Monthly Archives: April 2012

Link Love: 4.19.12

link love

link love

Natasha Poly by Mario Sorrenti

• The curse of the freelancer is a great reality check.

• Brent Schlender interviewed Steve Jobs multiple times over a 25 year stretch and recently rediscovered the audio tapes. Here’s what he had to say.

• I’ve been more inspired to make mood boards for design projects lately. If you’re considering doing the same, this series has some great inspiration!

• Have you ever wondered what a night club looks like after everyone’s left?

• What do you do if a client suggests a direction that’s not so great?

• Learn how to make a DIY terrarium!

The Pebble smartwatch just crushed all previous Kickstarter records, raising $3.7 million in less than a week!

• What’s the point of dying with a bank account overflowing with money? Live life to the fullest and take some chances.

• If you need to pick out a light for your living space, this is your guide.

• I love the striped walls in Promise Tangeman’s house!

• 4 ways to create brand content that people actually care about.

Advice #45: Should I Use My Degree or Follow My Passion?

ask nubby advice

I am an architecture student finishing my fourth year of school this June but now I’m not sure if I will continue to pursue this path. I want to study fine art but I am scared that I’m not good enough and it costs a lot more. I chose to study architecture because I thought it was more practical to design houses than to paint pictures. Now I’m wondering if I made the right decision. I don’t want to end up doing a job that I don’t find fun!

ask nubby advice


First of all, take a deep breath and realize how close you are to reaching a goal that you began four years ago. Some people may disagree with me but I’m a firm believer in completing what you’ve started when you’re that close (and have invested a good chunk of time and money). If you were only a year or two into your studies, it might make sense to pull out but you’re almost there!

Maybe I’m a bit more traditional in my career views but here’s what I think: For now, being an architect will allow you the opportunity to earn a great living until you figure out your next move. If your goal is to be a fine artist, you don’t have to jump in with both feet first (remember, many artists aren’t solely artists for a living). Perhaps it makes sense to work full-time out of school and see if you even like architecture (who knows, you might fall in love with it once you’re doing it professionally!) And then, maybe you can set a goal of cutting back your hours to part-time within a specific time frame so that you have more time to dedicate to your art. Your decision doesn’t have to be all or nothing right away unless you’re fully comfortable with that prospect.

Your passion does not have to be the same as your career.

Consider this: Your passion or hobby doesn’t have to be the same as your job. Fine art is something many of us do as a creative outlet but it can take awhile to establish yourself and earn a great living as a fine artist. Tangling your passion with your profession can also be tricky. Once you’re creating art to make a living, the focus of your work may also start to shift. What happens if you have bills to pay and a commission comes along that you’re just not comfortable with? Do you take it or leave it? In that position, would you wish that you’d stuck it out with a steady paycheck a bit longer so that you could turn down certain opportunities that didn’t fit within your artistic vision or goals?

Do both.

Have you considered doing both architecture and fine art? Here’s the thing: It’s hard to make a great living right out of school as a fine artist. Yes, it’s possible! Yes, some people have all the charm and talent and make it look easy! But often, unless you’re an illustrator that’s willing to do commercial work or perhaps a painter that does commissions and murals, it can take some serious time and commitment to gain momentum (i.e. a distinct style, solo shows, steady clients and representation). Do you have a plan in place to support yourself in the meantime?

I, too, wanted to be a fine artist. I ended up going to school for design because like you, I felt it was more practical than art. Art was a huge passion of mine but I found a happy medium by becoming a designer which provided a much steadier income and then came home from work and set aside a few hours each night to work on my series. I had a solo show at the first agency I worked at and later, my collages were used on a line of snowboard goggles and helmets! Working as a designer actually helped me open up more doors for creating fine art. Architecture may do the same for you in very unexpected ways.

If fine art is for you, make a plan.

Be smart about your decision. Do you even need another degree to be an artist? Do you have a specific style and medium established? Is your work only accessible through a gallery or do you offer a format and style that would do well on a site like Etsy? Do you have social media set up to promote your artwork? Making a clear plan of what you hope to accomplish will make the transition into fine art as a career a lot less stressful. If you’re looking for more advice about a fine art career, I highly recommend reading Taking the Leap by Cay Lang. This book was recommended to me by another artist years ago and is full of practical advice on how to build a successful career, promote your work and put together contracts.

