Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Week In Pictures: 3.30.12

week in pictures

week in pictures

week in pictures

I believe in keeping inspiration close. And this Love Life print by Antigirl is one of my favorite reminders to embrace every moment and opportunity that comes my way. Last week, I took it into Michael’s (a craft store chain) to get a quote on custom framing and even with a coupon, I was told that the total would still be a few hundred dollars (my eyes quite literally bulged out of my head)! As I walked away from the counter feeling defeated, Joey noticed the exact sized frame I needed down a side aisle, marked down to $14.99! Perfect. My office is a much happier place now.

week in pictures

I just found out about The Lab Magazine and needless to say, I’m in love. The design is beautiful, the content is insightful and I can’t get enough of their choices in typography. To me, magazines are even more important now than ever before. I buy them by the bunches just to have that real life inspiration close because it just doesn’t feel refreshing to spend every waking moment on the internet. Plus, it’s always good to break up your routine!

week in pictures

This weekend when I stopped by Schoolhouse with my dad to make a very special purchase I’d been planning for months, I visited the Ristretto Roasters inside for the first time. Truly one of the best coffees we’ve had in our entire lives. And I couldn’t stop snapping photos of their rad sign, emblazoned with a healthy dose of crosses.

week in pictures

Also inside of Schoolhouse is a great little florist shop, Anna Mara Flowers.

week in pictures

Even though my personal style tends to veer more towards the modern, I always love the displays at Schoolhouse. I knew the place was cool but now I’m completely enamored knowing that they let llamas in!!!! The one on the right has a slight resemblance to my very handsome friend, Nigel.

week in pictures

After Schoolhouse, I wandered through N.W. Portland and it occurred to me that this is as close as we’re gonna get to San Francisco here. Star, please move in!

week in pictures

My tax guy has a great sense of humor.

week in pictures

On Wednesday, Solestruck had a private event at their PDX retail location showcasing their selection for next season. They have the best staff — really, they make you feel so welcome and you know how rare that can be in retail! I got quite the surprise when I walked in and noticed the patrons holding the shopping bags that I’d designed many months earlier and long forgotten about! In other exciting news, my brother shot the Portland section of the new Solestruck lookbook. People sometimes ask if it’s weird living in the same house as a sibling and both being designers…and I always respond with, “not really.” Living with family is pretty awesome.

week in pictures

Finally, I leave you with this hilarious cover….from September 2010. The web is dead. It’s just resting. Paper is dead, too. It’s been an action-packed week and I’m so looking forward to taking it easy this weekend, getting in some good times with friends and sending a project that I’ve grown very attached to off to print.

week in pictures

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Link Love: 3.28.12

link love

link love


• Creatives, if you only have the chance to read one article this week, take in A Short Lesson in Perspective. Read it to the very end.

• Retreats can be so expensive but there’s an alternative. Gala teaches us how to have one at home!

• Learn how to gracefully meet clients in a public space. This can be more difficult than it sounds!

• As a designer, there’s a lot to consider when deciding to change your business name.

•  Trent Walton’s insight on blogs is really, really awesome.

• Learn how to make your own granola!

• What the f*ck makes you too good for advertising?

• Shark Tank is one of the shows that Joey & I always watch together and as you know, the team of entrepreneurs are ruthless! Here’s 7 great lessons to take away.

• I love Promise’s thoughts on using your creativity to its full potential.

• Pinterest just updated its privacy policy and terms of service. Thoughts?

• I love all the fantastic interiors and type over at k. So creative and beautiful!

Advice #44: I Am Not the Best. Should I Refer Work Elsewhere?

ask nubby advice


Hello, I was wondering about referring work and clients. I am a very good graphic designer but I know that I am not the “best”. I occasionally get work from clients that I think friends of mine could do a better job on. Should I refer the job to them or not? I’m afraid that it will look really bad to the client when I can’t deliver the best possible outcome. Help!

This is a fantastic question and brings up a much larger issue. As creatives and humans, we’ve all had those moments of self-doubt and feeling like we’re not the best. Well, I’ll let you in on something that will hopefully shift your perceptions: in almost any field you go into, there’s always going to be someone that’s better than you in some way.

So, take a moment to free yourself from those self-deprecating feelings and move on. Let go. Instead of wallowing in self-doubt and contemplating whether you’re good enough, focus on the big picture of your career. What have you accomplished and where would you like to go? Are the clients you’ve done work for happy with your output? Think about it: if your clients are happy, you’re definitely doing something right.

Self doubt is normal but be realistic.

