My Feature in the Computer Arts Collection is Out!

Nubby Twiglet Computer Arts Series Graphic Design Feature


It all happened very fast. Quite a few months back, I was sitting in the airport on a layover when an email popped into my inbox: it was from a Computer Arts editor, inquiring whether I’d like to take part in their Collection series and share a tour of my hometown along with a peek inside my life and design work. Before thinking to ask about deadlines or what exactly I’d have to deliver (!!!) I said yes.

The opportunity was quite surreal since I was such a huge fan of their previous issues and had been buying and reviewing them on my blog (if you want to get an idea for what they’re like, click here, here and here) — the design and insights are like nothing else I’ve seen available on the newsstands with a comprehensive, no holds barred approach into six various creative disciplines.


Nubby Twiglet Computer Arts Series Graphic Design Feature

Nubby Twiglet Computer Arts Series Graphic Design Feature


This feature was unique because not only does my imagery cover eight pages but I wrote the article as well! I am a confident enough writer but I’ll be honest — I’ve never written a 1,500 word article for a publication before and it was harder than I thought it would be. I’m a fan of getting right to the point when I write and there were many times when I questioned what anyone else could possibly want to know about Portland! But finally, after some (okay, many) prompts from friends, it came together. Joey was also a great sport, riding his bike around town and getting all the shots we needed. Teamwork!


Nubby Twiglet Computer Arts Series Graphic Design Feature

Nubby Twiglet Computer Arts Series Graphic Design Feature


Pursuing design is not about fame and fortune or notoriety for that matter but when things like this do happen, they remind me of why the long hours and pounding my head against the wall at times are worth it.

On another note, I learned something incredibly valuable from this experience and thought I’d share that as well. When I received this opportunity, I thought about what my friend Kat from Rock N Roll Bride wrote back in September: “I think it’s vital to be yourself, to be honest and to be genuinely interested in other people. Taking the time to get to know people, with no ulterior motive, will stand you in good stead when it comes to taking that relationship to the next level and working together.”


Nubby Twiglet Computer Arts Series Graphic Design Feature

Nubby Twiglet Computer Arts Series Graphic Design Feature

Nubby Twiglet Computer Arts Series Graphic Design Feature


The work of two of my clients, Luke Copping and Aroha Silhouettes is featured!


This also applies to business relationships and opportunities. I genuinely loved what Computer Arts was doing with their Collection series and felt it was of value to my readers so I excitedly bought multiple issues and blogged and tweeted about them. I believed in what they were doing because it was opening doors into industries that normally don’t share a whole lot about their processes. Our collaboration began because one of the CA editors saw my tweets about their issues and followed up with an email offering me the article. I’ve learned that by genuinely believing in something with (as Kat mentioned) no ulterior motives can organically lead to great things. The key is that you have to be willing to put yourself out there and share what you love.


Nubby Twiglet Computer Arts Series Graphic Design Feature


If you’ve ever wanted to know more about Portland and explore more of its landmarks, shops and places to eat, this article is for you! I’ve been keeping this issue next to my desk, still taking it all in. To work with a team I look up to and respect has been an amazing experience. And one that I’m incredibly thankful for.

P.S. If you’re in the U.S. and looking for Computer Arts issues, I’ve found them consistently at Barnes and Noble. They’re also available in print and iPad versions in the Computer Arts shop.

New Blogcademy Dates Added! Join Us In Portland & LA!

The Blogcademy

Is one of your resolutions to make your blog the absolute best it can be in 2013?

If it is, you’re in luck because we’re picking out new cities to take The Blogcademy to this year and we’d be honored if you could join us for our two day strategy-based workshop focused on helping YOU take your blog to the next level!

I’m beyond excited to announce that we’re hosting our 4th and 5th classes on the West Coast! YES!! First up is my hometown of Portland, Oregon (it’s about time!!!) on March 30th and 31st and then we’re heading off to Los Angeles over April 6th and 7th!

We have just 30 seats available for each workshop and as a thank you for booking in the next 48 hours, we are running an earlybird special. And if you’d prefer to break your registration fee into 2 installments, there’s a payment plan that’s also available. Finally, we also offer one scholarship per class — if you’re interested in entering, you have one month from today to post your submissions to our Blogcademy Facebook page.

The Blogcademy

Register for Portland, Oregon!

The Blogcademy

Register for Los Angeles!


What are you waiting for?! Come join us on the West Coast and learn tons of applicable tips and strategic insights! It’s gonna be a blast!

* New to The Blogcademy? Check out our overview. Want to hear what past attendees had to say about their experiences? Check out the testimonials!

