Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Week + Links: January 15, 2016

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links


How was your week?

I’m so happy it’s Friday! I’m taking a few hours off later today to have a girl’s day out with my friend Alex. We’re getting our nails done which is a HUGE deal for me because that happens maybe once a year. I’m going to try gel again and will probably default to solid black because hey, it looks good with everything!

The weekend was rough and I feel like I’ve been in catch-up mode ever since. On Saturday, I discovered 40 (!!!) fraud transactions on my business card, spent the day unsuccessfully downloading massive files from a client and then….my brand new computer crashed. HARD. By the end of the weekend, things were back on track but damn, it all threw me for a loop.

Luckily, the week is ending on a high note because I just wrapped up Project Prescription with Paul Jarvis. We’ve been working on this offering for a solid six months and it’s a dream come true because I’d had the idea taped to my wall for YEARS.

Creating products to help creatives, freelancers and small business owners has been a passion of mine for a long time but honestly? I didn’t know where to start. Too many ideas, too little time. So I pitched my idea to the most successful freelancer I knew — Paul. And we got to work.

In just a few weeks, you’ll be able to instantly download the 15 documents we personally use while running our respective studios. Fully customizable and ready to go! If you want to be the first to know when it launches (and get a sample download!), sign up here.

Finally reaching the finish line on my first digital product offering feels monumental but behind the scenes, I struggled with fitting it into my schedule. There were multiple weeks that I had to push it to the side to focus on client work but I kept re-adding it to my to-do list until it was finished. What I thought would take maybe 3 months took 6.

Now that it’s finished, I’m glad I didn’t give up. It’s still written on my wall and I can’t wait to cross it off when we launch on February 7th. Creating a new offering is hard and some days, it will drain you completely. But the feeling of finally getting it done is worth it.

“Nobody said that it’d be easy. They just promised it would be worth it.” —Anonymous

P.S. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of staring at my designs on the screen. I want to hold them in my hands! Did you know that you can print flyers through Moo with up to 50 different designs per pack? They have a front and back side and the quality is AWESOME.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links


These are my favorite links gathered from around the web this week. There’s always a mix of design, business and life tips topped with a dash humor. Enjoy!

• I’m in love with this photo gallery of New Yorkers on their lunch breaks in the 1970s. The fashion is so ridiculously good!

• Marilyn Manson shares his thoughts on the passing of David Bowie.

• If you live in a small space, these 14 tips will help you make the most of it.

• When you get a new job, this is the one question you should ask.

• Germany now has a bicycle highway!

• 10 ways you’re making your life harder than it has to be.

• Design critiques are an important factor in improving your work.

• Would you prefer to organize your Gmail messages in labeled columns? Sortd is for you!

• Rolling Stone just rounded up David Bowie’s 15 best performances.

• Who knew?! Writing out a to-do list actually has calming powers!

Inspiration Can Start With A Pair Of Metallic Gold Sneakers

Inspiration Can Start With A Pair Of Metallic Gold Sneakers

What’s inspiring you lately?

This year, I’m trying to be more mindful about setting aside time to explore my personal visual style. Instead of aimlessly grabbing images online and dragging them to my desktop, I’m paying more attention to visual cues.

What are the things I naturally gravitate towards?

How can those same things I love most play a part in my personal brand?

As you’ve probably noticed in the posts here this year, the visual style of Nubby Twiglet is continuing to evolve and it’s a purposeful move. 2016 marks my 15th year of blogging (that sounds so weird to say!) and for that milestone, I wanted to add a dash of gold to the branding and graphics.

Metallic gold has been a huge obsession of mine ever since I found a pair of Marc Jacobs sneaker wedges six months ago. Every time I laced them up, whether it was for a day in the office, a conference talk or exploring Florence, Italy (above), I noticed an extra pep in my step. That simple addition of metallic gold to my wardrobe started popping up in the design elements I was drawn to. Whether it was a gold sink in a kitchen or a metallic gold texture, I couldn’t get enough.

