Monthly Archives: April 2010

Link Love: 4.22.10

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• The Magazine Cover Archive is devoted to helping keep inspirational magazine design alive. It has collected thousands of magazine covers from various titles that can be instantly viewed.

Brand New Classroom is “publishing identity work from students around the world who tackle redesigns of well-known brands as a class assignment. The focus will be as much on the final result as the process to get there.” If you’d like to submit your work to be critiqued, click here.

• Swooooonworthy: Scandinavian logos from the 60s and 70s.

• I love viewing photo essasys of people’s daily routines. Kris Atomic’s is especially beautiful.

• Just a few hours after he died in 1955, someone snapped a photo of Albert Einstein’s desk.

• How do you cope with client fallout?

• I wish I had the time to do this! Create your own Penguin book cover! You can download templates and whip up your own version – a perfect self-initiated project. (thanks, final fashion)

• Graphic design through the decades has a special roundup this week of design examples from the 1950s.

“You ever think about how in, like, a Tom Hanks movie, everyone lives in a reality in which there’s no such person as Tom Hanks? Because otherwise, people would be mistaking the main character for Tom Hanks all the time? Yeah….me neither.

• Find out what goes into designing Selfridge’s store window displays. It’s waaaaay more work than you think!




What I Wore: 4.20.10

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

If Little Red Riding Hood had a penchant for mod attire and listened to black metal, I imagine that she’d wear something like this. A few weeks ago when I wore it for the first time, I forgot to mention that my Rick Owens jacket came with a detachable cape. Yes, a cape. I zipped it off, realized that it made a cozy little capelet and used a sweater pin to secure it.

In other news, little Rocky just got a haircut and has been shivering nonstop so we put him in this little Rock n’ Roll shirt. He looks so glam rock now!

I wore:

Capelet, borrowed from a Rick Owens jacket
Dress, Forever 21
Tights, ModCloth
Headband, Forever 21
Watch, Nixon
Wedges, Camilla Skovgaard
Purse, Miu Miu

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

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One Year of Freelancing: What I’ve Learned

freelancing design nubby twiglet

freelancing design nubby twiglet

When I started freelancing full time in May 2009, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Freelancers seem to have quite varied experiences which is to be expected when you’re working as your own boss. I’m a very structured person that was accustomed to working in teams with other designers and art directors; I wondered if would I be able to trust my own judgement and still output high quality work. I questioned whether I could handle not having a set time to show up to an office every day. Would I be able to keep a schedule that allowed me to not only get all of my client work done but also have time for meetings and blogging?

Though I’d been taking on freelance jobs since 2005, I’d always had another job to back me up. Taking the leap into running my business full time was scary because it meant that I was fully dependent on my design and networking skills to make a living. Though, I was lucky because I already had a few big clients in my portfolio (including Forever 21 and Virgin Records) and had received great hands-on training during the year and a half I’d spent at an ad agency. And, my largest freelance clients were in LA and New York so I was accustomed to working remotely. Sending off rounds of work through email and having conference calls instead of in-person meetings was an easy adjustment.

freelancing design nubby twiglet

freelancing design nubby twiglet

To drum up new work, I didn’t have to do any pitches since I had a steady stream of clients who contacted me through my blog. Though, I did do a few other things to secure new work:

1. I built a print and PDF portfolio of my newest work. By having a PDF on hand, I could upoad it to my blog and let potential clients know that I was accepting new projects. If they liked what they saw, they could email me for a quote. I also kept an 11 x 17 print portfolio ready to go for face-to-face meetings with creative directors, clients and designer friends. I took every opportunity where I thought a critique could be possible and drug my book along. The feedback, though differing, made my work stronger overall. 7 Tips for Creating a Print-Based Portfolio can provide some pointers.

2. I set up appointments with placement agencies. I pounded the pavement, went to as many placement agencies as possible and in turn, had a steady stream of offers in Portland and New York within the first few months. Not every one was a perfect fit and I turned down more than I took but because of these contacts, I was able to do work for companies including the Wall Street Journal and Nike. My agents did the screening, found suitable positions based on my experience and set up the interviews. If you’re just getting started and need to build connections and contacts, placement agencies are a huge asset.

3. I contacted ad agencies directly. Design communities are pretty tight knit; everyone knows each other, even in larger cities. I reached out to producers and agency owners, forwarded them my resumé and portfolio and when there was a need, they brought me in to work on projects. Once you’ve passed the test on a project or two, demonstrated that you are reliable and easy to work with, chances are that you will get called back. Building strong connections with just a few agencies can keep you fairly busy.

freelancing design nubby twiglet

freelancing design nubby twiglet

freelancing design nubby twiglet

First of all, you get to become your own boss. You can go anywhere, work for anyone you choose and take on a huge variety of client projects while getting out and seeing the world. I spent a huge chunk of last year traveling. During stays in Orlando, Phoenix, New York and Seattle, I was on my laptop, still meeting deadlines and keeping current with client emails.

While freelancing, the sheer variety of jobs that I get to work on has made me a much more rounded designer. Some of the current jobs I am working on include a wedding photographer’s media kit, a logo for a restaurant specializing in hot wings, album packaging for a metal band, an identity for a gourmet line of sweets, a media kit for a burlesque star, a full website design for an art organization, a logo for a fashion line and more. The combination of styles, not to mention striving to meet a wide variety of client needs keeps me on my toes, stretch my skills to the limits while diversifying my portfolio. I love being able to work with people from all walks of life – it’s refreshing and satisfying.

