Monday, January 31, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Weekend!!

Elihu Island Winter Love from Buzz Media Company on Vimeo.

Happy Weekend!!
The Island is covered in a beautiful blanket of snow making it perfect for a little sledding this weekend. This film by THE most amazingly talented filmmaker I know, Mike Cyr of Buzz Media Company, created for Chocolate Creative Design's Winter Wedding Shoot, always seems to warm my fingers, toes and heart!

Stay warm and be safe!

On Monday...there will be a little paper feast for the eyes...stay tuned..

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Branding.....and I'm not talkin Cowboy..

Chocolate Creative Design has been super duper busy with some very exciting new projects!! In the past few weeks, I have been working on some rebranding and branding of some of the most fabulous companies which I positively can't wait to unveil in the coming months. Since my pesky website is still a work in progress, I figured that this was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate(shortly and sweetly as I could go on for days)Chocolate Creative Design's creative process.

The best way to illustrate (and one of my all time favorites)is Chocolate Creative Design's branding of the Fabulous Miss Sarah True's company, True Event.

Image found via Domino Magazine

I say...Bring on the color!! Besides imagery, color has the hugest impact on the overall design as it sets the mood, style and tone of your company. I always try to incorporate a mixture of both masculine and feminine colors so that it doesn't eliminate any clients who come knocking at your door, unless of course you are specifically targeting men or women. 

So the hunt begins with my clients searching and rummaging through magazines, books, the internet and even their homes or offices for what truly inspires them. With Miss True, we looked and looked and looked and it wasn't until The Domino Magazine article about Jenna Lyons home, (the Creative Director of J. Crew) that Miss True had the pivotal AHA moment.

Now that the colors have been chosen, it's straight to the drawing board for the design of the company logo. Just like in the choosing of colors, I believe in the combination of both masculine and feminine in the creation of the logo. 

Miss True works with BOTH brides and grooms so it was very important for either of her clients to relate to the design.

To make this work, I combined a very classic strong masculine font with a slightly delicate feminine script. I absolutely love the nod to one of the most famous sculptures in our country, Love by Robert Indiana. When designing a logo, I am completely obsessed with creating something that either has a dual meaning or 
makes the viewer step back, come back and finally have their AHA moment.

When that works, then I know I have done my job!

The secondary Logo is just as important as the primary. It can come in the form of an object or a pattern. Take for instance Henri Bendel. They have a very clean modern font as their primary logo but those amazing chocolate stripes are their secondary. Any woman who sees vertical chocolate stripes can safely assume that it's from Bendels. 

Miss True loved the idea of incorporating the delicate peacock feather along with the strong zebra print. If used creatively and cleverly, anyone who sees a yellow peacock feather or zebra print will instantly think of True Event..
I know I do!

Image via charleswhyte

Here comes the hard part.. editorial. It not only has to be clear and concise but simple and articulate at the same time. What is your company about? Can you describe it in less than two sentences? What is the style of writing and voice that you want to convey?

Most graphic design firms will write the editorial for their clients. I however, believe that it is important for my clients to write most of it themselves. 
It allows them to really think about who they are and where they want to go. 
Of course, I will edit and add in my two cents but this exercise is extremely essential in the creation of their company. Not to mention, it allows me more time to focus on the design.

Image by Justin and Mary Marantz

Now you're speaking my language..Being a photography major, I can't help but a bit of a photo snob. Imagery is what I believe makes or breaks a website. Most companies don't have professional images of their work, office or even themselves so this is why I offer clients the ability to have a great photographer for their project. I have been extremely lucky to have been working with Anna Sawin of 
Anna Sawin photography over the past couple years.

Having a single photographer like Anna Sawin or Justin and Mary Marantz really allows the images to flow cohesively throughout the entire site thus making the site more beautiful and reader friendly!

The whole enchilada! I believe that a website should be clean and simple. It's your virtual storefront and you literally have just have a few seconds to catch someone's attention. So, it should have large beautiful images combined with short yet articulate editorial. For me, it's like putting a 3,000 piece puzzle together and I love every minute of it!

 Just like a story, it should have a beginning, a middle and an end. Toss in your secondary and primary logos and voila...instant website.'s not as simple as all that but by creatively utilizing those other elements it will allow your site to have cohesion from beginning to end.