Inspiration Can Start With A Pair Of Metallic Gold Sneakers

Of course, all gold can feel a bit over-the-top and very Liberace. To balance it out, I started pulling in more organic, black and white patterns. Sometimes it was a marbleized pattern here on the blog, other times it was a hand-painted windowpane pattern on a jumpsuit. I started adding more hand-done fonts and illustrations to projects. Overall, that rough-hewn, looser look added a nice contrast to the gold.

Sometimes, it can feel like small shifts and changes aren’t worth talking about. Maybe they don’t feel grand enough to mention…but I want to change that here. Even the smallest elements you find yourself drawn to start to pile up. Pretty soon, the visual evolution you’ve been seeking, whether it’s in your brand, wardrobe or the way your room is decorated doesn’t feel so out of reach — it’s right there in front of you because you’ve taken notice along the way.

As I begin the redesign of this blog soon, I’m taking these organic black and white patterns and plenty of gold with me to explore.

Evolution feels great. Never be afraid of change — it’s what keeps things fresh, exciting, and makes life worth living.

Your turn: What are you noticing yourself being drawn to these days? Are there colors, styles, patterns, eras or something else that’s making you super excited?

Italy photo: Lisa Jane Photography.

Image sources: Radical Self Love Coven Almanac. Jonathan Adler brass ring holder. Marni shoes. Gold sink. Hand painted stripes. Lost My Mind graphic.

Creative Chronicles: Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. Use It To Your Advantage!

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles #9: Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Use It To Your Advantage!

Over the years, so many emails have landed in my inbox with variations on the same theme:

“I’m [insert age here] and just realized that I’m meant to be a designer. Am I too old?”

Those emails always sting big time because they hit so close to home. I wish I could meet each and every single one of you who write me those messages, give you a big hug and tell you that it’s never too late. Instead, I’ll have to do it virtually, right here.

If you’re contemplating a career in design, it really isn’t too late.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles #9: Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Use It To Your Advantage!

Ignore your age and get to work

I now spend my days running a graphic design studio but it wasn’t always that way. During high school in the late 90s, I was a late bloomer and had no idea that being a graphic designer was a viable career option.

Unsure of how I would make a career as an artist anyway, I went to school for business which was super practical but completely crushed my creative spirit. After graduation, I worked some stints in offices but those those so-called real jobs I thought I was supposed to have as an adult left me feeling empty and hating life.

After I met a few graphic designers in my early 20s, it was a wake-up call. I knew I was definitely in the wrong profession. By the time I got into a program at my local community college in 2006, I was 25 years old and mostly surrounded by a bunch of fresh high school graduates.

Instead of feeling old, I used my life experience to my advantage and poured it into every single project. Why? I knew that age was just a number and was well aware that many people who are now the best known in their professions also got a late start:

1. Oprah Winfrey’s talk show didn’t go national until she was 32 years old.

2. Debbie Harry didn’t release her first album with Blondie until she was 31 years old.

3. Jon Hamm debuted as Don Draper on Mad Men at 36 years old.

4. Julia Child published Mastering The Art of French Cooking when she was 49 years old.

5. Martha Stewart founded her catering business at the age of 35.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles #9: Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Use It To Your Advantage!

Being older is an asset

By the time I graduated and got my first full-time design job, I was 27. In the grand scheme of things, that isn’t old but designers at the studios I worked at that were the same age often had 5 solid years of experience under their belts while I was just scratching the surface. Instead of feeling bad about where I was, I decided that I would work harder to catch up and spent most nights and weekends working on any project I could get my hands on. I actually still do that!

Trust me, your age can actually be a huge asset. These are 4 reasons why breaking into the design industry when you’re older is beneficial:

1. You’re more focused.

All that background noise is long gone. When I started my program at 25, there were a handful of students who were older than me and their work was the strongest in the class by far. They showed up on time, did the work and gave every project their all because they were serious about wanting a design career.

