Creative Chronicles: How Do You Land Your Dream Design Job?

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles #7: How Do You Land A Job?

This post is a little different today. Instead of offering advice, I need your help!

The premise is simple:

You’re learning how to be a designer.

But who’s teaching you how to take your design degree and actually get a job?

Like many of you, I went to school for design with the goal of getting hired once I graduated. After spending years in school, I was anxious to get going with my career and earn a decent living. Even though I was creative and very driven, I constantly questioned myself.

I wondered:

• Was my portfolio good enough?

• Did I have the right mix of work?

• Did my resume convey the right experience?

• Would I answer the interview questions right?

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles #7: How Do You Land A Job?

Landing your dream job takes much more than just having a compelling visual style. But, what else is there? What’s the strategy to make it happen? I asked myself that same thing. After landing a bunch of industry jobs and working at a half dozen studios before starting my own (where I am now on the side of interviewing), I have a pretty good idea of what it takes. And, if you’re interested in finding a job in the design industry, I want to share that knowledge with you.

Business strategist Ellen Fondiler has joined me to build a course that helps you land your dream job in the design industry. We have a content outline but I want to make sure we haven’t overlooked anything. After all, the goal of this whole project is to help people like YOU find a job.

To ensure that we’ve made the content as well-rounded and helpful as possible, I need your help.

Please copy, paste and answer the below questions into the comments section and include your email address. As a thank you, I’ll draw one person at random next Wednesday and you’ll win a prize pack loaded with Nubby Twiglet and Branch goodies, some of which are super rare!

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles #7: How Do You Land A Job?

Please answer the following:

1. What are you currently struggling with when it comes to finding work as a designer? 

2. What is a product you’re pining for? What do you wish someone would create?

3. What are you sick of seeing and reading about? 

4. Which of these course topics would be helpful to you? List the letters of any and all that apply:

A. How to build a compelling portfolio
B. How to write an attention-grabbing resume
C. How to ace your job interview
D. How to work your connections to find a great job

Thanks in advance! —Shauna


Photos: Made U Look.

What I Wore: A Day In Palm Springs at the House Of Tomorrow

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: A Day In Palm Springs at the House Of Tomorrow

Built in 1962, The House Of Tomorrow was an architectural marvel of its time, landing on magazine covers for its futuristic design and amenities. Nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac in a Palm Springs, it’s still a sight to behold, further drawing attention to itself with a plaque out front (more on that in a second).

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: A Day In Palm Springs at the House Of Tomorrow

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: A Day In Palm Springs at the House Of Tomorrow

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: A Day In Palm Springs at the House Of Tomorrow

The house took an even more famous turn when its owners tragically died in a plane crash and Elvis snapped it up soon after as a rental. He loved the house so much that after he married Priscilla in Vegas in 1967, they spent their extended honeymoon there.

The House Of Tomorrow is as eccentric as its name suggests — there are three stories in four concentric circles and not a single room is square! And if you want your own look inside, there are guided tours of Elvis’ honeymoon hideaway.

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: A Day In Palm Springs at the House Of Tomorrow

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: A Day In Palm Springs at the House Of Tomorrow

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: A Day In Palm Springs at the House Of Tomorrow

Back in October, Joey and I visited Palm Springs for our 5 year wedding anniversary and invited Made U Look to commemorate the occasion. Those photos of my wedding dress look will be featured in the March 2016 issue of Rock n Roll Bride Magazine but in the meantime, I can share these snaps we took as the day came to an end.

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: A Day In Palm Springs at the House Of Tomorrow

After we took our vow renewal photos, Joey and I wanted to unwind and show Made U Look around our favorite neighborhood in Palm Springs. Ladera Circle is full of beautiful mid-century modern homes but even so, Elvis’ one-time hangout still draws the most attention.

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: A Day In Palm Springs at the House Of Tomorrow

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: A Day In Palm Springs at the House Of Tomorrow

2015_nubbytwiglet_madeulook_houseoftomorrow_elvishoneymoodhideaway_palmsprings_9

Taking photos here was really special because Priscilla Presley was the inspiration for my original wedding day. I’ve always loved her look during the late 60s when she married Elvis so it felt fitting to shoot in front of her brief home.

2015_nubbytwiglet_madeulook_houseoftomorrow_elvishoneymoodhideaway_palmsprings_10

2015_nubbytwiglet_madeulook_houseoftomorrow_elvishoneymoodhideaway_palmsprings_11

Made U Look uses a variety of vintage cameras and films so the results are always unexpected and magical. Having photos to remember my 5 year anniversary was really important to me — now the memories can live on forever.

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: A Day In Palm Springs at the House Of Tomorrow

The second these photos were finished, I kicked off my heels, changed into something more comfortable in the car and we went out for Mexican food where we spent the night laughing and chatting. It was a great reminder that even though dressing up and taking photos is fun, real life is just as awesome.

