Mohawk Maker Quarterly #6 is all about impressions, which I find a little ironic since I’ve been reviewing a PDF of the issue for weeks, but once my copy arrived yesterday, it left a whole different (and by different, I mean even better) impression on me than the digital version. Let’s start with the gorgeous cover, shall we?
Featuring a mesmerizing, marbled pattern from Calico Wallpaper, it is printed on Mohawk Options Navajo Smooth, Brilliant White 100 Text (148gsm). In life the orange is far more neon, the pattern itself far more detailed — and of course no PDF can replicate the smooth and enticing texture of the stock, or the way the orange seems to almost float lightly on its surface.
The idea of impressions is especially compelling, Thomas D. O’Connor, Jr., notes in his editor’s letter. “You might expect that a paper company would focus on the printing-related definition: ‘a mark, indentation, figure, etc, produced by pressure.'”
But this issue embraces every aspect of the word. An impression can be: a strong, lasting effect on the mind; the first, immediate response to something; or even a vague notion or belief, like when we have a certain vision of a favorite brand.
“Impressions can be both physical and emotional; they can be both quickly formed and enduring,” he writes. “When we hold a well-worn book in our hands, we intuit that is much-loved and -read by its owner. A well-crafted logo on a business card tells us the company is competent and trustworthy. Over time, first impressions become part of our long-term memories about meaningful people or events. As makers, we strive to leave lasting impressions on our colleagues, friends, customers, influencers — even the world around us. This issue celebrates creators and companies that act mindfully to produce positive, memorable impressions — and we hope it inspires you to create work that lasts.”
Heady stuff, that — and that’s just the opening page. The first article, “What is Ephemeral,” is by Bryn Mooth. It revolves around the idea that there is a growing reappreciation for the ways that were so quickly discarded — too quickly discarded, some might argue — as our digital age took hold.
Mooth points out that 80% of books are still purchased in paperback or hardcover forms, while audiophiles have rediscovered vinyl records. “People still want the physical manifestations of those JPG, MP3 and PDF files,” she writes, “As it turns out, we may need them.”
Technology moves so fast that storage methods quickly become obsolete, and all digital content is vulnerable to destruction or loss. So what is most dependable method of preservation? Why paper, of course. “We digitize things because we think we will preserve them, but what we don’t understand is that unless we take other steps, those digital versions may not be any better, and may even be worse, than the artifacts that we digitized,” said Vint Cerf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist. “If there are photos you really care about, print them out.”
Below, a chart documents the lifespan and accessibility of formats including the VHS tape, flash drive, cassette and archival paper. Guess which (on the far right) lasts hundreds of years?
My favorite article is the profile of Studio On Fire, a Minneapolis design workspace and letterpress house.
I love this spread so, so much. If print could be porn, this is it.
Each issue of Mohawk Maker comes with a bonus: one of three collectable letterpress inserts, each created Studio on Fire on Mohawk Options Vellum 100% PC White 130 dtc. (100% recycled content). The first is by Erik Marinovich.
The sun, which was included in mine (and again, if you are lucky enough to see it in life, that experience will completely transform your impression of it), is from Lab Partners.
And here we have a remarkable work by Invisible Creature.
The Movement: Champions of Craft section looks at creators in various forms; one of my favorite discoveries here is A Two Pipe Problem, a letterpress house based in Tokyo and London. Who would have ever guessed that this work is inspired by American 1950s comics (think Tales from the Crypt) and a 1897 British magazine, The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News.
This barely scratches the surface of this fabulous issue, which I plan on exploring more this weekend. I’m going to definitely carve some time to take advantage of the Mohawk Live icons throughout & use the augmented reality app to see how my impression of everything within deepens.
Best of all, Mohawk Maker is completely free. This issue mails the last week of April. To get your very own free copy, sign up here — and you may soon find your impression of the world somewhat changed!