Read carefully – What is language design all about?

Julie Uusinarkaus & Virve Juhola, both from Finland

Virve Juhola and I have worked for a mutual client and several corporate clients in the design and fashion fields for many years. In this dialogue-type presentation, we will discuss the concept of ‘language design’ when writing, translating and editing for the design fields that strive to create a credible image for their specific audiences in both their visual and their verbal communications. To make the content count for them requires more than clarity and conciseness: most of all, it requires an understanding of the mentality of the design world; its need to represent the megatrends, new ideas and design traditions; and its need to communicate inclusion while at the same time also portraying exclusivity.

We will discuss a few linguistic means to apply to this type of content and touch on the concepts of aesthetics, context, register, tone of voice, style, typography, and trust. For the participants, this presentation will be an introduction to a niche field of editing in a specific context: producing bilingual and sometimes trilingual content for specific local and international audiences based in a small Nordic country and culture with its quirks and twists affecting the English used.


About the presenters

Julie Uusinarkaus

Julie Uusinarkaus is an in-house editor at the University of Helsinki and a freelance editor and language consultant in the field of fashion and design, first as a magazine editor and later as a freelance consultant for companies such as Artek and Helsinki Design Week. She is particularly interested in matters of style, and as an in-house editor she developed the style guide used by the translators of the University of Helsinki. She was one of the founding members of Nordic Editors and Translators (NEaT) and was its first chair from 2014 to 2016.


Virve Juhola

Virve Juhola is a language and communications specialist, writer, editor and translator in Finnish and English working through her own company, Cape Context, based in Finland. She specializes in the creative and technology fields, including design and architecture. She provides content and consultancy to both Finnish and international brands such as Artek and Trimble. Her interest lies in strategic communications, responsible and sustainable messaging, readability, reader-response research, reception theories and cognitive processes, and applying these to her work. She is one of the founding members of NEaT and served as its chair from 2017 to 2019.

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