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Press Release// Design Maverick Clement Mok Receives Cooper Hewitt’s Revered 2023 National Design Award in Digital Design. Legacy of Former Creative Director of Apple is Celebrated

September 8, 2023 • Posted by Design Bay Area

For Immediate Release

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Press Contact: Coralie Langston-Jones

SocialBlueprint / [email protected]

+1 415-533-8846

(San Francisco, Calif., September 8, 2023)––Design Bay Area Co-Founder, and visionary designer Clement Mok has been selected to receive the prestigious 2023 National Design Award for Digital Design. Presented by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the National Design Award honors design innovation, and national recognition of impact in design, and enrichment of daily life. The Digital Design award is given to an individual or firm for the innovative design of digital products, environments, systems, experiences, and services.

One of the early pioneers of digital design, San Francisco-based Clement Mok is a visionary entrepreneur and designer, whose eclectic career roles span from designer, digital innovator, software publisher and developer, author, design patent holder, to restauranteur and serial start-up entrepreneur. An early innovator in designing in digital media, Mok helped shape what people know of today as experience design, information design, interaction design, interface design and more. 

In the early 80s he joined Apple, where he worked directly with Steve Jobs on the Macintosh design team. As creative director at Apple, he made computers friendlier and more accessible by designing all aspects of the Mac experience, including the original packaging design of the original Macintosh launch materials, as well as Apple corporate marketing campaigns. Since then, he founded multiple successful design-related businesses, including Studio Archetype, CMCD and NetObjects.

His first step from his role as designer to entrepreneur came early in his career when he founded the first royalty-free stock photo business CMCD in 1992 and sold the distribution rights to PhotoDisc (now Getty Images). In 1996 he became a co-founder of NetObjects  (NASDAQ – NETO)— the first graphic-based web authoring tool in 1996. NetOject was later acquired by private equity. In 1998, he sold his design firm, Studio Archetype to IT/management consulting company Sapient where he played a role in transforming the business to an Agency 2.0 powerhouse. He became a successful entrepreneur in a space where very few designers were working in, or understood it. His subsequent start-up companies were founded on a premise based on lessons he’d learned while at Apple: being the first player out there doing the first thing, you get to set the bar.

He is currently founding partner of SUGARFISH, where he has applied his past career experiences now changing how Americans think about traditional sushi. Partnering with legendary sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa, he has taken its brand attribute (the chef dictates what you order), and has repackaged it in a user-friendly version starting with the highest quality fish, presented in chic restaurant interiors, and artful take out packaging.

“We’re extremely proud of our organization’s co-founder and president Clement Mok receiving one of Cooper Hewitt’s coveted 2023 National Design Awards,” says Design Bay Area Co-Founder, Dawn Zidonis. “His extraordinary career demonstrates how he has built, from one venture to another, these successful entrepreneurial, creative endeavors. His legacy has redefined the way we interact with technology and has set new standards for innovation in the digital realm. As the recipient of the 2023 National Design Award in Digital Design, Mok’s legacy is celebrated for its profound impact and transformative influence, touching the daily lives of billions of people.”

“I’m deeply honored to be acknowledged for my work in the digital space. As designers, we have the unique privilege and responsibility to share the future through thoughtful and impactful experiences,” says Clement Mok, co-founder, Design Bay Area. “Let us continue to push the boundaries of innovation, as we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of digital design. I owe it to the Bay Area design community for giving me the space and inspiration to innovate.”

In the spirit of innovation reminiscent of pioneers before him, Mok’s work exemplifies forward-thinking principles of design that have become synonymous with Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Awards. Mok’s commitment to marrying form and function in the digital sphere is emblematic of the award’s essence, which seeks to celebrate designs that not only push boundaries but also redefine entire industries.

Clement Mok’s transformative journey in digital design echoes the ethos of innovation and creativity upheld by the Awards. His trailblazing work has left an indelible mark on the world of digital design, inspiring both current and future designers to harness the power of technology to create meaningful and impactful experiences.

As the recipient of a 2023 National Design Award, Mok’s legacy is solidified amongst the ranks of esteemed designers who have profoundly impacted the way we engage with the digital world. This recognition underscores his role as a thought leader in the realm of digital design.

Award recipients in ten categories are selected by a multidisciplinary jury of practitioners, educators and leaders from a wide range of design fields. Nominations are open to all and are also solicited from experts from a wide range of design and related fields. The 2023 National Design Awards jury was chaired by Dung Ngo, editor-in-chief, August Journal. The winners will be honored at an Awards celebration Thursday, Oct. 5 at Cooper Hewitt.


Cooper Hewitt is America’s design museum. The National Design Awards was established in 2000 as a project of the White House Millennium Council. Inclusive, innovative and experimental, the museum’s dynamic exhibitions, education programs, master’s program, publications and online resources inspire, educate and empower people through design. An integral part of the Smithsonian Institution—the world’s largest museum, education and research complex—Cooper Hewitt is located on New York City’s Museum Mile in the landmarked Carnegie Mansion. Steward of one of the world’s most diverse and comprehensive design collections—over 215,000 objects that range from an ancient Egyptian faience cup dating to about 1100 BC to contemporary 3D-printed objects and digital code—Cooper Hewitt welcomes everyone to discover the importance of design and its power to change the world.


Design Bay Area is a platform dedicated to promoting design and amplifying the voices of the California design community, and those in adjacent fields, to create economic opportunities by fostering the local and international community. Design Bay Area was founded in 2021 by Alana Washington, Clement Mok and Dawn Zidonis in memory of August de los Reyes who believed in community and inclusivity. Design Bay Area produces events throughout the year, offers resources and opportunities for the local and international design community and produces San Francisco Design Week, an annual design festival that spans the Bay Area.