Category Archives: Design

Creative Chronicles: Lumi

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Lumi

As I’m working with branding clients over at Branch, many need a fair amount of printed pieces. Finding a printer for the basics like business cards, postcards and shipping labels is easy but I’m always keeping my eye out for printers who can handle more specialized items.

Lumi makes it foolproof to order branded packaging supplies for your business — think along the lines of packing tape, tissue paper, boxes, bags, stamps, embossers….the list goes on.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Lumi

I’ve ordered from various sites over the years and the interfaces are often clunky and hard to navigate, leaving both me and the client with more questions than answers. On Lumi, I like the crisp, uniformly lit images, the clear navigation and the simple copy — there’s no industry jargon to trip you up.

Discovering this site has been a breath of fresh air. They say it best themselves: “We hope to shake up an industry that’s been stuck in the age of door-to-door salesmen and 30-pound catalogs.” Amen!

I’ve already saved so much time by being able to recommend multiple items from one source for my clients — in the past, we’d have to source stamps, tape and more from multiple companies.

I hope this helps you, too!


All Images: Lumi.

10 Still Life and Flat Lay Tips

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Life and Flat Lay Tips

What’s one area you want to improve on this year? Mine is really simple and I talked about it last week: I want to get better at taking photos, especially still lifes and flat lays.

These compositions are a chance to tell a visual story. They’re an accessible way of sharing things I’m into while producing content for my blog and social accounts. Also, like many of you, I sit behind a computer all day so any chance I have to step away and get the creative juices flowing is an added bonus.

The thing is, my life is already packed with a lot of commitments and I am short on time for personal projects. But, instead of using that as an excuse, I started a project last year called Still Life Friday. Every Friday, I would set aside 15 minutes to share a new still life composition on Instagram, hashtagging it with #stilllifefriday.

Looking back, not every composition was amazing and I missed a week here and there. But overall, it accomplished the goal I had hoped for: to get better at working with what I already had around me, just for fun, without the pressure of client expectations.

What I’ve learned along the way is that when you keep goals bite-sized and focused, it’s more likely that you’ll follow through with them. There’s a reason why I set up Still Life Friday and not Still Life Daily: I wanted to give myself the highest possible chance for success.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Life and Flat Lay Tips

Today, we’re going to focus on 10 tips you can use to step up your still life compositions:

1. Pinpoint Your Style

It’s always easier to create an amazing composition if you can focus in on what you’re naturally drawn to. What gets you excited? If you need some ideas, follow some new accounts. I personally like MaeMae & Co., ban.do, Charli Burrowes, flatlays and flatlayforever. I’ve been collecting screenshots of ideas and keep them in a folder for when I’m feeling uninspired.

2. Get Consistent with Lighting and Surfaces

I take most of my photos during the morning to afternoon in my office, when the light is the brightest and least shadowy. I never use a flash, instead choosing a natural light source next to a window. For surfaces, I use my white glossy desktop or black or white tagboard when I need a larger area. You can pick this up at art supply and dollar stores.

3. Tell a Story

It’s always better if your still life has a focal point to build off of. What do you really want to share? Are you reading a book or magazine that’s inspiring you? Maybe you can add in glasses, a journal and your favorite pen. Did you just buy a new shade of lipstick? Add in a mirror, your compact and a fashion editorial with a makeup look you love. Did you just buy a rad pair of shoes? Lay them out alongside your ideal outfit.

4. Include a Natural Element

Still lifes feel more alive when you follow this tip. I tend to add plants like succulents or fresh cut flowers to most of my compositions. Crystals, sand, stones and leaves also work.

5. Add Some Shine

A little bling catches the eye. I am really big on brass accents right now for a subtle shine. I often use a brass pen, vases, scissors or clips to add warmth to my cool toned compositions. Mirrors, glitter paper, shiny gemstones and jewelry also work.

6. Focus on Color and Texture

One of the easiest ways to give your compositions a consistent appearance is to use objects in the same colors and textures. I focus on mostly black and white with plenty of dashes of green on my personal account. For texture, I stick with marble and brass. These create an on-brand look.

