Category Archives: Graphic Design

Project Spotlight: EDGE iD

Nubby Twiglet | EDGE iD

As a designer, you learn to adapt and work in a variety of styles. And truthfully, much of the time the outcome doesn’t necessarily match your personal aesthetic. On those rare occasions it does, it’s pretty awesome. One of those recent occurrences was the branding, collateral and website Branch created for Utah-based interior design firm EDGE iD.

It was a breath of fresh air to take such a modern, minimal approach. Check out the rest of the project right here. Thanks for reading!

Project Spotlight: Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue #5

Branch | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue #5

This week, the new issue of Rock n Roll Bride Magazine is hitting newsstands and I wanted to let you know now because this baby sells out fast!

Branch | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue #5

This project was a huge labor of love at Branch over the late Summer / early Fall and this issue is packed full of awesome content. You can see more sneak peeks here.

Branch | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue #5

Oh, and you can bet I dedicated a full page to a squirrel cake — gotta make Chubs proud! Seriously. Sooooo epic.

I hope you enjoy the issue and thanks for your continued support!

Project Spotlight: The Devil Wears Flip Flops

Branch | The Devil Wears Flip Flops

This brand was so much fun to create, in part due to the awesome name.

I’m so excited to finally share the outcome of The Devil Wears Flip Flops! Based in Australia, the business is your new editor-on-call without the bad attitude. Only easygoing, beachy vibes here!

Over the last year, Branch produced branding, print collateral and a responsive website. You can check out the project right here.


Thanks for your continued support!

15 Tips To Rock Your Stay at Designer Vaca!

Nubby Twiglet | 15 Tips To Rock Your Stay at Designer Vaca!

Four years ago, an email landed in my inbox for a new retreat, Designer Vaca. Held annually in Palm Springs, the all female gathering for creatives quickly grew from a group of 25 to close to 200 attendees. Every year, though very different from the last, has held one central theme: openness. No matter how many ladies attend, a sense of friendliness and a willingness to share stories and ideas resonates and that’s what keeps me coming back.

I talk about Designer Vaca a lot because it really shifted my career by giving me the confidence to drop all outside gigs and trust that I could be my own boss. I went from being scared shitless the first year to having my own studio the second. Meeting other women doing the exact same thing made me feel less alone. It also provided me with a strong support network — ladies I’d only knew online became close friends and that makes all the difference when you’re working for yourself, unsure of what each day holds.

Showing up to Designer Vaca has taught me a lot and if you’re considering attending, I wanted to share some tips to make your time there as smooth as possible:

1. Register Fast

When tickets go on sale, things get crazy and they are usually completely sold out in 1 to 2 days. Even if you’re on the fence about attending, just buy the damn ticket! Worst case scenario is that you can always sell it to a friend or offer it up in the private Facebook group. Sign up to the mailing list to be the first to find out when registration re-opens.

2. Stay Late

The retreat flies by and it can be a little overwhelming networking when you’re still trying to get your bearings. Whenever I’ve left as soon as the retreat was over, I’ve regretted it big time. An extra day or two allows you to get to know more ladies on a deeper level without the set schedule — it’s the perfect time to hang out by the pool or go on group trips to Joshua Tree and Salvation Mountain. Your post-retreat time is sacred. It’s the ideal time to discover, explore and most importantly, relax!

3. Fly Into LA

Palm Springs has a teeny, tiny airport that’s quite expensive to fly into. The most cost efficient way to get to the retreat is to fly into LA and then drive to Palm Springs. Depending on traffic, it’s about two hours from LAX. And, there’s plenty of fun stuff to see on the way like the Cabazon Dinosaurs!

4. Carpool

Tons of the girls attending Designer Vaca are California natives and have extra room in their cars. If you can get to LAX, chances are that you can hitch a ride to the retreat! My friend Pam carpooled this year and had the time of her life with a group of ladies in a rented yellow Camaro. Once you register, you’ll automatically be added to the private Designer Vaca Facebook group and you can hook up with a carpool in there.

