born in 1649, Fiskars Ruukki, Finland.

On my frequent business trips to Helsinki, visits to the Stockmann department store would spruce up the occasional boring evening. I remember regularly browsing the hardware department, noticing some very impressive orange and black coloured tools, but always hesitating to purchase. They weren’t too expensive, just beautiful and sturdy and sharp.  Since I normally flew back home with hand luggage only, I suspected eventual problems boarding a plane with an orange and black axe or handsaw.

I chose the Fiskars brand the three times I bought scissors in the UK, but never saw the rest of their product selection outside the Nordic countries.  Now, in my first summer back in Canada, and my first ever as a house-owner (we were apartment people before), I have been delighted by the amazing range of Fiskars outdoor tools available at my local Canadian Tire.

Here’s my Fiskars inventory so far:

  1. Axe
  2. Retractable saw with a carabiner / clip so I can climb up ladders or trees to trim big high branches (Tarzan MacGyver)
  3. Loppers (cool category name!) that cut branches up to 1.5” (beware, George’s enemies with big thumbs)
  4. Push-style, human powered lawn mower (if my lawn was actually even I could trim to golf-course-grass-height)
  5. Weeder (with hand-held weed releaser)

My weeder is by far the most outstanding of the bunch. Designed like a Screwpull lever-style corkscrew, you stab the weed at the cross hairs, lever it out gently, mouth gaped in amazement of the more-than-half-foot long root you just pulled out. Finally, in a coup-de-grace, you shake the dirt over the hole you just created, and shoot the weed into a pile of weed bodies – every step without bending your back.

Product innovation and performance only gets you so far in 2011. Today’s message is about the power of using your brand colour as part of your product design. I’m not talking about logos, and I’m not talking about visual identity – the actual axes, saws, shears, lawn mower and weeders are all the same orange and black.

Customization of colours (providing lots of colour options) is not important in the professional tool world – rather it’s anathema in a manly space. DeWalt tools are yellow and black. Bosch tools are green and red. Fiskars brand gardening tools are orange and black. And when there’s lots of them in a retail display, it feels like a team in uniform, all ready to perform for you. When you buy 6 of them and assemble them on a bench, you feel ready to tackle anything. I’m not alone in my garden.

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Brand Design, Brand Identity, Retail


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