Little Lessons #1: Go With Your Gut

Nubby Twiglet | Little Lessons: Go With Your Gut

This is the first installment of a new column, Little Lessons which will be centered around tidbits I’m learning as I move along through life and business.


By nature, I’m a planner. And if I’m being honest, I plan a little too much. This mindset definitely spills over into my client work big time. While it’s important to be prepared so you can carry out your best work (that’s what you’re being paid to do, after all), sometimes, there just isn’t time for that.

Two weeks ago, a surprise project from a long-time client popped up on my radar. It involved branding, packaging and the potential opportunity to land on the shelves of one of my favorite national retailers. The problem was, time was almost nonexistent and if we wanted to make it happen, we had to make a move immediately.

I sat at my desk early the next morning as a wave of fear slowly boiled to the surface. What had I just committed myself to?! I had a good idea but just that one. I tried a few other things, but nothing felt quite right. As I moved along, staring at the screen, I kept going back to the first. My gut had told me that it was the right direction all along but I was afraid to present just one solid idea.

With little time to do much more, I sent off the presentation with some quick notes:
This direction just felt right. I feel that it’s very on-brand for you and very now. And yes, that’s my handwriting. I hope you like it!

Within about 10 minutes, the client had responded — she agreed. We got the packaging done and off to the printer the next morning, just in time to hit the deadline.

A few days later, another deadline was on the horizon, this time for a workshop. Once again, one direction felt perfect and nothing else I tried was working. “This is it. This has to be it,” I kept telling myself. “I hope she likes it because my gut says this is perfect for her.” I once again felt an internal tug-of war about presenting just one idea but I sucked it up and fired off an in-process screenshot anyway. A few minutes later, I had the thumbs-up to build out the rest of the assets.

In the past, when it came to projects like these, I would keep doubting myself and exploring, pushing out more attempts that never felt quite as perfect as the first. Now, I’m learning that our intuition rarely leads us astray so we should trust it in life, relationships and yes, even design.

Lesson learned: listen to your first instincts. Go with your gut.


Photo: Made U Look.

The Week In Pictures: 3.14.14

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures
I feel like I’ve barely left my desk this week but flipping through my photos, I’m reminded otherwise. Lunch with grandma! Drinks with auntie! A lot of virtual chats with Star (okay, that was at my computer but still.) I’m feeling a little dazed between finishing a flurry of client projects and trying to get my taxes together before I hop on a last-minute LA-bound flight at the crack of dawn Monday morning.

The really big news this week is that we are finally, legitimately done remodeling the bathroom on the main floor of our house. When you see the before and after photos next to each other, you won’t believe that it’s even the same space. It’s gone from the bathroom we hid from guests to by far the nicest room in the house thanks to Joey’s handiwork. Clocking in at three months, I never thought we’d see the light at then end of the tunnel with this project. I’ll have a lot more details (and photos!) to share next week.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Running Branch full time, I’ve had the opportunity to not only meet a great group of clients but also make some wonderful friends. Their thoughtfulness at times astounds me — Star and I tag-teamed virtually all Wednesday night, pushing Kitty Cavalier’s new site live and just a few hours after waking up Thursday morning, the most beautiful bunch of flowers was waiting on my doorstep. Totally made my week.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I live about 10 minutes from Harlow but had never given it a try until a few days ago. With a gluten-free menu, tons of vegan options and a juice selection like no other, I was already excited when I walked in but then I spotted vegan mac and cheese. Not quite believing it, I read through the ingredients twice. It was seriously the best non-dairy mac and cheese I’ve ever had. Craving it now as I type this. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Isn’t this the best faux swatch name ever? This table runner that sits along our coffee bar is so much fun.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

In the middle of the week, I had dinner plans with my aunt but we got a little sidetracked and ended up at one of my favorite Portland bars, Backstage. Best detour ever?! I always end up staring up at the chandeliers dangling from the ceiling, which is a solid 6 stories high.

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Back to Wednesday — I snuck out of the office for lunch with my grandma and on our way back to the car, I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, laughing hysterically and pointing. “Look grandma, look! That tree has a face!” Grandma: “Huh? I don’t see it.” Me: “RIGHT THERE! A FACE.” Grandma: “Ohhhhh!” Hahahaaaa.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Have an amazing weekend, everyone. It finally feels like spring has legitimately hit and I’m itching to get outside.

P.S. I’ll be Instagrammin’ from LA all next week if you want to keep up in real time. xoxo

Link Love: 3.13.14

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Nubby Twiglet | Cara Delevigne by Jonathan Knowles

• The best typefaces of 2013.

