Responses by Caleb Kozlowski, creative director, Hybrid Design
Background: Mohawk Maker Quarterly No. 15 is part of an ongoing series of publications that aims to get designers excited to make things in real life. The format is reinvented every issue to highlight the theme; this issue’s theme is materials. Our goal is to provide a point of view on why it’s meaningful to make real things—and how they are different from the screens we are accustomed to.
Reasoning: Because this issue was devoted to materials, we fashioned the publication into a collection of unique objects. Each article was conceived as a combination of content, material and process. This enabled us to use a wide range of materials and processes—allowing our audience to experience a variety of real life examples. It was also an opportunity to emphasize object quality, something we often let lapse when we are translating design on a screen to design in real life. Shape, texture, weight, context, smell and presence—these are communication tools that the real world offers that our reliance on screens has de-emphasized.
Challenges: A collection of unique objects meant a collection of unique specs. Managing all of this was pretty challenging. Every choice you make in a normal project was multiplied—like drawdowns, papers, dummies, printers and design. It was mindbending.
Specific demands: We have an approach that is characterized as “make it easier so you can make it harder.” Mohawk is one of the easiest clients to work with—we have a great relationship and strong shorthand. This creates an opportunity to push design more because we’re all on the same page. The same is true for our printer Sandy Alexander. We work together well and the printer is always game to figure something out. We can push harder to figure out more obscure production techniques. Make it easier to make it harder.
Anything new: We always learn about new things with every issue; this time it was “hand work,” what can’t be done by a machine in the production process. Basically, where there is a human physically assembling or folding. This matters because the cost is so much higher for hand work. We definitely had some ideas for folds in this issue that we weren’t able to pull off because they required too much hand work.