In Closing.

Remember, life doesn’t have to be about either / or. Fine art vs. architecture doesn’t have to be a black and white decision. If you do decide to use your degree to earn a living, you don’t have to continue down that path forever. How will you know if architecture isn’t right for you if you don’t try? You can always change your mind. Follow your gut. It’s always okay to make a change when something in our lives just doesn’t feel right.

Readers: What do you think? Have you been at this crossroads with your career before? How did you decide what to do next?

The Typofiles #100: My Favorite Catalogs!

I’m a self-confessed magazine junkie but it doesn’t end there; I collect catalogs as well. Not just any old catalogs, though. There’s a handful of titles that I’ve collected for years and with good reason. My passion is editorial design and while there’s a lot of inspiration in this area online, the magazines and catalogs they come from are often truncated to only include the ‘best of the best.’ The experience of flipping through a printed piece, page by page, in its entirety tells a story with a beginning, middle and end that can never quite be replicated online.

Today I’d like to share some of my favorite catalog titles and best of all, they’re all free (see links below). These catalogs can really come in handy for designers. Three years ago, I was hired to design a fashion lookbook for a Fortune 100 company. When I was briefed on on the job, a lightbulb went off. I’d collected dozens of catalogs that were very much in line with the demographic this company was trying to reach so I hauled in my collection the next day and my art director and I got busy flipping through various issues, gathering visual cues and layout inspiration during our early explorations. Having complete catalogs at my fingertips to bookmark and sort through versus screen shots of bits and pieces of online inspiration was immensely helpful.

Books can be expensive and not every designer has the means to build their own personal library right away (I am only now amassing a decent one). But one thing you can do, no budget necessary, is to collect catalogs. They often change their theme and layouts on a monthly basis and can provide a quick dose of inspiration wrapped up in a short retail story.

I love the colored spines on these Anthropologie catalogs. And, I think I recognize that truck!!!!

As a designer, it’s good to be aware of trends and movements around you, not just online but also in print. The goal is to not lift everything you see but to rather ignite the sparks of creation. Colors, type choices, the placement of images and the copy all play a role in the finished product and may inspire your next project, as well. Get inspired and then push forward and use that inspiration to create your own vision. Remember though, inspiration is meant to be just that; inspiration. Then, it’s time to get to work! As Anna recently said, “Try to put a limit on the amount of time you spend searching for and cataloging images for the sake of inspiration. Think more about appreciating these things for what they are, and not just how you can apply them to your own work.”

Here are some of my favorite free catalogs for print inspiration:

• Urban Outfitters: Sign up for monthly catalogs; they change themes very often.

• Anthropologie: Monthly catalogs with inspiring locales and subtle type.

• Madewell: This catalog is in an oversized format and printed on matte paper with hip, lookbook worthy layouts. Definitely my favorite of the bunch!

• House Industries: This type foundry catalog is always colorful with a cheery retro vibe.

• J. Crew: They’re always sending out something new and have glossy magazine-worthy photos and type treatments.

My catalog collection, bursting at the seams!

What I Wore: 4.15.12 // Vintage Bavarian

what i wore vintage bavarian

what i wore vintage bavarian

This weekend, my dad took me out to lunch at my favorite German restaurant in Portland, Gustav’s. Inspired by the decor, I pulled this vintage dress with a slight Bavarian twist out of my closet.

I found this dress last year during a trip to vintage mecca Shareen Vintage in LA. The dress had some stains and damage but I just couldn’t leave it behind. I have a huge penchant for lederhosen and the pocket detailing reminds me of them. If I have an excuse to dress up the next time I’m visiting Leavenworth, this dress is definitely coming with.

what i wore vintage bavarian

Outfit inspiration: Gustav’s on Sandy Blvd.

what i wore vintage bavarian

what i wore vintage bavarian

I Wore:

Vintage dress (the label reads “Fong Fong”), Shareen Vintage
Oui / Non Belt, ASOS
Crazy Maze tights in Sahara / Black, Wolford
FACE Stockholm nail polish, Hello Merlot (exclusively for J. Crew)
Gold headband, H&M
Wood wedges, Minimarket

what i wore vintage bavarian

I hope your week is off to a great start!

