Mark was a very loyal and generous friend, and also one of my most influential mentors. We had worked together on annual reports and other projects for nearly 23 years. Mark's uncompromising quality standards have truly shaped me into the designer I am today. There is a huge hole in my heart now and I struggle daily to comprehend this unthinkable loss. Mark's "more is more" approach to life, his confidence to take risks (which always seemed to pay off) and his outrageous sense of humor can never be filled by anyone. I'll never forget the most recent commission for the Progressive annual report, and watching our translator and French-speaking artist try desperately to keep up with all of the "Mark-isms." You know, the candid language and off-the-wall expressions that could only come from the mind and mouth of Mark Schwartz! I imagine most of it was lost in translation, but they quickly learned to understand and appreciate what he meant through the tone of his charm, quick wit and his larger-than-life manner of being that always filled the room.
I will genuinely miss my dear friend and irreplaceable design collaborator. Mark and I seemed to balance each other in the most unexpected way. My role was often the counterpoint — frantically trying to harness his energy and provide a simple and sometimes alternative point of view. I know he respected me for that, and when we could find the middle, the results were always harmonious. Although his time with us was cut way too short, I feel comfort in knowing his innovative spirit and passion for quality and good design will always guide us forward.
Michelle Moehler, 07.23.14
Mark touched me in many ways, both personally and professionally. We met in the ‘70s, when he was a grad student at Ohio University and I was an undergrad. I didn’t have the opportunity to interact with him a lot then, but I did take note of his “big” personality on campus and in the photographic darkroom.
Our paths crossed years later when I started managing Eaton’s annual report. Our 2014 Annual Report will mark the twenty-first time Eaton has partnered with N&S on this publication. I say partnered because Mark and his team have been quintessential partners. They always listen to the business and communications needs and bring back ingenious thinking and creativity that result in award-winning, eye-catching design — the very essence of the company that Mark built from the ground up.
What I admired most about Mark was that he held firm to his beliefs… he never wavered. Anyone associated with Mark knew his trademark all-black attire. He recently recounted that once someone suggested that he should wear a standard button-down-and-tie to a client meeting. One of his daughters encouraged him to stand firm and not wear the tie. And that he did. Of course the meeting was successful.
Mark didn’t want to let his daughter down by being pressured into doing something he didn’t believe in. As a business partner and a personal friend, Mark would do most anything to ensure that he didn’t disappoint the people, clients and causes he believed in… except for wearing a tie. ☺
We miss you “Mr. Big Personality.”
Matt Greene, 07.23.14
How to capture the incomparable Mark Schwartz in a few sentences? A daunting, nay an impossible task. There are so many memories but they all begin with the first one over 15 years ago. Laurel School wanted a new graphic identity that would lead into new admissions materials. We were looking for someone who knew how to get us to where we needed to go—but who also understood who we were. As a school that had recently celebrated its Centennial, tradition was, and is, embedded in our very fiber.
My initial conversations with Mark differed completely from those with the other designers who had responded to our Request for Proposals. Beyond the standard background info, he wanted to know who would be attending his presentation, who the decision makers would be in the room. And, shrewdly, he requested having the last slot in that marathon day of presentations. Mark arrived, dressed in his standard all-black ensemble, and from the outset he captivated us. Quite simply, he “owned” the room and made it very clear that we needed to think BIG. He asked us lots of questions, some tough ones, and what he proposed was bold—literally, figuratively, creatively. We never looked back.
When Laurel School hired Nesnadny + Schwartz, we got more than Mark’s razor sharp wit and amazing acumen. We got his heart. We were partners on the same path. From day one he wanted to know everything about Laurel and, more importantly, who Laurel girls were. More than a dozen years later, with his own Sophie on the cusp of graduating from Laurel, Mark still talked about the post-presentation, student-led tour of the school that not only affirmed his decision to take us on as a client but that made Tina and him realize they wanted their daughters to grow up as Laurel girls. And so they have.
Working with Mark was a crash course in aesthetics and asking the essential questions—who are we, what do we want to accomplish, how do we get there? In not being afraid to challenge assumptions and in learning the fine art of negotiating between “free” and truly “free-free.” And in always, always being authentic and staying true to one’s self. He fought for every font, every photo. The result was, of course, award-winning materials. But it was never just about design. No, our collaboration was much bigger than that. With Mark, it was about defining who we were and helping us successfully tell our story.