I can’t wait to show you the vow renewal photos next year!

To be continued….


Photos: Made U Look.
I wore: Love and Lemons Luau skirt, Forever 21 tank, Forever 21 choker and Camilla Skovgaard heels.

The Week In Pictures: 12.4.15

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

As this week wraps up, I’m getting excited to finally set up our Christmas tree and hang the stockings. It’s been freezing cold in Portland so I have a mini wood stove-style heater going in the office (makes this space feel very faux cabin-like!) and am burning my favorite Aspen Summit candle. Tunes-wise, I have a playlist called Soulection by Tim Scheeser going on Spotify (he does all the Ace Hotel playlists — dude has amazing taste).

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I love these very wintery colors here! As I was walking home the other day, I noticed kiwis growing in a neighbor’s yard. I’ve never seen them in Portland before— definitely a first!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Chubs constantly cracks me up. Look at that handsome profile! He’s such a curious, cuddly, sweet little guy. Time to pick up some organic, unsalted nuts for his stocking!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

It’s so awesome when I finally get my copy of Rock n Roll Bride Magazine in the mail! It’s by far the biggest project my studio is producing and to see it in person after solid month of work is pretty satisfying. This is my favorite spread in the newest issue.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

And with that, I’m diving back into a few branding and print projects before the day’s over. Have a great weekend, friends!

Link Love: 11.3.15

Nubby Twiglet | Link Love: Studio Beau

• Searching for an internship? AnyIntern has curated thousands of them in one place!

• If you’re wondering how Black Friday became a thing, here you go.

• Free time over the holidays? Check out these 11 new creative reads.

• The new invention in social media land is the Finstagram account. Why is this even a thing?!

18 rude texts from your anxiety. Haha!

• Create your own fonts with Prototypo.

• 23 awesome reasons to work for yourself. As if you need even more convincing!

• Kathleen explains how to put fear in its place.

• New York Magazine takes a closer look at the transformation of a single block in Brooklyn.

• Yes, everybody needs time off.

• If you work for yourself and are constantly freaking out about money, here’s how to stop.

• Times are changing! The music streaming service Rdio is now over.

• Who are NYC cab drivers actually talking to on the phone?


Image: Studio Beau.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.

Featured: Raspberry Magazine

Nubby Twiglet | Raspberry Magazine

Raspberry Magazine is a bi-monthly digital publication founded by Alana Wimmer. We originally met a few years back at a Blogcademy event in Australia and since then, she’s been running a successful design studio of her own.

When Alana asked me if I wanted to be this month’s cover star, I jumped at the opportunity — after all, this is a magazine that focuses on bringing helpful resources and articles to lady entrepreneurs.

Nubby Twiglet | Raspberry Magazine

In the feature, we talk at length about business and blogging — my two favorite topics!

Alana sums up the magazine best when she says, “I want to ignite you to chase your dreams, inspire positive change, encourage each other and balance purposeful work with a wonderful life.” Pretty inspiring stuff! Major props to Alana for making her childhood dream of starting a magazine come true.

Hop on over, subscribe for free and take a look around!

Out & About #14: Work/Shop

Nubby Twiglet | Work/Shop Portland

Nubby Twiglet | Work/Shop Portland

Nubby Twiglet | Work/Shop Portland

It all started with a candle.

A few weeks ago, I discovered a Portland made brand of soy candles by Aspen Summit at Darling Press and fell in love with a scent called Copper, described as “a warm drink, cozy sweater on & your favorite record spinning.” How could you not be intrigued by that?!

Wanting to learn more about the brand, I headed over to Instagram and realized that the owner, Heather had just opened a brick and mortar store called work/shop.

Nubby Twiglet | Work/Shop Portland

One I saw this wall on Instagram (impressively done in just a day with sharpies and a projector!), I knew I had to visit.

Nubby Twiglet | Work/Shop Portland

The store is so thoughtfully curated — I was impressed with the mix of affordable, gift friendly ideas, not to mention the really cool lineup of workshops.

The shelves are stocked with small plants (mostly succulents), notebooks, greeting cards, Aspen Summit candles and natural bath and beauty products. It’s a cozy, welcoming place that is also incredibly photogenic.

Nubby Twiglet | Work/Shop Portland

Nubby Twiglet | Work/Shop Portland

I loved chatting with Heather about her beautiful line of candles and checking out this great small business. It’s a pretty awesome feeling when you see people taking a chance, acting on their dreams and making places like this a reality. You can just see the love that went into it.


Featured: work/shop.

Check out even more Out & About columns here.

Creative Chronicles #6: The Comparison Game and 3 Tips To Stay Competitive

Nubby Twiglet | 3 Tips To Overcome Competition

If you’re not careful, the fear of competition can creep up and get the best of you. It’s easy to let negative thoughts seep in because everywhere you look, there’s another mega-talented designer sharing their latest and greatest project.