2. You have more life experience.

This trumps everything. You can only learn so much in school but real world experience is where serious growth comes in. When you go back to school as an older student, you’ve worked at a larger variety of jobs. You’ve traveled more. You may have a family. You have a firm sense of who you are as a person. Life experience gives your work depth, grit and provides a sense of perspective.

3. You know yourself better.

Knowing yourself on a deeper level develops naturally with age. As you discover more of who you are, your personal style becomes more defined — you’re able to draw a line in the sand, assert yourself and that confidence shows. Period.

4. You’re more driven.

As you get older and work more jobs, it becomes clear that you’d be happiest supporting yourself doing something you truly love. A few bad job experiences will propel you on the path to search out a career you actually like. Before I got into the design world, I worked in an accounting department, did a bunch of other entry-level office jobs and worked retail at a few shoe stores. The second I got my first design job, I felt like I’d finally found my home.


The only obstacle is you

Once you’ve made up your mind to be a designer and attend school at an older age, there’s no reason to hold yourself back. Trust me, once I made the decision, I had to push off a constant barrage of questions from well-meaning people who were concerned about me racking up more debt and another degree. I was lucky to land a full-time design job as soon as I graduated and paid off my student loans two years later. Nine years after enrolling in that design program, I’m happier and more fulfilled than I’ve ever been.

Quotes about doing what you love fly around so often now that it feels like a bit of a cliche but you really have to do what makes you happy. There’s no point in going through life feeling miserable and looking back, wishing you’d given your dream a real shot.

The truth is, nobody cares how old you are except you…so get started.

Photo: Shell de Mar Photography.

The Week + Links: January 8, 2016

Nubby Twiglet | the Week + Links


On Sunday, it snowed. Not just a little bit. No slushy, wimpy flakes like we’re used to in Portland. I sat in my office all day, getting organized for the first full week of the new year and watched the winter wonderland take shape from my window. The streets were nearly empty and everything was oddly quiet. The thick dusting of fluffy, white snow to me represented a clean slate. A fresh start.

After a very quiet, chill break, things quickly picked back up. It feels good to be back to work, being productive and putting things into motion that I mapped out over break. In a way, I’m making things sound much more zen than they really are. My days right now are filled with wrapping old projects that made their way into the new year and sending out a gajillion (that’s a word, right?) estimates and proposals. January to me is all about lining things up. Making things happen. Getting into the flow and settling into the routine you want to keep for the rest of the year.

Speaking of the above photo, there was one book I really wanted for Christmas: Love Style Life by Garance Dore. OBSESSED. It has that conversational, personal flow she’s known for and the illustrations are killer. Oh! Those gold scissors also deserve a shout-out. I’d been wanting a pair for ages and Joey surprised me with these ones. SO GOOD. They definitely make mundane office and household chores feel like less of a downer.

Anyway, it’s good to be back. I hope your new year is off to a great start and if you’re still struggling to find your footing, that’s totally normal. Even just yesterday, I woke up with a headache, an exploding email box and a to-do list longer than ever. Staying in bed, especially since I work for myself would have been the easy answer. Instead, I pulled myself together, took two aspirin, put on my favorite faux fur coat, walked over to the office, shuffled around the schedule, canceled a few calls and got started.

On those days that just aren’t going as planned, it’s okay to hit the restart button, slow down and realign your schedule. Life happens.

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” —John Lennon

P.S. This year = a resolution to take more instant photos. Make an actual album. And… write more “real” notes instead of typing everything into Text Edit and then forgetting about it. Little things.

Nubby Twiglet | the Week + Links


These are my favorite links gathered from around the web this week. There’s always a mix of design, business and life tips topped with a dash humor. Enjoy!

• If you read just one post this week, make it this one. In life, bad things will happen…but you will always figure it out. #unfuckwithable

• Braid Creative has a new format to help you get those new year’s goals in shape. It’s time to reflect and dream.

• Here’s how to write a simple and beautiful manifesto.

• 9 fun Instagram accounts to follow.

