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Design With Chon (DWC) – a boutique design studio with defined niches in (1) visual communication, (2) event design and (3) interiors. Each of these industries are huge in themselves, but DWC’s goal is to achieve good design in all its various forms, whether it’s from the branding of your business to saying “I do” to transforming interiors. Let me, “Chon," be your personal design consultant + stylist for your business, wedding or home. A balanced environment makes you feel good, and I am here to inspire your surroundings.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Featured Photography: Jill Thomas

This week's photo eye candy belongs to Jill Thomas, a West Coast photographer based in San Diego. One wedding that I loved in particular from her collection is Dawn + Brian. I instantly fell in love with her black and white portrait shots of the bride & groom and the various wedding guests. Although the stance of the subjects are shot straight on, they say so much about each person's personality. Each shot on their own are stunning. And the bride, Dawn, has such natural beauty. I especially love the back shots of her in the wedding dress.

For some reason, I like out of focus shots like the one below. There is a timeless quality and feeling of movement that is different and nice compared to the always in focus, sharp detailed shots.

{Images are from}

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Inspiration Board #6: A Classic, Bold European-inspired Wedding

Guess what... I have my first wedding design & decor booking! – a May 2011 wedding. This is another close project to me, because it's for my good high school friend, and now client. :) Like any bride, she's already on the hunt for ideas and has been sending me her ideas & images to what she envisions for her day which is very helpful. Then I took her ideas and refined it into a grander vision. I am definitely pushing her vision a little further than what she expects, but I truly think it reflects her personality more. She is very bold & fun, and her wedding needs to have those same characteristics.

Here are some of her key descriptor words: elegant, antique, history, cream and black as the main colors. Of course, I had to throw some color in there and suggested an emerald green. It just felt right for the mood she was going for, and it will add that modern feel to the overall look. Also, I want her wedding to have a little more edge and playful twist to the European, Victorian era that she seeks.

Final color palette: an off-white hue, antiqued gold, emerald green and black.

The bold black & white classic hues are accented with green and touches of vintage gold. The Victorian flair is brought in with the traditional cameos that I plan to customize to her profile silhouette and her fiance's, too. And I feel the need to add antiqued gold & black frames in various sizes to bring out that sense of history. Whether the table numbers are framed, or a cluster of portraits of the bride, groom and old family photos are displayed somewhere in the reception venue. There are soo many fun applications that they can be used for; especially for photography.

When I say I want to the give the bride "a little more edge" to her wedding day, I mean to modernize it from where she wants which may come off a bit dated based on her original key words. And I plan on doing it with a custom, green pattern with a tailored European feel, and I would like to contrast it with another graphic pattern – black & white stripes. However, these patterns won't exist everywhere in the decor; it will be used thoughtfully & selectively throughout her wedding and reception. It's those extra little accents that will give it that personal, tailored, classic appeal with a twist to the European Era.

Invitation design: custom black cameo portraits, incorporate traditional scroll flourish designs, custom green pattern on thick, uncoated paper, letterpress, and a black envelope with a personalized wax seal

Apparel/Accessories: bride in off-white, bridesmaids in black cocktail length dresses and accented in gold antiqued jewelry, the groom & groomsmen in black, or grey suits with black & white striped bow ties/or a tie

Floral selection:
white anemones with their bold-dark center and white roses

Table decor/seating: a mix of black and antiqued vases with white florals, candlesticks and eclectic frames on black table linens, gold chiavari chairs, white plates with gold chargers

Guest favor boxes: black boxes accented with a green ribbon, and a sticker seal of the cameo portraits of the bride & groom

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Design w/Chon: Printed Mexico Wedding Invitation!

The Mexico-inspired wedding invitation set, "bee" escort cards, and favor tags have been printed, and they look fabulous thanks to our printer! I hand delivered the goods to the client, and she just loves the final result. :)

To achieve this look, we used letterpress and offset printing. The main card, matching envelope, "bee" escort card and favor tags were letterpressed onto Mohawk's Genesis Husk paper. The tri-fold wrap around the main 5x7 card was printed on a similar color stock paper, but it had a woven texture to it – French Paper Company's Speckletone Cream Cordtone. The surface contrast between the smooth and patchwork pattern is just lovely. I am not sure if the photos do it justice, but there is so much subtle detail to the overall invite from the printing to the specialty paper.