We all have bad days where self doubt takes over and questions like these become overpowering:

Am I good enough?
Where do I fit in?
Will I have enough work?

These are all valid concerns but I can assure you that there’s enough work to go around. And yes, you are good enough.

Competition is loaded — it’s something that both pushes me and scares me. I’ve always been a super competitive person by nature which has major benefits but it also carries plenty of weaknesses. The biggest benefit is obvious — I constantly challenge myself to do better. The more hours I dedicate to my craft, the better results I see both in client work and my confidence. The downside to competitive feelings is that it’s sometimes difficult to shut off comparisons no matter how hard you work, which can make you feel like you’ve fallen short even when in reality, you’re doing well.

When I think back to feeling competitive in the design field, 3 different events stick out in my mind:

1. In 2006, I remember sitting in class, noticing that some of the students were much better at the Adobe Suite than me. This was a good case of competition. I knew that to be good enough to get hired once I finished the program, I had to step it up. Working harder did pay off and got me hired a week after I graduated.

2. In 2007, during my design internship I was seated next next to guys who had a solid 5 years of agency experience. Even though I was still in school, I was fearful that I’d never get to their level and every day that I was asked to do something I didn’t know how to do, my stomach would sink. I felt like a fraud. I was really hard on myself and felt the sting from art directors when I didn’t do something right but once again, it turned out to be a good thing because I learned fast. Sink or swim!

3. In 2012, I would start my mornings at my full-time job clicking through the blogs of freelancers I admired. While their work inspired me, it also made me jealous because no matter how hard I worked, I never had enough free time outside of my job to produce the projects they were getting to do. That unhappiness was uncomfortable at the time but also a blessing because it pushed me to eventually leave my job and start my own studio.

Competition is a normal part of who we are — it feels good to try your best. Stretching yourself can produce results you never knew you were capable of. And as you can gather from the above stories, even though competition can make us squirm in the moment, it can also force us to seek out what we really want.

Nubby Twiglet | 3 Tips To Overcome Competition

If comparison is something that you struggle with, these 3 tips will help become a stronger competitor:

1. Specialize your offerings.

You know that saying, jack of all trades, master of none? Don’t be that designer! The easiest way to win at the game of competition is to fine-tune what you offer. It’s a novel idea in a MORE! MORE! MORE! focused world but instead of offering a little bit of everything, pinpoint the things you excel at and just offer those. Go small. Be clear about what you stand for. Make it easy for your tribe of dream clients to cut through the noise and find you. As an example, Branch focuses in 3 specific areas: branding, print design and web design. If a client needs something else, I have a list of referrals at the ready. Don’t water down what you do by stretching yourself too thin!

The much welcome outcome to specialization is that the more projects you do, the sooner you’ll be considered an expert in those areas. And when you’re an expert, you can charge more!

It feels so good to do less, produce higher quality work and outsource the rest.

2. Produce work that makes you feel good.

When feelings of jealousy take over after you see a really great project someone else did, it’s important to ask yourself why. Do you feel like you’re not talented enough? That you’ll never get those types of clients? Usually, it stems from being unsatisfied with where you are at in your own career.

I know that when I felt my worst, I had a stable job with great pay but that wasn’t the issue — the work just wasn’t pushing me creatively. I’d check blogs on my lunch hour and come across the work I wanted to create. While it made me miserable at the time, I started to make changes by taking on small, creative freelance projects on my own time. One of the first was a brand of lipsticks and once I began releasing work I really loved, it opened up more beauty and lifestyle brand opportunities which I’d been wanting for years.

Producing work you love will leave you feeling so satisfied that you won’t even care what the competition is doing. Run your own race.

3. Remember that there’s room for everyone.

Even when I come across new talent and am afraid that I’m not good enough and just maybe, the work will finally dry up once and for all, I’m always wrong. The inquiries keep coming, the repeat clients always return with new project ideas and somehow, things just keep flowing.

There are so many different areas you can specialize in and so many different ways you can work. You just have to decide what you want and be relentless.

Do you want to work for yourself, work in-house at a company or work in an agency with lots of different clients?

Do you want to be a brand designer, a web developer, a letterer, a production artist, a producer, an art director or something else altogether?

Whatever path you want to take is possible. Remember, no one person or company can do all the work that needs to be done.

Produce solid work you’re proud of, share it regularly and make it easy for clients to book you. It’s that simple.

The bottom line: competition can feel intimidating. If one of your competitors does something amazing, instead of being happy for them, it can be easy to feel undermined. Turn that negative into a positive and use it as motivation to step up your own game. Come up with new ideas. Market yourself in new ways.

When you push yourself to produce better work, the right kinds of clients will take notice.

Your turn: what tips to you have for keeping competition feeling positive and avoiding the comparison trap?


For even more Creative Chronicles, please click here.
Photo: Lakshal Perera.