Monthly Archives: May 2016

Inspiration Moodboard: Spring 2016

Nubby Twiglet | Inspiration Moodboard: Spring 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration lately and how what we’re into seeps into our daily lives and work in subtle ways.

I’m constantly collecting visual inspiration for client projects and dreaming up ways we can pull those nuances together into a branding system or website that represents them.

The outcome is always a combination of textures, colors, fonts, imagery and a theme — a variety of subtleties forming something new and personalized.

We go about our daily lives taking in inspiration but do we ever take the time to pinpoint what we’re specifically drawn to? With that thought in mind, I’m starting a new column here where I’ll create a seasonal mood board pulling in the visuals of what I’m into at that moment and I hope you’ll be inspired to do the same.

I set up a private Pinterest board a few nights ago and started pinning without any pressure — no clients, no outside eyes. These images are some of my favorites from the mix.

Part of the fun in creating a seasonal board is cataloging your own personal evolution. I used to do these all the time around a theme when I started this blog in 2007. Did you also make outfit collages on Polyvore?! Maybe it’s also time to pull back out the scissors, glue stick and sketchbook (like Emily does) and take this activity analog for a quarterly weekend project!

Nubby Twiglet | Inspiration Moodboard: Spring 2016

Things I’m loving in Spring 2016:

1. Natural textures including marbling and light woodgrain
2. Big, tropical leaves that remind me of Palm Springs
3. Rose gold, especially in accessories
4. The stark contrast of black and white accent walls (forever and always)
5. Mid-century modern accents, especially atomic clocks
6. Warm, soft hues that remind me of the desert landscape
7. Bold, crisp type that’s not afraid to make a statement
8. Streamlined, high quality accessories meant to last
9. Simple line drawings
10. Black and white photography

Making mood boards is incredibly therapeutic. I knew I liked all these things on their own but seeing them all together has so much more impact.

Nubby Twiglet | Inspiration Moodboard: Spring 2016

Your turn: What’s inspiring you and making your heart beat a little faster right now?

Sources: 1. marbling, 2. mid-century modern clock, 3. CB2 vase, 4. self graphic, 5. stairway, 6. line drawing, 7. watch, 8. hands, 9. objekt poster, 10. Giuseppe Zanotti clutch, 11. wall hanging, 12. coexist.

The Week + Links: 5.14.16

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links


I hope you’re having an awesome weekend! It’s cold and rainy here and I’m feeling some serious post-vacation sadness. Acclimating to reality after five solid days in Vegas filled with shows, nonstop BFF time and dining at some really great restaurants is proving difficult.

Getting away from the pressure of work over the last week gave my mind a chance to wander and I ended up thinking a lot about female friendships and how important they are to nurture as an adult. It’s easy to let them drift as our days become filled with obligations but I had a big realization:

Once I’d built a solid support system of like-minded women, my life changed for the better. The things I had wanted to accomplish started to finally happen. Friendship is a beautiful thing and I’m so lucky to have these two ladies in my life along with so many other inspiring women who have been by my side through the good and bad. Take the time to tell all those special women in your life how much they mean to you!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

I snapped this photo after a Sephora visit. I often skip makeup on a daily basis when I’m at the office but like a full face when I’m traveling and the Venetian location has some great makeup artists. I get overwhelmed with knowing what works so it’s nice to have the products applied by a pro before deciding to buy. I’m wearing the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation here and it’s a total game changer.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

Between seeing Red Rock Canyon for the first time, watching Lionel live in concert (such a good show — highly recommend it!), taking poolside selfies in big hats, making friends at the Chanel boutique, golden shoe shopping, snapping photos of every statue in the vicinity of Caesar’s Palace, stuffing my face with a dozen P.F. Chang’s shrimp dumplings and having late night Siegfried & Roy and Michael Jackson Youtube binges, this vacation was everything I could have hoped for.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

Focusing so heavily on client work over the last few months left me with a big creative block when it came to personal projects and blogging. Giving myself the space to have fun and let loose culminated in a list of new post ideas — and that feels good, since it definitely gets harder to write and create after nearly 9 years in this space.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

Anyway, I hope things are going good for all of you and that you’re getting a chance to relax this weekend. I’ve been chatting today with family, texting friends and feeling a lot more centered. That’s a much welcome change.