7. Keep It Simple

Less objects can actually be more compelling. Always place your favorite object first and build around it. White space allows the objects to breathe. I think of this step like a gallery wall. If you walk into a gallery and the walls are painted a dark color and crammed with artwork placed too close together, it’s visually overwhelming. If you instead walk into a space with artwork placed with plenty of distance between each piece on clean, white walls, there’s a better chance of you being able to focus on the details.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Life and Flat Lay Tips

8. Include Items You Love

I buy very little for my office space but what I do invest in has to be really special and work double duty. I have a wire inspiration board with copper clips I use to pin up new ideas that also doubles as a backdrop. I have a Moroccan pompom covered basket I use in a lot of Branch photos that also holds my extra chargers and cords. I have a collection of Chad Wys prints that cover my walls and often make their way into compositions. Surrounding yourself with items that you enjoy means that you’ll have more to pull from when putting together a photo.

9. Shoot In Bulk

If I create a composition I really like, I’ll shoot it, switch out a few key items, shoot again and get a few variations. These batched images are great to roll out when I’m having a slow content day or need something to stand in with a quote or story I want to share. They save time and since they were shot in the same lighting and style, they’ll be more consistent.

10. Set it Up

Have tools on-hand that can step in and give you the best results. Sometimes I use colorful washi tape to secure photos while also adding a pop of color. Sticky tack is great for holding round objects in place like pens and lipstick. Antibacterial wipes are perfect for quickly wiping down a surface so you can avoid bits of dirt and dust. Also, decide whether you’re going to use your phone or a camera — I personally use the Samsung NX500 for every photo I take because it’s higher quality. After I’ve taken a photo, I use the built-in wifi to email the photo to myself and edit with a combination of Color Story and VSCO.


I hope these tips help you take better still lifes and flat lays. Let me know if you have any questions or tips to add in the comments!

P.S. I try to post at least one new still life per week — if you’d like to follow along, my account is here.

Living It Up In San Francisco At The Haunted Mansion

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

I always say that there’s nothing like a brand new set of surroundings to make you feel inspired once again. This badass Victorian house in San Francisco took that sentiment to a whole new level.

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

I flew into the city by the bay last month to gear up for The Blogcademy and as my cab rolled up to the equivalent of a modern haunted mansion, I couldn’t quite believe that it was going to be my home away from home for the next few days. Coated from the rooftop all the way down to the front stoop in a pristine coat of black paint, this 1885 era beauty stood out in the best possible way. I felt as if The Munsters had matured, became very wealthy and settled in San Francisco.

While this glorious place isn’t for everyone, if you’re traveling in a group (it comfortably houses up to 4) and looking to splurge, it doesn’t get any better than this. Located in the heart of the Liberty-Hill Historic District, it’s next to loads of great coffee shops, restaurants, independent shops and bars. We barely had to leave the neighborhood the whole time we were there — and since parking is so difficult within the city limits, it was nice to have everything we needed nearby.

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

In my opinion, the real showstopper of the house is the dining room. With a row of matte black lights featuring gold-toned interiors, stacks of art books, a gallery wall full of fascinating art and faux taxidermy, we did plenty of entertaining and hanging out in here. It’s no surprise that this place was voted the “best of the Bay Area” by SF Magazine in July 2012, and featured in Dwell Magazine in April 2011.

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

The attention to detail that Supernatural put into this space gave me a lot of ideas for my own house — I loved that they weren’t afraid to get a little weird. Vintage glove molds, very busty salt and pepper shakers and more livened up the space.

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

The room we spent the majority of our time in was the bright and airy living room which had the best sound system around. The art and furniture combinations were all a little unexpected but worked perfectly in the space — I especially loved the foot stool which resembled a jumbo ball of yarn.

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

I stayed in the back office / guest room which had the most amazing book collection lining the walls. It was located right off the super modern, pure white kitchen and faced a decent-sized back yard complete with a fire pit. No shortcuts around this pad! Having a legit backyard in the city is such a luxury.