The Week in Pictures: 1.4.13

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures


My dream skirt courtesy of Carrie Hammer


How’s the new year treating you so far??

Before the holiday break hit, I made a huge, ambitious list. I promised myself that I would stay home for once and wrap up loose ends and start off 2013 feeling more prepared, refreshed and ready to take on whatever the world had in store for me. Though I made huge strides, I didn’t quite make it…or even come close, really.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures


Window shopping with my brother over the holiday break at Yo! Vintage


Being on vacation is hard — even though your logical side tells you that it’s time to organize receipts and prepare for taxes, your illogical side says, “Hey, go blow through all those gift cards! You know you need 3 new black sweaters! DO IT!” And so it goes. Let’s face it — self-control and vacation DO NOT go together!

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures


My Christmas present from Joey. He knows me well!


The holidays were great though. For Christmas Eve, Joey, Rocky & I headed out to the country for our usual, untraditional gathering with my dad’s family. It was so damn nice to get out of the city, shove my phone in my purse and barely look at it all night. We came home that night and ripped through our presents. Joey got me a few things I am still jumping for joy over. Like these studded Zara shoes.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures


Researching, non-internet style


I wish I could say that the last week of 2012 was relaxing but between preparing for a two week trip to Europe in mid January (we’re teaching two Blogcademy workshops in London! There’s still a few spots left on the second date if you want to join us!) and then trying to stay calm as Joey did some major renovations on the house including ripping out part of the kitchen ceiling (a serious disaster that took a solid week to complete. EEK.)

Not that that’s a bad thing. There’s progress all around and as I mentioned last week, progress is sometimes uncomfortable but it’s absolutely necessary for us to grow.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures


New Year’s Eve photos with Joey & an amazing little notebook from Sian


I’m so excited for this year. There’s always that intoxicating feeling of a fresh start, fresh intentions and that maybe, just maybe, anything’s possible. I’m really feeling that optimism, especially after seeing an 8 page feature about myself and hometown finally hit newsstands in the new Computer Arts Collection issue. So surreal. More on that Monday!


Happy 2013, friends! Hope it’s off to a great start.

Link Love: 1.3.13

link love

link love


Arizona Muse by Paolo Roversi


• This should keep you busy for awhile: The New Yorker rounds up the 100 best lists of all time.

• 40 cool things to do with your posts AFTER you hit publish!

• The Pantone 2013 calendar is pretty great.

• The Everygirl has a great roundup of articles that will help you get smart about money in 2013.

• If you have an interview coming up that you want to ace, these tips will help you make that great first impression.

• I love this advice on delivering on your promises.

• If you’re feeling overwhelmed by blogging and having difficulty figuring out a routine, Jasmine Star has some great advice you can apply right away.

• No matter how old you are or how long ago you may have finished school, have you made a commitment to never stop learning?

• The 25 funniest auto corrects of the year will having you laughing so hard you’ll cry. Promise.

• Flickr is making quite the comeback! Its photo app has been getting rave reviews and this post shows the top 10 Flickr for iPhone tips.

• If you’re backing up WordPress, don’t make these 9 mistakes.

• Breanna Rose shares her favorite web fonts. Always good to have a few go-to’s on hand!

• Gala’s New Year’s prayer is inspiring and will help you dream big!

It’s Time To Get Organized!

A new year means the chance for a fresh start for many of us.

Along with all the usual resolutions, a lot of us aim to get more organized (or, at least the OCD Virgo in me does!) I associate organization with feeling more calm, cool and collected. When I’m able to find what I need when I need it, life doesn’t feel so chaotic. These are a few fail-proof ways I employ to keep my home, belongings and business organized.


Possessions As Art

Nubby Twiglet Get Organized

When it comes to organization, It’s not just about making sure all your possessions are put away just so-so. I like the idea of treating some of my favorite belongings as art. I’ve always had a few pairs of shoes sitting out in my office (what can I say, I’m a shoe freak) but they’d get so dusty. When I saw this storage solution in Lucky Magazine, I jumped on it. These Z Gallerie glass bell jars add a nice, dramatic touch and are more affordable than they look. We also have another in our living room.


Invoices

I am very particular about the way my invoices look even though I know that means way more work for me as a business owner. I encourage you to come up with a consistent set of naming conventions that work for you. I have a folder called INVOICES and for each job I start, I set up a new job folder labeled with NT000_CLIENT_NAME. Inside of that folder is an InDesign document of the client’s invoice and another of the work order / contract.