Have a good one – and I’ll leave you with this quote:

“Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” —Dr. Seuss

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links


• James Altucher claims that embracing minimalism can bring you freedom and joy. I especially love what he has to say about email: “For four million years we were “disconnected”. For 20 years we have been “connected”. I have 238,795 unread emails in my inbox. Emails are a suggestion but not an obligation. Love and spirituality and gratitude are found in personal connection. Not in an email response.”

• That one time Prince rented a house from an NBA star, made the fountain flow with purple water and changed the master bedroom to a hair salon? So funny.

• Check out this roundup of the top 75 design blogs.

• 18 inspiring quotes from women about leadership.

• In a way, staying in is the new going out. Sad but true, right?!

• Underwater choreography is so beautiful. I love this photo set.

• All you have to do to make a difference is commit to telling your story as truthfully as possible. It can change lives.

• Where does confidence come from?

• I love this inside look at what it’s like to work at Sephora.

• Vas Jenkatro is creating a poster a day for an entire year!

• When you work at a place that is overflowing with deliciously unhealthy food but are trying to lose weight, photograph all your triumphs and share them to stay motivated.

• Danielle LaPorte shares 9 of the best things she ever did. Random and inspiring.

• Radiohead just made a massive attempt to erase themselves from the internet!

• 6 super cool beauty looks inspired by music.

What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Nubby Twiglet | What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Five years ago, I visited Palm Springs for the first time and it changed everything I thought I’d wanted out of life. Literally.

The first thing you’ll notice upon arriving is that this desert oasis is not only beautiful but also incredibly friendly and welcoming. Joey and I have been invited into the condos of complete strangers and made friends while waiting in line at local restaurants. We’re now so smitten with the place that we are searching for a vacation home to put down more permanent roots by the end of the year (come visit!)


The truth is, before I experienced Palm Springs for myself, I had no idea what I was in for. My mom and stepdad used to vacation there every year and based on what I’d heard, I imagined the place being a sleepy retirement town full of tourists indulging in a long weekend of spa hopping, poolside lounging and plenty of golfing — all in all, not a youthful, happening place.

While some of the stereotypes are still true, Palm Springs has undergone a massive transformation over the last 10 years and is now a truly hip hotspot with new hotels and shops opening all the time.


The thing is, there are so many guides out there to dig through and most left me wanting more. Some of the most comprehensive ones I found were long out of date with many places on the lists since closed (the recession hit Palm Springs especially hard) and others only had a handful of recommendations that crossed over with every other list I found.

I wanted more so I started compiling my own guide — my hope is that this makes your Palm Springs vacation easier to plan.


If you’ve never visited, here are some fun facts to entice you:

• The sun is out over 300 days a year. Basically, it’s impossible to wake up in a bad mood.

• Liberace spent his downtime in Palm Springs and chose one of his many homes in the area to spend his final days.

• Palm Springs is home to Modernism Week, an 11-day event focusing on mid-century modern architecture.

• Rush hour is nonexistent since most folks are retired or on vacation. Rejoice because traffic jams are a distant memory!

• Celebrities including Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Estée Lauder once called the place home and Leonardo DiCaprio recently snapped up one the most iconic houses in town.

• Palm Springs is very GLBT friendly and has one of the highest concentration of same-sex couples in the United States.

• Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is held annually in Indio, right outside of Palm Springs.

• Elvis loved his rented Palm Springs home so much that he honeymooned there with Priscilla and 9 months later, Lisa Marie was born.

