Client Release: Fred and Hannah!

Nubby Twiglet Identity Development and Collateral Fred + Hannah

This year, I’ve adjusted my design strategy and am taking on a lot less clients in an effort to go much deeper with the ones I am currently working with. Five years ago, a client may have just needed an identity but they now often need upwards of ten custom items of collateral. Because of this, projects take more time to complete so I’m sharing a lot less these days.

Nubby Twiglet Identity Development and Collateral Fred + Hannah

I completed this project a few months back for Fred and Hannah — a photography duo located in Tasmania, they have a massive love for art, travel, good design and of course, each other!

Nubby Twiglet Identity Development and Collateral Fred + Hannah

Fred and Hannah’s work is bold and adventurous and they came to me in need of an identity to match. They were already drawn to the boldness of cyan and magenta and I saw an opportunity to merge the two hues in the center, symbolic of their pairing. The simplicity of the symbol allowed it to be modified over much of the collateral to add a bold burst of color and fun secondary patterns.

This is going to be a busy month as I dig into both a book proposal and a print magazine design but no matter how tired I am at the end of each day, I love it. Graphic design on most days is far from fun and games but when clients as upbeat and enthusiastic as Fred and Hannah come along, it sometimes feels like it. I adore these two!

Nubby Twiglet Identity Development and Collateral Fred + Hannah

Client: Fred and Hannah
Projects: Identity development and collateral including business cards, a gift certificate, a thank you card, CD and DVD labeling and an editable invoice.

In The Mood #6: Summer Breeze

In The Mood

I’ve been in LA all week soaking up the sun, taking walks down Hollywood Blvd. and enjoying the change of scenery. I’ve been here many times before but each I try to stay somewhere new since the city is so large. I love ease of getting ahold of healthy food, fresh juice and strolling along palm lined streets.

In The Mood

Tangerine and ocean-infused blues are reminding me of LA and sitting by the pool (which I sadly have not done at all this trip). I’m totally loving the unexpected mix of these colors.

In The Mood

Featured Shoes: Alice by Acne
View more of the In The Mood series here.

Hello From LA!

Hello From LA

Hello from LA! Since I landed on Wednesday, it’s been nonstop prepping for The Blogcademy which we hosted over the weekend. I left the venue last night feeling completely exhausted in the absolute best way possible — workshops are some of the hardest work I’ve ever done but also the most rewarding.

Tomorrow Kat, Gala, Joey, Rocky and I all head back to our respective homes after two weeks split between two cities with stops at the Ace, Disneyland and Hollywood Blvd.

Hitting the road, exploring new neighborhoods, chatting about branding and blogging and making new friends in the process is incredibly fulfilling and something I never want to take for granted. I hope your week is off to a great start and I have much more to share soon!

The Week In Pictures: 4.5.13

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Portland really turned on the charm this last week! Bright and early Saturday morning, The Blogcademy babes and I grabbed our overnight bags and headed downtown. We’d booked the Ace Hotel’s event space, The Cleaners for our Portland workshop and when we arrived, we felt an immediate affinity for the space.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Bright light streamed through the windows that reached the celling. Terrariums, wooden folding chairs and a driftwood coffee table filled the space.

Though the official workshop photos will be coming along later, I wanted to share a few of my own snapshots to give you an idea of what the Portland Ace is like if you’ve never been!

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Day one of the workshop sped by thanks to our enthusiastic students (along with a caffeine fix from Stumptown and a sugar rush from Voodoo Doughnut).

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

After saying goodbye to our students, Kat, Gala and I excitedly headed up to our hotel room. Since I live in Portland, I’ve never had a good excuse to stay at the Ace (though I’ve loitered in their beautiful lobby a million times!) until now so I was curious to check out our digs.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

We all fell in love with our room right away. It was cozy, welcoming and I loved all the little touches including live plants, a record player (alongside a stack of hip records), a custom Pendleton blanket and lots of branded ephemera.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

A queen bed and a full-size couch gave us ample room to spread out and get comfy. It’s a bit hard to see but in the left photo, you can get a glimpse of our “wallpaper” which was composed from vintage book pages.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

I love it when hotels bypass the usual credit card-style key for something a little more special. Our room key felt very military-issue and industrial chic.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Once we’d dropped off our luggage, we headed down to Clyde Common for one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Seriously. Portland is known for its great food but this was off the hook. We agreed that hit of the night was the truffle popcorn.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

I never get to spend much time downtown — it always seems like I’m passing through on my way to somewhere else. It was a nice change of pace to walk the girls past some of my favorite stores and hangouts and show them around the area surrounding the Ace. I’m a big fan of Kenny & Zuke’s color-filled window.