5. Pair Up With Roomies

Whether you’re trying to save some money or just want to make some new friends, partnering up with roommates is a great option. Between hitting the talks, dinners and pool, the time you spend in your room is so little, anyway! To find roommates, join the Facebook group.

6. Hot Tub After Hours

This is a big one! Everyone is always exhausted from traveling but the real magic happens at night in the hot tub. I always have the most memorable conversations (from Burning Man to weird celebrity trivia, all bases are covered) and though I’m tired the next day, it’s nothing a strong cup of coffee can’t cure.

7. Focus on Quality Over Quantity

With 100+ women to see and meet, it can be difficult to even scratch the surface. When our group was just 25 ladies, I walked away knowing everyone on a more personal level. But with the growth, it’s just impossible to meet everyone. Instead, I’ve started messaging ladies on Instagram that I really want to meet and then letting the rest of my interactions happen naturally. This year, I made so many new friends just by joining different groups and eating lunch by the Ace pool.

8. Pack Business Cards

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again: BUSINESS CARDS ARE NOT DEAD! Some of the interactions you’ll have are in packed, loud rooms. It’s impossible to understand your contact information when you’re shouting it out — save everyone the trouble and hand out cards. Since this is a design-focused retreat, it’s also the perfect opportunity to show off your skills. A lot of the girls Instagram the cards they’ve gotten afterwards so once again, it’s a great marketing opportunity. Based on the cards I gathered this year, most of us are using Moo Luxe.

9. Be Fearless

This year, I read so many Instagram updates from new ladies who were very open about how nervous they were to attend Designer Vaca. Whenever you attend something new, that’s totally normal! Nerves kick in, you wonder if you’re too old or too young, you wonder if your website looks good enough and if your outfits are cute enough. Seriously, throw all that out the window. I felt that exact same way the first year and within a day, I was over it. Don’t waste your time or energy second-guessing yourself. Instead, use that energy to go out of your way to make someone else feel welcome. If you see a lady standing by herself on opening night, say hello. This is not the time to be shy — everyone is there to network!

10. Use The Photo Booth

Every year, I drag all my friends into the Ace Hotel photo booth and every time, I’m so thankful that I have those memories. Swipe that card a few times — the photo strips are perfect for your inspiration board back home. Even better, scan the strip and email it to everyone in it. I did that the first year and it definitely made me more memorable to my new friends.

11. Rise Early

The sunrises in Palm Springs are some of the best in the world. There’s nothing quite like being in the desert…so don’t miss out! Also, the main restaurant at the Ace, King’s Highway, gets packed in the mornings before we head to the 10 a.m. talks. Getting food, let alone the check can take forever. Get a move on it and beat the crowds.

12. Keep It Casual

While it’s nice to dress up on opening night (the atmosphere is like a casual cocktail party), the rest of the time is super laid back. Most of our time is spent attending talks or lounging by the pool so keep it simple. Just don’t forget to pack a swimsuit, sunscreen and sunglasses!

13. Leave The Compound

While staying at the Ace is fun, Palm Springs is full of amazing hotels, restaurants and sights. My favorite places to eat are Las Casuelas for Mexican and Lulu’s California Bistro for a bit of everything — this is a total crowd pleaser, no matter what your dietary restrictions are. I also like The Avalon for poolside drinks, Birba for pizza and Cheeky’s for brunch.

14. Chill Out

Designer Vaca is fantastic for networking but at the end of the day, don’t forget to relax. There’s nothing worse than leaving a vacation feeling totally exhausted! The scheduling at the retreat is purposely minimal so you have time to hang out, get some sun and recharge. Let things happen naturally — there’s no race to the finish line!

Nubby Twiglet | 15 Tips To Rock Your Stay at Designer Vaca!

15. Be Yourself

There’s no reason to put on a show — everyone who’s new to the group feels just as self-conscious and as worried as you. Vulnerability is encouraged — the more open you are, the more likely you’ll draw in your ideal tribe of new friends. During Designer Vaca, I’ve seen tears shed and we’ve all confessed moments of complete failure. These are the stories that bring us together because we are all human. We all have ups and downs. If you want to connect on a deeper level, you have to be willing to open up. The support system I’ve gotten from these ladies is unreal.

