Paper Meets Pixels with Hybrid Design’s Award-Winning Mohawk Website Redesign

Editor’s Note: This project won OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT in the Client Promotion Category for the 2018 HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards. See all of the winners here, and don’t forget to enter the 2019 Promotion & Marketing Design Competition — accepting submissions now!

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT Client Promotion Category | 2018 HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards

Hybrid Design — Mohawk Website

After working with Mohawk for five years on their brand strategy, swatchbook system and Quarterly publication, Hybrid Design jumped at the chance to redesign and modernize the paper company’s website. “It seemed like a natural extension to bring all of that thinking into a new digital platform,” says Nicole Hasselfeld, digital strategist and project manager. “The brief was to include the blog, a way to shop, and some tools for designers and merchants. Beyond that, it was very open for us to evolve and collaborate on where else the site could go.”

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Practical Meets Inspiration

The new Mohawk website is designed to encourage transparency and build relationships in the printing process through inspiration, education and practical tools. The Find a Printer tool allows designers to evaluate printers by browsing their work or discovering them through projects that inspire them. A print process glossary explains techniques and connects customers to real projects. Photography for the site captures the potential of paper without relying on finished projects.

“The most impressive and unique feature, in my opinion, is the product selector,” Hasselfeld says. “With this feature, we aimed to re-create the physical experience of using a Mohawk swatchbook in a digital format. You can select a color, finish or weight and instantly see what other options are available, a preview of what it looks like and what swatchbook it comes from. However, the site also offers a step further in the process and immediately allows you to purchase or find stock of the product at a merchant closest to you.”

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Finding the Feel

While you can never truly re-create the experience of holding a piece of paper in your hands, Hybrid felt there were strides that could be made to make the digital experience more aligned with the physical. Very literally, they used the newly designed swatchbook system to guide the UX work. “We wanted the user experience to be similar and familiar—not introducing new tools because of a new digital medium,” Hasselfeld says.

It was particularly challenging to show the differences in paper texture and color digitally, in a meaningful way, for such an extensive product line. Hybrid used a macro lens to photograph all the paper textures and colors to help the user get a much better sense for the real material.

To show the beauty and potential of paper, Hybrid built large-format sets and created inspirational scenarios to celebrate the object and material qualities of the products. “In designing and building the sets, we picked through the hundreds of different textures and colors available to build a visual story,” Hasselfeld says. “It was like a puzzle piecing together the 30 different sets from a 5-foot-tall stack of paper.

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Fresh and Moving Forward

As end-users themselves, Hybrid’s designers say the new website has been an invaluable tool in the studio both for spec’ing paper for projects as well as looking for inspiration or a better understanding of print techniques. Says Hasselfeld: “It gives us a view into the industry that was previously cloudy, and Mohawk is doing an amazing job of keeping it fresh and full of inspiration.”

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT Designer Client Promotion Category | 2018 HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards

Mohawk Website,  

Hybrid Design, San Francisco; Dora Drimalas, Caleb Kozlowski (art directors), Patchara Charoensiri, Carl Vallin (designers), Henrik Kam (photographer), Nicole Hasselfeld (digital strategy director); Mohawk (client)