Category Archives: Books

Currently Reading: Lost in The City Travel Guides

Nubby Twiglet | Lost in The City Travel Guides

One of my passions is collecting magazines and books. Nothing can quite replace that feeling of holding a printed piece in your hands. There’s a special connection that happens when you flip through the pages of your favorite book, escaping into another world while bookmarking the parts you love along the way.

Lately, I’ve been getting more into travel books. Reading blog posts about specific locations and searching Pinterest is great but I dream of having a bookshelf full of inspiring places to visit.

One of the coolest series I’ve come across are the Lost In The City Travel Guides. With a mix of recommendations gathered from bloggers, journalists and photographers, they’re written from a local’s perspective which adds to the charm.

Nubby Twiglet | Lost in The City Travel Guides

The book designs all feature big, bold type across the covers, bright splashes of color and simple layouts. I know they say to never judge a book by its cover but the design is so inspiring.

The books are a nice, compact size and weighing in at 70 pages, a quick afternoon read. Right now, there’s guides dedicated to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Frankfurt, Ibiza, London, Los Angeles, Milan, NYC, Paris, Stockholm and Vienna and I hope they keep expanding.

The Lost In manifesto sums up the excitement of visiting a new place best:

“Getting lost in the city is not about throwing away the map. It’s about surrendering yourself to the essence of the place. The sights, smells, flavours and sounds that make it unique. The photography, the art, the creativity that provide its individual inspiration. Getting lost is diving headfirst into what makes each city its own.”

Totally agreed.

P.S. I picked up my copies at Anthropologie.

Falling Back In Love With Books: My 9 Must-Read Suggestions

Nubby Twiglet | Falling Back In Love With Books: My 9 Must-Read Suggestions

Once a voracious reader, over the last few years I noticed that my time spent immersing myself in a good book had dwindled until it seemed like my daily reading was reduced to scanning blogs and social media. I collect very few things but when it comes to books and magazines, I’m obsessed. After all, being glued to a screen 24/7 just doesn’t provide the same experience.

After the aforementioned dry spell, I’ve been making up for lost time and buying all sorts of books. My taste tends to focus on design, fashion and autobiographies but I’m always up for a wild card.

These are my top nine picks right now and I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

Nubby Twiglet | Falling Back In Love With Books: My 9 Must-Read Suggestions

1. I’ll Drink To That

By Betty Halbreich

Betty is now in her late 80s and a master at personal shopping. She’s so good at it that she spent close to 40 years at Bergdorf Goodman giving celebrities, socialites and stylists advice on what to wear. She has managed to master the art of transformation, helping people look and feel their best but the biggest transformation of all came from within.

Betty was married to a partner who turned out to be a terrible match and after they divorced, she reclaimed her independence in the form of going out and finding work at Bergdorf’s, which saw her potential and soon asked her to manage their first personal shopping service.

She is living proof that it’s never too late to make a big life and career change, even if you’re already many decades in.

2. Diana Vreeland Memos: The Vogue Years

By Alexander Vreeland

I have been digging into the life and times of legendary tastemaker and Vogue editor Diana Vreeland in preparation for The Art Of V course and this book is especially interesting because it’s a collection of her memos, typed and handwritten to the Vogue staff, often with the photographic outcome on the next page. It really gives you a look into her thought process and how discerning of an eye she had.

Diana wasn’t big on meetings, instead preferring to send these very direct memos and because of that, we have a paper trail of how she transformed Vogue into the biggest fashion publication in the 1960s.

3. Alphabet Logo

By Counter Print

I’m a visual learner and seeing a design really resonates with me. I love logo compilation books because they provide so many potential ideas to jump-start your thought process without having to do all the tedious research online.

Alphabet Logo is a small but mighty book and features 228 pages of letter-based logos. I’m excited to be included in the mix, too!

4. D.V.

By Diana Vreeland

Wanting to learn more about Diana Vreeland on a personal level, I picked up this autobiography that covers her whirlwind existence from living it up alongside the who’s who of 1930s Europe to landing in New York and working her way up through the ranks of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, later becoming the Editor-in-Chief.

5. Grace: A Memoir

By Grace Coddington

Creative Director at Vogue, notoriously press-shy Grace Coddington gives you a glimpse inside her world. She’s passionate about the work she produces and a loyal friend to some of the fashion industry’s biggest personalities. This book is also beautifully designed and a perfect addition to your coffee table.