Nubby Twiglet | What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs: The Ultimate Travel Guide


The brighter and airier your outfits, the better. Keep your looks loose, comfortable and made of natural, breathable fabrics. It can be hard to remember everything (I set my suitcase out a month in advance of a trip and still miss a few things!) so here’s a quick cheat sheet of must-pack items.

Nubby Twiglet | What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs: The Ultimate Travel Guide

• Sunglasses and sunblock: The midday sun is crazy intense.

• Large brimmed hat: If you want to avoid looking like a lobster, protect your face poolside.

• Water bottle: You never know where you’ll end up and you can’t survive on martinis alone!

• Fun beach towel: Hotel towels are often boring white standard issues so liven things up!

• Fuji Instax: Because instant photos conjure up the heyday of Palm Springs.

• Comfortable shoes: Whether you’re spending the day hiking, biking or shopping, avoid blisters and keep it casual with flats or sandals.

• Swimsuits galore: The brighter, the better.


I’ve flown directly into the Palm Springs Airport a few times but the most economical way to visit is to fly into LA and grab a rental car.

Tickets are much cheaper and the drive from LA to Palm Springs is only about 2 hours (as long as you bypass rush hour). I always start my search for flights on Kayak first to compare rates.

Nubby Twiglet | What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs: The Ultimate Travel Guide

You’ll definitely want a car once you get to town to explore since Salvation Mountain, Joshua Tree and a ton of other desert cities are just a short drive away. Also, street parking is free and we’ve never had issues finding an open spot.


There are so many fantastic places to eat in Palm Springs — for being such a small city, it’s got a great variety of spots to try. These are some of my picks.

Nubby Twiglet | What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs: The Ultimate Travel Guide

• Birba: Right next door to Cheeky’s (and ran by the same owner), you can’t miss the big red “B” at the entrance. This is the place for you if you’re on the hunt for gourmet pizza.

• Lulu California Bistro: This is the ultimate crowd pleaser for breakfast, lunch and dinner, especially if you’re with a group that is full of picky eaters. There’s literally something for everyone on the massive menu (including my vegan husband). Ask for an outside seat — since the restaurant is in the center of downtown, it’s the perfect spot for people watching.

Nubby Twiglet | What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs: The Ultimate Travel Guide

• Norma’s: Make a point to visit this restaurant at The Parker at least once for breakfast. It has a sunny, kitschy mid-century modern feel perfected by Jonathan Adler and the menu will make your mouth water. Just beware of the portions — they’re so massive that I’d recommend splitting with someone. I’ve tried everything from oatmeal to French Toast and it’s impossible to have a bad meal. I love that they have a section called Mom Can’t Make This. Haha!

Nubby Twiglet | What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs: The Ultimate Travel Guide

• Chi Chi: Named after the original Palm Springs nightclub, this is a new restaurant inside the Avalon Hotel with a Latin-inspired twist. Stop in for breakfast, lunch and dinner poolside or better yet, stay at the hotel and use the tablet to order room service!

• Ernest Coffee: This independent coffee shop is located in the same spot where the original Don The Beachcomber’s tiki restaurant once was. If you need a quiet place to chill, grab a treat and get some work done, this is it.

Nubby Twiglet | What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs: The Ultimate Travel Guide

• Reservoir: This brand new restaurant does breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is small but solid and I was happy with everything I ordered from fish tacos to scrambled eggs and toast to rosé. Let’s talk about the real draw, though — pastel tiled floors, wood paneled walls and beautiful natural light.

• Trio Palm Springs: While I personally haven’t eaten here, the locals constantly recommend it and I’ve only heard positive things. It’s on my must-visit list when I head back to town.

Nubby Twiglet | What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs: The Ultimate Travel Guide

• Ice Cream & Shop(pe): With a marbled tile backsplash, mint green chairs and a neon sign of an ice cream cone, this ice cream parlor is bound to put a smile on your face. My top pick is the birthday cake ice cream inside the pretzel cone. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and savory. Bonus: there’s a small gift shop to the left, full of fun goodies.