Design is an extremely competitive field and I remember the self-doubt I felt during my first agency job fresh out of school. All of the designers on my team were much more skilled (and in my mind, that equated to way more awesome) than me but you know what I quickly realized? I was comparing myself to designers that had 5, 10 and even 15 years more experience! I was a fresh graduate trying to be as good as them! Obviously, I was setting myself up for failure with the “I’m not good enough” mentality. Once I realized that I’d been comparing apples to oranges, I was able to relax, put my guard down and go with the flow. I was aware enough to realize that everyone on the team was friendly and willing to help me when I asked — I was the one with the issue.

“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” — Anaïs Nin

Back to your question — clients are coming to YOU. I’ve always felt that if someone is choosing you out of the hundreds, even thousands of options they have out there, it’s because they admire your work. They want to work with you. Go above and beyond and most of the time, you’ll have a return client.

Know when to say no.

At the same time, if you feel very strongly that you’re not the best fit for the job, refer that client to the best person you know. After all, it’s better to be really amazing at something versus a jack of all trades and master of none. For instance, I’ve done my fair share of print and web design and feel confident in these areas but I’m aware of my limitations when it comes to retail environments. I can concept and whip up production files for banners and second-surface graphics for store windows but developing the entire look and feel of a full retail location or trade show booth is beyond my scope. If you feel like a project is way over your head and far outside your comfort zone, don’t commit. In the end, nobody will be happy!

One of the hardest things to admit is that as individuals, some projects are bigger than us. Some of the work I’m most proud of was created with teams, often including an art director, a copywriter, a producer and multiple designers. The client had a big vision and a team was needed to pull it all together. So don’t beat yourself up if you’re not seemingly awesome at everything! Remember that a lot of the big campaigns and projects you admire often weren’t the work of a single individual; they were the work of a team.

Surround yourself with the best.

Finally, consider this: if you feel that others around you are “better,” this can actually be a good thing. Strive to surround yourself with successful people. They give you goals to work towards and a reason to push yourself further. If you truly felt that you were already “the best,” would you work so hard? Probably not. Remember though that the people around you should be as supportive of your efforts and goals just as much as you are with theirs. It’s a two-way street.

The bottom line.

Put in that extra bit of effort to always deliver work that you’re proud of. Knowing that you’ve done your personal best (even when a project has dramatically shifted from the initial brief) is important. You may not want to put every single project in your portfolio (trust me, there’s campaigns I’ve spent two months of my life on that nobody’s ever seen) but knowing that you gave it your all is what’s important. If you’re good at what you do, your clients will notice. And remember that confidence is built over time, as we gain experience. We’re all a work in progress. As creatives, we all want to be better and do better. Take comfort in that.

“There are no short cuts to any place worth going.” — Beverly Sils

The Latest & Greatest #4: Pop Easter

latest and greatest

latest and greatest

With Easter right around the corner, baby blue and grass green have both been on my mind. I love the idea of taking the pastels we typically associate with Easter and adding a twist with saturated brights and color blocking. In other news, this week has been really full behind the scenes but the design projects I’ve been working on should be making an appearance over the next few weeks. Can’t wait to share the outcomes!

1. Karen Elson by Tim Walker for Italian Vogue, 2. PXL Pendant Light, 3. Marimekko Irrbloss Platter (no longer available), 4. Penguin Great Food Collection Books, 5. Essie Mint Candy Apple and Ole Caliente Polishes, 6. Surface To Air Moks Multisole Shoes, 7. Swissted Heatmiser Poster (on sale this week on — via invite only!) and 8. Dan Blackman DelVal Botany Poster.

The Week In Pictures: 3.24.12

week in pictures

week in pictures

Freezing to death in front of the Belmont Stumptown, Saturday

Welcome to The Week In Pictures! Ah man, it’s been a looooong week. I was doing trend research for five days straight which sounds like a blast (endlessly perusing the interwebs!) but when there’s deadlines and a detailed strategy involved and you hit hour ten of sitting in front of the screen and your eyeballs feel like they’re gonna pop out of your head, the initial excitement evaporates. Definitely gotta recharge and refocus this weekend and get in some family time. My work / life balance has been super off lately and it’s time to remedy that.

week in pictures

I just picked up a bunch of new design books, a few of which include how to build portfolios (both online and off). I built mine based on my own research at the time so it will be interesting to see how the strategy in these books potentially differs. I know that for many of us, portfolios are always a work in progress so I’ll be reviewing these in future posts.

week in pictures

Sweet little Rocky is always so patient, lounging while I’m working. He’s quite the cuddler, too (shhh, wouldn’t want to wreck his tough guy reputation. After all, he’s named after the Rocky).

week in pictures

My favorite weekend routine is to go out to breakfast with Joey at Paradox (very vegan-fiendly) and then follow up with a vanilla latte and scone at Stumptown. I love the E A T sign inside Paradox.

