5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

I moved into my current studio space a year and a half ago but it’s only been in the last month that I’ve felt really at home and content. Maybe that’s true of anywhere you live or work — it takes awhile to find a balance in your surroundings and a ton of trial and error.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

It’s about moving furniture around into the right configuration, finding art that inspires you and picking out plants that liven up your space but also about settling in and having routines.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

It’s a process that’s partially about self exploration (what do you really like? What inspires you day after day?) and also, practicality. I made the mistake of doing a few impulse buys on “pretty” things during the first year that just didn’t work out — mainly uncomfortable furniture and items that weren’t well made.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

Early on when I was planning out my studio, I set up a Pinterest board to keep track of sources and ideas. I occasionally still pin photos there and it’s fun to look back and see the evolution of a space.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

There are 5 key elements that have made this space feel just right and I hope they give you some ideas for your own, as well. The great part is, most of these tips will work just as well in a spare corner of your room as they will in a larger space.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

1. Inspiration board

Nothing beats the feeling of pinning up great business cards, pages from magazines and thank you notes into one big, loose collage. I have a massive inspiration board next to my desk that Joey built for me on a small budget. If you want to create one in a similar style, here’s the DIY.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

2. Personal photos

A workspace isn’t complete without a few personal mementos. I have a handful of photobooth strips with friends tacked up but beyond that, I love ordering square print sets from Artifact Uprising because you can do it straight from your phone. Bring all those digital photos to life! Current favorite: that baby photo of Chubs! Awwww.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

3. Practical, multi-purpose furniture

When I moved into my space, my furniture was a mix of hand-me-downs and impulse buys. None of it was very practical, except my bookshelf. Over time, I’ve focused in more on function. The plant stand (below) is a new favorite from IKEA that fills up wasted corner space nicely but also groups up some of the plants that were taking up valuable desk space.

I also switched my desk out for a big kitchen table (also IKEA) as the studio grew so 2 computers can comfortably fit. Kitchen tables are great because they’re a pretty fixed, comfortable height, unlike a lot of desks I tested out which were too tall.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

4. Books and magazines

I’ll say it again and again: print isn’t dead! If anything, I appreciate my collection of books and magazines now more than ever. I love going out and searching for fresh print inspiration at Rich’s Cigar Store (magazines) and Powell’s and Anthropologie (books).

If you have an open wall in your place, you can create a simple display for them — Joey mounted leftover door moulding with metal dowels from the hardware store and it’s held up great.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

5. Plants, plants and more plants

Plants breathe instant life into any space and they’re an affordable way to add personality. I’ve bought most of mine from IKEA and Trader Joe’s and then picked up a few specialty cacti from Portland Nursery.

Plants not only look good but they give you a reason to get out of your seat and tend to them! Quick tip: I use a spray bottle to mist my cacti and succulents to avoid over-watering.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

After a lot of moving, unpacking and adjusting to a variety of workspaces, I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter how small or big your area is or even where it’s located as long as it feels comfortable and reflects your unique personality.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Tips To Create a Personalized Workspace

I’ve worked in a bunch of spaces including my childhood room and transformation doesn’t take a massive budget or even much planning — it can happen with the tiniest shifts. Surrounding yourself with a few personalized touches can help your creativity thrive.

The Week + Links: 7.8.16

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THE WEEK

I am collectively shaking my head with what’s been happening in America this week and it’s heartbreaking. I couldn’t sleep last night and have been at a loss for words — but I think Beyoncé said what a lot of us have been trying to articulate. She also said:

“Fear is not an excuse. Hate will not win.”

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And with so many injustices happening, I’ve had a hard time sitting down and getting the work done. Blogging and graphic design this week has felt secondary because my mind, like so many of yours, has been wandering towards what can be done to help.

Kindness and awareness are more important than ever.

The bottom line: we are capable of doing good and making changes.

We’re all in this together.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” — George Bernard Shaw

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THE LINKS

• This video is less than a minute long but sums up what it’s like to be black in America.

• Someone finally designed an easier way to hang art.

• 5 inspiring reads to boost your creativity.

• Anna wrote a short and sweet piece about black lives matter. And, she’s right: “All these things we celebrate daily: Art, design, music, homes, books, food—what do they matter if we’re existing in a society where a black man has to fear for his life every time he leaves his home?”

• Here’s how to find your one thing in a sea of possibilities.

• I LOVE the advice Alex offers up for when your project doesn’t “take off” in the way that you expected.

• Esmé wrote about what it’s like to be chronically ill….but afraid of being labeled as lazy.

• Here’s 10 places to legally download or stream movies for free.

• I find this research so interesting!

• The one thing to pack in your office lunch.

• I love it when other creatives open up about comparison and envy because they’re human emotions we’ve all felt…but can be embarrassing to talk about.

• This article roundup on how to do anything is awesome.

• What is branding, really?

Rock n Roll Bride Issue 9 On Sale Now!

Nubby Twiglet | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine

Issue 9 of Rock n Roll Bride Magazine just went on sale and though I haven’t had a chance to do a full design recap, I wanted to give a shout-out to Kat because I think this issue is the best one yet.