I hope these tips help you have an amazing time at Designer Vaca. And if you have any questions, let me know in the comments below!

New Beginnings at Branch

Nubby Twiglet | New Beginnings at Branch

Have you ever built a website for yourself? Yes? Isn’t it funny how without fail, it always takes three times longer than expected?!

Branch launched two years ago and the time had come for some nips and tucks. What I thought would happen six months into the life of the business is now just taking place. Where does the time go?

Please take a look around and let me know what you think! Overall, the site is much more comprehensive. In particular, I’m loving the bigger images in the portfolio and blog. Not having a sidebar is such a breath of fresh air!

Nubby Twiglet | New Beginnings at Branch

This relaunch also marks the debut of a feature I never quite got around to the first time — a mailing list! You can sign up for the Branch Bulletin at the bottom of any page on the site and as a thank you, you’ll receive an immediate gift of a PDF linked with our 50 top design resources. Expect behind the scenes stories and exclusive goodies every month.

And with that, I’m off to celebrate….and hopefully take another two years off from redesigning the site! 😉

Thanks for your continued support!

Strengthen Your Presentation and Charge More For Your Work: My Top 5 Portfolio Tips

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Portfolio Tips

Portfolios are like all great things in life: on the surface, they tend to look effortless but behind that facade is a ton of blood, sweat and self doubt.

I’m no stranger to portfolios. My first one was pieced together back in 2006 inside a cheap, borrowed vinyl cover full of thin, plastic sheets. Even with its lack of prestige, it helped me land my first design internship. From there, I refined the look, invested more money into assets and eventually, translated my print book over to digital.

With nearly 10 years of creating portfolios behind me, you would think it gets easier but the same sticking points always pop up. Creating a portfolio is pressure-packed because it’s a culmination of your entire career sandwiched into a handful of projects. And that, my friends, is no easy task!

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Portfolio Tips

As I’ve been reworking my own portfolio this month, I wanted to share my top 5 tips to make your process easier:

1. Focus on quality over quantity

It doesn’t matter how prestigious the client is if you don’t feel strongly connected to the work. Bottom line: if you don’t want more of it, don’t share it. I’ve completed projects for the NBA, NFL, Forever 21, Foot Locker, Virgin Records and Adidas but the aesthetic no longer fits my current style of work so I’ve chosen to leave them out.

Tightening up your portfolio and focusing on only your absolute best work can be scary because you’ll have less work to show. That’s okay! Always remember: you don’t need to be everything to everyone. With this fine-tuned approach, you may get less inquiries but the ones that do come in will be more solid and lucrative.

As a side note, If you’ve done work for big name companies but don’t want to share the outcome due to a nondisclosure agreement or it just not being your style, the solution is to add them to a list of clients you’ve worked with on your website. That way, you still get the recognition.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Portfolio Tips

2. Tell a story through your order

What kind of story are you trying to communicate with your body of work? When you’re arranging projects in your portfolio, there needs to be a beginning, middle and end.

The golden rule is to always start and end with your strongest projects. These are the bookends of your portfolio that make you memorable. In between, this is your opportunity to tell more of your story but make sure to mix it up! If you have two strong projects from the same genre, don’t put them next to each other because then it then becomes a comparison game to the viewer. “Oh, the last one was WAY better.”

When I’m deep in the zone of arranging, I’m thinking about the following: genre, services offered, masculine vs. feminine styling and the color story. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to arrange your projects but you should have a reason behind the order.

3. Include brief but powerful descriptions

While a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s important to frame up each project with a brief backstory. A few sentences is plenty. And, if writing isn’t your strong point, it’s totally okay to hire a copywriter to polish up your ideas. Portfolios are a direct gateway to your next job so spelling and composition must be spot-on.

To get you started, a basic project description usually includes this three part format:

1. Title: client / project name, date completed

2. Subtitle: services offered

3. Description: explain how you helped them achieve their desired outcome

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Portfolio Tips

4. Mock it up

If your client only had a budget for a brand identity but it’s one of your best pieces of work, show its full potential with mockups. While people viewing your portfolio do care about your actual work, they also want to see the bigger potential of transformation. They want to be moved and inspired enough to hire you.

