The Week + Links: February 19, 2016

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

THE WEEK

After last week’s post, I headed out to a motorcycle show with my dad. As we walked in and moved through the crowd while taking in the live music, I kept thinking, “This sounds like Prince.” Then, it became clear, a Prince cover band was definitely in the house — and the singer must have watched Purple Rain a few hundred times because he knew every note to every song, not to mention every signature dance move. It was mesmerizing and I watched the gathered bikers in their black leather jackets and boots dancing right along, just as excited as I was.

I’m glad I had that dose of entertainment because the rest of the week has been rainy, cool and full of too much work. It’s time for an adventure! When I’m really into the work I’m doing, I forget to stop, stretch and take care of myself. So…I’m starting that now. Time for a mini Friday break!

In other news, I hope you have better weekend plans than I do. My Saturday involves two back-to-back tax appointments in the morning. Eek! I’ll be wearing my metallic gold sneakers for good luck and hoping for the best. 😉

Have a great weekend, friends!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

THE LINKS

• If you blog, do yourself a favor and read this epic post about the new online economy!

• A reminder: you are not lazy.

• An ode to the internet’s worst business advice. Ha!

• I’m loving the shift in blogging back to more personality-filled posts versus the overwhelm of too many informational / DIY posts that took over during the last few years.

• What does Obama carry in his pockets?

• Use Hustle Mode On to discover the best productivity tools on the web.

• From what I’ve seen so far, I’m not a fan of the new branding for The Met. What’s your take?

• Designers, here’s what you need to know about internships.

• I love this bathroom update because it didn’t involve ripping everything out and starting from scratch. It’s much more budget-friendly but still looks great!

• It’s so interesting seeing the detailed process that goes into updating the look of a brand.

• The benefit of doing creative work without an audience in mind, using Vincent van Gogh as an example.

It’s Always Sunny In Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | It's Always Sunny In Palm Springs

To be totally honest, this post isn’t what I’d planned on sharing this week but I’m sitting here between a Palm Springs sandwich of sorts. We just sent the March issue of Rock n Roll Bride Magazine to print yesterday which has an 11 page feature of my vow renewal photographed in Palm Springs but I can’t share it quite yet. And then, I’ve been hard at work on a travel guide dedicated to the city but it’s not quite finished — and I don’t believe in half-assing anything, especially when it comes to my adopted home away from home.

Nubby Twiglet | It's Always Sunny In Palm Springs

Instead of feeling frustration, I started thinking….and remembered that we’d shot a fourth look the day of the vow renewal. There was an open 10 minute span of time after I’d changed out of my wedding dress. The sun was shining after an overcast morning and I felt a sense of relief since the photos we’d needed for the magazine were done. I changed into something less confining —a very mod, citrusy striped dress from ASOS and walked around the corner from our rented house.

The cacti were taller than I was and I draped my Kate Spade license plate bag around one of them. It was a Monday but time stood still. “This is where I want to be,” I thought to myself.

Nubby Twiglet | It's Always Sunny In Palm Springs

I’ve been very vocal about my love of Palm Springs since I first visited four years ago and set a goal by the end of this year to buy something, anything in town.

Joey and I have a meeting with the bank at the end of the month to see where we stand. When I left the comforts of a full-time job and started working for myself three years ago in an all-or-nothing move, I knew that I’d have to work harder than I ever had before and made a pact with myself so I didn’t burn out under the weight of it all. There had to be a bigger goal to strive towards, beyond just building a business. There had to be a way to have a tiny vacation spot, a place to go and “retire” to for two weeks at a time.

Nubby Twiglet | It's Always Sunny In Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | It's Always Sunny In Palm Springs

I didn’t want to wait until I was 60 or older to feel the relief and the relaxation that comes with being able to wind down after a career. Instead, I set a goal of 35. I never saw myself as the type that would ever need a permanent escape from my job, anyway. I just knew I would need breaks here and there to recharge.

Nubby Twiglet | It's Always Sunny In Palm Springs

Right now, we’re going back and forth between whether we should buy a small condo that doesn’t need much work or a total fixer-upper of a house that needs to be completely torn apart and remodeled. Joey has remodeled most of our Portland house himself and loves the art of transformation so we’re leaning towards the latter. I don’t know how things will turn out but I’ll let you know what happens.

