September 26, 2011

An Interview with Joy Cho of Oh Joy!

Joy Deangdeelert Cho is a graphic designer, blogger behind the popular blog Oh Joy!, Market Editor of the magazine Anthology, and co-author of the book Creative, Inc. As if that weren’t enough, she also has her own line of stationary, home office products, and wallpaper (pictured below).

Joy talks about her love of style, graphic design and more with YS.

YS: How do you juggle so many different projects? Do you have advice for others working on several creative projects at once?

JOY: For me, I work best when I’m busy! Give me one thing to do, and I’m at a loss, but give me twenty and I’m in my comfort zone. I think what it comes down to, when working on a variety of projects, is to make sure they’re all things that you’re really excited about and that fit your business and brand. When you’re starting out, there are definitely times you take projects or work because you need the work or to build your portfolio, but after some time, hopefully you can be more choosy in what you take on and surround yourself with great work and great clients.

My number one tip for multi-tasking efficiently is to be organized. It sounds like the obvious solution, but you need to have a realistic look at what’s on your to-do list to be able to tackle them all on time and not get too overwhelmed. I use Google Calendar to track all of my current projects, due dates, and my personal life as well so that I always know what must be done any given day, week, or month. I swear I look at that thing 75 times a day!

YS: How would you describe your design aesthetic? Are you drawn to certain types of colors, shapes or patterns when you are designing?

JOY: I love color, pattern, and texture. I am not sure how to describe it other than the mix of those three things make me really happy.

YS: What projects are you currently working on?

JOY: I’m currently prepping for a bit of maternity leave, so I’m not taking on as many projects as usual, but I am wrapping on my second book, which is part of the Inc. series and will be out next fall. I can’t stay what it’s about yet, but it’s a topic that’s very dear to me and I’m super excited for it to come out.

YS: Where do you work on your projects? Do you have a studio? What is your studio like, if you have one?

JOY: Currently, my studio is in my house. I used to want to work in an outside studio so badly and have a separate place to work and not be distracted by my home space or my personal life, but I’ve gotten really used to working from home and absolutely love it now. My commute is really short, and I love the flexibility it provides me.

However, working from home does make it harder to separate work and personal [life] and have that balance. So, I always try and work between certain hours (usually 7:30am-6pm) and I don’t watch TV or sit in my living room during the day. I reserve that area and those activities for when work is done and my day is done.

YS: What’s your favorite part about being a graphic designer? Where do you find inspiration? How do you fuel your creativity?

JOY: I think graphic design has the potential to be such a great field because of the variety of things you can do with those skills if you work hard and keep learning.

I started in traditional print graphic design for an ad agency and moved on to designing textiles for products. It offers you the potential to crossover into typography, illustration, art direction, and so many other creative fields. I love it.

YS: You often write about food, restaurants, and other foodie favorites on your blog. Would you describe yourself as a foodie? Where are you favorite places to eat in L.A.?

JOY: I’m definitely a food enthusiast. It’s sort of my favorite activity to do in my spare time. I grew up with a family that had Thai restaurants for a living so food has always been part of my life. My current favorites in LA are: Mother Dough for pizza, Jitlada for Thai, Canele for brunch, Broome St. General for a mid-day snack, and Patisserie Chantilly for Japanese/French desserts.

YS: The “This and That” feature on your blog, Oh Joy!, shows the connection between fashion and home accessories. Do you feel there is a strong link between fashion and interior design?

JOY: I love the crossover of fashion and interiors, and when I’d design patterns or home products, I’d definitely look to fashion for inspiration. The “this & that” column came from my love of both things. I love that you can sense someone’s style and taste both by what they wear and from how their home is decorated.

YS: You have chronicled some of the adorable outfits you’ve worn during your pregnancy on Oh Joy! How have you achieved such a stylish pregnancy? Any clothing pieces or labels you would recommend to other pregnant fashionistas who’d like to achieve your bright, playful look?

JOY: Thank you! Well, it hasn’t been the easiest, but one thing I always try to do is not to hide the belly. Back in the day, our moms wore tent-like shirts and everything oversized to accommodate the belly and also hide it. Being pregnant is seriously one of the best experiences I’ve ever been lucky enough to have, and it’s a time when you can look so beautiful…just in a different way. So, I think it’s great to wear pieces that flatter and show off the belly. I’ve bought a few maternity-specific pieces, like some tees, basic cotton dresses, and maternity jeans.

Isabella Oliver in the UK makes some amazing staples, and a good pair of designer maternity jeans or shorts will take you through most of your pregnancy. Since I’ve been pregnant all summer, I’ve mostly worn lot of regular (non-maternity) maxi dresses. This is the one time that the empire waistline actually looks good on me, as I would have never wore them before!

Longer cotton maxi dresses are the best way to show off the bump while still giving you some room to play with color and pattern…and still have something you can wear after the baby arrives. Also, accessorize…since those are items you definitely won’t outgrow as you grow!


  1. Nice interview with Joy!
    She definitely is one stylish mama! I feel so inspired that she sets specific guidelines for herself and work hours during her day so she can be more efficient and productive. I could learn a lot from her!


  2. Joy is the best and a real-life super woman and true inspiration! I'm overjoyed (sorry!) to call her my friend xx.