judging the competition were demanding and it proved very challenging to meet them perfectly. In the end, Aimo Katajamäki's proposal Green Steam was selected as the winner of the competition and you can read more about the evaluation below. You can also see the 2nd place entry, Vuodenajat raiteilla (Seasons on the Tracks), and the public favourite, Suomen Metsä (Finnish Forest).

The outcome of the competition

Read the evaluation of the winning entry Green Steam.

Green Steam is a distinctive and brand-renewing work of art that will last well into the future.

The jury found particular merit in the winning work in terms of iconicity, storytelling and boldness. In addition, the work is easily scalable to all train carriages and was seen to fit alongside the existing exterior design during the long renovation phase. The soft shapes sit well in the environment, both in the city and in nature. The simple, strong lines stand out even in challenging lighting and weather conditions.

With potential competitors entering the rail industry in the future, the distinctive and bold design of the winning design was of particular importance. It has the potential to create an iconic solution that will carry VR well into the future, one that exudes progressiveness and self-confidence. The timeless line pattern of the proposal draws on the Scandinavian design tradition, with its strong emphasis on free lines and organic shapes. At its best, the winning design positions VR as a market leader in the new competitive landscape of the future.

Although the organic brush-drawn shapes are a new addition to VR's look, the proposal is subtly aligned with the current look. The ratio of white and green is familiar from VR's current brand image. The visual elements can be applied to different train types as well as to interesting branding and brand communication.

The shortcomings highlighted by the jury include the lack of guidance and the lack of separation between short and long-distance trains. The idea competition sought a proposal for further development, and the jury considers that these shortcomings could easily be remedied in further development.

The winning idea of an organic line pattern that curls like steam is a bold, forward-looking and versatile concept that, with a little fine-tuning, will give VR's trains a credible and long-lasting appearance.

Green Steam was designed by graphic designer and artist Aimo Katajamäki, who describes his work as follows: "Green Steam draws inspiration from the history of train travel and the days of steam trains. Over the decades, black coal has been replaced by green electricity, and now the organic, gently floating pattern combines VR's long history with the future of train travel."

The winning entry was awarded a prize of € 30 000. The winning design is to be taped onto a train in 2024.

The winning proposal Green Steam

2nd place and the winner of the public vote

TBWA Helsinki's proposal Vuodenajat Raiteilla (Seasons on the Tracks) came in 2nd place in the overall competition. The team consisted of Mikael Kivelä, Umberto Onza, Laura Paikkari, Laura Ullmann and Joona Stedt.

The public also had the chance to vote for their favourite of the 10 finalists. The winner of the public vote was Aalto University student Polina Rogova's work Suomen Metsä (The Finnish Forest), which received about a quarter of the votes.

Vuodenajat Raiteilla

According to the jury, "Seasons on the Tracks" is a delicate and beautiful piece of work. Its graphic design and integrity fit into the Finnish landscape and the brand.

However, the jury was not entirely convinced of the functionality or the potential of the aurora borealis as an iconic design.

Suomen Metsä – public's favourite

"I wanted to find a solution that would work well both in the city and in the natural landscape. The solution is simple; it is a forest pattern that completely covers the train. To balance the details of the forest with the scale of the train, I used the VR logo as a unifying element," says Rogova.

General information about the competition

The competition has ended, so the full text of the assignment is no longer available.

VR organises the competition in cooperation with Ornamo.

Schedule and phases of the competition as well as submission of entries.

What criteria will the assessment of proposals be based on.

The prize sum is € 30.000.

Intellectual property rights of the winning proposal are transferred to VR.