Link Love: 10.07.15

Nubby Twiglet: Link Love

• Creative Bloq has gathered up the 100 best free fonts.

• What is your morning routine like?

• After reading Anna’s post, I really want to try out online printer Parabo Press. They do such amazing, unique items!

• It’s harder to be thin now than it was in the 80s.

10 ways freelancers can promote their designs.

• The life-changing magic of losing shit.

• This is how to eliminate procrastination.

• Remember the AIM away message?!

• Following a creative path is going to have plenty of obstacles and you may occasionally cry in art class but the trick is to just keep going.

• Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet.

• Behold nihilistic security questions! Haha.

• Oh, to be a college student living in Berlin.

• Here’s a history of eye charts.

• If you’re feeling stressed out, read this.

Image: Vulture Magazine.
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5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

Visiting a city is always more fun when locals share personal recommendations about what to see, do and eat. This time around, I put together a list based on suggestions from my Instagram followers and it made my stay in San Francisco the best one yet.

If you’re visiting the city by the bay, these are the five things I enjoyed the most. I hope these suggestions help you have a wonderful stay, too!

1. Have a drink at the Tonga Room

When I asked folks on Instagram what I should do, The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar was by far the most recommended. And now, I can totally see why — after visiting, I’m convinced it’s one of the most magnificent hidden gems in the city.

First off, the tiki bar is hidden away in the basement of the Fairmont Hotel, a very classic, high end hotel full of marble surfaces. There are literally no signs and that’s what makes this adventure even more fun — you take an elevator down to the basement, walk down a nondescript hallway and then, quite dramatically, THERE YOU ARE. The place even has a live band that plays soft rock classics from the 60s and 70s on a boat that moves out towards seated patrons in the middle of a body of water, formerly the hotel’s pool. The whole experience is heavy on kitsch, completely over the top and yes, drinking out of a coconut is highly encouraged.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

2. Buy flowers and magazines at Birch SF

On my day off, I was walking through the very boutique-heavy Hayes Valley when I spotted an odd yet perfect hybrid of a shop at Birch SF. With pitch black walls full of one-of-a-kind floral arrangements and hard to find magazines, I was in heaven.

I asked owner Torryne Choate about the mix of offerings and she said she was passionate about flowers and magazines so she decided to open a place specializing in both. It’s as simple as that — and I admire anyone who follows their dream! Stop in this shop just for a jolt of pure visual inspiration — the still lifes she’s curated are off the hook.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

3. Pick out treats at Miette

Decorated in pastel hues and featuring a wall of glass candy jars, Miette is a sweets shop straight out of childhood dreams. Voted one of the top ten pastry shops in the world by Conde Nast, it’s easy to see why — there’s a massive selection of imported candies that are difficult to find anywhere else including chocolate bars wrapped in wallpaper-inspired prints from Vietnam.

Whatever your taste is, there’s a little something for everyone. Take a video tour of the shop right here.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

4. Eat Artisanal Toast at The Mill

Over the last year, I’d been reading articles about the artisanal toast trend and it seemed like a bit of a joke. $4.00 for a slice of toast? Really?! When I found myself staying down the road from The Mill, the epicenter of the trend, it was time to give in and find out what all the fuss was about.

Bright and early on a Saturday morning, I ordered a slice and dear lord. It was so good that I went back the next two mornings before leaving town. My top pick? Whole wheat sesame poppy bread with butter and homemade peach jam. Talk about comfort food! The process of getting the toast just right is very specific — there’s even a sign at the front counter telling you it’s going to take 6 minutes. Options change regularly but I promise, they’re all good.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

5. Explore pottery and gifts at Heath Ceramics

Handmade in California since 1948, Heath Ceramics is legendary. Its San Francisco outpost has a tile factory and you can buy a selection of its pieces on-site.

What I loved about this location is that it’s also stocked with a ton of other beautiful American-made brands. From cookbooks to chocolates to kitchen gadgets, it’s the perfect place to shop for a housewarming gift for that special someone. Visiting Heath is a great reminder that quality never goes out of style.

Even with all the changes it’s currently undergoing, San Francisco is still loaded with charming, independent businesses and I hope these suggestions make your trip even more fun. Enjoy!

The Week In Pictures: 10.02.15

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I hope your week was a good one. To be completely honest, I’m feeling a little low on energy and down — this week has been a tough one for a lot of people around me and I’m definitely feeling the after-effects. Also, the cooler Fall weather has just hit as well and it’s making me want to hibernate with a mug of hot apple cider and a good magazine.

In good news, the new Branch site launched yesterday and it’s such a relief to finally have it live after it simmered in the background for most of the Summer. Designers always seem to be the worst at updating their own portfolios and sites, myself included. It’s like the cobbler who has holes in his shoes! We know what it takes to get the job done but clients come first. I’m embarrassed that it took me two whole years to get the revamp in place but it feels so good to have a digital home I’m proud of. Star always comes through for me — she did the animation and development and nailed it!