week in pictures

There’s beauty everywhere around us. Ever since I got Instagram, I pay more attention to the little details.

week in pictures

Bianca always gives me a good laugh. It’s hard being so far away from so many of my close friends but chatting about past presidents and their jaunty attire cheered me up this week. Bianca’s hash tag for presidents she’s madly in love with: #forefatherwood

week in pictures

On March 22nd here in Portland, it snowed. SNOWED. Everyone was tweeting me, going “It’s 80 degrees where I am!!!!” Go ahead, rub it in! Haha. Come on, Spring! I’m off to finish a project that’s been trailing me now for months and get in that said family time. Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

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Link Love: 3.22.12

link love

link love

90s era Versace? Yes, please!

• Kat’s post about the art of self-confidence is downright awesome and inspiring.

• Karl Lagerfeld’s daily routine is just as eccentric as you might imagine.

• As a creative, how do you deal with those moments when your mind goes blank?

• Forget Mad Men. Now is the golden age of advertising!

• I just came across Backyard Bill’s photos and love the way he documents personal style.

• Starbucks is opening a concept store in Amsterdam and it looks pretty rad.

• Gala’s article about the merging of feminism and fashion in her life is a thought-provoking look into how we all need to make our own choices and embrace what makes us happy.

• Twitter just turned six years old.

• Why is Pinterest so addictive? This infographic shares the cold, hard facts.

• Oh Joy! rounds up the 20 best bites in LA The accompanying photos will leave your mouth watering.

• Hipster Branding is pretty entertaining.

The Dark Side Of Schooling: Debt and Student Loans

the love shop etsy

Print: The Love Shop

Student loans are one of those things that most of us will have to deal with at some point in our lifetimes but nobody likes to talk about. And, I can see why. Money is a touchy subject for many of us, especially when the conversation shifts to debt and admitting how much we owe. Student loans can be a huge source of anxiety, shadowing us as we begin our post-college careers.

This weekend, after much focus and planning, I hit a personal goal: I paid off my student loan. In my case, the reason this was possible was because I made the choice to do my entire design program at a community college. Post-graduation, when I had a good month, I would double, triple and sometimes quadruple my payments. I wanted it to go away, badly. I don’t even use a credit card, yet the high interest rate on my student loan made me feel like I had one.

In 2010, total outstanding student loan debt exceeded total outstanding credit card debt in America for the first time ever. —

Society places so much emphasis on getting into the top schools and students feel the brunt of this pressure. If you have the chance, by all means, go for it and relish the opportunity. If you can’t though, please don’t compare yourself to your peers; this is your journey. School really is what you make of it, whether you have a top name splashed across your diploma or not. The truth is, if you are determined, you’ll find a way to carve out your path.

When I went back to school in 2006, my top three choices for graphic design programs were at well known art schools and universities but there was no way I could afford them. And when I tallied up the total cost of these programs in my head, I knew the only way I could take this route was by racking up massive student loan debt. Honestly, I just couldn’t stomach it. So, I enrolled in a two-year limited entry graphic design program. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I made. I still got a great education, a great internship and I still found a great job post-graduation. What I didn’t have a chance to learn in school (two years goes by fast), I eventually learned on the job.

If I’d had the opportunity, you bet I would have chosen a top art school. But because I knew it wasn’t an option at that moment, I made a choice. Everything turned out okay. I loved my teacher, I loved my program and I loved my college. And in comparison, the debt I incurred was minimal. Just because a school is expensive and well regarded doesn’t mean that it’s the best fit for you — for your learning style, for your goals or for your budget. No matter where you choose to go, your heart has to be in it.

I’ve heard so many students say, “I’ll worry about my loans once I finish. Right now, I just want to have fun.” That out of sight, out of mind mentality can really come back to haunt you, though. Remember, that’s real money with real interest you’re borrowing. Read the fine print; those interest rates on private loans are high. It adds up fast. And forking over a huge payment every month post-graduation is a harsh reality.

Since 1999, average student loan debt has increased by 511%. —

To me, it’s really upsetting when you’ve done everything right, earned an education and are left with mounting debt with an interest rate as high as some credit cards tacked on. There’s something really wrong with this country and the predatory lending practices when it comes to student loans.

All I’m tying to say is, give your choices some thought. Weigh what feels right for you when it comes to your education. Know what the interest rates are on your loans. Be aware. And always remember that If you want something out of life, you’ll find a way.

• Are you or someone you know struggling to pay back your student loans? Please consider supporting this petition. You can make a difference.

• Learn more about the student loan debt crisis through these infographics: The Roadmap to Repayment and The New Deal for Student Loans.