Mohawk Maker Campaign Honored by AIGA in ‘Justified’ Design Competition
Thursday, October 16, 2014
With fewer than three percent of submissions recognized, Justified is the graphic design industry’s most selective competition
Cohoes, NY – Mohawk, North America’s largest privately-owned manufacturer of fine papers, envelopes and specialty substrates for commercial and digital printing, was recently honored for the company’s Maker Campaign by AIGA in the association’s annual Justified Design Competition. Mohawk was one of 19 brands honored for exemplary case study submissions that demonstrate the value of design in a clear, compelling and accessible way.
The Maker campaign was skillfully manufactured by Hybrid Design, with Creative Direction provided by Dora Drimalas and Design by Caleb Kozlowski. Hybrid initially began to model the campaign as an exercise to raise awareness of the Mohawk Superfine grade, and then it evolved into an investigation of Mohawk as a brand and how the company and paper itself are culturally relevant.
During the process, the paper industry’s chief communication device - the paper sample - was re-imagined to connect with contemporary culture and redefined to alter the industry’s perspective of paper in a progressively digital world.
“Paper needs to be special to be relevant today. Commodity communication is paper’s past. Paper today is suited to moments of meaning and emotional weight. While digital communication is ephemeral, paper conveys permanence. When we commit something to paper today we want to communicate significance,” explains Dora Drimalas, Principal, Hybrid Design.
The Mohawk Maker Campaign featured several key elements designed to communicate experiences that are unique to paper, to elevate print communications, and to highlight the beauty and tactility of fine paper.
Hybrid brought the campaign to life through the development of the Declaration of Craft manifesto and video, which communicates the company’s core beliefs and ties them to maker culture. Following the Declaration of Craft, the Mohawk Maker Quarterly was introduced to inspire designers and speak to the heart of the broader maker community. Lastly, the Mohawk Craft Cooperative was developed to help printers rediscover their role as craftsmen.
The Mohawk Maker campaign publications also serve as paper samples, printed on different Mohawk grades, featuring different finishes and using different print techniques. All elements of the campaign work together to build a compelling narrative around the Mohawk brand and the relevance of fine paper today.
Read the Mohawk Maker Campaign case study that captured the jury’s attention.
This is the fourth year of the AIGA Justified competition. Over the course of six months, judges were tasked with reviewing and judging nearly 750 entries - the largest number of entries to date (and more than the past three years combined). With fewer than three percent of the submissions selected for recognition, Justified is the profession’s most selective competition.
The 19 winning entries survived three rounds of rigorous evaluation by the jury, which was chaired by Christopher Simmons, and included Dana Arnett, Kate Aronowitz, Cameron Campbell, Joe Gebbia, Jennifer Kinon and Jeremy Mende.
The jury reviewed all entries based on clarity of concept, quality of execution, and aesthetics. The judges considered if the design was effective, well-crafted, beautifully executed, and ultimately, if the design did its job by meeting the needs of the brand.
Jury chair Christopher Simmons comments on the selection of the Mohawk Maker campaign as a finalist, “No one wants to see another paper promotion win a design award. Lavishly indulgent design and unlimited production budgets represent a breed of design excess that’s largely incompatible with how we view and value design today. But this is a campaign with substance. The unbound, tabloid-format series of periodicals features interviews and articles about the many facets of ‘maker culture.’ It makes an argument for the power of printed communication not with superficial ornament, but by commissioning and delivering substantive content regarding issues of craft—and delivering it in a crafted, tangible medium. It’s a gift, not a promotion—brilliantly positioned, surprisingly restrained, thoughtfully curated and impressively designed.”
Additional jury comments about the Mohawk Maker Campaign:
“There’s something wonderful and worthwhile about the effectiveness of the printed page. The designer chose to demonstrate the benefits and printability of paper through the subject of the “maker” movement. The subject matter was the perfect platform to allow the designer to incorporate all the rich element of graphic design and editorial art direction.” —Dana Arnett
“Finally, a paper sample project that is more than aesthetics; it delivers meaningful content, too.” —Cameron Campbell
“While this project was designed for a very specific audience, we loved the craft, detail and content.” —Joe Gebbia
“On the surface, this project is a paper promotion. You may think, “That’s easy” or ask “Should we be promoting the use of paper?” When you dig deeper, you can see the designers took these considerations to heart. By developing unique content around the use of paper and promoting the notion of craft, this project goes the distance in being something to read and keep around. I personally identify with the growing “maker” culture, as I saw the difference it made to my team at Facebook. It’s too easy these days to get sucked into our computers and forget the physical nature of design and making things.” —Kate Aronowitz
“Design for designers is always tough to honor, but advocates within the jury took a firm stance that the design team tasked themselves with doing more, generating content that moved the industry forward. The “Culture of Craft” also captures every popular design cliche of 2014.” —Jennifer Kinon
To learn more about the 2014 competition and selection process, visit AIGA’s website for remarks from chair Christopher Simmons.
To view the Mohawk Maker Quarterly online or to sign up to receive an issue, visit www.mohawkconnects.com/cultureofcraft.