At the end of 19th century, one of the predecessors of the present UPM, Kymmene Aktiebolag, hosted a competition for artists to create a new, distinctive logo for Russian trade. As we now know, Hugo Simberg's griffin was the declared the winner and Kymmene Aktiebolag purchased the drawing in 1899.
Hugo Gerhard Simberg (1873-1917) was a talented Finnish painter and graphic artist. He is a prominent figure in Finnish art history. Simberg is known for his gloomy style and macabre, supernatural topics. Fittingly, his most famous piece is The Wounded Angel (1903). Simberg was encouraged to follow his symbolistic themes by his mentor, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, a visual artist known for his interpretations of Kalevala, the Finnish national mythology.
Over the years, the Griffin has evolved with us and has become a recognizable, iconic symbol for UPM – an assurance of high quality and responsibility. It’s not only used in UPM advertisements or marketing and communications materials. The Griffin is an artistic and ornamental motif; the symbol has been hewn in granite, etched on glass, carved in wood and embroidered on wall rugs and fabrics.