Keeping with this week’s theme about John Richard Mraz (who celebrates his seventieth birthday tomorrow), I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a couple of important honors.
John was awarded the distinguished 2000 Advertising Professional of the Year Award by the Spokane Advertising Federation (below, left). And if that wasn’t enough, ten years later he became one of only six recipients of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the same body (below, right).
I met John around 1979 while attending Spokane Falls Community College. He came to speak to a small group of students who were part of the FAD Club (Future Art Directors). I remember he passed around his brown portfolios and shared stories about projects and clients. It seemed that most of his work was logos: black and white representations along with printed stationery samples. I was in awe; enamored with how clean, crisp, and polished his design solutions were—not to mention how nicely they were presented within those plastic sleeves. He told us that his work represented a lot of “blood, sweat, and tears.”
The meaning of those three words have never been lost on me. As true then as they are today, they represent a kind of old-school ethic. Practical. Sensible. Accountable. The kind of thing you learn growing up near a small town, on a farm, in the middle of the Palouse. The kind of thing that helps explain the success John has enjoyed, both in his personal life and throughout his career.