Many of you may not know this but in 2005, the Mohawk Paper Mills in Cohoes, New York, acquired the Strathmore brand. At the time they had no idea they had acquired an incredible documentary of American graphic design – now referred to as the Strathmore Archive. You should see it!! The collection of illustrates Strathmore’s sustained commitment to design, spanning more than 100 years. And up until 2013 it was virtually hidden in a Mohawk warehouse. The Archive was brought back to life by Mohawk creative director Chris Harrold. It’s hard to believe that up until then, this hugely rich resource remained largely unseen and unknown.
The carefully preserved collection contains extremely rare and historic printed materials which beautifully communicate a century of graphic design, type, print production and paper making. The collection celebrates and showcases the collaboration between the paper maker and many of the 20th centuries most influential graphic designers. It literally reads like a who’s who of American graphic design including including William Dwiggins, Will Bradley, Helen Dryden, Oz Cooper, Lester Beall, Adolf Treidler, Walter Dorwin Teague, Pushpin Studios to name just a few of the many design greats. Not bad hey? Over that time, the Strathmore brand was able to engage with design luminaries, who created a series of inspirational campaigns that showcased the power of paper as a critical element in the design process, on par with illustration, colour and typography. So the collection includes rarely seen work from the graphic design leaders.
Heritage and legacy
Founded in 1892, the Strathmore name has been synonymous with quality, beauty and design. Inspired by the flora of Scotland’s Strathmore glen, company founder Horace Moses adopted both the glen’s name and the icon flower – the thistles – growing there as the symbols to convey the beauty and quality for his paper.