A Call To Creatives: Follow Your Unique Path

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Over the weekend, I met up with a long-time friend who just landed a way awesome job and is leaving Portland soon. We both started our careers with the same exact internship and I was so excited to hear the news. His climb up the ladder in the design world over the last few years has been nothing short of impressive. I thought about our conversation afterwards and asked myself why I didn’t want the same thing. After all, a well-paying in-house design job at a cool company is the dream, right?

For six years, I freelanced and worked full-time at a lot of design studios and agencies. And I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. It was necessary for me to witness the inner-workings of how successful design businesses run on a daily basis in order to fully understand what it takes to keep things going.

But now, being on my own, I’m the most content I’ve ever been. I’m excited to get out of bed every morning to work with clients I love and feel a personal connection with. I’m excited to share new snippets of work on dribbble. I’m excited to have people on my team I admire like Star and Cathy, even though we’re not physically in the same city. I’m excited to manage things and create a vision that feels authentic, evolving and modern. It’s what I’ve wanted for a long time.

And that’s what I realized: we each have to block out the outside noise and follow our own path. It took me until the age of 32 until I felt comfortable enough to launch Branch. I needed that time to grow into myself and gain the confidence that somehow, some way, everything would be okay. This path feels right for me for right now and if it doesn’t in the future, I have the power to change it.

I know a lot of other designers that don’t want the headaches of running their own businesses. They are happy working at a job that treats them well, pays them well and provides them with great benefits. I completely respect that because I wanted that same thing a few years ago. It’s nice to not have any cares about work when you leave the office for the night. It’s a very zen feeling to lock the door and leave your work behind. When you work for yourself, that work and to-do list is always chasing you.

Working for yourself is definitely an uphill battle. But it’s a battle I’m more than willing to take on.

When it comes to your career, it’s easy to look around and obsess about people that seemingly have something more than you. There’s that someone that is younger, more talented and further along. But remind yourself that there’s always going to be that someone.

As hard as it is to not get hung up on what the rest of the world is doing, you have to remember that you’re on your own path. It really doesn’t matter all that much what everyone else is up to. I didn’t even finish my design degree until I was 27 and it made me feel like such a late bloomer compared with my peers — but I didn’t let that stop me. I just worked harder because I wanted to be a graphic designer more than anything. I put in the time to get what I wanted. I worked a lot of jobs, some of which I loved, some of which I hated. But I learned something unique from each experience and it was worth it.

This post is a reminder to block out what everyone else is doing. If you want to work in-house or at an ad agency or for a small, family-owned business, cool. If you want to work for yourself, cool. It’s all up to you. There’s no right or wrong way to build your career in design.

Designer Wish List #3: Thoughtful Beauty

Nubby Twiglet | Designer Wish List #3: Thoughtful Beauty

This wish list is dedicated to the creatives in your life who enjoy a well-designed dose of beauty! Fancy hand cream, beautifully packaged nail polish and an intriguing fragrance can go a long way, especially when it comes to stocking stuffers.


1. Nana De Bary Perfume, 2. Make Post Impression Palette, 3. Kre-at Beauty Lash Cluster, 4. Topshop Lipstick, 5. Hay Mirror Mirror, 6. Beautyblender, 7. NARS Makeup Removing Water, 8. Lipstick Queen Look of Love Set, 9. RGB White Polish, 10. Blend Collective Unwinding Candle, 11. Rodin Olio Lusso, 12. Fornasetti Bocca Tray, 13. Pantone Palette, 14. Balenciaga Florabotanica Perfume and 15. Marvis Toothpaste.

Gold Coast Adventures: A Sunny Bike Ride Along Surfers Paradise

Nubby Twiglet | Surfers Paradise

During my stay in Surfers Paradise, one opportunity I didn’t want to pass up was the chance to ride bikes along the beautiful coastline. The weather was absolutely gorgeous with clear skies and our hotel, the QT Gold Coast happened to have complimentary bikes.

Nubby Twiglet | Surfers Paradise

Nubby Twiglet | Surfers Paradise

As we rode along the miles of sidewalk set against the ocean, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was hanging out in Santa Monica and it made sense since we were on the other side of the Pacific. I can see why it’s one of the top tourist destinations in Australia — with pristine beaches full of surfers and sunbathers and a plentiful selection of boutique hotels and restaurants, it’s an ideal place to get away from all your cares and just relax.

Nubby Twiglet | Surfers Paradise

The yellow lifeguard towers are a staple of Surfers Paradise but my favorite part were the incremental signs that outlined the history and growth — the photos of 60s beach goers were especially awesome. Many folks argue that Surfers Paradise has gotten overly commercialized but really, can you blame everyone for wanting to frequent it?!