This phase of my life is definitely taking on a “choose your own adventure” vibe. Each choice will entail a different path. It’s a little nerve-wracking but also really exciting. I’m ready.

Nubby Twiglet | It's Always Sunny In Palm Springs

Now, it’s your turn: Where’s your happy place? What’s that one place you’ve traveled to or want to visit….and wouldn’t mind living?


Photos: Made U Look.

Say Yes To Those Creative Challenges

Nubby Twiglet | Olivine Atelier Daily Love Cards

What happens when a project lands in your lap that you’re equal parts excited and terrified over?

The short answer: Say yes, dive in and stretch the boundaries that you’ve inadvertently set for yourself.

I talked about the Daily Love Cards project by Olivine Atelier quite often here as it progressed because it really challenged me, in the best way possible.

When you’re running a business, the last thing you want to do is to play it too safe. I’d already done that for years in corporate jobs and it crushed my creative soul, little by little. I longed for more challenges, more creative projects and more weirdness. When they now appear, I say YES.

Creativity should be free to morph and take us on paths less frequented. That’s exactly what this project did with 34 different designs, all loosely tied together with a few basic themes. A list of inspirational words, three months of scanning, photographing and experimenting…and here we are. It’s hard to believe that it’s finally done and out in the world.

Nubby Twiglet | Olivine Atelier Daily Love Cards

Here’s to pushing your personal style, trying new things and stepping into the unknown. Instead of boxing yourself into what you’ve always known, ask yourself what would happen if you just said yes to something today that scares you. The outcome is usually worth it.

Surround yourself with friends and clients that push you to explore, experiment and encourage you to try new styles. It’s what keeps life interesting.

Check out more of the process and project here.

Creative Chronicles: Five Places to Buy Fonts

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles #12: Five Places to Buy Fonts

Let’s get down to one of the basics you probably use every single day as a designer: fonts.

To stand out from the crowd, good fonts matter big time. Yes, there are dozens of free font sites out there but they’re not always created equally. The kerning in free fonts may be off and some important characters are most likely missing from the glyphs.

These days, Branch often works on upwards of five unique branding projects at any given time so I buy a ton of fonts. After all, even if you have a defined style, you want each project to stand apart on its own as much as possible.

These are the five places I love buying fonts from, each with different strengths and varied selections:

1. You Work For Them

I’ve been shopping at YWFT for so long that I remember when they specialized in design books! Their font selection is solid and while they do have over 40,000 fonts, they are neatly organized with simple thumbnail previews so you can scroll through quickly. The basics are thoroughly covered but there are a lot of fun gems as well, like the retro section.

2. Hoefler & Co.

If you have a bigger font budget, buying a few complete families is a great investment and Hoefler & Co. has some of the strongest options around. They’ve been around for over 25 years and take great care in everything they produce. My personal favorites (that I use on a near-daily basis!) are Archer, Gotham, Knockout and Chronicle.

3. House Industries

If your style veers more towards midcentury modern and funky, House is your place. I love them so much that I have their beautiful screen printed posters on each side of my bed! Also, do yourself a favor and sign up for their free catalog. I use a lot of House fonts in projects but my all-time favorite is Eames Century Modern. I also love that this foundry uses its best-selling fonts on home goods, too. I’ve long dreamed of having the Neutraface address tiles on a future house.

4. The Designer’s Foundry

This site works with dozens of international designers to produce beautiful custom fonts. They are always on the cutting edge of trends but manage to keep their selection super tight with a big focus on affordability. I have a huge crush on Kitune, Marle and Selador. If you’re working with younger, edgier brands, start here for font research.

5. Creative Market

I’ll be the first to admit that Creative Market is more ideal for buying assets like textures, mockups and imagery but I do use them a lot for unique handwritten fonts because they have many talented letterers selling their goods on the site. Creative Market has some amazing font options I’ve never seen anywhere else but be careful to read the licensing fine print because it’s not as clear-cut for commercial use. Font-wise, I’m a big fan of Madina Script and Faith & Glory.