• Loco Charlie’s: This is my secret hangout. Don’t be fooled by the nondescript restaurant tucked in next to a grocery store in a strip mall. This place is the bomb. Much cheaper than the big local chain in town, this is where the locals go for no-nonsense, tasty Mexican food with fantastic service.

• Tonga Hut: It’s a crime to visit Palm Springs and not have at least one tiki drink! Get your fix here — the staff are super knowledgeable and friendly, the tiki-themed music is great and the kitschy atmosphere is super fun.

Nubby Twiglet | What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs: The Ultimate Travel Guide

• King’s Highway: While this isn’t my top pick since the service has gotten progressively worse over the last few years and vegetarian / vegan options have been pruned, King’s Highway does a great American-style breakfast and the atmosphere inside the restaurant is really lively. A former Denny’s, Ace Hotel has done an great job of leaving the authenticity of the original restaurant intact.

• Cheeky’s: Show up when the doors open or be prepared to wait…for a very long time. This is a spot for the most serious of brunchers and the rave reviews back it up. I love the outdoor seating area with orange lucite chairs.

Nubby Twiglet | What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs: The Ultimate Travel Guide

• Customs Coffee: My number one Palm Springs obsession at the moment, this cozy little coffee shop is wallpapered in vintage-style travel tickets. I love the attention to design they put into the place — it makes the experience feel extra special.

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The Week + Links: 5.5.16

Nubby Twiglet | Week + Links

Happy Friday! I just finished some last-minute packing for Vegas and there’s always that slightly nervous / really excited buzz that happens the day of a trip, with the built-up anticipation finally making way for new adventures.

A vacation right now is sorely needed — I’ve been pushing myself too hard, trying to do too much on too little sleep for the last few weeks and we all have our limits.

3 years back, I was working full-time, traveling a lot for the blogging workshop I co-founded, balancing a handful of freelance projects on the nights and weekends and still trying to get out of bed early each weekday to keep up this blog. It was all too much so I quit the full-time gig, began blogging less and started my own studio so I’d have a more flexible schedule.

Old habits die hard, though. I’m now finding myself falling back into that same trap — not setting boundaries and wanting to be everything to everyone. The reality is, none of us are superhuman. If you don’t take of yourself first and prioritize your health, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else.

I’m like so many of you — I read articles on how to “balance it all” but they always end by saying there is no such thing. It all comes down to prioritization. What’s most important to you? Family, friends, work, self-care or something else? When I say that out loud, I know work should come last — but it doesn’t always. Prioritizing is not my strong point because I want to do it all….until I realize for the 100th time I can’t.

All of this has been on my mind because later this year, I turn 35. 35! I started blogging 15 years ago. 10 years ago, I enrolled in a design program that ended up changing the entire course of my life. 9 years ago, I launched this space. Time flies.

With 35 creeping up this Fall, I’m feeling a shift. 35 means that you’re a real adult, or at least it does to me. There’s a lot of responsibility with that and I’m thinking more about what to say yes to and what to say no to (reminding myself again that it’s impossible to do it all).

And with that, I have to accept that today, my to-do list isn’t going to get any shorter but I have the ability to press the PAUSE button and hop on a plane to go meet 2 of my best friends in Vegas.

Everything else can wait a few days.

This next week, I’m putting a priority on friendship. What are you going to prioritize?

Have a great weekend, friends and thanks as always for reading.

Nubby Twiglet | Week + Links

Photos: 1. #1 mom cookie from my local coffee shop….that had 3 of them on the counter. There can’t be 3 #1 moms, right?! MY MOM IS #1. 2. It’s always the best day ever when my little guy, Rocky comes to visit me at work (even though he hates to have his photo taken)!


• Jasmine Star explains the difference between building a business brand vs. building a personal brand.