To learn more about the thought process that went into designing this wedding invite, view these links:
- Moodboard
- Save the Date Card

Mexico Wedding Invitation Set

Main Invite Card with Tri-fold Wrap

Main Invite Card

Tri-fold Wrap
Map & RSVP Card

RSVP Card (front-side)

RSVP Card (back-side)

"Bee" Escort Card & Tequila Favor Tag

{Wedding Invitation & Print Accessories designed by Chon}

If you love what you see here, and what something totally original for your wedding day, you can get it, too! I custom tailor designs to fit the style and mood of your wedding day.

Everyone Should Look Their Best

We all know the wedding day is the bride's day, and she should stand out and look the best compared to everyone else. And I agree that should remain true, but you wouldn't want unhappy looking bridesmaids in your wedding day pics would you? Everyone should look and feel their best. This post is about bridesmaid dresses, and there are so many ways to approach it.

Traditionally, bride's like to have their bridesmaids look pretty uniform in color, length and all accessories matching one another. If you do take this route, why not find of an unconventional bridesmaid dress for your girls to make your wedding day more original. It's easy to go to a bridal store, but if you have a group of girls that want a dress with personality, check out departments stores or boutique shops for fun, stylish dresses. Your bridesmaids will be happier and a dress that doesn't look so "bridesmaid-like" allows your girls to wear them over again and again without the dress going to waste. And be sure to have fun with the bridesmaid accessories – shoes, clutches, tights and jewelry will help bring out the confidence you want in your wedding day pictures.

If you want to take the unconventional route for bridesmaids dresses, mix up the styles, the length, fabric and the texture of the dresses. However, give your girls a specific color palette to follow, put them to work, and let them go hunt for the perfect dress that reflect their taste and body shape. Tell them to buy a few dresses, and then get together for a dinner party at someone's house, and do a "Dress-Up" party. I think that would be so much fun. And you can see how all the dresses visually work together, and all parties should happier with the end result.

See below pics to see how much you can really push the style from one bridesmaid to the other, but you can see the overall visual continuity. I love it when you have 3 to 4 colors in your wedding color palette and each girl represents one of the colors. It's bold, and it adds personality to your photos.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Featured Photography: Fancy Ring Shots

The end of the week is here...yay! I need the weekend. It's just too bad it's also filled with events. Well, it's Friday, and it's time for some eye candy, and these ones are pretty sweet. For the day of your wedding, make sure to get some fancy ring shots from your photographer. You can get pretty creative with the ring set-ups. Here are a few pics by a variety of photographers to inspire your shots. Be sure to embrace elements that are surrounding your wedding to make it yours.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Design w/Chon: My Travelscape

My Travelscape business cards are done and printed! See the result below. This is a follow-up to a previous post.

{Business Card & Logo designed by Chon}

Design w/Chon: Custom Monograms

A custom monogram is a great way to brand your wedding. It can appear on your wedding invite, the wedding cake, favor tags, be hand-stamped or printed onto napkins or favor bags. It can even be customized to be projected by light onto the dance floor for your reception. By intertwining the first initials of the bride & groom into a unique emblem, it's original to the couple, it's the symbol of the couple's union/bond, and it's forever.

For my last wedding invite client, she had a great idea for the custom monogram that I designed for her wedding invitation. She is going to take the custom monogram (below in purple), and get it embroidered onto shawls for her girlfriends and family members as wedding gifts. It's something that they will keep forever and remember. To see the full wedding invitation, click here.

These next few designs are of the roman numeral X for an 2010 October wedding. This particular client wanted a very strong X mark, but wanted it to be different, graphic, have personality along with it being elegant since it is for a wedding. I presented her with over 5-6 designs, and the 4 seen here were my top picks. I pushed the envelope on the design, more than what she wanted, because I wanted to show her how much you can manipulate the letter X and have fun with it. And the winner is — the last one pictured; simple, elegant and still has movement.

If anyone out there needs a custom mark for their special day or event, get in touch with me via email. I can customize practically anything to meet your needs. We just need to chat to get the ideas rolling.

