Where Do You Work? Here’s Where My Creativity Happens.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

I’m endlessly fascinated by people’s creative workspaces. When I get really into what they do, whether it’s design, photography, painting or another creative endeavor, the next thing I wonder about is where the magic happens. I love the behind-the-scenes shots and also, learning more about their processes.

In a world that feels increasingly digital and disconnected, seeing where someone works feels grounding. It reminds us that what they did didn’t just magically appear online — it was crafted by a fellow human through a process of trial and error.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

I’ve been in my current studio space for nearly a year and a half now and it still makes coming to work feel exciting. To this day, it’s not perfect and I’m okay with that. I shot these photos yesterday without any staging or rearranging to show you what it’s like in its current state.

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Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

The prep-time before I moved into this space was nearly non-existent so you can see that there’s no finishing trim along the bottom of the walls. The plywood floors show grime quickly. The mostly brick structure and old windows make for some very cold winters which means that Samantha (my design assistant) and I are usually sitting next to a space heater. But I love it. I love the feeling of turning a key every morning and opening the doors to a space I can call my own.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

You might remember this post from early last year, right after I moved in. The space looked pretty good but has shifted quite a bit since then. The desk got switched out to a large kitchen table with space for two iMacs. My flat files moved in to house print samples and office supplies. A ton of succulents were added. Small switches in furniture and objects has meant that everything feels more organized and purposeful now.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

While I adore this current studio, it’s number 5 as far as creative spaces go. One thing that can be deceiving with having a blog (and being online in general) is to just show where you are now — because that never tells the full story. I’m one of those people who LOVES the story behind the story. With this space being a personal blog and a way to connect with you, things will never be picture perfect. That’s real life. Are you ready to take a little trip down memory lane with me?

My Past Creative Spaces

I pulled out a hard drive last night that was so old it needed to plug into a wall on one end and a USB on the other! It’s the size of a stack of journals and makes a loud, whizzing sound. I started digging for photos of my previous creative spaces — and wow, were they loud and messy! I could only find photos of the last two but I’ll tell you about all of them.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

Space #1: The first was in my childhood room at my dad’s house — it’s where I started blogging on Live Journal and where my business ideas began! My dad helped me pick out bright red paint for the walls when I was a teenager, even though it made him cringe. Haha.

Space #2: My next space was in a house I shared with four guy roommates from 2005 to 2007. It was my first time living away from home so I had a lot of fun experimenting with decor. Thinking back now, it was a cluttered mess! This was my space all through design school.

Space #3: In 2007, I moved into a rental that had more room and privacy. It’s where my blog really grew and I built my freelance business while working my first full-time design job. There are some photos of it mixed into these collages.

Space #4: In 2009, my brother and I bought our house and it had enough room for me to set up a dedicated office space across the hall from my room. Over the course of two years, I went from a barren room to a well-designed space. This is the room where I launched Branch in 2013. Most of the photos in these collages were taken here. It’s since been redone and looks like this!

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

Space #5: After a year of running Branch from the spare room at home, I signed a lease for a studio in my neighborhood filled with other creatives and this is where I’m at currently. I love it but it’s good to remember that it wasn’t an overnight transition — in fact, it took nine years to get from my room at my dad’s house to here!

If you’re dreaming of having your own dedicated space, I want to remind you that it’s not out of reach. One of my favorite mottos is, “Do what you can with what you’ve got.” It’s definitely kept me going when things were less than ideal and makes me appreciate what I have now even more.


Your turn: I’d love to hear about your creative space! Do you work from home, in a co-working space or a favorite coffee shop? What do you love about it? What would your dream space be like?

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.