A logo on its own doesn’t express its full breadth but when mocked up on business cards, websites and products, it becomes larger than life. My favorite sources for mockups these days are Pixeden and Creative Market.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Portfolio Tips

5. Specialize, specialize, specialize

A truly great portfolio attracts and repels in equal measures. Stand your ground and be confident in what you want more of. The immediate effect of being confident and selective is that you can position yourself as an expert in certain areas instead of being a jack of all trades. And by doing this, over time you’ll be able to charge more for your services.

These days, I want more lifestyle, beauty, food and fashion brands so that’s nearly all I show. It’s amazing, too — once I elevated the two beauty brands I’ve worked with in my portfolio, larger beauty offers began rolling in.

Saying no isn’t easy but drawing a line in the sand will allow you to have more time to focus on the projects you truly love.

Portfolios are a constant work in progress but it feels good to know that what you’re showing is your best possible presentation.

If you still have questions about your portfolio, let me know in the comments!

Featured projects: Aroha Silhouettes, Kay Li, Brand New Ways, Shien Cosmetics and Olivine Atelier.

The New Look of Rock n Roll Bride Plus 6 Awesome Printing Resources

Nubby Twiglet | The New Look of Rock n Roll Bride

Today, my friend Kat’s alternative wedding publication, Rock n Roll Bride Magazine hits newsstands across the UK and if you’re located somewhere else in the world, you can order it here.

When your friends do awesome things, lift them up and celebrate their accomplishments! I know how hard Kat worked on this project because my design studio Branch spent most of the summer collaborating on both her new branding and magazine design. These are some peeks at the outcome!

Nubby Twiglet | The New Look of Rock n Roll Bride

I know that many of you are either branding new businesses or going through a rebrand yourself and with that comes the need for promotional materials. While Kat’s magazine was sent off to a professional printer, I use a lot of print on demand companies for projects and wanted to share some businesses I’ve had great results with to get you started.

Nubby Twiglet | The New Look of Rock n Roll Bride

1. Moo

Moo is by far my most-used printing resource. I’m constantly ordering business cards, stickers and flyers for clients and the Luxe line is especially awesome. The paper stock is extra thick and you can even get different colored edges on many of the products. While the quality of their offerings speak for themselves, what really elevates Moo above the rest is their fantastic customer service. I’ve had my share of customer misprints and they fix them every single time, free of charge. Pretty amazing.

2. Overnight Prints

When I need postcards fast, I rely on this company. Their prices are the best around and they can get you what you need very quickly. I’ve been a customer for 10 years now and while I don’t use them for more premium print jobs, they are a great solution for one-time events or when a generous print budget just isn’t an option.

3. Magcloud

I use Magcloud all the time. They are the best around for print on demand items like workbooks, look books and posters. Even better, they offer a bulk discount when you order 20 of the same item. I’ve ordered from them a few dozen times when we need Blogcademy workbooks and every single time, they’ve arrived on time and perfectly printed. Even better, they ship worldwide and provide immediate tracking numbers for peace of mind.

Nubby Twiglet | The New Look of Rock n Roll Bride

4. UPrinting

UPrinting is great when you have a specialty piece in mind. They can do tons of die-cut items including business cards and hangtags. I recently ordered square business cards through them for Branch and the quality is really good.

5. Blurb

If you’re self-publishing or doing a print-on-demand book, Blurb has beautiful pre-made templates and even better, hooks in directly with Amazon to help you get your book in front of an oniline audience quickly and easily. The quality of their printing is great and you can produce anything from trade paperbacks to coffee table books.

6. Artifact Uprising

This is a VSCO owned company so naturally the design of the site and examples of what they offer are top notch. If you’re interested in producing keepsake-worthy fine art prints and photo books, this is your place. I use them to produce square Instagram prints.

Nubby Twiglet | The New Look of Rock n Roll Bride

I hope these resources help you print your new collateral with style and ease!