• I recently rediscovered this post about honoring your limits. Such a fantastic reminder so many of us need.

• Freelancers, here are 6 reasons you should never, ever work without a contract.

• 11 important things you weren’t taught at design school.

• Feeling down? Check out these 10 things that require no talent or luck…but make you awesome!

• I always love a roundup of free fonts — check out these 36 retro-inspired options.

• 5 ways to make your branding stand out.

• A great reminder that we need to stop living for the weekend and learn how to slow down to enjoy the moment.

• Being Boss shares communication tips for entrepreneurs.

• 6 design tips to radically transform your emails.

• Do you ever travel alone? I never do so it was interesting getting a glimpse of what it’s like.

• Digging the simplicity of this Untitled shirt. We all have a few untitled projects, don’t we?

• If you want to understand more about combining multiple typefaces in a project, read this. So good.

Creative Chronicles: Land Your Ideal Job

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

Q: I’m reaching out because I feel stuck in my career. When I graduated with a design degree, I was hired by a company that I’ve now been with for  7 years and I’m ready to move on. I have applied for Art Director positions at many companies with no luck so far. It seems like I’m getting a lot of no’s instead of a yes but I don’t believe in giving up so I’m wondering what else I can do. Maybe my portfolio needs a big improvement? I’m willing to do whatever it takes.

A. To this very day, the most common questions that land in my inbox relate to portfolios and landing a job. And trust me — I get it. As a designer, your portfolio is the link to your next big opportunity. Have you ever heard of that saying, “Show, don’t tell?” Well, a portfolio does exactly that. There’s only so much you can say about your accomplishments and the notable clients you’ve worked with. Showing your interviewer actual outcomes is the proof.

Though I’ve written a handful of portfolio-related articles in the past, today’s is a little different since the writer isn’t a freshly graduating student but someone with years of professional experience looking to transition out of her current role and into a new company.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

Without ado, here are 10 pieces of advice to succeed when you’re prepping for an interview for a design position:

1. Show relevant work

This is a big one. Think about the company and the industry it is in. What types of projects do you have in your arsenal that would be a good fit? Once you’ve been working professionally for a few years, chances are that you’ve weeded out most of your school projects and have a mix of both corporate and smaller freelance projects to share. Remember that your interviewers have a limited amount of time and usually, there’s no need to share more than 6 to 10 projects. So, how can you make the most impact?

When I was looking for a full-time job a few years back before starting Branch, my previous position had been mostly production work but I was interviewing for a spot on a brand team. Because of this, I left most of the work from my previous employer out and showed mostly branding projects I’d personally completed with freelance clients since these were more relevant. If you do have a project you’re proud of and want to include but it’s not super relevant to the position, just make sure you have a really good story to go with it!

2. Self-initiated projects are fair game

I know how hard it can be getting the right types of projects you want during the first few years of your career. If you don’t feel that you have the ideal mix to share with a potential employer, that’s totally fair. I felt that way for a long time, too but the easiest way around that is to create a project or two for your ideal fantasy client.

This isn’t misleading as long as you’re clear that it’s self-initiated and if anything, it’s a strength to be able to show that you took the initiative to complete a large-scale project on your own time…and finished it! My brother interviewed at Nike years ago and though he didn’t have a lot of work that tied into the job he wanted at the time, he designed his own dream shoe and included it at the end of his portfolio. He got the job!

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

4. Keep descriptions short and sweet

For the most part, designers have a harder time writing than they do putting together visuals and oh boy, do I get stuck when describing my own projects and the outcome! The thing to remember is that you really don’t need more than 3 sentences max to get your point across. If you’re struggling big time with getting to the point and keeping your descriptions short and snappy, I’d recommend hiring a copywriter. It’s worth its weight in gold to have a second set of eyes that can tighten up your writing.

