As Balsam Hill’s Product Development Manager, Joana Khatib oversees the design of most seasonal home decorations and greenery products. Watch the creative process Joana and her team go through in order to come up with striking designs for your holiday home. Find out the journey your favorite decorations make from the drawing board to the real thing.Video transcription
Joana Khatib: I design seasonal décor products ranging everywhere from Spring, Easter, to Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas – everything around the Christmas tree, and so on.
I find my inspiration everywhere, from walking to the street, Pinterest, magazines, catalogs, travel, my kids’ school projects, basically, I’m looking all the time for inspiration…fashion industry, and so on.
For our design process, we work with the merchants and planning on creating a needs list of an assortment of products that we need to develop. And then from there we start to gather a lot of images, inspirations, products that we like. What is the competition doing? A little bit of research, and so on.
And once we’ve narrowed down the assortment that we want to develop, I dive into the whole creative process of looking for images and basically putting everything together in a mood board format. Then after we do several iterations of this mood board, we start to narrow down our color palettes. For that we use a color system called Kaiser, which is German, sort of like the German Pantone of glass. So we pull the colors and come up with the final color palette, the final mood board. And then we can send those, sometimes we send those directly to the vendor and they can interpret those mood boards into product.
It is very exciting because it’s a lot of work, but it’s really nice to see that initial idea turned into a product that you can hold. And just to know that people are out there buying it, it’s making people happy…
Bringing Ideas to Life
Joana keeps a close eye on designs every step of the way. Her team begins gathering ideas and images based on a list of new products to introduce or best-selling products to expand. Collage mood boards are created to present and narrow down big ideas into themes and categories.
Each theme is then broken down into materials and textures to come up with a final mood board and color palettes using a European glass color system and Pantone swatches.
The mood and color boards are used by industrial designers and sketch artists to create the final designs. These are sent to designated vendors alongside technical specifications describing the product material, color, and size to produce samples and prototypes.
Throughout the process, Joana finds the most thrill in holding the final product in her hands after months, sometimes years, of hard work. “I want to make products that will bring people together and make them happy,” she shares. “It excites me when I see people getting excited about them.”
A Peek Into Her Passion
Joana shares that she finds inspiration in her daily life. From magazine pages to décor, fashion, jewelry, and trend sites, from her travels to flea markets she visits, and even her kids’ school projects, “I look for inspiration everywhere all the time,” she says.
For Balsam Hill products, Joana goes for classic and current ideas, mixing in whimsical and family-friendly touches. “I love simple iconic and geometric shapes, but I also tend to add intricate details, textures, and some fun elements to my designs,” she adds.
As a designer of holiday and home decorations, she brings her aesthetic to Christmas decorations like Capiz Snowflake Lighted Tree Topper, Holiday Snowflake Luminaries, Luxe Embroidered Velvet Tree Skirt, Elizabeth Beaded Tree Skirt, and Feather Christmas Tree. “But I confess to having a big passion for Halloween!” she says. “I love the elegance and timelessness of the Mantel spiderweb and these fun Corn Hole Game and Vintage Candy Bowls.”
For Joana, designing seasonal home decorations is similar to decorating for the holidays: It is about putting together all the details and elements to bring the team’s vision to reality.