But how does it feel?
That’s the one key question I ask before I make any decision. That one word – feel, applies to so much. If you think about it, it can mean the actual texture of a thing, the mood or emotion something evokes, the way something looks, smells, sounds or tastes. Thoughts are cerebral but feeling is existential. Feeling provides us with context that is imprinted on us long after the thought is gone. For example, I had not thought about my grandmother’s kitchen in decades, then last weekend I was cooking chicken soup. I’ve had chicken soup hundreds of times since I was last in that kitchen (she passed away over 25 years ago), and never once did I think about that space. But as I was stirring the soup and got a whiff, I instantly felt like I was 8 years old, standing on a stool in that tiny, brown and gold kitchen waiting for the soup to be done. I love that feeling. Every time I experience one of those moments is priceless.
All the Feels
Now think about how powerful that kind of connection is if you’re a brand? Talk about customer lifetime value. Tap into that emotion, feeling, woo-woo (whatever you call it) and you’ve created something special. There is growing research that shows us this type on connection is what resonates with us most. As the line between work and personal continues to blur, accelerated by the convenience of digital technology, we long for connection. Whether it’s work or play doesn’t matter – it’s about how it makes us feel. And one look at the newest issue of The Mohawk Maker Quarterly, with all that color, texture and visual goodness is enough to give any fan of print design all the feels.
Just take the cover. The first thing that strikes you is the strong, vibrant illustration by Italian artist Olimpia Zagnoli. But if you look closer you’ll notice something that doesn’t happen often. Do you see it? Take a look at the masthead. That’s the actual color of the paper – Strathmore Wove in Riviera Rose, one of the new heritage colors introduced this year. Flip over the publication and you’ll get a better sense of the shade.
The next time you want to print on a deeper tone paper, show this sample to your printer. Now, there’s a few production details that make this work: first they hit the sheet with opaque white ink – a couple times actually. Then they laid down four color process using UV inks. UV inks are a great option when printing heavy color on an uncoated sheet because they cure within seconds, limiting the dot gain and results in a more durable surface than conventional inks. Of course this technique costs more than using conventional inks but these jobs typically print faster because they require less drying time. A good print rep can help educate and guide you through the process. And that’s only the cover.
Inside the Maker Quarterly is tons of great content. Every issue I think to myself “this is the best one,” yet somehow the team at Mohawk and Hybrid manages to out-do themselves. Not only is the design amazing but the content is so juicy! And as if the print production on the cover wasn’t enough – wait til you see what they’ve done inside by pairing eight papers from two unlikely offerings: Strathmore & Curious Collection. The half sheets are each on a different line from the Curious Collection while Strathmore struts its stuff on finishes that are anything but run-of-the-mill.
There’s Bryn Mooth’s editorial on Pitchfork, where we learn how their creative team went against conventional wisdom and launched a successful print magazine. Add to this the fact that we are talking about an industry that thrives off immediacy and digital downloads, the idea of a print mag wouldn’t make it past most execs recycle bin. That’s what makes the idea of leveraging print as a way to provide an experience to their audience all the more genius!
One would never think of using an uncoated paper to feature the details of photography. But the paper selections used to highlight the works Kennett Mohrman echo his philosophy – to “capture expansive natural landscapes with both wonder and clarity.” You have to see the cross-over on pages 14 -15, featuring a gorgeous mossy covered terrain. Page 14 is printed on Strathmore Cambric (linen finish) in Platinum White, while page 15 is printed on Strathmore Pastelle (felt finish) in Bright White. Two different papers, two different colors, two different finishes – one amazing photo filled with depth, warmth and richness. And don’t think for second the paper didn’t have a lot to do with that feeling.
Design enthusiasts will love the fold-out featuring pieces from the Strathmore Archives exhibit. What’s so cool about this is that it’s not just about vintage paper promotions, but rather a real live look at the evolution of print design in America. Dating back to the 1899 promotion featuring Strathmore Deckle Edge Paper, one can see the influences throughout 20th century graphic design. Of course, I adore the fact that it’s printed on Strathmore Pastelle, featuring it’s deckle edge!
For those who appreciate design sensibility, you will L O V E the piece written by modern day philosopher Alain de Botton. He skillfully articulates our inability to express how objects make us feel, in Why Design Matters. And will you please check out how great those mid-century modern illustrations look printed on the linen sheet Starthmore Cambric (yes I said linen)?! Equally brilliant is the the wire-frame cathedral illustration printed in red ink on black SKIN from the Curious Collection. (In case you missed the memo, Mohawk is now the North American distributor for the Curious Collection).
Not to be forgotten is the Champions of Craft, featuring ten artisans and makers creating lasting connections through their art. From the mobile mercantile within a vintage Airstream trailer to the hospitality of a community based social club, this section is frought with great examples of creatives who are forming real relationships with their fans through their choice of subject, materials and content. Of course, the print production reinforces the connection we, as readers, feel with them.
Take a look at page 26, the use of Curious Metallics Ice Gold to feature a photograph of a wooden sculpture is so clever, the gold tone of the paper reinforces the warmth of the subject and even though you can’t really see the shimmery metallic finish, it lends an ethereal quality to the image that draws you in.
I told you, the Mohawk Maker Quarterly gets more amazing with every issue. But don’t take my word for it – this is one print promotion you need to experience for yourself. Interested?
If you like the idea of experiencing the actual physical print pieces I share here on the blog, then you might want to consider subscribing to The Parcel. Every month we share some pretty amazing print samples and mill promotions, curated by yours truly, complete with production notes (you see exactly how they did it so you can do it too)!
Here’s a peek at some of the items in the last shipment of The Parcel, of which this issue of the Mohawk Maker was included.
But if that’s not your thing, just taking time to read this or following along with us on social media is enough to give this former paper rep all the feels.