Though I’ve always been an admirer of magazines and editorial design, it’s not until my studio started working on one that I realized just how much work goes into sourcing original content and putting together each issue.

Nubby Twiglet | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine

I admire people who come up with an idea, especially when it’s a passion project that doesn’t necessarily pay the bills right away and run with it, nurture it and grow it into something amazing. I’ve watched Kat take this magazine concept from a 40 page freebie she handed out at wedding fairs 5 years ago to a full-blown glossy on newsstands.

Stories like this remind me to keep going with my own projects, even when things get hard or burnout hits. We’ve all been there…but it’s when we push through those moments that something great can transpire.

The covers of magazines are always the hardest part to get right and I absolutely love this couple photographed by Dale Weeks. They had an entirely vegan wedding, her beautiful sequin dress was custom-made after the first dress didn’t work (it’s never too late to change things up!)….and they met on Myspace 10 years ago! So good!

Nubby Twiglet | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine

Anyway, you can pick up an issue in person at grocery stores and newsstands across the UK or order it from anywhere in the world here.

Thanks for your support!

Creative Chronicles: 5 Tips to Update Your Design Portfolio

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: 5 Tips to Update Your Design Portfolio

Every year around this time, Designer Vaca opens up for registration and since this is usually the only design-related event I attend all year, I want my portfolio to be updated and looking as polished as possible. I registered last week and it’s always a good kick in the ass to get things in shape!

Portfolios are a popular search term and I can see why — as creative business owners, we need them to get more work! I made some updates to the Branch portfolio over the weekend and hope these quick and easy tips get you inspired as you’re working on yours.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: 5 Tips to Update Your Design Portfolio

1. Larger Images

Three years ago when I launched my portfolio, the sizing of images was a lot smaller. My early projects were sized at 1000 pixels wide but with retina displays becoming more common, I noticed my images weren’t as crisp as they could be. I just resized every project in my portfolio up to 1800 pixels wide in the hopes that even though they may take a touch longer to upload, I won’t have to redo any projects for the foreseeable future. Save yourself time by going bigger now!

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: 5 Tips to Update Your Design Portfolio

2. Introduction Graphics

One thing my portfolio was lacking was a sense of cohesion from project to project since the work spanned over such a long period of time. I just made an additional graphic for the beginning of each project with an intro that briefly sums up the brand. Whether you’re doing a digital or print portfolio, an introduction is a simple way to add whitespace and let the design work breathe.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: 5 Tips to Update Your Design Portfolio

3. New Color Swatches

In the past, I used various charts to show a brand’s colors within a project but once again, these were all over the place style-wise. After doing some research, I really liked the way Brand Minute showed colors with Pantone-inspired swatches so I’ve switched over to this style. Whichever way works for you, make it a consistent, signature element from project to project.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: 5 Tips to Update Your Design Portfolio

4. Better Mockups

Over the last year, mockups have gotten much better. The detail these days is incredibly realistic, whether you’re showing a new line of t-shirts, beauty products or stationery. I use mockups to showcase finished projects because they help me stay consistent, repeating certain visual elements, colors and lighting styles throughout the graphics. I am a fan of Pixeden but also buy a lot of pieces off Creative Market, like this set I used to create visuals for Kate’s new essential oils.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: 5 Tips to Update Your Design Portfolio

5. More Flat Lays

Showing a logo only gives the viewer so much information about a project — seeing the pieces in use and how the varying elements work together really helps them understand the breadth of your work. These can be time consuming but well worth it to break up the simpler images and increase visual interest. I like pulling elements in from various mockup sets and arranging them in new configurations so nothing feels too canned. The key is to make these scenes your own.


As creatives, it’s our jobs to show and explain to potential clients what we can do — and our portfolios are a look into not just what we’ve done but what we want more of in the future.

Sometimes, I feel that putting together a portfolio is the hardest project I’ve ever done. Do you, as well? Doing work for yourself always somehow feels more monumental and stressful, doesn’t it?

Making the time is hard — it means stepping away from something you enjoy and investing it towards your business, with no guarantee of a return. But, as more of the right clients begin to roll in, it is always worth it when you’re able to take on more of the work you enjoy.

Your turn: Do you have any portfolio questions? Let me know in the comments!
Featured project: Kate Eckman by We Are Branch.

The Week + Links: 7.1.16

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

THE WEEK

How’s your Friday / first day of July going? I had waaaay too much fun this week, staying out late and discovering a bunch of new places across Portland, namely a bakery and bar (who knew such a thing existed?!) so I have a lot to make up for work-wise. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

These long Summer days have me itching to get out and explore more. I finally got around to visiting Case Study Coffee and Loyal Legion, both of which I highly recommend.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

Do you have any plans for the 4th? I’m thinking of taking it easy, checking out some vintage shops, barbecuing with Joey and finishing up some updates to my design portfolio. Super chill.

I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy the links below! xo

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THE LINKS

• This is such an intense, beautifully written article. If you only have time to read one thing this week, make it We Live On the Internet. We Die Alone.

• Female creatives, mark your calendars! Designer Vaca tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 5th. Hope to meet you this year in Palm Springs! If you need a refresher of what to expect, check out this article.