Of course, as soon as one project gets crossed off, another is always waiting! Next up is this space. I’ve had the same theme since 2012 and while it’s held up well, I’ve been itching for change for a year now. I’m extra excited about this project because with the relaunch will come an online shop. I had one for years but it just became too dated. I have one-off art pieces, limited posters and t-shirts that have literally been in my closet for ages and it’s so important for me to offer unique, special items created from the heart in this space. After all, it was my first business and allowed me to grow as a designer and blogger with full-on creative freedom.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

In other news, Chubs and I have been spending a lot of quality time together lately. Isn’t he handsome?! Being a squirrel, he LOVES acorns so much. The tricky part is that we can’t just roll up to the grocery store and buy him a bag since humans don’t really eat them. All Summer, we collected acorns on our morning walks and even talked the neighbor kids into collecting them for him. Still, there’s never enough. He’s even holding one in this photo!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I still love coming home to this room, my old office. It’s now full of art books, magazines and shoes. Basically, it’s what dreams are made of. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

These are a few of my favorite things at the moment: a tote bag I swiped from Gala (hey, it was too good to ignore!), strong black and white editorial layouts, piles of photo booth strips with friends, an amazing new book from my friend and client Ellen and a variety of succulents from Trader Joe’s. Also, the Steve Madden boots I’m wearing deserve a total shout-out. I bought them on a whim a year ago in New York and they are still going strong! I have so many fancy shoes but for daily office wear, these are super practical and tough.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Late nights of walking through Portland produce cool discoveries. I have no idea what this building is used for but the plants are ace.

And with that, I’m signing off. Time to pack for Palm Springs and of course, Designer Vaca! It’s that time of year again and I’m so excited to meet up with friends both old and new.

Have a great weekend! xoxo

New Beginnings at Branch

Nubby Twiglet | New Beginnings at Branch

Have you ever built a website for yourself? Yes? Isn’t it funny how without fail, it always takes three times longer than expected?!

Branch launched two years ago and the time had come for some nips and tucks. What I thought would happen six months into the life of the business is now just taking place. Where does the time go?

Please take a look around and let me know what you think! Overall, the site is much more comprehensive. In particular, I’m loving the bigger images in the portfolio and blog. Not having a sidebar is such a breath of fresh air!

Nubby Twiglet | New Beginnings at Branch

This relaunch also marks the debut of a feature I never quite got around to the first time — a mailing list! You can sign up for the Branch Bulletin at the bottom of any page on the site and as a thank you, you’ll receive an immediate gift of a PDF linked with our 50 top design resources. Expect behind the scenes stories and exclusive goodies every month.

And with that, I’m off to celebrate….and hopefully take another two years off from redesigning the site! 😉

Thanks for your continued support!

Link Love: 10.1.15

Nubby Twiglet | Boutique: Amos Anderson

• Made me laugh: the truth behind perfectly composed Instagram photos.

• Don’t be one of those annoying phone people. I admire Alex so much for taking a stand!

• The mindset that you’re supposed to have “made it” by 30 is completely ridiculous.

• You really don’t need to work so much.

• Vanity Fair talks to Kanye West about his creative process and the balancing act of family, fashion and music.

• Apple stores are so beautiful that to enter one is bordering on a religious experience.

• How do you feel about this etiquette question? Totally cool or gross?

Dictionary Stories are very short stories composed entirely of Oxford American Dictionary sentences. Yep.

• Instead of sitting on Google, let’s take the time to have a real conversation.

• So awesome: 90s era internet love stories!

• It’s a constant battle of the pope versus the wind.

• When you change careers and decide to become an entrepreneur, here’s what to expect.

• How can you stay creative when you’re chained to your computer all day?

• Just say yes to new emojis!

Image: Boutique at Amos Anderson Art Museum.
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Little Lessons #12: What A Long Lost Disney Character Taught Me About Comebacks

Nubby Twiglet | What A Long Lost Disney Character Taught Me About Comebacks

It all started on Main Street in Disney World.

As I was walking out of a store brimming with merchandise in the Magic Kingdom, something peculiar caught my eye. A classic Mickey hat had sprouted massive black rabbit ears. “It must be a special edition for Halloween,” I thought. Amused, I picked it up and saw a very Mickey-esque badge on the front emblazoned with Oswald The Lucky Rabbit. Still having not a clue what this oddity was, I carried it up to the cash register. “Is this a real character?,” I asked. The cashier didn’t miss a beat. “Yes, he was Walt’s original creation before Mickey.”

This was my eighth time visiting a Disney theme park and I’d never heard of this so-called lucky rabbit. Surely, I couldn’t be the only one left in the dark about his existence.

Gala and I bought matching Oswald hats and started googling the second we got back to our hotel room, obsession quickly setting in.

It turns out that Oswald was dreamed up by Walt Disney and a partner in the 1920s but Walt eventually separated from the project. New people joined in to create Oswald cartoons, carrying him into the 1940s before he faded into near obscurity.

Walt of course went on to create Mickey Mouse, who bears a striking resemblance to Oswald while the poor rabbit gathered dust until 2010, when Disney finally negotiated buying the rights for good.

