Lets Do This!

No.14—The Creative Process Issue

 
 
Soiree du Jour is an online store with party products dedicated to celebrating every facet of life with impeccable design. Founded by two LA native graphic designers, Brittney Backs and Diane Lindquist, they aim to create a social community of like minded celebrators.
— -Editors Side Note

This is not the year of the gym membership. This is not the year to get organized. This is the year to seriously get sh*t done.

 

Let’s face it, New Year’s Eve has been a complete let down. We could get into all the sad details, but the bottom line is that it was often focused on false hopes and vague resolutions. Yes, the start of the New Year is always a good visual marker to start a new goal, but a goal without intention is like waiting for your fairy godmother to wave her wand to whisk you away to the costume ball. Marching into 2016, we at Soirée du Jour decided to not hold back. We decided to stop letting our fear of failure run the show. With this being our resolve, we created a way to celebrate this momentous stand against all the annoying doubts we’d had in the past.

 

We created a product that would embody our resolution. Like a rod of lightning bending our mind in unexpected directions, we plotted our process of creativity to bring embodiment to our ideas.

 

 

STEP 1

INFLUENCES & INSPIRATION

 

We thrive on our creative process to bring fruition to our products. It starts with a brainstorming session. There we gather influences for the direction we want to take the product toward.

 

We talk about making single items and settled into making a kit. The initial aim of this kit is to be used for throwing a last minute NYE party, yet it can be used for any new beginning in life. From the start, we didn’t feel the typical sayings of “Happy New Year!” or “Cheers to the New Year” gave enough of the motivation that is needed to go after what you want. We played with a few phrases and ultimately went with "Let’s Do This!" because it is a declaration of intent.

 

STEP 2

ART DIRECTION

 

Our brand is heavily influenced by minimalism and high fashion, so with this kit our goal was to keep the look minimal, yet very vibrant.

 

We were inspired by graphic shapes, marble patterns and handmade elements. The typography needed to be bold and direct to achieve the intended impact. Once the direction was established, we had to decide what tangible products would be in the kit. The kit would include a banner, confetti, noise makers, and party hats. We bounced between including cups versus party hats, and chose the hat since that is clearly where the party would be.

 

 

STEP 3

DESIGN & PROTOTYPING

 

Now is time to play.

 

For each of our products we start the design by using a specific element that we make ourselves, which we then take into the computer to be manipulated and built-out around it. We feel this gives a certain level of authenticity to each piece. In this kit we created our own marble patterns using shaving cream, acrylic paint and a lot of patience. From there we get lost in making shapes, graphics and playing with color palettes. Interestingly, our early mood board had a more delicate and overall rich tone to it compared to the super vibrant, pop-art vibe that emerged at the end.

 

A large part of this process is refining. As we prototype our design, we have to make sure we can adjust the design and colors as needed. Refining indicates that the process is still in development and influenced by our environment. We take into great account at this stage what we do, what art we see, the people we surround ourselves with, all because we never know how it will play into our design. Creativity is nurtured by them all.

STEP 4

PRODUCTION & MANUFACTURING

 

While working on the finalization of the design elements, we order all the corresponding

products to help fill the kit and obtain printing estimates. Assembly time is one of our favorite parts of the process. It all starts to become real once it is outside of our computer screens. Also, being

able to touch every piece of each package gives us satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. You just can’t be in a bad mood when stuffing tiny bags of shimmery confetti. It’s literally not possible! We continue at this state to refine wherever it is needed; however, at this point the refinement is a bit less and it’s more about making sure all details are in perfect condition.

 

Once we have received our products, we start developing the ideas for how we will package them. Based on sizing, we figure out what is the best form.

STEP 5

PHOTOGRAPHY

 

The next step involves photographing each product. In the past, we have used simple backgrounds to allow the products to take center stage. For this kit, to take it to the next level, we felt that it was necessary to have our own mini party complete with a

backdrop, model and dance music. This was our first time working with a model (one of our super cool friends who is comfortable being in front of the camera), and it was such a good time. It was very helpful to be able to step back and see the products in their own setting and how they can be used.

 

STEP 6

MARKETING

 

Once all products are printed, assembled, shot and edited, we then add them to our online store and put our marketing strategy into action. We hit on all the key points: e-mail campaign, heavy promotion on social media, and we do an Instagram giveaway the first week of release. Because we are still just in the beginning stages of our company, we focus on doing limited runs of each of our party products while our audience and customer base grows. From the release forward, ongoing promotion is a commitment to the lifespan of the product.

 

 

Now is the time. Go have your first gallery show for your illustrations. Go create that online store for your handmade scarves. Go take a three-month trip by yourself to Europe. Get off your ass and really go after what you truly want to be pursuing. Celebrate that decision with your tribe and start owning it. You've totally got this!

Chelsea Matthews