I hope these font site recommendations inspire you to invest in your personal library. And if you have recommendations of other places you swear by, please share them in the comments!


Check out even more Creative Chronicles posts here.

The Week + Links: February 12, 2016

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

THE WEEK

It’s overcast and rainy today in Portland (no real surprise there!) and I’m wearing an old pair of floral patterned pants I just rediscovered, hoping Spring shows up soon.

We’re in the office today proofing issue 7 of Rock n Roll Bride Magazine, getting ready to send it off to print. This year has been an interesting one — more print projects are coming my way than ever and I LOVE IT. I’m all about the tangible and whether it’s a magazine, a book or some really special business cards. It’s so nice that more companies are offering print-on-demand services so we can see our designs outside of the computer at an affordable price.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

This week was monumental in a way because it was the first step towards switching up my business. Last summer, I got off the plane from yet another trip, looked at the list of what I wanted to do…and realized I’d barely made a dent. I was busy making my client’s dreams become a reality and in the process, had completely overlooked mine. I wanted to create digital products and help more people at once. I wanted to share what I’d learned over a decade of designing and make creatives’ lives easier.

Later that month, I contacted Paul Jarvis about joining forces on Project Prescription. I knew it was a good idea because usually, the best ones are created out of a need you personally have but realize is missing from the marketplace.

We launched on Sunday and I’ve been completely blown away by the response. I never know how these things will go and hundreds have already flown out the (digital) door. Thank you to each and every one of you who bought a copy, joined the list for free samples and cheered us on. As a reminder, our intro offer of $69.00 ends this weekend!

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from this process is that sitting on an idea does nobody any good. If you can’t make it happen on your own, that’s okay. Start scanning friends, school buddies and business acquaintances — there’s someone out there who will be just as excited about your idea as you are.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

In other news, The Olivine Atelier Beauty Heart & Soul Cards are finally available! They’re based on the premise of traditional oracle cards but have been completely modernized. Each card is completely different from the next, which adds to the element of surprise. Digging through my travel photos and scanning dozens of flowers was the coolest project ever. More on this one next week!

Do you have any fun weekend plans? I’m thinking about going to a motorcycle show with my dad and brother tonight and then hitting a photo booth and grabbing drinks with Joey for Valentine’s Day. Have a good one! xo

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

THE LINKS

• What should you do when someone is copying your brand?

• 5 things to do before sending your next email campaign.

• What a cool concept! Buy Me Once focuses on showcasing products that are built so well that they’ll never break — better for the environment and your bank account!

• Looking for a new podcast for your commute? Here are some top picks.

• Getting married in one week can work.

• 5 alternative portfolio sites to make you stand out.

• A husband and wife weigh in on what it’s like working together.

• One of the secrets to being productive is the touch it once mentality, from email to dirty dishes.

• 15 ways to manage stress.

Latest & Greatest #34: Milk Makeup

NUBBYTWIGLET_MILK_MAKEUP2

Though I love beauty products, I’m not usually the type to dedicate an entire blog post to a brand of cosmetics. The truth is, I have very little to say on the subject because I’m a minimalist at heart and have the same routine day in and day out, mostly consisting of products I love so much that I see no reason to ever change them out. I adore Make Up For Ever HD Foundation, MAC Studio Fix (I’ve literally worn this for two decades) , MAC Kinda Sexy lipstick (my everyday perfect nude lip color) and Grown Alchemist face cream.

NUBBYTWIGLET_MILK_MAKEUP3

It takes something really special to catch my eye since I’m not in the market for anything new in the makeup department but when I clicked on a recent Urban Outfitters newsletter and spotted Milk Makeup, it stopped me dead in my tracks.

For those of you like me who were in middle and / or high school in the 90s, CK One was the cool, unisex fragrance of the moment and I’ve always loved the crisp, no-nonsense look of the branding. It reminds me of a simpler time before social media, when it was the norm to have a free-form, less done-up aesthetic. That’s partly why I’m obsessed with the look of Milk Makeup because they nailed that casual, fun look I remember from that time so well. Think: no heavy foundation, lots of freckles, nose rings and a simple promise of achieving a day to night look in 5 minutes flat. SOLD.

