Category Archives: little lessons

Little Lessons #2: Change Up Routines

Nubby Twiglet | Little Lessons #2: Change Up Routines

When I’m stuck in the same place for too long, I lose perspective. When I walk the same route down the same streets every day, I don’t notice the flowers around me, the street art or the vintage signs emblazoned with inspiring typography.

The second I step foot into somewhere new, my mind races — I have visions of images I want to create, still lifes I want to arrange and much more ideas for client projects than I have when sitting at my desk. Travel keeps me inspired.

Traveling doesn’t have to be a big, orchestrated event. It can be a day trip to the beach or a smaller gesture like a drive across town to a neighborhood you haven’t explored or simply walking into a new coffee shop you’ve passed a million times but never took the time to stop into.

Last week, I traveled back to Palm Springs even though I’d just been there the month before. I had no good reason to be there. But then again, I had no good reason NOT to be there. Instead of listening to my practical side, I listened to my heart — I was feeling burnt out after a particularly trying month of remodeling around our house and a handful of rush design projects and I needed a break.

Walking through town, I snapped photos of plants, signs, store windows, palm trees, meals I ordered and even though I didn’t buy a single thing (except for the necessities like food, hotels and gas) I had the time of my life. So much so that I stayed in town an extra night.

My practical side always does kick in eventually — that extra night wasn’t in my original budget so I simply sped up a client timeline and delivered a project early which more than made up for that. It all worked out. It somehow always does, doesn’t it?

Sometimes, you need to loosen up the reigns and let yourself run free. Creativity can’t be put in a box. If you’re feeling stagnant, burnt out and lost, a day away might be all you need. Give yourself the permission to have some fun. Fill up the tank, grab some snacks at Trader Joe’s and hit the open road. And don’t forget to pack a notebook and pen because I promise you, that wave of inspiration you’ve been chasing will strike.

Little Lessons #1: Go With Your Gut

Nubby Twiglet | Little Lessons: Go With Your Gut

This is the first installment of a new column, Little Lessons which will be centered around tidbits I’m learning as I move along through life and business.


By nature, I’m a planner. And if I’m being honest, I plan a little too much. This mindset definitely spills over into my client work big time. While it’s important to be prepared so you can carry out your best work (that’s what you’re being paid to do, after all), sometimes, there just isn’t time for that.

Two weeks ago, a surprise project from a long-time client popped up on my radar. It involved branding, packaging and the potential opportunity to land on the shelves of one of my favorite national retailers. The problem was, time was almost nonexistent and if we wanted to make it happen, we had to make a move immediately.

I sat at my desk early the next morning as a wave of fear slowly boiled to the surface. What had I just committed myself to?! I had a good idea but just that one. I tried a few other things, but nothing felt quite right. As I moved along, staring at the screen, I kept going back to the first. My gut had told me that it was the right direction all along but I was afraid to present just one solid idea.

With little time to do much more, I sent off the presentation with some quick notes:
This direction just felt right. I feel that it’s very on-brand for you and very now. And yes, that’s my handwriting. I hope you like it!

Within about 10 minutes, the client had responded — she agreed. We got the packaging done and off to the printer the next morning, just in time to hit the deadline.

A few days later, another deadline was on the horizon, this time for a workshop. Once again, one direction felt perfect and nothing else I tried was working. “This is it. This has to be it,” I kept telling myself. “I hope she likes it because my gut says this is perfect for her.” I once again felt an internal tug-of war about presenting just one idea but I sucked it up and fired off an in-process screenshot anyway. A few minutes later, I had the thumbs-up to build out the rest of the assets.

In the past, when it came to projects like these, I would keep doubting myself and exploring, pushing out more attempts that never felt quite as perfect as the first. Now, I’m learning that our intuition rarely leads us astray so we should trust it in life, relationships and yes, even design.

Lesson learned: listen to your first instincts. Go with your gut.


Photo: Made U Look.