This last week was filled with a lot of exploring and making new friends but best of all, I was reminded of why I love this city so much. Now I’m sitting in LA — I spent yesterday hitting Disneyland with Kat and Gala and now we’re gearing up for tomorrow’s Blogcademy. It’s going to be a busy weekend but I love it. Have a great one!

Link Love: 4.4.13

link love

Source: Sarah Sherman Samuel

• Do you suffer from online myopia? One of the most noticeable symptoms is overtly seeking online validation while disregarding real world experiences. As bloggers, I feel like it’s so easy to slip into this.

• Here are three paths towards a more creative life.

• I love how this restaurant has incorporated Pantone swatches into their menu!

• Attending a design nerd’s birthday party? Why not bring along an ampersand piñata?

• Check out this gallery of zoo animals decked out in their finest attire!

• This floral headboard sure is gorgeous! I love the idea of dressing up your basic furniture and to keep it practical, adding just a few would still look great.

• I enjoyed reading Elsie & Emma’s tips about working from home. I always learn something new when I read about other people’s routines.

• If you have trouble saying no to projects, learn how to do it tactfully!

• 3 ways to wrap a flower: so simple and chic!

• If you’re struggling to get started with your blog, stop making excuses because you’ll be waiting forever.

• What if you decided to pass on the perfect, curated image of yourself and instead started only posting self-proclaimed ugly self-portraits?

• If you’re curious, these are the 25 least visited countries in the world!

• If you’re a wedding photographer and have to miss a wedding you booked, how do you handle the situation?

View more Link Love columns right here.

Blog Log #7: Balancing Blogging, Advertising and Ethics

Blog Log

Blog Log Tools Of The Trade


I have always felt that as bloggers, we deserve to be fairly compensated for our work just like any other profession.

Chances are that after you’ve been blogging for awhile, when you check your inbox in the morning, half of your emails are pitches from PR companies and text link inquiries. In the beginning, this can be incredibly flattering. After all, a lot of us put a huge chunk of time and effort into creating original content for our blogs and it feels great to finally receive some recognition.

But, it starts to become tricky when we sit down and actually sift through these offers. What’s legit and what’s garbage? How much of this content is actually a good fit for our blogs?

Here’s where I stand on advertising that’s not as straightforward as a banner ad (because there are a lot of other ways to collaborate with companies in exchange for payment these days):

Text Links

At this time, I turn down all text link offers. A text link is composed of words in an article that links to another page, usually that of a business. The business will usually pay you a flat rate to insert text links into articles they deem SEO-friendly. So for instance, if I’ve posted an article about how I keep my clothing organized, a closet organization company might approach me after the article has gone live and offer $50.00 to link to their business in the body copy.

My personal feelings regarding text links is that if you aren’t a fan of the site you’re linking to and are just doing it for the money, it’s misleading for your readers to click on those links. If I don’t believe in a product or service, I sure don’t want my readers to think I do. It’s not worth trading in your ethics for a quick 50 bucks.

The one time I did do a text link deal was about four years ago and I felt okay at that time because I was able to try out the product I was recommending beforehand. Basically, I reviewed a straightening iron and felt that it was fantastic quality and ran a sponsored post along with a link to a new page on my site that advertised the straightening iron. These days, I wouldn’t put a subpage on my site but at the time, it felt fine since I knew that what I was promoting was a quality product.

As a sidenote, if you’re running text links that are clearly labeled in your sidebar as advertising, while they aren’t pretty, this is a lot more straightforward.

Affiliate Links

I do believe in using affiliate links. With affiliate links, you place code into the product link within your blog post that allows you to earn a commission on items you recommend. And most importantly, it doesn’t cost the person clicking on the link any extra money. I use these links to share products I already own or would like to own. I occasionally recommend books that I’ve read and loved, camera equipment I own and clothing that I’m wearing in my posts. Simple as that. I try to use affiliate links sparingly because there’s nothing worse than overdoing it and feeling spammy.