{Custom Monograms designed by Chon}

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Design w/Chon: Pure Dental Spa Identity System

This project here is very near and dear to me. First of all, my client has supported my work for a long while and when it was time for her to open her very first dental office, without hesitation, she came to me. This has been one of my greatest project that I have taken on since it utilizes all of my design assets, and I got to control the quality of the work across all design mediums – print to web to the interior decor.

I want to thank her, and I hope she is happy with the end product as much as I am. There will be a few more posts on this client. I just wanted to share these initial projects. We are currently finishing up the interior decor, and her office doors will be officially opening June 8th in the Bloomingdale, Illinois area. Also, I will be sharing her "new client promotions" too if any of you are looking for a new dentist. Trust me, you'll want to go visit this dental office.

This particular project began back in January of this year, and it started with the name. I worked with her in refining her business name. She didn't want the typical dental name incorporating the word "smiles" like everyone else. Something clean, simple, and reflects the nature of the business. We went back and forth several times and one word kept on sticking, and it wasn't taken. It was the word "pure", and it sounded really nice with the word "dental". "Pure" represents cleanliness, and that's why we go to the dentist – to keep our teeth/mouth as clean as possible. Then the word "spa" was thrown into the name, because this new office was going to embody spa-like services. There is this new trend called "dental spa" where dental offices want their offices to now be soothing and comforting for their client visits. And we all know, dental offices aren't at the top of anyone's list for places to go visit.

With the name down, Pure Dental Spa, it was time to develop the identity. As soon as the name was selected, I had a good idea on how it was going to look, and the client was totally one the same page with me; it was great. The fact that I knew I was going to be working on the interior decor of her office, it helped me build her brand colors since she really wanted an avocado-like green color on her office wall. I envisioned in my mind seeing the word "pure" all in white against the green wall, and it truly brought out the essence of clean in the word and the nature of the business.

Interior Office Signage
Pure Dental Spa color palette: white, grey & green. White is pure and clean. Grey represents a brushed aluminum material and the sterilized equipment that is used to clean our teeth. And green is fresh, calming, and it is all "spa".

For the logo identity, I used a very clean, modern typeface, Helvetica Neue, and balanced the weights and the kerning between the letters. "Pure" is the boldest and "dental" is the second heaviest weight. Those two words have the most emphasis in weights, because they are the most important. "Spa" is secondary, but still important to the overall vision.

For the business/appointment cards, I knew we had to print them with a very cool technique called blind embossing – where an image is raised up from the flat surface of the paper. This was how I was able to keep the word "pure" white on white paper. And on the reverse-side, the paper was flooded with green, and where the word "pure" was embossed, it was kept white also. These are some well-designed appointment cards I must say.

Business & Appointment Card

Originally, I wasn't planning on designing her website since I am not a huge fan of website design. I always felt it was one of my weaknesses. I thought I was going to be handing over logo files, color codes and some images. But after we saw the first round from the programmers, I knew I had to get my feet wet and guide the overall structure, because it wasn't meshing with her brand essence, and I couldn't let that happen. After it was all said and done, I was surprisingly happy with the end product and so was the client. This is only a teaser still image of the website that I have designed. It's not live and running yet. The programmer is currently working on it to get it to match my design template.

Website Homepage
{Identity System, Signage & Website designed by Chon}

Stay tuned everyone... there is still more to come on this client, and I am looking forward to seeing the final product. A lot of time has been dedicated to these projects, and it's nice to see them getting done and finished to perfection!

Design w/Chon: "Cupcake" Birthday Invitation

The next couple of posts are on a few designs that I have worked on lately. This birthday invite design is obviously dedicated to my niece, Alina, who is turning one this June. Her mom wanted the invite to be centered around a cupcake with the #1 on top of it along with a few other elements – 2 main colors (magenta & green turquoise), polka dots, and somehow to incorporate the outdoors since the event is at a park.

This is a lot of elements for a 1-sided invite, but I think I accomplished all the necessities while still keeping a cute, girlie theme. As you can see, I went all out with the polka dots all in various sizes from the #1 candle to the bold patterned background. The main focus is on the cupcake and polka dots, and I didn't want to add too much more without over designing, or cluttering the space with another huge element to represent the outdoors. Instead, I added a cute little pink ladybug flying around the space to suggest the outdoor environment. I think that was the extra little icing on the cupcake. :)

{Invitation designed by Chon}