From a networking standpoint, it really is astounding how many contacts you can make when you’re not sitting at the same desk all day, every day. Your world as a designer begins to expand infinitely. Being a freelancer forces you to get outside of your little bubble and to interact with the community. As you start working with more agencies, going out to art openings, visiting open houses, reaching out for informational interviews and emailing people you admire, opportunities begin to pop up. Creative stimulation is important for designers and the internet can only provide so much; it’s important to make regular face-to-face contact.

freelancing design nubby twiglet

freelancing design nubby twiglet

Along with the perks, there are many potential downsides to freelancing as well. The work / life balance becomes increasingly hard to manage, in part because there’s not a clear division of where your ‘day job’ ends and your personal life begins. It’s easy to get caught up in jobs and spend the entire weekend in your office, to turn down invites to stay home and work into the night and to check your email at 6 am, only to realize that there’s a looming client emergency and jump out of bed.

One of the most significant downsides to freelancing is the lack of a consistent or steady income. Some months, the stars align and money pours in at a rate you could have never imagined; you think you know what it feels like to be rich. Other months, deals fall through, agencies don’t call and it seems impossible to wrap up old projects. Overall though, if you’ve built up a solid network, the good and bad months tend to balance out. Diversification helps immensely in this area; keeping agency work, staying in contact with agents and working with your personal clients tends to keep the jobs coming in.

Lastly, it is easy to become isolated. If the phone doesn’t ring for awhile, it’s all too convenient to sleep in, have your food delivered and sit in front of the computer in the same room every day. Lulls in work should be viewed as an opportunity to create self initiated projects, a chance to take short trips and to go out on lunch dates with friends.

freelancing design nubby twiglet

freelancing design nubby twiglet

Some techniques that help me function as a freelancer are quite simple but work wonders. Now that I have a dog living at my house, I use that as an excuse to get out and take regular walks. It not only helps to clear my mind but is also a chance to take different routes every time with the intention of scouting new spots to take outfit photos. Recently, I’ve also been writing out daily schedules of what work needs to be accomplished by what time. If I don’t do this, it becomes easy to surf the net and lose focus. By holding myself accountable and crossing off accomplishments as I move along throughout the day, I can see tangible results. Finally, I set up regular meetings with friends at coffee shops and bars to break up the day. Human interaction, not to mention the chance to explore new establishments across the city keeps things interesting.

As a freelancer, I would say that it takes a solid six months to really cement your branding, overall vision, to make enough contacts and to get up to speed in general. I’ve had an amazing time freelancing and running my own business has been hugely fulfilling. Though I am open to returning to agencies on a full-time basis, the opportunity to freelance has taught me more in a year than I ever thought possible. Freelancing has forced me to grow up, to take charge of my professional career and to realize that I am responsible for my success or lack thereof. Freelancing can make or break you…and in the process, at the very least, you have the opportunity to learn so much about yourself. That in itself is invaluable.

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Link Love: 4.15.10

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Elle UK cover by Garance Doré

• Since I’m totally Swiss-obsessed, this blog is a dream come true! “If Switzerland is on your radar, or you simply love everything Swiss, you have come to the right place. HowdyHeidi, powered by Switzerland Tourism and swissmiss, is a buzzing visual archive pointing you to all things swiss.”

• An interesting look at the evolution of big name logos including Nike, Apple, Coke and Pepsi.

• The ultimate free web designer’s icon set has some great stuff.

• This is something that’s been on my mind as well. In 140 Characters and the Swing to Longer Form Content, Darren Rowse says that “Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn Status Updates… the short form communication that has dominated social media over the last few years is a wonderful thing. While I was initially sceptical that anything worthwhile could be communicated in 140 characters I now see the place of this type of communication. However… I’m noticing a swing and I’d be interested to know if I’m the only one?
What I’m sensing is people starting to want more than they’re getting in 140 characters – something deeper, something more thoughtful, something more meaningful.”

J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons shows us what’s inside her office.

• GQ rattles off a list of the 25 best vintage stores in America.

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• Rumi shares some of her wardrobe favorites for spring with us.

• I personally love the Archer family of type but is its overuse making it completely played out?

• Jerry Murrell now runs an empire of 570 hamburger joints called Five Guys and did things his way, even when people thought he was crazy. “When we first opened, the Pentagon called and said, “We want 15 hamburgers; what time can you deliver?” I said, “What time can you pick them up? We don’t deliver.” There was an admiral running the place. So he called me up personally and said, “Mr. Murrell, everyone delivers food to the Pentagon.” Matt and I got a 22-foot-long banner that said ABSOLUTELY NO DELIVERY and hung it in front of our store. And then our business from the Pentagon picked up.”

• I can’t believe that this article is for real. Seems that people are now taking fashion cues from the homeless and have been praising a handsome Chinese vagrant, even nicknaming him “Brother Sharp.”




The Typofiles #58: American Apparel Sheer Luxe Shapes Pantyhose

typography typofiles design nubby twiglet

typography typofiles design nubby twiglet

typography typofiles design nubby twiglet

I just discovered the American Apparel Sheer Luxe Shapes Nude / Black Punctuation Pantyhose and they are like a total dream come true! These are super lightweight and allow your natural skin tone to show through. Since I’m not big on the bare legs look, I will surely be sporting these all spring and summer under shorts and dresses. From far away, they make your legs look like someone went Sharpie crazy…which isn’t a bad thing, is it?!

All of The Typofiles can be viewed here.