Kohler: Be Bold
Melinda Van Leer
Michael G. Mueller
Editorial Project Manager
Daniel Arsham Studio
K150 Branding Assets
Kohler, the storied American company known for its iconic kitchen and bath products, luxury golf resorts and destinations, and energy generation, commissioned Bud Rodecker of Span to design a commemorative book for its 150th anniversary. The book celebrates all of the Creators who have propelled the company forward with their bold vision, be they artists, designers, inventors, explorers, entrepreneurs, leaders of business, scientists, engineers, athletes, craftspeople, or those whose expertise and impact defies label. Working collaboratively with the Kohler team, the Span team wrote, edited, curated, and designed Be Bold.
Span engaged Donna Speigel to establish the book's editorial voice and to write and direct copy. Over the course of a year, Donna interviewed 34 contemporary Kohler Creators to capture their inspiring stories in first-person conversations. These conversations delve into what drives their creative process and output. Featured creators include contemporary artist Daniel Arsham, former NFL football player Donald Driver, Ann Sacks, and Jonathan Adler. Under Michael Mueller's direction, the Kohler in-house copy team wrote historical narratives for "legacy" Creators, bringing to life the stories of innovative Kohler leaders and collaborators who have passed. Bud Rodecker and Alyssa Arnesen worked with Krystina Russell of Kohler and their archives team to curate the image selections and design the page layouts.
We designed a system that allows variety in every creator profile, adding surprise and interest. Profiles are interspersed with photo wells that add to the creator’s and Kohler's story. Be that historical photos of Kohler’s Antarctic expeditions, archival Bold Look of Kohler advertisements from the 60s and 70s, or images from the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits®.
Throughout, we’ve typeset the body in Helvetica Now Bold… it seemed the logical choice. To add visual weight to the page, we’ve replaced paragraph breaks with a colored circle to create a visual pause.
For the cover, we wanted to create the effect of a pristine white porcelain sink with a chrome faucet. To add a touch of magic, the cover title and contributor names on the back cover are impressed with holographic foil.
The close collaboration between the Span and Kohler teams resulted in a beautiful document that celebrates the impact of an American company that has helped define the look of the bathroom for the last 150 years and looks forward to the next 150 years.