Joy Cho of Oh Joy! Introduces Smile-Worthy Kids' Decor

(Joy Cho, above left,  and her Pattern Party bedding for Land of Nod, from $14. Photos by Bonnie Tsang and Land of Nod)
With her irresistibly optimistic, pastel-tinted outlook on the world, Los Angeles–based graphic designer Joy Cho has seduced the hearts and Pinterest boards of many a design enthusiast. Fresh off the launch of her new entertaining line for Target, the woman behind Oh Joy! is fêting her latest collaboration with Land of Nod—a collection that catapults from throw pillows in ice-cream sundae silhouettes to midcentury-indebted lighting fixtures and dreamy art prints equally suited to the nursery and the living room. We spoke to the author, master blogger, and branding dynamo about all things adorable.

We are picking up a strong Ben & Jerry's vibe from this collection. How did you land on the ice-cream theme, and can you talk us through your other references?
Around the time I was designing the collection, my daughter, Ruby, was an early toddler and just getting into ice cream. I was lying in bed one day thinking about what I would like to be surrounded by—from hamburgers and hot dogs to cakes and cookies—and ice cream really stood out as the perfect thing to abstract. The other theme, called Pattern Party, is inspired by the drawings that children create when they’re first learning how to draw: it's a lot of simple, playful shapes, and I wanted images like that—ones that felt graphic and youthful but also modern and on-trend.


(Sundae Best Crib and Toddler Bedding:, from $14)
Aesthetically speaking, what would you say is the most important quality for kids’ home furnishings to possess?
In terms of the visual, it needs to be fun and inspiring. A child's room should allow them to imagine what else is possible in their world.

We’ve been noticing an uptick in black-and-white nursery schemes and refined interiors for kids’ rooms. What’s your take on this more sophisticated trend?
I think there’s a compromise to be made. People are leaning toward a less babyish nursery because it’s more practical. If you go into decorating a nursery that’s super color-specific and everything is matchy-matchy, you end up redoing it. I think that by simplifying or having something not as themed, it gives you more flexibility. 


(Dotted Glow Table Shade and Half Karat Table Base, above left, $35 and $99; I Love Table Lamp, $119)
Did you have any favorite design themes when you were growing up?
I never had any character bedding or cartoons or princess things. But I loved going to IKEA. I was really into their bold and graphic sheets.

How did you select the artwork that's included in the collection?
Most of the pieces had something about them, whether it’s the image or message that comes across, that would make you smile. They’re all prints that I would want as an adult, but they are also really inspiring and creative pieces to have in a child’s room. 


(Plums by Ana Zaja Petrak and Floral Doodle by Jo Chambers, $19.95 each. All photos courtesy of Land of Nod)
Are there any kids' themes you feel are overdone right now?
I never really like to bash, but in general I’m personally not into cartoons and characters in design. I know at some point as a parent you probably can’t avoid it, but when you can help it, I try to!

Was there a moment when you knew that design was your future?
I was in middle school when Elle Decor first launched their American magazine and I remember that was the first time that there was a magazine that I felt like I really enjoyed. There was this feeling of going through the magazine and my heart racing—I couldn’t breathe—and ever since then that’s been the feeling by which I judge if something is right.
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