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oh joy for target / behind-the-scenes, part 3...

Oh Joy for Target

Since launching the Oh Joy for Target collection back in March, I've been sharing some behind-the-scenes peeks at the pieces and the photo shoots (see here and here) that helped bring our designs to life. I've shown you guys what some of our photo shoots are like, but one thing I always get asked is how the design process works. Did I really design everything? How did our designs go from ideation to actual product? And what's my role in the process vs. Target's? Well, here's a little look at how it all happens...

Before this collection came along, I personally designed every item with the Oh Joy name on it myself. But as this project approached and with hundreds of products to design on top of everything else I was working on last year, it became time to hire another designer to help me out. My designer, Angie, has been the perfect complement to help me create patterns, draw products, and make our ideas come to life.

Here's a look at our process using the current Fall 2014 collection as an example...

Oh Joy for Target inspiration

1. Mood Board—The first part of the process is making a mood board for our own internal use. I put together a secret board on Pinterest that Angie and I share where I'd add colors, images, types of products, and anything that I was thinking would inspire my vision for the fall collection. We'd talk about ideas as we keep adding to the board. We'd also create a real-life inspiration board in the studio that included materials, swatches, color chips, and anything else that we needed to see and touch in real life.

Oh Joy for Target colors

2. Colors and Patterns—From there, we created a color palette and a ton of patterns based on the mood board. We already create way more than will get used so that we have options to be able to show. When designing for a large retailer, like Target, you have to think about what trends will be relevant to their customer when the product is available. I didn't want the items to feel dated, but trends also take some time to get to the mass level. So we decided to mix in the geometrics that we saw becoming more popular but also added in some classic signature Oh Joy colors and details like shiny gold, pops of color, and quirky details.

Oh Joy for Target / sample sketch

3. Product Sketches—Once we narrowed down the colors and patterns, I'd sketch out all of our product ideas onto paper and then Angie would redraw them in Illustrator as flat 2-D drawings, apply the colors and patterns we discussed, and we'd specify the materials, size, and any other details of the item. This would be part of our presentation to Target so they could see exactly what I envisioned for every aspect of each item.

4. Meeting with Target—From there, Target gives us feedback on what they thought would resonate best with their customers, both from a surface design perspective and a product design perspective. We'd work together with them to discuss what changes needed to be made and ensure that we were all happy with the final selections. A lot of times changes to an item were purely from a production stand-point—maybe the material I wanted was too expensive. Or, there are certain finishes you can't apply to an item if you want it to be durable and long-term.

5. Deciding What Stays—Once we narrowed down the items to pieces that both Oh Joy and Target were happy with, we created spec sheets of every single product that spelled out in detail the materials, size, shape, colors, and any patterns in repeat that would be needed. Target creates the product, and from there comes the fun part...

Oh Joy for Target / sample reviews

6. Reviewing Samples—A few months later, we get to see the first round of samples that have been made. We usually review these samples in person at Target Headquarters in Minneapolis where we also look at the products on the shelves in a pretend store setting. Based on all the samples that were made and were successful, we decide what will stay, what will go, and what still needs tweaks. 

Oh Joy for Target / planogram sketch

7. Finalizing Samples—Then, any samples that still need work will go back for another round, and I get to see it either in person or via photo before it gets produced. Once we both love a product, it's marked as final and goes off to production to be made into the final pieces that you see in stores. The Target team works on a layout of the shelf display with our finalized drawings so we can all envision how the display will look.

Oh Joy for Target / before and after

Oh Joy for Target / before and after

 

Oh Joy for Target / before and after

Here are a few before and afters, so you can see how our initial drawings turned into the real-life items and how some turned out exactly as drawn, whereas some got changed along the way. The process is really fun and interactive, and I learned more about how customers will eventually use the product which informs what is actually made. For example, there were times I wanted shiny gold on items (like those stackable mugs), but we had to remove the gold otherwise the mugs wouldn't be able to be microwaved (and most people like to be able to heat up their mugs in the microwave). So, we changed the handles to solid colors instead.

I always find it fascinating to see things come to life from your imagination to a real-life product, so I hope you guys enjoyed seeing a little bit about how it all happened for us!

P.S. The fall Oh Joy for Target collection is only in stores and online for a few more weeks before the holiday collection arrives so get it while you can. We get a lot of emails after the collections leave stores about where to find past pieces, so just a reminder that once they are gone, they are gone!

{All drawings by Oh Joy for Target}

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