• 40 healthy snacks to keep at the office.

• Finally, someone cracked the code on Facebook’s news feed algorithm.

• An inside look at the life of a barista.

• The world wide web turns 25 this year!

• Alexandra Franzen just shared her new favorite tools for writing and creativity.

• Make your own typographic art!

• 5 ways to win clients over.

• In my opinion, any mix drink with blood orange is worth trying!

• 20 inspirational photographers to follow on Behance.

• Wow! These jobs are no longer in existence.

• I’m a huge fan of Dr. Bronner’s soap. It’s interesting to hear more about the man behind the brand!

5 really cool ways to gift wrap for Spring.

• This is what it’s like to listen to Nirvana with a two-year-old.

• I’m loving this office coffee cart setup!


Photo: Jonathan Knowles.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.

Tools Of The Trade #16: Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects

Nubby Twiglet | Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects

When most of us think of newsprint, cheaply printed weekly papers or tabloids come to mind. We wouldn’t usually push it into the realm of high-end promotional pieces. That view is starting to shift, though as creatives want a more tactile way to share their work. While glossy, magazine-style paper looks great, some folks want something with a little more edge and grit. In a way, it’s exciting taking an old-school, tried-and-true medium and turning it on its head.

Nubby Twiglet | Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects

Until recently, I knew nothing about the world of newsprint. I’d designed magazines and stacks of promo pieces but never anything that made its way to newsprint. But then Luke Copping, who always seems to be ahead of the curve when it comes to these sorts of things, came to me with the idea of doing a 32 page piece. It was time to scour the internet for suitable printers! Here’s what I learned along the way…


Recommended Printers

We quickly narrowed down our prospects to two printers and a combination of their samples are featured in this post.

The first is Linco Printing, which is based in New York. Linco is great if you’re located in the U.S. and want to work with an established printer with a great reputation — they also did the Design Sponge paper, which turned out beautifully. The downside is that traditional printers are used to doing huge runs (think weekly papers) so for it to be cost effective, you’re going to have to commit to a lot of papers, probably a thousand at the very least.

After getting an exorbitant quote back because our run was just too tiny, we did some more digging and landed on Newspaper Club. Now, this site has major style and is easy to use. Not only that, but they’re able to produce small runs in multiple formats. Score!

Nubby Twiglet | Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects

Nubby Twiglet | Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects

Because this was a higher end promotional piece featuring Luke’s photography, we went with the traditionally printed tabloid in the improved format. The improved format is on brighter, whiter stock and really pops. The weight of normal newsprint is about 30 gsm and this is 52 so it definitely has a more premium feel.

For you U.S. folks, Newspaper Club is based in the U.K. so when dealing with their guidelines, be warned that they are in millimeters. Their templates are super easy to use and as long as you follow their export instructions, you’ll end up with great results.

The one tricky part is that Newspaper Club doesn’t offer traditional proofs so triple-check what you’re uploading! Their customer service also checks your files and gives you the thumbs-up before it hits the press.

Nubby Twiglet | Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects


Printing Tips

• Always start with a template provided by the printer if possible. A lot of them have specific margins set up and if your design moves into them, it won’t be able to be printed.

• There’s no need to have your images placed at any higher resolution than 300 dpi. Newsprint isn’t meant to be the highest quality so you won’t see improved results with higher resolution.

• Most newspapers are printed in multiples of 4 pages. Design accordingly!

• What you see on your brightly lit computer screen won’t always translate as well to newsprint. Newsprint tends to be thin and absorb a lot of ink so coverage can vary.

• It’s a good idea to stick with images that have a lot of contrast. If they’re too dark, they can look muddy on newsprint.

• If you use any black and white photos in your pieces, they have to be set to grayscale.


Newsprint Samples

If you want to compare samples like I did above, you’re in luck! Request some from Newspaper Club here and from Linco Printing here.

If you do print anything, let me know. I’d love to see it! And I’ll be sharing the outcome of Luke’s piece on the Branch blog soon!

The Perfect Addition To Your Kitchen Table: Llama Salt & Pepper Shakers

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Yes, those are indeed llama salt and pepper shakers. Yes, my life is now complete. I’m completely, totally obsessed with llamas so when my friend Mary Bee recently whipped these out of a bag of gifts for me over dinner, my jaw dropped. Who knew such a thing even existed?!

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Surely, these were molded off of the perfectly proportioned features of my handsome llama friend, Nigel.

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Someday, I’ll have a pet llama (or two) but in the meantime, this fetching pair will have to do.