5. Do your homework

When I think back to the best interviews I ever had, yes, my portfolio mattered, but equally important was having a personal connection to the company through a story I could share. When I interviewed for my first-ever design job, I was familiar with the studio’s work and style because I’d attended many of their art openings and parties so it was easy to make them feel like I already fit in.

Be friendly, sign up to newsletters and follow your dream company on social media. The more integrated into their world you are before the interview, the easier it will be to make a great impression. My current employee, Samantha had been following this blog and knew about key Branch projects I’d shared on social media so when she interviewed with me last year, I felt like she was already familiar with our culture and shared common interests. I hired her by the end of our interview because she felt like the perfect fit — I could sense that her integration would be seamless.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

6. Conduct market research

This is one of my favorite pastimes! Some people would call this stalking (ha!) but hey, I look at it a little differently —everything you need to know about a company is already out there. Take some time to read through your potential employer’s website, scan their social media accounts and get familiar with some of their notable projects and accolades. What are they most proud of? If they list employees on their website, get a feel for the kinds of work they personally produce. Look at as many portfolios as possible to find ways you can improve — because I have news for you — your portfolio is never really done! Preparation is key for any interview and the more you know, the better chance you have for sealing the deal.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

7. Mock it up

One thing I’ve learned from redoing my own portfolio dozens of times is that the work you show can always be presented better. There’s always room for improvement and a lot of that has to do with mockups. I am a big fan of mockups because I don’t always have hard copies of printed materials from projects (90% of Branch clients are remote) and also, I don’t have pro-level photo equipment to consistently capture the work I do have on-hand. Mocking up your work allows you to present your ideal scenario of the outcome of a project and create a level of consistency with backgrounds and lighting.

If you need some fantastic, free mockups to get started, I highly recommend Graphic Burger. And, if you have a bit more of a budget and need very specific items, give Pixeden a try.

8. Simple is best

I know it’s hard to avoid because as designers, we’re naturally overachievers, obsessing over the tiniest details to built the best portfolio ever but perfectionism can also paralyze you. When in doubt, keep things simple. White space speaks volumes about your confidence as a designer. Allowing your work to breathe instead of overwhelm is key. Let your crisp, concise visuals and short and sweet descriptions placed on white backgrounds do the talking.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

9. Always send a thank you

If you truly want the job, always follow up the same day with a short but specific thank you message. While actual thank you cards are nice, it’s important to be immediate with this step so I’d recommend an email. Reiterate that you appreciate the interviewer taking time out of their busy schedule to meet with you, include one specific fact about the company that stood out in the interview (it shows that you care AND that you were paying attention!) and finally, let them know you think you’re the ideal fit and are ready for the next steps. You can definitely be forward and confident without coming across as pushy.

10. In the meantime, gain experience

If your dream job doesn’t pan out right away, that’s okay. I know it’s easy to say that but I speak from experience. In 2009, I interviewed at a studio I’d always wanted to work at. While the interview went well, they didn’t feel that I had enough experience. I’d only been out of school for a year and while I showed potential, they needed a more senior-level designer. Instead of getting upset, I threw myself into freelancing at every studio I possibly could.

In 2012, an unexpected email landed in my inbox from that same company. What I thought was a quick informational interview morphed into a meeting with the owner and by that night, I had an offer letter in-hand. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely. I was able to jump in with both feet and all that additional experience I’d gained was priceless.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Use Your Portfolio to Land Your Ideal Job

Playing the waiting game is hard and building out a portfolio is a monumental task but all that preparation eventually pays off. You’ve got this — sometimes it just takes awhile to get what you want.

If hunting for a design job is something that interests you but you need a boost, I’m working with career strategist Ellen Fondiler and digital product mastermind Paul Jarvis to create Future So Bright, a new course dedicated to helping designers find their dream jobs. The best part is, this course will have a digital portfolio and resume template included. We’re launching later this Summer and I can’t wait to share more!

In the meantime, let me know if you have any portfolio questions in the comments. Always happy to help!

Featured work: We Are Branch.