Nubby Twiglet | Falling Back In Love With Books: My 9 Must-Read Suggestions

6. Graphic Design: The New Basics

By Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips

This is a must-have for any graphic designer, explaining all the fundamentals of two-dimensional design including hierarchy, scale and more. The best part is that the book is illustrated throughout with examples of each concept put into play.

7. How to Style Your Brand

By Fiona Humberstone

This is a book that I wish had existed years ago because it’s unlike anything else out there. How to Style Your Brand explores the process of creating the perfect brand identity for your business. What I find especially endearing about this book is the approach — the concepts and accompanying explanations are easy to grasp, even if you have no prior design experience.

8. The World According to Karl

By Sandrine Gulbenkian

I’m so obsessed with this book! It’s all black and white and packed with sharp, angular design to match Karl’s notorious wit. You never quite know what’s going to come out of his mouth — but either way, it’s never dull.

Karl Lagerfeld inspires and offends in equal measure but that’s a part of his charm. He’s never afraid to say exactly what he thinks and in this age of political correctness, that’s refreshing.

9. Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food

By Nigel Slater

I picked this book up on a whim, at first inspired by its simple cloth cover and was impressed with its ease since many cookbooks can be bloated and hard to follow. Inside, it’s packed with more than 600 ideas for simple meals, most of which take well under an hour to make. Food doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious and the recipes in this book prove it.

Your turn! What books are you obsessed with at the moment?


Top photo: Shell De Mar.

Little Lessons #10: Conquer Your Fear Of Public Speaking By Tying It Into Something That You’re Passionate About

Nubby Twiglet | Conquer Your Fear Of Public Speaking By Tying It Into Something That You're Passionate About

I was always terrified of public speaking. Even if it was a quick introduction on the first day of class, I completely dreaded it. My voice would tremble and I’d talk as quickly as possible just to get it over with.

I’ve always been fine in small social groups and can carry on a conversation without a second thought (especially if you ask me about celebrity trivia!) but just thinking about speaking in front of an audience by myself made me want to hide in a cave.

I never had any ambitions of engaging in public speaking and being a graphic designer allowed me to skirt the issue for years — I could hide behind my computer and still make a comfortable living. That only lasted so long, though before I finally had to face my fears. When Kat, Gala and I hatched the idea of The Blogcademy two and a half years ago, one thing was clear: we agreed upfront that we’d each have to chip in on teaching the 18 segments. Oh wait…teaching equaled public speaking in front of large groups of complete strangers.

I agreed to do it but didn’t overthink it at the time because we didn’t even know if the workshop would take off…and then six days later, our first class sold out. I had less than two months to get over my fear of public speaking because I was going to be in front of a room of women I’d never met, doing exactly that!

When you’re faced with a hurdle, if you think about the big picture, chances are that you’ll get overwhelmed and shut down. Instead, I started really small. I figured out my introduction because if I could get that out without breaking a sweat, I could build some momentum. I didn’t want to stumble and stammer within the first five minutes and lose every ounce of confidence I’d built up so I practiced my intro out loud in my car as I drove to and from work every day. “Hi! I’m Shauna, a graphic designer from Portland….*deep breath*….By the end of the week, I had three paragraphs strung together and memorized.

The first class happened…and you know what? It was way easier than I thought it would be. The secret, I soon realized, is that if you focus on speaking about a subject you’re really passionate about, you’ll never feel lost because deep down inside, you already know the material. In my case, my segments during the two day workshop revolved branding and blogging, both of which I’d been doing professionally for a long time so the conversation just flowed.

I’ve since realized that public speaking is sort of like riding a bike. The first time is scary as hell and then once you have your bearings, it gets a little easier each time. Now, I don’t think twice about it. Remember, your audience wants to relate with you. Unless you’re a newscaster, a few rough edges and surprises will add to your charm so keep it real and speak from the heart.

Your turn: Have you ever been terrified of public speaking? What did you do to overcome the fear?


You’re Awesome postcard by Sian.

Lookbook #6: Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles

Nubby Twiglet | Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles

Nubby Twiglet | Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles

Nubby Twiglet | Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles

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I own a handful of books on typography and while they’re educational and inspiring, the overall design isn’t all that beautiful. They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but for a designer, that’s easier said than done.

While the titles on my bookshelf covered the history of typography, there weren’t many images. I wanted to see more visuals of type specimens and the effects history and design trends had on typography as a whole. I knew that there had to be some meatier books out there that covered what I was looking for.