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

The Lolita poster in the master bedroom was perfectly on cue. Not shown: A marble bathroom complete with a jacuzzi and walk-in closet. Yes, this house literally had everything that dreams are made of.

Nubby Twiglet | The Modern Haunted Mansion in San Francisco

If you’re looking for something special for a honeymoon, anniversary or want to explore the city in style and not be confined to a hotel room, you’ll fall in love with the perfect mix of old grandeur and new technology tucked inside this grown up goth masterpiece.


All photos: Shauna Haider.
Featured place: Exquisitely Modern and Victorian in San Francisco.

Designer Wish List #4: Stylish Gadgets and Tech Gear

2013_wishlist_4

All creatives need some solid gadgets and tech accessories in their arsenal but it’s always an added bonus when they’re well-designed. I’m especially loving the old school stylings of the Fuji Instax and the Lomo smartphone film scanner! How about you?


1. Fuji Instax Mini 90 Classic Camera, 2. Megaphone iPhone Amplifier, 3. Nooka Mirror Watch, 4. FRENDS Taylor Headphones, 5. Crosley Floral Record Player, 6. Block Dock, 7. AirPort Time Capsule, 8. Venus of Cupertino, 9. Pentax Q7 Camera, 10. Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner, 11. Dracula iPhone Dock and 12. Rock Out USB Key.

Designer Wish List #2: Creative Minimalist

Nubby Twiglet | Designer Wish List

This wish list is dedicated to that design minimalist in your life that’s obsessed with black, white and of course, great typography. But let’s be totally honest here — this is basically my dream shopping list so it wasn’t very difficult to gather up 18 swoon-worthy items!


1. Braun Alarm Clock, 2. Ghost Chair, 3. Imogene + Willie Candle, 4. Stedig 2014 Calendar, 5. Glass Dome, 6. Pantone iPhone 5 Case, 7. Eames House Bird, 8. Pattern Society Rug, 9. Sebastian Bergne Ring Calendar, 10. Ivory + Mason Glasses, 11. George Nelson Asterisk Clock, 12. House Industries for Heath Ceramics Numbers, 13. BKR Heart Water Bottle, 14. House Industries Flour Sack Towel, 15. Crushed Bowl, 16. Vitra Toolbox, 17. Hay Tower Block and 18. Binchotan Toothbrushes.

Designer Wish List #1: Style Savvy With A Pop Of Color

2013_holiday_wishlist_1

Creatives can be a hard bunch to shop for. Notoriously picky and detail-oriented, they are a difficult group to please! Over the next two weeks, I’ve put together a series of four gift guides that will hopefully alleviate some of your shopping stress. First up: a collection of twelve items that are perfect for that friend who is style-savvy, strives to keep an orderly desk and welcomes a pop of color.


1. Kaleido Trays, 2. Eames Side Chair, 3. Graphic Notebook, 4. Le Mouton Noir & Co. Mug, 5. Nesting Boxes, 6. Echo Flash Drives, 7. Silk Pantone Pillow, 8. Uten.Silo Small, 9. Cosmos 4-Port Travel Charger, 10. Pantone Espresso Maker, 11. Nelson Ball Clock and 12. CMYK Necklace.

Cyber Monday Sales: Design Edition!

Nubby Twiglet | Cyber Monday

I’m a little late posting today but hopefully you can still make the deadlines for some of these amazing design-related sales! So much good stuff at deep discounts:

• In need of business cards, stickers or postcards? Moo is offering 25% off their printed products including the awesome Luxe line!

• Fab is offering 30% off site wide and is the perfect one-stop-shop for those art and design lovers in your life.

• Spruce up your desk with new supplies from Poppin. Use the code CYBER30 to save 30% off any orders of 60 dollars or more.

• Overnight Prints is running their biggest sale of the year. Get in that order of promotional postcards quick!

• You Work For Them has hundreds of fonts on sale!

• Theme Trust is offering 30% off all of their WordPress themes. Just enter the code CYBER at checkout.