I am strongly considering switching over to Pancake, as it makes invoicing, sending and receiving payments a lot more seamless. And it tracks who has and hasn’t paid up! What makes Pancake even more unique is that there’s a one-time fee to buy it outright versus a lot of other services which charge you a monthly fee. For more invoicing insights, check out this post by Breanna Rose.


Sorting By Color

Nubby Twiglet Get Organized

One of my no-fail tricks for staying organized is to sort items by color including books, shoes, socks and clothing. I tend to never forget the color of an item and this solution has served me well for the last few years. And, it looks great. As in most old houses, closet space is very very limited where we live so I have two oversized freestanding IKEA closets pushed next to each other. One holds only coats, skirts and dresses, arranged by item and then by color. The other holds only shirts and sweaters (shown above). I like peeking into a rainbow every morning.


Blog Content (Offline)

Nubby Twiglet Get Organized

I keep my blog post content very organized since I sometimes have ideas that may not go live for a few weeks. There’s always a folder on my desktop called BLOG_UPCOMING and each potential post gets its own folder. When you click in, this is what it looks like: a text document of the post, the web-ready assets and a folder of the edited PSDs. Once a post goes live, I drag the final web-ready jpegs into another desktop folder called BLOG_2013 so I always have a clean backup of all my edited online content.


Business Record Keeping

I’m not great when it comes to numbers and keeping business paperwork organized. I’ll admit to being hit with “Did I remember to send that invoice out and did it get paid?” a little too often. For 2013, I’ve vowed to keep better track of my business income and all the fun details that go along with it and in the process, I discovered Zoe Rooney’s small business record keeping spreadsheet. Since I’m exclusively on Macs and already have Numbers software, it’s perfect. Easy enough for me to understand with all the basics ready to go.

Even though I’ll be using this spreadsheet, I still print out every single PayPal invoice and keep every single receipt in a zip pouch next to my desk. Better to be safe than sorry if your accountant or, god forbid, The IRS calls! Speaking of accountants, I only ever use a CPA to do my business taxes. It’s worth the extra money and remember, the fee you pay them is a business write-off.


Office Storage

Nubby Twiglet Get Organized

The best investment I’ve made in my office setup is picking up two flat files from IKEA. Having everything I could ever need from stationery to stamps to proofs to old notebooks in one place is such a time saver. And, when pushed together they make an awesome tabletop when I’m working on other projects.


Hopefully these organizational tip methods will inspire you, too.
Anything else I didn’t cover that you’re still curious about? Let me know in the comments!

Getting Serious With Facebook!

Nubby Twiglet Facebook


Come join me on Facebook!


I stayed away from setting up a business page on Facebook until now because I already had a personal Facebook page anyone could add me on and the thought of keeping up on yet another social media profile made my stomach turn. I’m sure you can relate…

When I start something, I like to follow through and I wondered how in the world I’d keep up with Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, my personal Facebook, The Blogcademy Facebook, my blog and a Facebook business page. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I needed to stop making excuses and just pull the trigger and get on with life!* Though I’m more of a Twitter girl myself, there are plenty of people out there who prefer Facebook and plus it’s a great place to create a community feel and share more work in progress photos. It’s a chance to have a different kind of conversation than I do on Twitter.

So, enough blabbering — I FINALLY have a Facebook page for my business. Come “like” me and introduce yourselves! And if you want to follow along on my personal account as well, I’m still there…though sometimes the dialog with my family can get a bit embarrassing. Haha.

*Note to self: Sometimes, you can make all the excuses in the world about why you shouldn’t do something but then realize you should do it anyway. Don’t be so stubborn.

The Brand Audit Part 02

the brand audit


Photo by Lisa Devlin


In its most basic terms, a brand audit is an assessment of a brand’s strengths and weaknesses. When thinking about your own brand, it’s a two-way street. Ask yourself the following:

1. What’s the view from the inside out?

Are you actually coming across as who you say you are? How do YOU feel about your brand? Are you reaching the audience you’re hoping for? Is what you’re offering differentiated enough?

2. What’s the view from the outside in?

Who do your readers / customers think you are? What kind of feedback are you getting? Is there any sense of passion? Any sense of loyalty?

Here’s a challenge: gather up a solid mix of what you’ve sent out into the world over the last year. Take screen shots of your social media profiles. Of your bio page. Of your logo. A handful of blog posts. E-newsletters. Presentations. Gather up your collateral; business cards, stamps, stickers, products and so on. What does all this stuff convey about you and your branding? Is it consistent? Does is say what you want it to say?

What do you want your brand to stand for? This is your chance to move into action.


