ChowNow Holiday Party
ChowNow Holiday Party
ChowNow creates a night of magical enchantment in the form of a lavished Holiday Party every year. The past two years, the grandiose party has taken place at the historic Houdini Estate. (we even made it to the top 6 hottest tech parties in LA).
I knew the holiday party was taking place at the Houdini Estate and that the CEO would want the theme to match accordingly. Last year, the theme was 1920s circus and magic, but I know he wanted something more refined. The estate has such a lush and interesting history and I wanted to play into that a little more while also creating an engaging experience with all the guests, I decided to research into Old Hollywood, classic Casino Royal themes, and the design style of Saul Bass. I created some stylistic mockups below to show the different themes this party could take. We ultimately went with the Saul Bass theme. It spoke to an elegant design with clean lines and sharp contrast between the black, white, and red colors.
After deciding on the Saul Bass, Casino Royale theme, I knew that the first experience that the guests would have with the ChowNow holiday party was in their inbox. The invite itself directed the reader to the website where there would be more information, so I wanted to create an immersive experience with the email that was both clean and straight to the point. I decided that the strong, tall serif fonts created a tone of classic Casino movies such as Oceans 11 while the contrast in the background hinted at the Bond-inspired design of the icon barrel. The background also created a sense of excitement but also ambiguity that would entice the viewer to click on the link for more information.
I wanted the website to be a continuation of the viewer’s experience. To give it an exclusive feel, we locked the site and made it have a password for entry. When the viewer enters, they see the same header as the email. Since the website is more interactive than the email, I wanted it to be more mysterious than the invite. The dark theme is a mixture of classy and mysterious. I used a mixture of imagery to denote the modern aspects of the party as well as dynamic, sharp red lines to hint back to the original email invite and to guide the viewer down the site.
The final thing that the holiday party needed to complete the design was the signage at the party. The Houdini Estate is a vast, beautifully designed venue, so I wanted the designs to speak to the history of the venue as well as the designs they interacted with prior such as the email and the website.
One of the most challenging things was the map. Since the estate was so vast, we decided to create a guide for the guests to find their way around the estate. The challenge was taking the original map from the Houdini Estate website and simplifying it into a stylized map. I exaggerated the most important levels of the estate and added a legend so that the guests could find their way around. I also illustrated the most important structures of the estate so that they would be recognizable. This map was printed onto foam core and also on 4 x 6 handouts for the event.