If you want to take a peek into the rest of our Queensland adventures, Gala made this little video complete with koala cuddling, zip lining and helicopter rides! I just want to relive that week over and over again.


I wore: Saturday Sunset Stripe Miniskirt, H&M shirt and Zara boots.
Photos: Janneke Storm.
Special thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland for making this post possible!

The Week In Pictures: 12.6.13

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I’m sitting at my desk sipping coffee out of an insulated mug while peeking out of my office window, watching the snow come down. It doesn’t snow very often in Portland (maybe once or twice a year) and it rarely happens this early!

This December has been a nice change of pace. In past years, I felt like I was too busy to even think straight but now that I work for myself full-time, I’m able to fully enjoy little pockets of quiet and really take in and process what I want to do next. For the last few years, one of my biggest weaknesses was focusing on the here and now when it came to getting things done but I had difficulty looking at the big picture of what I wanted to accomplish next. I felt like I was always scrambling and that if I could just get enough little things done, I’d actually have time to focus on the big picture but we all know that it never quite happens like that — something else always pops up.

As this year wraps up, I’ve been trying to be more conscious. Mi Goals gifted me with a stack of notebooks, one of which is simply titled Goals and the prompts have really been helping me. It actually forces you to list what you want your life to look like in 5 years. And, for each goal you list, you have to first do a brainstorm, then list how you’re going to make it happen, then create a to-do list and finally, list the outcome once it’s finished. Serious accountability. That’s what I need. So I’ve slowly been chipping away at what I want those goals to be and more importantly, how I’m actually going to make them happen. It’s time to make time for these things.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

This week, I also pulled down all the inspiration I had pinned up in my office and started with a clean slate. December has been all about clearing my mind, cleaning up my surroundings and wrapping up loose ends. I want to make sure 2014 is all that I want it to be.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Over the weekend, after a heavy dose of holiday shopping, my dad took me to Kelly’s Olympian. A Portland staple since 1902, about a dozen vintage motorcycles are hung from the ceiling and old gas station signs cover the rest of the surface. It’s one of those places I’d been meaning to visit my entire adulthood…but never got around to. If you’re visiting Portland, add it to your must-see list. I’m sorry I waited so long, it completely lived up to the hype.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

One of the most important parts of being a designer is staying inspired creatively. I’m always on the lookout for that next hit of inspiration (yes, it’s like a drug!) It’s my job to stay on top of trends for clients and I do a lot of that these days on Pinterest. But I also scour a lot of print sources, too. My new favorite is the UK version of Elle — after visiting London twice this year and grabbing a few magazines each time for the plane, I was hooked. Their editorial design team is one of the best I’ve ever seen — they pay attention to the tiniest details.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

In the five years since I moved into my house (we refer to it as Wolfgang Manor), I’ve never thrown a proper party. When you buy an old house (ours was built in 1928), there’s an endless stream of renovation projects that never seem to get finished and as you homeowners know, it gets completely overwhelming. Thanks to Joey putting his foot down, we’re having a proper holiday party this year! I stayed up until midnight designing invites and ordered actual postcards a few nights ago. Legit! We’ve been busy pulling together serving stuff and barware and adding some Christmas decorations. I really can’t wait — this year, maybe I’ll finally feel like a proper adult. ;)

Are you getting into the holiday spirit?
Making progress on your holiday shopping list?
Getting your decorations up?

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.

Link Love: 12.5.13

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• Tired of the same old Yule Log? Impress your holiday guests with Yule Log 2.0!

• Feeling social media burnout? Maybe it’s time to bring in a robot to mimic you.

• What are you supposed to do when your life is a beige pointless hellscape?!

• Learn how to make peppermint marshmallows.

• This man stepped up and saved an independent bookstore.

• Will your online identities live on after you die?

• Are you being watched at work? Welcome to the world of human analytics.

• Complaining does not work as a strategy!

• This Paris Hilton interview has a few unexpected twists.

• As a small business owner, are you having issues conveying your value to clients? A process sheet can help.

• Joan Didion’s thoughts…on everything.

• If you’re self employed, when should you promote yourself?

• Roundups of the best photos of 2013 are rolling in!

• Is the internet dying? Maybe it’s time to go pick out a tombstone.

• Behold badass lady creatives! I love how everything’s nicely organized in this Pinterest account.


Image: Jean Patchett of Nina Leen.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.

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

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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.