Responses by Caleb Kozlowski, creative director, Hybrid Design
Background: Designed by Hybrid Design, the New York–based paper maker site’s purpose is to help demystify and improve how all the core target groups—designers, printers and paper merchants—work together. Its boots on the ground purpose is to provide inspiration, education and practical tools to these audiences—and of course support the Mohawk brand. The site was also developed by Avatar New York.
Highlights: The sum of its parts. This site is a first step to rebuilding confidence and trust by sharing information—ultimately helping to rebuild the relationships between designers, printers and merchants. We also streamlined the paper/specifying/buying experience to be as visual as possible and easy to navigate, including a visual glossary that chronicles things users can do with print and the Check Local Stock function, which checks if Mohawk products are in stock by region.
Challenges: Translating the volume of products and variability of options within those products, while at the same time, keeping the experience as simple as possible. The combination of variables is so specific and Mohawk’s product structure is so unique, that there was no real one-to-one to look to for standards or best practices.
Favorite details: Since we designed Mohawk’s real life swatchbooks, we were able to use that background for the site. We looked at this site as one experience—whether the swatchbook is physical or digital, it should feel the same. If users are familiar with specifying paper in a swatchbook, the interactive experience should feel familiar to them—and vice versa.
I’d also be derelict if I didn’t mention the photography as well. There is a big challenge representing a product that is also an ingredient, and representing it digitally. Paper’s potential is mainly realized when people use it for something. So the question was, how do you capture that potential without showing specific examples? We played with combining paper into different compositions to create an atmosphere of possibility and beauty.
Alternative approach: Build a time machine and start sooner.