Back in 2014 when we dreamed up our D*S Design Icon series, we knew that the Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors would have a top spot on our list. These well known (and well-loved) scissors are more than simply a tool — they’re a means to an end. Whether they’re used to cut construction paper for a classroom project or used to create a stunning work of art, Fiskars scissors help creative endeavors come to life. For more practical purposes, having a pair tucked in a drawer has become a household and office necessity, allowing us to snip a stray thread or cut out images for an inspiration board. And how many times have we let out a sigh of relief when we spied the bright orange handles while searching for our scissors?
The iconic Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors celebrates its 50th anniversary in early October and we’re helping them celebrate the occasion by sharing some special stories, DIY’s, and a giveaway with 4 gift bags filled with a design or DIY book and a pair of Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors + a pair of Fiskars Kids Scissors. Details for entering are at the end of this post!
Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors illustration by Libby VanderPloeg
Here are some facts about everyone’s favorite scissors:
Design: Orange-handled Scissors
Designer: Olof Bäckström (1922-2001)
Country of Origin: Finland
Materials: Plastic and stainless steel
Fun Fact: While Fiskars are known for their bright orange handles, they also make red handles to differentiate their left-handed models.
Background: Unbeknownst to many, Fiskars is one of the oldest companies in the Western world, established as an ironworks in 1649. In 1832, the Fiskars ironworks expanded beyond making knives, nails, and tools and began producing scissors — the product for which they are most widely known. It wasn’t until 1967, however, that the company introduced their now iconic Orange-handled Scissors, an event that occurred almost completely by chance. One of the world’s first ergonomic scissor designs, the product was originally intended to have black, red, and green handles. During the prototype stage, though, the machinist decided to use leftover orange plastic, a choice that would ultimately prove popular within the Fiskars company and, eventually, to the public.
The ergonomic scissor design and shape was innovative and well-received, but it was the materials that catapulted the product into the hands of the masses. The majority of the scissors available in 1967 were made of heavy iron and used by tailors. Fiskars borrowed the shape and created pressed steel blades connected in the middle by a single piece of metal, making the production process inexpensive and efficient. The resulting product gave consumers a superior product and cost far less than the pricey tailor’s scissors. They were the world’s first pair of plastic-handled scissors!
Part of the Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors celebration is happening at a special exhibition at the Helsinki Design Museum, where the scissors have become a source of national pride in Finland — a country that takes design seriously. The exhibit features work by artists and designers who are inspired by the simple orange scissors. Visitors can even listen to a playlist curated by a Finnish musician who goes by the name “DJ Fiskars.”
Here stateside on the web, Fiskars has put together a fantastic collection of stories from female artists and entrepreneurs like American clothing designer Tracy Reese, Cecilie Rudolph, a textile/print designer from Denmark, and Laura Ljungkvist, an artist and illustrator and many other talented artists and designers. You can read and watch their stories here.
Image above (top to bottom): Tracy Reese, Cecilie Rudolph and Laura Ljungkvist. Images via Fiskars.com.
I had the pleasure of sharing my Fiskars story with them a few months ago in preparation for their anniversary celebration. Take a peek below!
To keep the party going all month, we’ll be creating some special content and we’d love to have you join in the celebration. We want to hear your Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors story! From the forbidden orange majesty on the teacher’s desk to the “these scissors belong to” masking tape labels in your office space, we all probably have a Fiskars Orange-handled Scissor story. Share yours below in the comments and you’ll be entered to win one of four gift packs from us. As mentioned above, we’ll be sending four readers gift bags with one of our favorite design or DIY books + a pair of Fiskars scissors for an adult and child so you can get inspired and get creative with friends, family and the younger folks in your life.