Via grew rapidly following its acquisition by Mohawk Fine Papers. With an expanded product line and stronger marketing presence, Via was no longer the humble paper promotion it had been when AdamsMorioka designed its original logo; it was now a full-on business venture.
"You don't redesign an identity just to make something look better," Adams says. "You redesign to send the signal that the product or the owner or something significant has changed." This change met that standard.
HUB AND SPOKE
According to Adams, "The designer's role is to clarify the unifying message of their client's business." The new Mohawk Via mark emits admirable, elegant clarity: its hub-and-spoke configuration, with the line's selection of finishes and tones extending from a central brand, represents both the new importance and the new variety of the revamped Via line in a single image. "Because Via had become such a large line, we knew we had to help customers make distinctions between the finishes. Simplifying the mark and putting it at the center of the Via world was part of the solution," Adams says. "Adding the Mohawk name in the center was a conscious choice reflecting the overall business decision."
The same unifying message flows through the secondary product-extension logos, which define Via's finishes and create a distinct personality for each. These logos adopt a playful tone, are purposefully extremely varied, and mix Victorian and modern forms. None of the secondary logos is shown on its own. According to Adams, part of the brand-building process is to convey that all of these choices add up to one Mohawk Via. "The message is that Via is such a big family, it ought to be the only paper line a customer needs. Like your favorite pair of khakis, it can be dressed up or down depending on the kind of project you're doing."
Adams says the primary logo is now fixed, but the secondary logos are free to evolve according to their setting. For example, parts of the new Mohawk Via operator's manual employ imagery and forms related to Hawaii and the surfing world. While the primary Via logo remains constant, the secondary logos are adapted to reflect this theme.
PRESERVING THE FUN FACTOR
AdamsMorioka's original Via identity had an attitude that was tongue-in-cheek, slightly kitschy, humorous, and irreverent. "While the first piece we designed didn't fall outside of the target demographic, we wanted to become more focused when addressing the line's new context," Adams relates. "Doing something frivolous now seemed inappropriate. Each piece [needed] to reflect usefulness and functionality." He describes the Via operator's manual and "fan deck" pieces, which provide extensive resources for designers working in the print medium, as "the most comprehensive paper promotions out there. They're sort of like Pocket Pal for the modern generation."
Another serious aim of the redesign was to advance Via's reputation as an ecofriendly paper. "One of the core values of Via is sustainability," Adams explains. "The target demographic for Via is younger, and these customers are committed to ecofriendly values." To charm these customers, AdamsMorioka sought to create marketing materials that won't be thrown away. Via's universal calendar is a prime example. This handsome "endless" calendar has earned a permanent place in many designers' workspaces.
Yet in keeping with Adams' philosophy that effective identity redesigns are always rooted in preserving equity, Via's new visual personality carries forward the most appealing and well-established quality of the company's character. The colorful new logo, which reflects the expanded range of colors Via offers, continues to send a playful message. When the logo is paired in marketing materials with offbeat patterns and whimsical imagery (squirrels holding spec cards, speech balloons asking "Dude, where's my paper?"), the visual personality that emerges stays true to the original Via's spirit of fun. The message: This is one paper line created expressly to spark the designer's imagination.