Whip smart. Strategic. Opinionated. Observant. Loyal. Generous. Supportive. Exacting. Larger than life, Mark was a force of nature who “got” us and told us what we needed to hear. No sugarcoating. No beating around the bush. I look back to that presentation and the subsequent 15-year conversation. I will miss the to-the-point emails signed simply “Best, M”, the raised eyebrow over the eyeglasses during our insightful, amusing and even exhausting conversations. Especially those conversations. I will miss him. RIP, my friend.
Julie Donahue, 07.23.14
Mark was the wizard of ideas. Bold, brilliant ideas.
I was fortunate to have orbited the warm sun of Mark's creativity. I’ve worked alongside many creative people in my career -- truly exceptional people. Mark, though, was a lone brilliant star. High standards. A keen visual eye. A nimble mind. Always exacting, always demanding. A true pain in the ass at times … but always for the right reasons: the work, the end product.
It's hard for me to imagine a world without Mark. But then I realize his brilliance, his legacy continues in his beloved family and in his talented staff. Yes, indeed, the wizard of ideas lives on.
Elizabeth McIntyre, 07.23.14
Creativity, heart, hilarity, insight — and devilry. Mark was a big man because his magnitude couldn’t fit a smaller case. And the void he leaves behind is equally big. Life seems like it's lost a color without him. Thank you, Mark, for all you were and all you did and for Sophie and Emma, who carry on your gift to the world.
Scott Chaikin, 07.23.14
Here at Nesnadny + Schwartz, Mark was an exacting, dynamic, generous, and challenging leader. Under his guidance, we became sharper and more astute. We asked more questions. We never settled for easy answers. And then we regrouped together, laughing in the communal kitchen over lunch (takeout Chinese is the team favorite), reading newspaper headlines aloud, and immersing ourselves in the big and little moments of our days. Mark lived a full, layered life, and we’re honored that he gave so much of himself to N+S.
Thao Thai, 07.22.14
One of the many aspects of Mark that made working with him so much fun was his unapologetic liberal Democratic politics. On Election Night 2008, he was the first person I emailed when Obama was projected to win Ohio, and therefore the Presidency. I sent him a message that read “Thanks, y’all” and he immediately shot back, “You are VERY welcome!” The next day, with both of us back in our respective offices, he sent me a routine work email with the header “Budget Revised #2 (Sent from a BLUE state).”
Four years later, I think he was determined not to let me get in the first word. At the crucial moment of Election Night 2012, I got an email from him with header “Ohio ...” When I opened it up, it read: “Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio” … actually there were about 650 “Ohio”s in the email, but you get the picture. I already miss Mark a great deal, but what on earth am I going to do without him on Election Night?
Lance Ringel, 07.22.14
I had the fortune of working with Mark on an almost month long project. He was such a larger than life character with such a deep and exciting passion for photography... a person I'll always remember with great fondness. And I've always been touched by the Valentine's cards... they were a sweet gesture from an over the moon dad. My condolences to all.
Dan Borris, 07.22.14
Bon voyage to a great spirit. Kaddish.
David Q Rosen, 07.22.14
I will deeply miss Mark Schwartz, the man behind the camera who always seemed to capture me at my most outrageous moments, including my hilarious junior prom hair fiasco. Years ago, as I grew closer with Sophie Schwartz, I soon realized that Mark and Sophie were a package deal, and I could not be happier for that to be true, because I got to know someone who was genuinely the funniest and most loving person I have ever met. His humor and ability to make me uncontrollably laugh at the most inappropriately funny things is something I will always remember. Spending a great deal of time with Mark, whether on photography excursions, at haunted houses or casual dinners, and in NYC, I learned so much from him. Things about life, things about photography, things about family and even things that no one would never need or want to know. He put all he had into everything he did and because of that he will always remain an influential person in my life. Many of my best middle school and high school memories are from times with Mark (and Sophie, Emma and Tina) and I am thankful for the time I got to spend with him. I love you Sophie and Emma Schwartz, and your dad loved you more than a measurable amount.
Sara Hollabaugh, 07.22.14