I design only in harkens back to my days in fashion and I figure why change what works. 

Then...the magic begins...

It flies all the way out to sunny California to one of the most talented artists I know..Mr. Jon Michaelsen of Braincloud Media. He is what you call a TRUE web designer. There are a lot of people out there who call themselves "Web Designers" but in fact they are really "Web Architects" as they have no design background. This is why I am really really lucky plus he's really cool, makes me laugh and rocks at animation.

By laying a finger aside of his nose and giving a wink, he magically builds the site. In fact, he is so amazing that he can make an inanimate object such as a peacock feather appear to drift gently and softly through the air and across your screen.

Since Miss True's site had been designed, so many other social mediums have been introduced and are now commonplace in our daily lives. My favorite, the blog, is an absolute must for every business and if you don't have one..GET ONE! Space for Twitter and Facebook should also be allotted into the design as well. Personally, I am still trying to figure out Twitter but I have an account and it is waiting for me when I am ready..

This is where the REAL fun begins....All the design elements are completed so it's time to get really creative and think outside the box! Business cards are an obvious must but there are other things to think about like thank you cards, postcards, custom stamps and my all time favorite...promotional pieces! 
I LOVE to create marketing materials that can cleverly incorporate the primary and secondary logos without ever being obvious.

So there you have it folks..painless, to the point and most importantly a true depiction of how Chocolate Creative Design get things done!!

So get ready for some new and exciting branding and rebranding and see if you can figure out where their inspiration came from!

PS I would swiftly and quickly toodoodloo over to the True Event site as she is in the process of a redesign!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monkeys in the Tree...

The Monster age 1 1/2
Image by Chocolate Creative Design

I was blessed with a child that could scale counters before he could walk. In fact, at the ripe old age of one, we had to purchase one of those crib tents (that kept cats out) in order to keep him in. Sadly, it only lasted a few months as he quickly figured out how to unzip it.

When I recently found the Klatretre, it was like they had been reading my mind!
Created by a Scandinavian company, Kaja Osholm Kjolas, it allows children ages 3-10 to literally climb the walls. The branches come in various shapes and sizes so that each tree can be customized.

With all this snow, 90 minute delays and school closings this could actually help parents and kids with their mind, body and souls!!

Tuesday Typeface......Chandelier...

Image found via Wood & Wool Stool

Starting February 1st, Chocolate Creative Design will start redesigning and putting the studio back together....This alphabet chandelier made of chocolate letters certainly caught MY eye...hmmm..I might just have to make one!

This chandelier hangs in a restaurant called Villa Augustus in Holland.
Before.. it was just a simple chandelier.. until the FABULOUS Ingrid Jansen of Wood & Wool Stool transformed it into something spectacular!

I highly recommend checking out her blog as well as her amazing shop on Etsy!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Weekend!!

Image found via Heather Pauline

Happy Weekend Everyone!!
The snow has already started again but this weekend the Monster and I might just have to start our handmade Valentines!!!

Be Safe!

Check out the True and Wesson Blog for the absolutely positively last post!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dueling Designers...Part Sept...

Image 1 by Sweet Paul, Manipulated by Chocolate Creative Design

The days are getting longer but the nights are getting colder. Snow has been falling at an insane rate causing even the South to be covered in a blanket of white. We feel like we have been held prisoners in our own homes...So why not celebrate, invite some friends over and bring out one of my favorite treats...
Hot Chocolate!

The Dueling Designers are back and I couldn't help choosing a color that was near and dear to my heart...
Pantone 732C.

The fabulous Miss Amy Graver of Elements Design definitely outdid herself this fact..I will admit..she rocked it!!!

I LOVE the idea of a Hot Chocolate party! The ideas are endless...Starting with a full fledged bar with some yummy liquors to add into this decadent drink.
Why not create a display with apothecary jars filled to the brim with homemade flavored marshmallows, glass bowls topped with the richest whipped creams and mason jars stuffed with peppermint sticks and chocolate flavored spoons.

My choice of Hot Chocolate??? Well look no further friends as I just so happen to know the maker of one of the best! 