• If you work in an office and are tying to stick to a healthy eating plan (I’ve been there — and gave into Bagel Mondays more times than I care to admit), here are some tips. My favorite: Run away to Guadalajara. Haha.

• What would happen if you expressed gratitude every day?

•  The surprising secret to being a good boss.

• Tim Ferriss shares his recommendations and resolutions for 2016.

• Feeling overwhelmed with social media? Follow a simple schedule to stay on track.

• 14 animals who have better hair than you do. Ha!

• Danielle LaPorte has a new twist on reviewing your year (or life).

• It’s true, 2015 was officially the year of obsessive contouring.

• 10 photography trends popping up in 2016.

• There are so many fantastic female visionaries in art right now. Here are 14 of them.

• Here’s the Pantone color of 2016!

What Would Happen If You Dared To Dream Big? Write A Letter To Yourself.

Nubby Twiglet | What Would Happen If You Dared To Dream Big? Write A Letter To Yourself.

If you could accomplish anything in 2016, what would it be?

Putting a pen to paper makes it more tangible and therefore, more likely that it will actually happen. I’ll admit, there’s something a bit scary about committing to writing your future accomplishments out — when dreams come true, your life will change and big shifts can be really uncomfortable.

Familiarity is smooth because it’s what we’re used to. A shake-up causes excitement but can also bring along a sense of uneasiness.

I’m ready for a little shake-up in my life and business and to make it happen, I have to get past any fears and dream big.

Will you join me in doing the same?

As the year came to a close, I had a call with my client and friend Ellen. We chatted about how we planned to spend the holidays and then, she had a simple yet poignant suggestion: to write a letter to myself, listing all the things I’d accomplished and dating it for the final day of the year, December 31st, 2016.

A few days later, after the holidays wound down, I started writing. I listed the things I’d accomplished, one by one and I included specifics: business goals, amounts of products sold and new house plans.

My Big Goals

I won’t bore you with my entire list but here are three big big goals I have:

1. Purchase land in Palm Springs with Joey so we can start building our dream home. We’ve been saving for the last year and doing a lot of research. While it might take a few years to build things exactly the way we want, securing the land and permits are the first steps towards making that dream a reality.

2. Launch Project Prescription with Paul Jarvis. We’ve partnered to create a bundle of must-have documents every creative freelancer needs to run their business like clockwork. I’d had this idea taped to my wall for a few years and decided to approach Paul, a designer and entrepreneur I’ve long admired. We’ve been finalizing the last few documents and it will launch very shortly. I’m not shy about numbers — I want us to sell a minimum of 500 in the first year.

3. Expand retainer clients with Branch from one to three. Going into the third year of running my design studio, I’m seeking more stability. We’ve moved into working with more lifestyle, beauty and food clients and the portfolio feels in line with the boutique studio I’ve always dreamed of running. Now that the creative client base is there, I’m looking forward to having a more firm foundation so the ups and downs that can hit from month to month won’t be as big of a deal.

My letter to myself ended ended up stretching on for a page and a half. When I was done, instead of saving it down into a random folder on my desktop, I printed it out and taped it to my wall.

Having a letter of accomplishments you’ve listed as already happening staring down at you day after day is bound to give you the kick in the ass you need. As I type this right now, I can see the letter out of the corner of my eye.

Challenge Yourself

This week, join me in writing a letter to yourself. Be direct in your goals. Nobody has to see this letter but you so there’s no need to be afraid of asking for exactly what you want. Date it December 31, 2016. Keep it somewhere you can see every day. Think about either printing it out or setting it as your phone or computer wallpaper. We’re in this together — let’s see how far we can get this year!

Hoping things will happen is not enough. First, you have to decide exactly what you want. Then, you have to commit to them so fiercely, it’s like they’ve already happened. And finally, it’s time to put in the work.

Writing a letter to yourself is simple, free and powerful.

Here’s to having a super satisfying, fulfilling 2016.

Photos: Made U Look Photography.