Vintage Bicycles Done Proper :: Portland, Oregon
The bicycle has played an integral role in the advancement of human culture since its inception. However, for some, cycling is nothing more than a utilitarian way to get from point A to point B. To others, it defines who they are. It captures the spirit and imagination of people from all walks of life. This is the message that Mohawk Paper passionately shouts throughout its paper stock sample booklet, “Mode of Transformation: The Adventure, Discovery, Fascination & Evolution of Life on Two Wheels.”
One of the methods paper companies use to solicit certain stocks is by creating gorgeous pieces of printed materials showcasing print capabilities, ink oddities, embossing, die cutting, special folding techniques and bindery tricks. These pieces are typically taken to extremes and beyond budget busting for most artists or the marketing/advertising firms producing collateral for their clients to replicate. But they aren’t meant to be copied. They are crafted to show what you could do, if you wanted to, using their paper and the latest print technology. They are also created as inspiration for the design staff and the print fanatics in the office. Mohawk Paper did just that by putting together this 34-page booklet dedicated to a simple, yet enduring, device—the bicycle.
The front and back covers give the hands a treat, as all printed pieces are embossed, popping the steel frame and all of its parts off the page.
The slim booklet features a number of images that scream Americana like Pee-wee Herman on his red cruiser, an extreme close-up of the glitzy sparkle of a Schwinn Stingray banana seat and a classic ’70s photo of Farrah Fawcett on a Peugeot. Which is a detail only discovered by the slightest hint of the black-and-white checkered pattern adorned on the seat tube Farrah perches near.
What else could be sprinkled within these pages but an homage to the constructeurs and treat for the connoisseurs. Portland’s own Sacha White of Vanilla occupies a full six pages in the book displaying a number of different handmade delights along with the details that make them, well, Vanilla. Also a treat are sprinklings of quotes by Sacha, speaking to his philosophy on craftsmanship.
Let us also take a moment to step away from the bicycle as it is analyzed under the microscope and refocus on the men who pour years into riding them at professional levels we can only look at with awe. The “Mode of Transformation” does a marvelous job, with its yellowed, duotone print work, to cast them in the limelight showcasing these warriors in their most ragged, weary and gritty state possible.
As your hands walk through the visual timeline of the bicycle, a quote stood out to me. “The bicycle’s appeal is both timeless and universal, having crossed the boundaries of class and geography to become, perhaps, the one truly global pastime. It’s a blank canvas. A reason for being. A revolution that endures.”
Indeed it does.
This stunning blend of print is one I am lucky to have acquired. It lays out clear reasoning why the bicycle’s appeal is timeless and why it continues to evolve and endure, from its inception to the present day.