This past August on the True and Wesson blog, I did a little post on my dear friend and college roommate's business, The Charleston Crepe Company. Since that time Rachel Byrne's crepe cakes have been in every bridal magazine out there!!
Luckily for us, her company, Holy City Chocolate , creates the most decadent Hot Chocolate EVER! The's filled with chunks of chocolate...

So don't let the snow get you down...order up some Hot Chocolate, whip up some whip cream and invite some friends over to watch as the snow falls and your guests don their best woolly socks!!

elements design

chocolate creative design
1. Marshmallow Image found via weheartit 2. Door Image found via
3. Marshmallow Image found via weheartit 4. Socks Image found via Lark and Linen
5. Fur Coat Image found via weheartit 6. Spoon Image found via weheartit
7. Candle found via Anthropologie 8. Cocoa Image found via my tartelette
9. Spoon Image found via she who eats 10. Cocoa Image found via marie claire
11. Cocoa with Candy Cane Image found via weheartit
12. Scarf Image found via weheartit

Boards designed and created by Elements Design and Chocolate Creative Design

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Re-use, Re-cycle and Re-design your Holiday...

I did promise this post yesterday but with the arrival of a rather obnoxious Ice Storm as well as an impromptu school day, my brain was a little less than perfect to write.

As I said earlier, I know, I know the Holiday season is done finished, wrapped up and gone....However,in the Wesson Household, we got a little late start so therefore we will continue to celebrate the Holidays even as Valentines Day swiftly approaches. 

This year, I honestly couldn't justify spending any more money on new Holiday decor...sooo the Monster and I set to work using our imaginations and creating with our friends, glitter and glue.

Earlier in the season, I had written a post on creative wreaths...this is all we needed to start on our creative adventure...

We brought out all of our "old" decor and revamped it by only using glitter, glue, pages from a book about Italy (our favorite place in the world), twine and a huge bag of cotton balls...

Our first project was our kitchen mantle...A mixture of book pages, glittered pine cones, ostrich feathers, branches that glow combined with handmade paper flower garlands simply just did the trick!

I found this fabulous DIY paper rose tutorial on Under the Table and Dreaming
and it really was as easy as pie!!

All we did was glue the cotton balls and paper roses (with glitter of course) to the twine and voila!!

The Banister

Next we moved onto the Banister. This year we used a little burlap (from a very Sparkly friend) and added a few cookie cutters from our ginormous collection which mixed in perfectly with our well loved silver bells.

Sparkly Chain Gang...

It was time to roll up our sleeves and get really messy...please..I have a little boy..It's not exciting unless there is a mess!

Anyhoo..Because of our new found family member, Mr. Calvin the kitten, most of this nonbreakable decor was designed in preparation of his crazy high jinx.

So again with the glitter, glue and wonderful pages from a book on Italy we rallied forward to make a chain for the tree...

It's hard to see in the pictures but let me tell you...after the Monster single handedly decorated the tree and we turned on the lights....
Shazam!! It was gorgeous!!

The Valuables

I came from a family that believed christmas tree ornaments were sacred. Each one had a story and was either handmade, passed down or bought on one of our many travels. Much like Desi Arnaz, my father would bring down the box of ornaments..each year it got heavier and heavier as his Lucy would collect her rocks year after year (for you youngins...this is from their movie the Long Long Trailer) I now have a few of these in my possession  and guard them with my life This year, however, the kitten would not win. 
So the monster and I got a little creative...

Kids and their magical minds

I think my favorite part of the Holidays is decorating the house. The lights, the ornaments, the smell of a fresh cut tree brings it all together...But what I love most of all is allowing the Monster to use his own creativity. I have learned to step back and just watch as the magic happens...

All I had to do was give him a classic 80's plastic frame filled with fake snow and he was off...

A Tree made from Cupcakes

When the Monster turned two, the Hubbie and I created a chalk/magnetic board so that he could plainly just draw on the wall. It was easy, simple and continues to enthrall anyone who comes through the door.
This year...we decided to be a bit festive..

To create our "Cupcake Tree" all we did was use foil cupcake liners (found at the back of the drawer), cut a few of our magnets up and hot glued them on the back.

It really was that easy...

So this December, I promise (pinky swear promise) that I will post all of our crazy yet frugal ideas for Holiday decor!!

All images by Chocolate Creative Design