Oh Joy

creating a photo series... 10 Aug 2015

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

Earlier this year, I shared how I archive my digital photos and memories, and since then, I've been doing my best to continue archiving family photos that we capture throughout the year. One of my favorite series that we've shot for this blog has been my Dressing the Babe series which started at the beginning of this year. It was started as a fun way to share of my favorite stylish pieces for your little ones, but it's also turned into a series of photos of me and my kids that I cherish and will be so happy to have for the future. I recently put together the first six months of our Dressing the Babe photos into a beautiful lay flat photo album by Artifact Uprising and it turned our simple series into a family treasure I'll pass down to my kids.

There's something about a series that feels so meaningful and special when you look back on how all the images connect with some consistency over time. And to see the change in the people within the photos is what makes it truly priceless. Whether you're capturing a monthly baby photo or annual family portraits, here are a few tips for creating a series to capture with your kids or family...

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

1) Look at the camera! Especially when we take photos with our kids—I, too, am guilty of looking at my kids (instead of the camera) when we take photos together because I am concerned with how they are doing and making sure they are happy. But one thing a lot of photographers tell you is not to worry about what the kids are doing (because the photographer will engage them) and make sure to look at the camera yourself. That's the only way that you have a chance of getting the parent's face in the photo, too. And, it's your face that your kids want to see and look back on someday.

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

2) Have someone who knows how to engage kids take the photos. Whether it's your husband, wife, a family member, friend, or professional photographer, kids are happier in photos when the person behind the camera is fun and engaging. I have been on shoots before for work where the photographer treats the kids like an adult and doesn't know how to talk to them in a fun and engaging way. And then it just feels like pulling teeth for everyone. Casey, our staff photographer, knows how to make my kids laugh, smile, and be silly so they always feel comfortable with her when we take photos.

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

3) Shoot both horizontal and vertical photos. When taking photos, shoot both ways so that you have the flexibility to make them for work different formats later—whether a holiday card, baby announcement, framed print, or a bound book. It only takes a few extra minutes to shoot a few more photos in different orientations.

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

4) Take photos during a time of day when your kids are their most energetic. For example, we've realized that late afternoons are the worst for Ruby when she's just ready to crash for the day. And never take photos right before a baby's due for a nap or you'll just have a cranky, unhappy baby on your hands.

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

5) Be consistent. While you can certainly stick to some sort of consistent look or theme (like how we shot all these photos behind a cool wall or background)—more than anything, it's important to stick to a consistent frequency in order to have a solid series. We shoot these photos once or twice a month so that we have a representation of each of my kids each month, and it's been so fun to look back and see how much they've grown and changed even since the beginning of the year.

P.S. You can read more about my tips for archiving your photos right here!

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

happy friday + pattern play... 12 Jun 2015

Oh Joy Pattern Play Flowers

Happy Friday! Lately, I've been wanting to make things just to make them. Like the way it felt in art school just to make something beautiful for no particular reason at all. And even though it's my job to make things, sometimes it's nice to not have a recipe or DIY attached to a project and just create a pretty image, ya know?

So in the studio, we've been playing around with patterns (per usual) and experimenting with 2-D and 3-D versions of patterns. It's fun to combine all our talents together, play with patterns, and make something (like this above and these from last week).

What are you guys up to this weekend? We're heading to the beach tomorrow with some friends and then celebrating Bob's birthday on Sunday! Have a great weekend, guys!

{Creative Direction by Joy Cho, photos by Casey Brodley, production and styling by Julia Wester. Pitcher is vintage enamel that was painted. Fabric is by Nani Iro available here.} 

oh joy for target / behind-the-scenes, part 3... 29 Sep 2014

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}

um, those colors... 28 Jul 2014

Chanel 2014 via Vogue

Prism of Threads caftan

rainbow stairs

...just a few things my eyes are gravitating to right now...

{Photo credit, top to bottom: Red/pink dress is Chanel 2014 by Vogue.com via Man Repeller, caftan by Prism of Threads, poster by Laura Meseguer, stairs via Casa Chauca.}

the coolest pop-up book ever... 16 Jan 2014

food pop-up book by warabe kimika

The other day, I took the Oh Joy team on an inspiration field trip to Little Tokyo in downtown L.A. While at the Japanese bookstore, I came across this little pop-up book that I had to get for Ruby. I'm a sucker for pop-ups, and it's seriously one of the best I have ever seen...

food pop-up book by warabe kimika

food pop-up book by warabe kimika

food pop-up book by warabe kimika

Ruby loves it so much that she has asked to read it as her bedtime story every night since I found it. I have no idea what it says so we just make up a story about these cute animals and their favorite foods. You know a book is good when you don't need the words to keep a child entertained!

P.S. The book is called: Tabemono (Food) by Kimika Warabe. Thanks for the translation, Joyce and Lindsay!

clusters of things... 20 Nov 2013

Zebra balloons at The Land of Nod

Lawn flamingos clustered on a wall at The Land of Nod

Last week, while at a spring preview event for the Land of Nod, I was really inspired by how they used lots of simple objects in clusters for the decor. They'd make great party or room decor any time of year. How cute are these lawn flamingos grouped together on the wall? And those zebra balloons are just pure whimsy...

{iPhone photos by Oh Joy}

some fall things... 12 Nov 2013

painted leaves

salted pumpkin caramels


Happily Grey

I'm home in Philly this week visiting family, so it finally feels like fall. I've missed the colorful leaves, the brisk weather, and the layering action that we don't get during this time of year in L.A. Here are just a few fall things around the web I'm loving...

Sources: painted leaves from Emily Isabella Journal, salted pumpkin caramels from PBS, parrot wallpaper via AB Chao, and cozy leopard from Happily Grey.

paper to petal... 12 Aug 2013

Paper to Petal by Thuss Farrell

Paper to Petal by Thuss Farrell

Paper to Petal by Thuss Farrell

I've long been a fan of Thuss + Farrell, an amazing husband and wife duo who design, style, photograph, and art direct. Their their newest book, Paper to Petal, is like eye candy full of the coolest projects showing how to make amazingly gorgeous flowers simply from paper. Here's a peek at some of my favorite projects from their new book which is now available for pre-order...

{Photos by Thuss + Farrell}

{field trip} hedley & bennett studio... 7 Aug 2013

Field Trip with Hedley & Bennett | photos by Bonnie Tsang

Field Trip with Hedley & Bennett | photos by Bonnie Tsang

Recently, I've gotten to know Ellen Bennett, a talented chef who recently started her own apron-making business called Hedley & Bennett. And despite being in business for just a year, Ellen's aprons are now worn by some of the top chefs in L.A. and across the country. I spotted her work at Poketo a couple months ago and loved that her aprons combine function with a style that both men and women can wear. So Ruby and I went on a little field trip to the Hedley & Bennett studio to check out Ellen's process and to have a couple aprons made just for us!

Field Trip with Hedley & Bennett | photos by Bonnie Tsang

We talked about our favorite fabrics, what kind of pockets we like, and Ruby pretty much went to ribbon heaven with all the supplies in Ellen's studio. And, we started dreaming up what our aprons would look like...


colors... 5 Aug 2013




I think in color, I dream in color, and my brain gets inspired by color. Just a few color palettes that are really doing it for me lately...

P.S. more color...

{Photo sources: Kristen Grove's bedroom via Rue MagazineKenzo Spring 2011, Swedish pancakes by Linda Lomelino.}


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