When it comes to my own brand, I had one key inconsistency between the online and off. While my name is Shauna, I often used a nickname online, Nubby. It was a holdover from when I was in high school — when I first made my way onto the internet in 1997, everyone I knew had a persona. Part of that was due to the fact that at that point, the world wide web was still a very big unknown. A lot of that mystery evaporated in the decade that followed but most noticeably, at least to me, with Facebook, where everyone is who they say they are (or at least we hope!) Now, with a constant internet connection on us all times, the online and offline have merged into the same reality. While I always valued having a distinct divide between the online and off, I’ve since realized that it’s all mashed together now and above all, I value consistency when it comes to myself, my brand and my business.

At the same time, over the last few months I’ve been doing a lot of growing beyond just Nubby Twiglet, my blog and studio. While this blog will continue on as it always has, I’m also thinking ahead to what the future holds: The Blogcademy continues to grow and I am working towards launching another business in mid-2013.

The one common thread between all of these projects I’m working on is myself. As you’ve probably noticed over the last few months, I’ve transitioned all of my social media accounts over from just being under Nubby Twiglet to being under my name, Shauna Haider so that as I grow as an entrepreneur, they will grow with me.

During my online brand audit, these are some things I took into consideration:

1. Naming.
Do all of your handles across your social media accounts follow the same naming conventions? I generally use this as my thought process: Nubby Twiglet is more well-known but I am the founder of my business and the voice behind the accounts. So for example on twitter, my handle is @nubbytwiglet but right next to it is my name, Shauna Haider.

2. Introductions.
Do all of your social media intros match? Think of this as your 10 second elevator pitch. How can you say as much in as few words as possible? Mine looks like this (and yes, I hate the cluttered background of the new Twitter headers so for now, black it is!):

the brand audit

In short:

a. Who are you?
What’s your name? What’s your company’s name?

b. What do you do?
What defines you? Is it a business? Is it a hobby? Being a parent? Something else? Tell us!

c. How can we contact you?
Include your email.

d. EXTRA CREDIT.
What’s something random you can tell us about yourself? What are you passionate about? What makes you excited? This makes you relatable.

3. Profile Photos.

This is a huge one. Do your images match across your profiles? A lot of people are very visual and though they might not remember your handle, they just might recognize you. For all of my accounts, I use the same photo of myself but if you’re a company with multiple employees, consider using your logo instead.

4. A Short & Long Bio.

When people visit your site, chances are that they’re curious as to who you are (I sure am — I always click on the About section!) When it comes to bios, I like to first get to the point. People are busy and chances are, they don’t want to read a novel about you so that’s where the few-sentence intro comes in handy. And then, if you want to read more, you can continue on.

5. A Consistent Voice.

I never, ever want to feel like I’m talking to a robot. While it’s important to be professional online, especially if you’re running a business, it’s equally as important to be relatable. How can you inform, help and entertain people in a style that’s true to you? The tip I’ve always remembered is that you should write blog posts (and social media updates for that matter) as if you’re talking to your best friend. Be natural.

6. A Consistent Image.

This is going to sound basic but I come across it often so here it goes: Does your website match your blog match your social media backgrounds? Does everything you do feel like it’s part of a bigger picture? If all your online brand components aren’t consistent, it can create a lot of confusion. If you can’t get on the same page with your brand, how can you expect others to? Think about the colors you’re using. The fonts. The logo. The backgrounds. The photos on all of your social media accounts. Everything. It should all tie back together. Whenever I complete an identity for a client, they receive a PDF guide with all of their lockups, fonts and swatches in one place. I’ve seen corporate identity guides close to 100 pages on length but for us small businesses and individuals, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Just focus on the basics.

7. Define who you are and what you stand for.

Ask yourself why what you do matters through the following:

What value are you providing to your readers and customers? What makes your content unique? What’s your secret recipe? If you’re a blogger, think about your formula for developing original content — this is what differentiates you from everyone else.

I also like the idea of creating a slogan. My slogan on this blog is Design, Marketing and Style Magnified.™ I’m telling you upfront what this blog is about — not only design but also business-related content and “style” (lifestyle / personal style). To be fair, this is about four years old and probably could use some retooling to be even more specific but that perfect string of words hasn’t come to me yet!

So there you go. Brand audits are meant to test if you’re coming across as who you say you are, if you’re actually saying what you think you’re saying and if people are hearing what you want them to hear. It’s about creating a consistent message.


Readers: Is there something you’ve noticed about your brand that feels less consistent than you’d like? Have you ever overhauled one of your brands or shut one down? What did you learn from the experience?