We’ve all heard the expression, you can’t judge a book by its cover. While this may be true, we can’t help but form an impression when we encounter something for the first time. This week I took a field trip to visit the Mohawk Paper mill in upstate New York. From the moment I pulled into the lot and saw the colorful Mohawk logo, an impression was formed and I knew I was in for something special. That opinion held true when I got to experience the new Mohawk Maker. From the moment I ran my hand across that neon orange marbleized pattern on the cover I was hooked, the new Mohawk Maker Quarterly makes quite an impression.
Normally when I experience a new print promotion, I’ll have the mill rep give me the cliff’s notes version of the piece. This time I got the inside scoop from Mohawk’s Creative Director & VP of Business development, Chris Harrold. As I was fixated on feeling up the cover, Chris pointed out that it was printed on Mohawk Options Navajo Smooth 100# Text, as was all the full size sheets in the piece. I could not believe how incredible this paper felt, the only thing better was how amazing the print fidelity was. The half sheets are all printed on Mohawk Options 100% PC White Vellum, and have a nice toothy hand yet look crazy good, especially those mid-tones which can look really muddy on some paper papers. Keep in mind, I’m talking about an uncoated text and cover paper (not your typical glossy sheet that most default to with publications). The secret sauce is in the Inxwell surface treatment. Inxwell gives you the best of both worlds, the tactile feel of an uncoated paper with print results of coated paper. Truthfully, I think this piece would have looked a little flat if it was printed on a coated paper (although I would be interested to see the comparison). The cover features a beautiful marbleized pattern from hand-made wall paper maker Calico. There is no touch plate on this just four color process, match neon orange, pink and green – you seriously have to see it.
Once I got past the cover, I found that the content was just as amazing as the graphics. There’s an article that talks about the meaning of ephemeral and the lasting impression (or not) technology has had on us. Guess what one technology has managed to endure the longest? I found it interesting that Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist has said if you have a photos that you really care about, print them out. Plus there is a killer timeline graphic that goes along with it. The other thing to note, is the area of heavy solid gray on this spread – it’s unbelievably smooth and uniform, and remember this is uncoated. Not to get all nerdy, but this Navajo smooth finish has a sheffield rating (how smoothness is measured) of 45 – that’s crazy and why the heavy ink solids look so good and uniform – no mottle at all, which is really hard to do on uncoated paper, even with the best sheets.
Then there’s the article about DIY.org, it’s kind of a modern day, gender neutral version of boy/girl scouts but with really great badges (If anyone is listening I would like the adult version of this please). Again, the print quality on this spreads is killer. Here they use match neon pink and green, and it really takes this to stellar print status. Plus look at the detail on the fabric, you see every thread in the weave of the background, again this kind of crispness is usually not seen on text and cover papers.
The piece also profiles the brand Filson in Stewards of Heritage, curator Dave Cuzner’s eclectic collection of midcentury modern design in Timeless Library, and shares how senses and emotions help us store and recall memories in Making Memories.
As if this content wasn’t enough, to support the theme of impressions, each one of the issues contains a limited-edition, letterpress print produced by Minnesota-based Studio on Fire. But I haven’t told you the best part – there are a total of THREE collectable designs, all letterpress printed on Mohawk Options Vellum 100% PC White 130 DTC: “Victory” by Erik Marinovich, “Man Made” by Invisible Creature, and “California Gold No. 2 – Sun” by Lab Partners. These designers are featured in an ongoing series called Mohawk Champions of Craft, the series highlights creatives who demonstrate impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail in their work. Can you just imagine how gitty I was at this point? Thankfully, I was with a fellow paper enthusiast so I didn’t have to censor myself.
When I got back to the sample studio later in the week, I shared the piece with my team. Both are young designers, who have an appreciation for paper and print and were immediately drawn to the cover. The moment of truth came when they audibly gasped after they realized there were three collectible letterpress prints and proclaimed this the best Maker Quarterly yet. Well Mohawk, I’d say you made quite an impression on all of us.