The story has a familiar ring: Oswald came first and in my opinion was cuter and much more unique, but things didn’t go as planned and soon, Mickey hogged all the spotlight. Long the underdog, Oswald is finally getting the recognition he’s always deserved.

We all know that feeling too well: we work hard to be original only to feel slighted when someone seemingly less talented rolls up with a similar idea and hits the big time. The sting can be intense and jealousy filled, leaving even the strongest soul feeling slighted.

Being an underdog isn’t easy. The comparison game creeps in and on the hardest days, quitting can feel like the only option. If you’re feeling this way, I want to encourage you to keep on going. Stay focused and stay determined.

Whenever I feel comparison taking hold, I always remind myself that slow and steady wins the race. It’s better to take your time and build your vision in an ethical, meaningful way than to duke it out for a quick moment in the spotlight.

Oswald is my new Disney hero because he’s a great reminder that anyone can make a comeback.

For even more Little Lessons posts, click here.

Strengthen Your Presentation and Charge More For Your Work: My Top 5 Portfolio Tips

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Portfolio Tips

Portfolios are like all great things in life: on the surface, they tend to look effortless but behind that facade is a ton of blood, sweat and self doubt.

I’m no stranger to portfolios. My first one was pieced together back in 2006 inside a cheap, borrowed vinyl cover full of thin, plastic sheets. Even with its lack of prestige, it helped me land my first design internship. From there, I refined the look, invested more money into assets and eventually, translated my print book over to digital.

With nearly 10 years of creating portfolios behind me, you would think it gets easier but the same sticking points always pop up. Creating a portfolio is pressure-packed because it’s a culmination of your entire career sandwiched into a handful of projects. And that, my friends, is no easy task!

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Portfolio Tips

As I’ve been reworking my own portfolio this month, I wanted to share my top 5 tips to make your process easier:

1. Focus on quality over quantity

It doesn’t matter how prestigious the client is if you don’t feel strongly connected to the work. Bottom line: if you don’t want more of it, don’t share it. I’ve completed projects for the NBA, NFL, Forever 21, Foot Locker, Virgin Records and Adidas but the aesthetic no longer fits my current style of work so I’ve chosen to leave them out.

Tightening up your portfolio and focusing on only your absolute best work can be scary because you’ll have less work to show. That’s okay! Always remember: you don’t need to be everything to everyone. With this fine-tuned approach, you may get less inquiries but the ones that do come in will be more solid and lucrative.

As a side note, If you’ve done work for big name companies but don’t want to share the outcome due to a nondisclosure agreement or it just not being your style, the solution is to add them to a list of clients you’ve worked with on your website. That way, you still get the recognition.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Portfolio Tips

2. Tell a story through your order

What kind of story are you trying to communicate with your body of work? When you’re arranging projects in your portfolio, there needs to be a beginning, middle and end.

The golden rule is to always start and end with your strongest projects. These are the bookends of your portfolio that make you memorable. In between, this is your opportunity to tell more of your story but make sure to mix it up! If you have two strong projects from the same genre, don’t put them next to each other because then it then becomes a comparison game to the viewer. “Oh, the last one was WAY better.”

When I’m deep in the zone of arranging, I’m thinking about the following: genre, services offered, masculine vs. feminine styling and the color story. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to arrange your projects but you should have a reason behind the order.

3. Include brief but powerful descriptions

While a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s important to frame up each project with a brief backstory. A few sentences is plenty. And, if writing isn’t your strong point, it’s totally okay to hire a copywriter to polish up your ideas. Portfolios are a direct gateway to your next job so spelling and composition must be spot-on.

To get you started, a basic project description usually includes this three part format:

1. Title: client / project name, date completed

2. Subtitle: services offered

3. Description: explain how you helped them achieve their desired outcome

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Portfolio Tips

4. Mock it up

If your client only had a budget for a brand identity but it’s one of your best pieces of work, show its full potential with mockups. While people viewing your portfolio do care about your actual work, they also want to see the bigger potential of transformation. They want to be moved and inspired enough to hire you.

A logo on its own doesn’t express its full breadth but when mocked up on business cards, websites and products, it becomes larger than life. My favorite sources for mockups these days are Pixeden and Creative Market.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Portfolio Tips

5. Specialize, specialize, specialize

A truly great portfolio attracts and repels in equal measures. Stand your ground and be confident in what you want more of. The immediate effect of being confident and selective is that you can position yourself as an expert in certain areas instead of being a jack of all trades. And by doing this, over time you’ll be able to charge more for your services.

These days, I want more lifestyle, beauty, food and fashion brands so that’s nearly all I show. It’s amazing, too — once I elevated the two beauty brands I’ve worked with in my portfolio, larger beauty offers began rolling in.

Saying no isn’t easy but drawing a line in the sand will allow you to have more time to focus on the projects you truly love.

Portfolios are a constant work in progress but it feels good to know that what you’re showing is your best possible presentation.

If you still have questions about your portfolio, let me know in the comments!

Featured projects: Aroha Silhouettes, Kay Li, Brand New Ways, Shien Cosmetics and Olivine Atelier.