Nubby Twiglet | Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles

Nubby Twiglet | Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles

Then, I discovered Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles (try saying that 10 times fast!) and it was perfect. Comprised of two volumes, this book is a visual masterpiece. The first book covers pre-20th century type specimens while the second covers 1900 through the mid 20th century.

Nubby Twiglet | Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles

Weighing in at 720 pages, this book expertly traces the history of the printed letterform and has snippets from signs, books, catalogs and more. In my opinion, it’s a total must-have.

Nubby Twiglet | Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles


Featured title: Type. A Visual History of Typefaces & Graphic Styles
Photos and scans: Shauna Haider

Lookbook #5: Madonna NYC83

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

I have a longstanding love of Madonna (just scroll to the end of this post to see how long!) and when I first spotted this book in Melbourne, I knew it had to be mine.

It’s a gritty yet glam walk down memory lane beginning in May of 1983 when photographer Richard Corman got a call from his mother who was casting for a Scorcese film. Over the phone, she told Richard of a woman she’d just met. “She’s an original! I’ve never met anyone like her!”

Richard obliged his mother’s wishes and followed Madonna across the Lower East Side and later to some of her earliest gigs. Of this time in Madonna’s career, he said, “She was amazing, but she was also a part of a movement of creativity where the more you pushed, the more it yielded — and there were so many young artists all pushing at once.”

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Truthfully, these photos and scans just can’t do the book full justice — it’s beautiful. The cover of the book resembles a tightly wrapped canvas and is a piece of art in its own right (I keep my copy sitting out in my office).

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Back on the subject of my longstanding love of all things Madonna, it all started around 1985. After preschool, I’d hang out with my teenage cousin Tracy and to kill time, we’d play dress-up. She had all the cool belts, bandanas, rubber bracelets and black layers. I was always a willing subject to impersonate Madonna!

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

“This is an invasion of privacy! Why won’t the paparazzi leave me alone?! Oh sorry…it’s just you again, Aunt Shannon.” Huge props to my aunt who always had a camera handy and captured the drama of my childhood!


Featured title: Richard Corman: Madonna NYC 83
Photos and scans: Shauna Haider
Check out even more Look Book columns here.

Lookbook #4: The Print Revolution

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The Print Revolution explores how fashion designers have put the new technology of digital printing to use. Covering a wide array of designers from new to established, the book catalogs their inspiring results.

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Traditionally, silk-screen printing was the standard method of applying patterns onto apparel but it could add substantial cost to the product since each color required a separate screen. Because of this, multi-hued patterns were limited to higher-end collections.

With digital printing, the process works in a similar manner that an inkjet printer would, meaning that the complexity and scale of patterns is now unlimited. It’s pretty amazing to see how this technology has rapidly opened the floodgates for designers of all sizes to apply surface patterns to their apparel.


The Print Revolution was provided courtesy of Gingko Press. All opinions are my own.

Lookbook #3: It Is Beautiful…Then Gone

Nubby Twiglet | Lookbook: It Is Beautiful...Then Gone

Nubby Twiglet | Lookbook: It Is Beautiful...Then Gone

Nubby Twiglet | Lookbook: It Is Beautiful...Then Gone

Nubby Twiglet | Lookbook: It Is Beautiful...Then Gone

Ages ago, I shared a few choice visuals from one of my favorite books, It Is Beautiful…Then Gone but not enough to do it justice. This book is one that I go back to repeatedly because it’s mostly collage-based but has a strong sense of design weaving throughout its pages. I made collages long before I was a designer and this book reminds me of why I love it so much.

A lot of the work here was produced in the early 90s as the author struggled to find his footing in art school. The transition from creating design by hand to using computers was in full swing. Instead of fully embracing the clumsy computers, he revived many of his school’s forgotten relics including the darkroom and wove together his own unique style.

Though Venezky’s style has visible design roots, the hand-done elements are obvious and give his work dimension — you can see the photocopied pieces and the layers of the overlapping images. His work is a reminder that we don’t have to be totally dependent on computers to create a layout and that sometimes, it’s necessary to step away to push our personal boundaries.

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Nubby Twiglet | Lookbook: It Is Beautiful...Then Gone

Nubby Twiglet | Lookbook: It Is Beautiful...Then Gone

Nubby Twiglet | Lookbook: It Is Beautiful...Then Gone


Featured book: It Is Beautiful…Then Goneby Martin Venezky.
Check out more Lookbook columns here.