Clement Mok Biography

Artist(1958–)
Graphic designer Clarence Mok sold his design firm Studio Archetype to Sapient Corp. in 1998, marrying their technical prowess to his graphic design.

Synopsis

Clement Mok worked briefly for the design department at CBS, then moved to Apple, where he joined the Macintosh team. During his stint as a creative director at Apple, he made computers friendlier and more accessible. When he left Apple to set up his own design firm, which he sold to Sapient Corp. in 1998. He currently serves on the board of directors of the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Profile

Call it geek meets chic. When high-tech firm Sapient Corp. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, bought Clement Mok's ultra-hip design firm Studio Archetype in the summer of 1998, the move married Sapient's high-end technical prowess with Mok's sophisticated graphic design. It also seemed to further Mok's decades-long quest to make technology usable, intuitive and fun.

Mok was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, the son of a businessman and a homemaker from the Guongdong region of China near Hong Kong. In high school, hedreamed of becoming an architect, but shifted his focus to graphic design after he failed math. After graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, Mok worked briefly for the design department at CBS, then moved to Apple, where he joined the fledgling Macintosh team. During his five-year stint as a creative director at Apple, he made computers seem friendlier and more accessible than ever before. Among other familiar images, he designed the playful "Mac squiggle" logo--a spontaneous looking scrawl of a computer on a wide open white space.

When he left Apple to set up his own design firm, he continued to attract work from high-tech firms, including IBM and 3Com, and later Netscape. In 1992, he completed a CD-ROM project for the Mayo Clinic, publishing itshealth databases. By presenting the information with simple, colorful designs accented with pictures and graphics, Mok proved that even massive amounts of digital information could be fun and easy to absorb. While his design firm, first called Clement Mok Designs, then Studio Archetype, focused more on print materials than electronic media at first, he continued to pursue his interest in design. In 1994, he founded CMCD topublish the first CD-ROM of royalty-free images for digital use. The following year, he cofounded NetObjects, a software company that created the acclaimed Web design tool NetObjects Fusion. Fusion brought simplicity and sophistication to formerly clunky, technical HTML programming.

As demand for Web design increased, Studio Archetype made simple, elegant, and fun sites out of masses of corporate information for such industry giants as IBM. Mok cites Muppet creator Jim Hensen and composer Stephen Sondheim as heroes, and like those artists, he tries to inject his work with a sense of playfulness that makes even complex systems easy to navigate. In 1996, Mok set out his design philosophy in his book Designing Business. Most recently, he published the second edition, Designing Business 2.0 (2000), which highlighted design application and business principles within the context of today's digital media.

Mok currently serves on the board of trustees of his alma mater, the Art Center College of Design. He also serves on the board of directors of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and sits on the advisory boards of numerous technology companies and colleges.

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