NUBBYTWIGLET_MILK_MAKEUP4

If Milk sounds familiar, they are best known for their studios in New York and Los Angeles where they have a huge presence in fashion, music and photography. It makes sense that they would be able to zero in on what works and create a line that straddles the fine line between simplistic and hip.

NUBBYTWIGLET_MILK_MAKEUP

Check out: 1. salve, 2. eye marker, 3. highlighter, 4. lip color, 5. charcoal cleanser, 6. mascara, 7. lip pigment, 8. lip stain and 9. lip + cheek color.

Learn more about Milk Makeup here.


Images: Milk Makeup and Urban Outfitters.

Streamline Design Processes With Project Prescription + A Special Discount!

Nubby Twiglet | Streamline Processes With Project Prescription

The word “process” is so unsexy. But oh, is it necessary when you’re trying to make a living as a creative.

I learned the value of having a process the hard way because it wasn’t something we dug into at school or at most of my corporate jobs.

So, when I went out on my own, there was a lot of learning to do. As these things usually go, in the beginning, it was difficult, painful and resulted in unhappy clients. I always knew it wasn’t the work I was producing but how I presented and delivered it.

Clients first take notice of your work but your process is what keeps them coming back for more. On nearly every call I’ve had since starting Branch, I explain our in-depth process and it almost always seals the deal. Your goal as a designer is not just producing awesome work but also making your clients feel comfortable and at ease. The more at home you make them feel, they more likely they are to stick with you.

What Is Project Prescription?

I’ve joined forces with fellow freelancer Paul Jarvis to produce a set of digital documents that enable you to bypass the trial and error of developing a process of working with clients.

As we explain, “This isn’t theory about what might work, it’s hard data from the trenches on what does work. And now we’re sharing exactly what you need to do the same in gorgeous documents, checklists and processes.”

Nubby Twiglet | Streamline Processes With Project Prescription

What Documents Are Included?

Part 1: Exposure

Use these documents to bring in a steady flow of interested clients.

1. Media kit: Showcase your brand, skills, clients and success stories. This is the first time I’ve ever offered a pre-designed media kit template and trust me, the price is worth just this alone!

2. Getting Started Guide: Automate how you take clients from interested to hired with project links, testimonials and an outline of how you can work together.

3. Potential/Signed Leads: A simple spreadsheet to help you keep track of project bids you’ve created and won so you know where you stand.

4. Bookkeeping: Track money coming in and going out so you know where your budget is going.


Part 2: Onboarding

Take your clients from interested to signed off on.

5. Questionnaire: This is formatted with questions to ask your client about their project so you’re well informed.

6. Estimate: A list of deliverables, pricing and timing of a potential project for approval.

7. Onboarding steps/process: This simple chart helps you educate and design the experience of working with you from start to finish.

8. Project Checklist: Keep track of what’s needed to start each project so there’s no last minute scrambling.

9. Project Proposal: A standard terms and conditions document to make sure you’re on the same page with your client before the work starts.


Part 3: Project

Once you’re hired, it’s important to make sure the project stays on track and runs smoothly.

10. Invoice: We’ve included the information you need to get paid quickly and easily.

11. Client Evaluation: Use this internal document to figure out if a client is a good fit.

12. Feedback Guide: I wish I had this when I was starting out! This sheet teaches clients how to give you the feedback you want and need.

13. Presentation: This has a bunch of pre-formatted page templates to help you present work that gets signed off on quickly.

14. Post Launch Questionnaire: Learn what went right (and didn’t) and mine for testimonials.

15. Follow Up: This document outlines a schedule for staying in touch.

There you go! There’s a lot of documents in this pack (and by no means do you need to use every single one of them) but we want you to be prepared as your business grows.

As I mentioned last week, having a solid process was the key difference between just getting by as a freelancer and growing my studio into a six-figure business. My goal with these documents is to take the guess-work out of designing a process that works.

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Special Offer

We’re running an introductory offer of $69.00 for Project Prescription, no promo codes necessary. Just click through and buy! In less than a week, the price will return to $89.00.

Once again, thanks for your support during this launch and I hope these documents help you grow your business. If you have any questions about Project Prescription, let me know in the comments! -Shauna