• A Beautiful Mess shares 5 easy to care for houseplants. Amen!

• Fresh Exchange shares 5 great ways to develop inspired blog content.

• So long, Bill Cunningham, you are missed so much. I love this article about what it was like to work with him.

• I just discovered LA graphic designer Kati Forner’s work and am in love with everything she does. So talented!

• Online business burnout is real and can creep up on you, even if you have the best intentions.

Freelance Collection is a collection agency for freelancers and independent contractors. Good to know something like this exists!

• While I love my iPhone, I still carry a camera with me on a daily basis. Loving this Garance Doré art print!

• Nicole shares the 22 steps she took to create a successful business.

• I love random collections like this set of flour bags from the 40s and 50s.

The Typofiles: Kinfolk

Nubby Twiglet | The Typofiles: Kinfolk

It seems weird to only now be mentioning Kinfolk in a Typofiles column because 1. it’s beautifully designed and 2. it has a base in my hometown. I’m so intrigued by its enormous growth in the publishing industry (during a time that every mainstream magazine seems to be shrinking by the day) and its focus on premium pricing in an effort to keep advertising to a minimum.

Nubby Twiglet | The Typofiles: Kinfolk

I’ve passed by the magazine what feels like 1,000 times over the years in bookstores, hip clothing boutiques and everywhere in-between but something always held me back — as drawn as I was to the simple cover imagery, the content inside never really spoke to my lifestyle.

I’m not big on entertaining or living a slower lifestyle and I’m also not much of a foodie (I could literally eat the same exact thing every day and be happy) so I always felt like I was glimpsing into someone else’s thoughtfully curated life. It was beautiful….but it wasn’t me.

Nubby Twiglet | The Typofiles: Kinfolk

Nubby Twiglet | The Typofiles: Kinfolk

But, something with this issue feels different. It feels less local, less home-y and much more worldly…which makes sense since the primary topic in this release revolves around travel.

Travel is just the start of it, though. The interviews are refreshingly unique and focus on underground creatives. The fashion editorial all about hats focuses more on the design details than gorgeous models with unattainable physiques.

Nubby Twiglet | The Typofiles: Kinfolk

I’m late to the game with getting into Kinfolk and I’ve been trying to pinpoint what makes it feel so different than a lot of the big, mainstream magazines out there.

I think it all comes down to thoughtfulness.

The design is thoughtful. There aren’t advertorials selling a bunch of random products spliced in every few pages. There’s crisp article intros with tasteful type and a surprising amount of white space. Interview subjects are often photographed in their own surroundings instead of brightly lit studios. There’s photos of people doing what they excel at, feeling natural and unposed, whether it’s playing piano or dancing.

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Even with its continued growth, the magazine retains an authencity that’s refreshing. Every page feels like it has a purpose.

In line with Kinfolk’s ethos of living a slower, more meaningful lifestyle, it focuses on quality over quantity with just 4 issues published per year — and I’m looking forward to picking up many more.

Nubby Twiglet | The Typofiles: Kinfolk


All images photographed / scanned / modified from Kinfolk issue 20.
Subscribe to the magazine here.

Creative Chronicles: 3 Sources for Choosing a Color Palette

Nubby Twiget | 3 Sources for Choosing a Color Palette

I saw the images by photographer Dominik Tarabanski featured in this post months ago and have been thinking about the color palettes ever since.

There’s something about the bold hues that draw me in — they’re soft and slightly unexpected yet thoroughly modern.

When I see a color combinations as unique as these, I often wonder how the creator behind it pulled it together.

What was their inspiration?

How did they know it would even work?

I’ve always struggled with color palettes — they just don’t come naturally to me. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you can see that outside of the client work I produce, my personal style veers towards a very minimalist palette of black and white.

When it comes to choosing unique palettes for branding projects (I often have 5 going in the studio at any given time), there are 3 tools I use to source the right mix of colors.

Nubby Twiget | 3 Sources for Choosing a Color Palette

1. Color Lovers

I’ve been using Colour Lovers to gather unique combinations for years because I love the ease of searching by keywords. Depending on what my client is drawn to, I’ll type in a variety of search terms just to see what comes up and screenshot my top picks to sample from. This process has a bit of market research thrown in, too since you can see which palettes have the highest number of “loves” and votes from the community.

Nubby Twiget | 3 Sources for Choosing a Color Palette

2. Adobe Kuler

Kuler isn’t just another site full of cool color palettes — its secret weapon is the camera icon in the top right. When you click on it, you can upload a photo that’s full of colors you love and it will pinpoint the key swatches for you. Creating your own original palettes has never been easier.

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3. Pinterest

When I’m doing image research for a client project, I usually start with Pinterest which is also super convenient for color palettes. Tons of folks keep inspiration boards dedicated to the subject and you can check out my color study board here. I’m always adding combos for future reference.

Between these three sources, I never feel stumped when it comes to building out a fresh color palette and I hope they help you do the same!

Your turn: Do you have any special techniques for pulling together color combinations?


Photos: Dominik Tarabanski for Thisispaper.