Oh Joy! Design, Style & Other Cool Things

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h1My blog is a creative outlet for me, but it's also a part of my business now too.

Joy Cho, Oh Joy!

Joy Deangdeelert Cho is a talented Los Angeles-based graphic designer who runs her own studio, has written books, has her own line of paper products, loves fashion and food – and chronicles all of it on her wildly popular and beautifully optimistic site called simply Oh Joy! She also happens to be one of the most popular people on Pinterest. As a new Mom, Joy has a capsule collection of baby clothing coming out today. It's a collaboration with Winter Water Factory, and features one of her favorite patterns.

We checked in with Joy to find out else she's working on, what designers and products she loves right now, and what to expect in her book coming out in September. Her answers are full of surprises.

You've been blogging since 2005 and have created one of the most popular design blogs on the Web. What was your breakout post? Or were there several that put you on the map? Hmmm...I can't say there was one breakout post. I think the visuals draw people in as well as the overall consistent tone and style. When you read my blog, you can easily get a sense that I like a lot of color, pattern, and whimsy. When I started my site, it was in the Golden Ages of blogging, but the support of others who were around (like Grace from Design*Sponge) helped so much in gaining new readers and growing the site.

What opportunities has Oh Joy! opened up for you that wouldn't have happened otherwise? Or is it just another outlet for your creative energy? It's been my number 1 marketing tool, not only for my graphic design business (the majority of my clients find me through my blog), but when I have products come out or launch a new book, the blog has been the main way that I connect with my readers to tell them about what I'm working on. Since they are already fans of my site, it's a natural customer base, and readers are so supportive of my new endeavors when I have them. My blog is a creative outlet for me, but it's also a part of my business now too. It's nice when you can do work that you really enjoy.

You've worked with a lot of brands as a designer and blogger – what's your best advice for brands looking to work with bloggers? Narrow down your sights to a few bloggers who really fit your aesthetic best. Sure, you want someone with a decent reach, but it's also about whether that blogger has the personal style or design style that fits your brand. Whether that's a blogger that's been around for five years or someone who's only been around 5 months, it should feel like a natural partnership.

You also have your Rx project – tell us how that fits in with your blogging and design work… I was getting a lot of emails for advice on how to be a freelancer, how to have a product line, or how to start a blog—all of which I've done at some point in my career. I'm a big advocate of mentoring and giving advice to those who are newer than you at something. I've learned so much along the way and wished I had someone to guide me through it and that's what I offer for other small creative businesses.

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You have a great eye for fun products – what are some of your favorites at the moment? Some of my favorite brands creating amazing product right now include Tokketok for stationery, the whimsical illustrations of Charlotte Trounce, tabletop items by Herriott Grace, and clothing from indie designer Hound.

What other design or lifestyle blogs are your soulmates in style? Bri from Designlovefest (who is also one of my contributors) is my color and pattern soul sister. While we have different overall styles, we both really love mixing and matching and not afraid of clashing! I also love Jessica Comingore's blog. While her aesthetic is much cleaner and minimalist than mine, she still has a sense of whimsy in the things she likes and shares with her readers.

You've got a book coming out this Fall (congrats!) - can you give us a preview? Yes, it's called Blog, Inc. and gives the 411 on how to create and have a successful blog. I've given hundreds of consulting sessions and many workshops on the topic, and this book summarizes everything about blogging that people want to know ... from coming up with a name and concept, to what to blog about, to monetizing, and more.

What's something your readers would be surprised to learn about you? I'm a second degree black belt!

Joy is a top design voice in the SAY 100. Follow her on Twitter @ohjoystudio.