Sponsored Posts

These days, sponsored posts seem to be more prevalent than standard banner advertising when it comes to big name bloggers. When done right, sponsored posts can be tasteful, creative and bring together bloggers with brands they believe in. I am a fan of sponsored posts when they feel like a natural expansion of a blogger’s brand.

My most successful sponsored post collaboration to date has been working with Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape. This relationship worked well for me because I already use the product in home remodeling projects and I’d also been interested in producing original DIY projects for my readers. This collaboration was particularly exciting because I was given free reign to think up any project I wanted with the only stipulation being that I used the tape. My two outcomes from this partnership included a custom skateboard deck and Christmas ornaments.

My advice in these situations is to only agree to partnerships that allow some creative freedom and also allow you to produce your own body copy. Chances are, your readers will be turned off by a cut-and-paste PR statement so really dig in and add your personal spin.


Who doesn’t love free merchandise?! When I first started blogging seriously in 2007, I was a full-time college student balancing both a full-time job along with an internship. I didn’t have a whole lot of money and it was always flattering when companies offered to send clothing my way to include in outfit posts. It was a simple exchange: If I receive an item that I loved, I’d link to their site in a style post. I wanted new clothes I couldn’t afford otherwise, they wanted traffic and we both walked away happy.

But these days, things are a little bit different. When I am approached with an offer, I always remember what Kat of Rock n Roll Bride says: “A free handbag doesn’t pay my mortgage.” And, she’s right. I consider these partnerships a lot more carefully now and though I very occasionally accept products in exchange for a blog post, I only do so if it’s an item I feel strongly enough about that I would purchase it anyway. Which is at most, a few times per year.

It’s the law to disclose when an item was gifted so I’m very clear in my description when an item was provided for review by adding a ℅ (care of).

Brand Collaborations

If you have a solid following but aren’t being approached by the brands you’re interested in collaborating with, why not approach them? To date, all of my brand collaborations have happened by being approached by other companies but I am hearing of more bloggers writing up their own pitches these days. If you want more information on the subject, the best article I’ve seen to date on this topic is by Bri of Designlovefest.

Blog Log Tools Of The Trade


Shifting Perceptions

While it’s always flattering to get noticed by companies, my most basic advice is that if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. It’s never worth compromising your brand in exchange for payment. Money comes and goes but regaining your footing after a bad deal is an uphill battle.

In the beginning, some of you may include paid text links in articles or work out special deals with brands and that’s okay if you feel good about it — you have to weigh the pros and cons and work out what’s best for you. But at the same time, it’s okay to change your mind as your ethics and business principles shift. As our awareness increases, a deal that felt like a good fit just a few years earlier may feel completely wrong now.

If you’re not at the point where you’re being approached for advertising and promotions yet, that’s okay too. I always say to myself that, “Slow and steady wins the race.” It’s always better to take your time and build a blog that you and your readers believe in versus rushing it and making bad business decisions.

It’s good to be aware of opportunities but at the same time, be razor sharp about what you’re delivering in return. Never sell yourself or your readers short.

Now, it’s your turn: What kinds of offers have you taken in exchange for payment and promotion? Are there some offers that you accepted and later regretted?

View more of the Blog Log series here.

Latest & Greatest #17: Woven Bracelets

Latest and Greatest

Latest & Greatest: Woven Bracelets

Over the weekend, I was showing Kat and Gala around Hawthorne, a street in S.E. Portland jam-packed with locally owned boutiques, restaurants and vintage stores. We popped in The Gold Door, a store that is filled with the smell of incense and brightly colored religious paraphernalia, skulls, imported decor and jewelry. I’ve always thought of it as a shop that’s perfect for picking up a unique gift for the eccentric and adventurous globe trotter in your life.

I spotted these handwoven plastic bracelets grouped on a table and picked up a handful. Gala thought they reminded her of Dries van Noten and I laughed at the designer reference, noting that the price was a whole four dollars each!

Latest & Greatest: Woven Bracelets

I left with these three and paired them the next day with my black flowered dress. I have a lot of upcoming travel and sometimes a handful of accessories are just what’s needed to spice up those wardrobe basics. These days, it’s the really small things that get me excited, including these plastic bracelets.

Have you picked up anything new to spice up your wardrobe lately?