Monthly Archives: January 2013

Off To London!

Nubby Twiglet London 2013

The time has come for me to make my maiden voyage to London and join Kat & Gala to host The Blogcademy! Instead of waking up to a pile of emails from them every morning, we’ll be face-to-face in a London flat for close to two weeks, quite possibly having the most epic sleepover ever. London will be all new to me and I can’t wait to see what it has in store.

Our big plans mostly revolve around the two workshops and we will also be giving a special condensed chat about all things social media at photographer Lisa Devlin’s retreat, The Photography Farm (tickets are still available if you’d like to join us!)

After all that fun in London, we’re off to Paris for 4 glorious days. I’ve been looking forward to this trip across the pond for MONTHS and can’t believe it’s finally time. While I’m on vacation, I’ll still be popping in occasionally. And for even more holiday hijinks, please feel free to follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Bon Voyage!

Advice #53: Do I Need To Move To Jump-Start My Career?



“I am a 26 year old single mother from Alabama and I have a degree in Graphic Design. I am considering starting a freelance business but things just aren’t working out the way that I want them to. I am currently working full-time in a field that has nothing to do with what I ultimately want to do and I am so ready to step out there on faith and move to a larger city. I must however take into account that I have a growing 5 year old and not very much money. I want to move somewhere that is rich in culture. Do you have any suggestions on cities that would be affordable, and that I wouldn’t have to drive hours to gain some inspiration? I am pretty much open to any state in the U.S.”

To start with, my advice is as simply this:

Location isn’t everything.
Affirmations and a plan are.

But let’s dig deeper. First of all, it’s great that you’re passionate about design but also realistic when taking into account the needs of your child. Working hard to make ends meet, even if it’s in a different field than you’d like to be is admirable and I promise you, we’ve all been there! But before you make any moves, it’s important to take stock of where you are with finances and goals and then make a plan.

A big move coupled with starting a new business can feel daunting so start small. Thankfully, you already have a job. Realistically, if you give up this job and move to another city, it may take months to find another. How much can you save every month on your current income? What does a solid six months of expenses look like? Try to build as much of a cushion as possible before you make a move in your location and career, for both you and your child’s sake.

From there, think about the present — it isn’t so bad. With the buffer of a full-time job, you can start freelancing on the side with very little risk. Without your entire income dependent on an upstart business, you’ll be able to create more freely and also put any earnings towards your fund.

Start Online & Local First

One thing you didn’t mention in your letter: do you have a website? Let’s be honest here — people care more about you, your online presence and your portfolio than where you live. I met a number of designers at the Design Life retreat last summer that don’t live in big, bustling cities yet they have hugely successful freelance businesses. It’s all about talent, personality and work ethic. You can be anywhere and make that connection.

To jump-start your freelance career, build a support network online right now. How? Join sites like Dribbble and Behance and share snippets of your work. Start a blog. Reach out to creatives you admire. We all like to have a list of offline connections as well and you can make some great friends by joining the local AIGA chapter in your city.

Then, Move

As for where to move: big cities like New York and LA have always had bustling design scenes but also have a higher cost of living and more competition. But for smaller, niche studios, you might find a great fit in Portland, Minneapolis or Austin. I live in Portland so I’m slightly biased because we have TONS of tiny studios all the way up to companies the size of Nike that are constantly looking for new talent. My advice before making any big move would be to visit a city first and line up plenty of informational interviews. Get a feel for what you’re up against so it’s not a surprise.

If you do decide to make the big move and don’t have a full-time gig lined up, I strongly suggest meeting with placement agencies including Aquent and 24 Seven (I’ve worked for both in the past and they’ve been excellent). They can place you at a variety of design studios and ad agencies and this is a great way to earn some money quickly and make a lot of contacts in the industry, not to mention elevate your resumé while getting your footing in a new city.

In Closing

This may not be what you were expecting to hear but with an internet connection, it matters much less where you live today than it ever has before. Don’t ever let your physical location hold you back from starting a freelance business and living out your dreams. Once you have some momentum and a safety net of living expenses built up, your next move is completely up to you. Good luck!

The Typofiles #123: Rika Magazine No. 7

Typofiles Rika Magazine

I first shared Rika Magazine on here a few months back after I fell in love with its use of unique innovative fonts, pages full of handwriting and features of people you don’t see flashed all over the front pages of every other magazine. Based out of the Netherlands, it feels like the ultimate bible of cool, done in an accessible, inviting way.

Typofiles Rika Magazine

In this issue, Rika has splashed a new mix of vibrant colors throughout, most notably this Springy, minty green. Oh, and the always lovely Solange makes an appearance in a beautifully shot editorial.

Typofiles Rika Magazine

Rika Magazine always manages to create a balance between the pretty and gritty. With that big splash of mint green comes a heavy dose of the black and white and the handwriting that gives it a total private journal feel. If you’re on the hunt for your own copy of Rika, I found mine at Barnes and Noble.

Typofiles Rika Magazine

You can view all of The Typofiles right here.

Recent Press

Nubby Twiglet Recent Press

Over the last month I’ve done a few interviews and been featured in a book! Here’s a quick recap:


When designer and author David Airey asked me to contribute to his latest book, Work For Money, Design for Love, I was both honored and humbled. Author of the popular design blog Logo Design Love, David is one of the most respected bloggers in the design community, hands-down.

My contribution is on page 263. If you’re full of burning questions on how to make your design business work and looking for insights on how many of the pros do it, this book is for you. Some of the topics covered include: How do I find new clients? How much should I charge for my design work? When should I say no to a client? How do I handle difficult clients?

Nubby Twiglet Recent Press


I met designer Eva Black over the summer at Design Life and admire her use of textures and the fine art feel throughout many of her projects. Eva interviewed me for Spaces, a column that gives us a peek inside the workspaces of creatives. Check out some exclusive photos of my office and the accompanying interview!


I also met designer Joanna Waterfall this summer and love her sunny attitude and can’t get enough of this project she just did for Block Shop. Joanna interviewed me for an ongoing series, Design Journey where creatives talk about how they got into design and share some of their favorite projects along the way. If you’re interested in how I got my start in design, check it out here!

Thanks David, Eva and Joanna!

D.I.Y. #3: Liven up Your Plain Accessories!

Kollabora D.I.Y. Wooden Bracelets

Today we’re going to add some life to some simple wooden bracelets! If you have some too-plain accessories lying around, this is a perfect and easy way to add a bit of pizzazz! I had these Kollabora bracelets on hand and decided that sharp lines were the way to go — I also wanted a mix of finishes so the base is matte black while the metallic gold has some shimmer.

Kollabora D.I.Y. Wooden Bracelets

Supplies needed:

1. Bracelets of your choice (we used wooden ones, ℅ Kollabora)
2. Two colors of spray paint, one for the base and one for the accent
3. ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape
4. X-acto Knife

Kollabora D.I.Y. Wooden Bracelets

1. First, spray paint your bracelets a solid base color.
2. Once the surface is completely dry, cover your bracelets completely in ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape and trace on your design.
3. Finally, slice out your design and spray with an accent color of your choice.

Kollabora D.I.Y. Wooden Bracelets

All jazzed up and ready to wear!