The Week In Pictures: 4.13.12

week in pictures

week in pictures

week in pictures

As I was walking to lunch with my friend Pam on a perfect Spring afternoon yesterday, we spotted this cherry red motorcycle with sidecar. Very tempting to take for a spin, huh?

week in pictures

My new favorite shoes remind me of dying easter eggs as a kid. Fun!

week in pictures

Last Friday, I stopped by Nemo to see the Boxes of Death 3D show featuring 50 artists and 50 coffins. There was so much awesome work lining the hallway but honestly, I barely got a glimpse of most of it because the place was packed with what seemed like a few hundred folks. One of the best turnouts for an art show I’ve ever seen! So nice to run into so many old friends.

week in pictures

My desktop looked like this for most of the week. Paris is definitely on my brain big time.

week in pictures

I love this sign so much, it always makes me smile. I’m pretty sure it’s for the crepe cart on 12th and Hawthorne. Anyone know for sure?

week in pictures

Over the weekend, Joey and I started researching and shopping for plants to finally pull our back yard together (you saw the path he just put in last week). He had his heart set on finding a palm tree and we finally tracked down the particular kind he wanted (we passed on the dwarfed one).

week in pictures

I can always appreciate a good Eames! Feeling excited about a bunch of projects I’m a part of and looking forward to my mom coming to visit in two weeks. Good times.

week in pictures

nubby signature

Link Love: 4.12.12

link love

link love

Collage by Francisca Pageo

• If I had been decorating Easter eggs last week, these Pantone and CMYK eggs would have been at the top of my list!

• I love this post about art and inspiration so much. Especially, “Not every decision you make has to be crowdsourced beforehand. Trust your gut and keep it to yourself while you follow through.” Bravo, Anna!

• It’s about time that we embrace the inevitable aging process.

• If you’re receiving a book advance (or a large sum of money in general), don’t run out and spend loads of money on questionable purchases!

• This poor teacher got schooled on Helvetica by a five year old!

• I still can’t believe that Instagram went from zero to $1 billion in value in only 17 months!

• We’ve all been there: How do you deal with clients that take forever to pay?

• Six keys for turning your company into a design powerhouse.

• This is an interesting look at some world famous fashion designers who have gotten fit over the years. Karl Lagerfeld once said, “Fashion is the healthiest motivation for losing weight.” Thoughts?

• The Nextness just gave an overview of the brand new Beyoncé website and it is beautifully designed. So many great insights about sharing and social media in this article as well!

link love

A snippet of type from the new Beyoncé site

The Typofiles #99: SPIN Magazine Redesign

magazine typofiles typography

Last week, I was at the grocery story perusing the magazine rack and in between picking up Martha Stewart Weddings (research for the Rock n’ Roll Bride magazine) and reading a Marilyn Manson interview in Revolver (it’s really good, by the way), this cover of SPIN caught my attention.

The last time I bought SPIN was somewhere close to 10 years ago but I couldn’t take my eyes off this cover. Sleigh Bells are everywhere at the moment (and Alexis Krauss is gorgeous) but there was something else that made it stand out — the lack of jarring, huge headlines and the matte paper used for the cover.

SPIN, now a bimonthly publication, has undergone a massive redesign. Of the retooling, SPIN says, “In the many discussions about how to best enable this magazine to have a long, prosperous — or any — future, it became impossible to ignore the past. Not just this magazine’s past, but the very idea of what magazines have meant, of what we want to read in them, and why.” They’ve made a number of changes inside that reminds us of the music magazines we used to love including, in their words, “deep, long-view critical thinking and cultural analysis that’s so often lacking today.”

The “new” look is intentional and a nod to the original SPIN magazine and dare I say, very now. For better or worse, many of the design elements remind me of an Urban Outfitters catalog. But in a way, this lo-fi approach stands out amongst the slick redesigns of many other freshened up periodicals.

Readers: Have you picked up the new SPIN and what do you think overall?