Every time I finish reading an issue of Mohawk Maker Quarterly, I always wonder how the next one will sustain the publication’s path. How can the next theme possibly resonate as much as the current one?
Well, I’m not exactly sure how they do it, but this most recent release not only maintains that quality, it takes it to the next level. Much like the jolt my first cup of coffee gives me each morning, my senses woke up the moment I saw the colorful pop-inspired cover art, created by Olimpia Zagnoli and printed on Mohawk Strathmore Wove in Riviera Rose. The actual color of the paper can be seen in the Maker title box — everything else is printed upon it.
It’s fitting that the theme of #8 is Feel. Like every theme, it’s explored on several levels, as Thomas D. O’Connor explains in his Editor’s Letter. The word itself can connote emotions, body temperature — and of course an object’s texture. “Feel harnesses all our senses, drawing upon not just touch, but also sight and hearing,” he writes. “We can walk into a party, shake a friend’s hand … and we feel excited and eager to join in the gathering. And it taps into the full body, combining our mental mood, our sense of physical well-being and our emotions to make us feel joyful or hungry or tired or energized.”
In the world of business and brands, it is about how your clients feel about you, often in quite an emotional way. And that framework is so often initiated through the basic materials — in this case, paper. This issue pulls out all the stops in that regard and showcases some of Mohawk’s most tactile offerings, from different varieties of Strathmore to Mohawk’s recently introduced The Curious Collection, of which Mohawk is the sole North American distributor.
Being about the world of publishing, the first story holds special appeal to me — and tells an interesting tale of our times. Instead of following the typical magazine trajectory of print to digital, this brand began with Pitchfork.com and expanded into The Pitchfork Review, a printed quarterly. Why? Well, the web is ideal for a lot of coverage: tour schedules, album release updates, videos, album reviews, etc. But the magazine’s lofty goal is to make reading about music as experiential as going to a concert. “We love the speed and community of the internet,” the staff writes, “but there’s so much noise (and far too filters) that important stories can get lost … We wanted an opportunity to give some pieces a second life, one that won’t be lost to Google searches and Twitter archives.”
And what better paper for this cutting-edge publication than a plush soft-matte cover, filled with a changing mix of gloss and uncoated stock. Superfine is a headliner in the publication!
Next up is a snapshot profile of photographer Kennett Mohrman, a Florida native who moved to Portland largely to capture its “epic landscapes.” His dramatic work is paralleled by the white printing on a stark black paper from The Curious Collection.
It’s on the next spread that the importance of paper selection is palpable. The page on the left is printed on Strathmore Cambric, Platinum White 70 Text, while that on the right is Strathmore Pastelle, Bright White 80 Text. The left has a subtle texture, the right an extreme one, with the image altered accordingly.
But it is really with the next story that the publication truly shines. I have written extensively about The Strathmore Archives — and this coverage is the closest you can come to seeing them in person, not to mention actually touching them. Again printed on Strathmore Pastelle, Bright White 80 Text ( the story actually begins on the backside of the previous spread), the partial page it kicks off with has a luscious (and unexpected!) deckle edge. The spread opens to reveal a very brief (but very gorgeous) offering of archive highlights. These also happen to be a snapshot of great 20th century design, featuring work from design legends like Will Bradley, Lester Beall, William Dwiggins, Helen Dryden, Charles R. Capon and Kenneth Kuenster.The Movement: Champions of Craft delves more into the Feel theme as seen through the eyes of various makers. I really enjoyed getting better acquainted with the issue’s cover artist, illustrator Olimpia Zagnoli of Milan, Italy. “I like it when two colors don’t really go together at first and then somehow they do and they become magic, something else,” she explains. “I’d like my illustrations to evoke freedom.” Well, I love her illustration peeking through on the partial page!
I have just given you a tiny taste of the quarterly, and other than the actual feel of this issue, there’s one other thing I can’t convey in a blog post: how Mohawk Live, the company’s augmented reality app, adds an unexpected high-tech element to the experience of reading the quarterly.
Once downloaded, hover your mobile device over images imprinted with the Mohawk Live icon and enjoy a wonderful little surprise — maybe a 3-D image, a video, an infographic or animation. Each is so fun to discover for yourself, I won’t say too much — but like milk to cookies, it’s a necessary accompaniment to this issue!