Hitting The Road Again! Next Up For The Blogcademy: San Francisco and Chicago!

The Blogcademy | Chicago

In just three weeks, the 2014 dates for The Blogcademy kick off and we’ll be heading off to San Francisco first, followed by Chicago the week after. I’ve never spent much time in San Francisco (unless you count a ton of layovers) and have never stepped foot in Chicago so it will be awesome to experience both cities with fresh eyes.

Between classes, I’ll have a few open days in each city to explore so if you know of anything that’s a must-see, please leave me a note in the comments!

2014 Dates

San Francisco and Chicago are just the start of our new dates and I hope you’ll be able to join us at one of them:

San Francisco

May 10th & 11th

Makeshift Society
Almost sold out!

May 17th & 18th

Enerspace Chicago

June 7th & 8th

Soundhouse Studios

June 14th & 15th

The Commons Event Space

July 19th & 20rd

Curtain Road Studios

Almost sold out! 


July 22nd & 23rd

Curtain Road Studios

Sold out!

July 26th & 27th

Agora Collective

August 2nd & 3rd

The Thinking Hut

New York
September 27th & 28th

Attic Studios

Washington, D.C.
October 4th & 5th

Studio 52

November 29th & 30th

Studio 2204

Almost sold out!  


December 3rd & 4th

The Establishment Studios

Almost sold out! 


December 6th & 7th


The Blogcademy | San Francisco

Booking Details and About Us

If you need a quick refresher on what The Blogcademy is all about, it’s a two-day strategy-based workshop for bloggers and small business owners that want to take their online presence to the next level.

We cover subjects including content creation, networking (online and in-person), branding (building a brand from scratch and how to audit an existing one), social media, advertising, getting a book deal, writing for newspapers and magazines, using your blog to sell your own services and much, much more.

Each student also receives a report card with customized, actionable advice to apply to their very own websites, a 40+ page workbook and a tote bag emblazoned with their city. And chances are that you’ll make some really amazing new friends, too.

Basically, A LOT happens in just 16 hours! And better yet, we have an open Q&A at the end to answer anything else you can dream up.

If you want even more details about what we’re all about, please check out our overview.

Booking your ticket to any of our classes is easy -– just visit our registration page and sign up using PayPal. We offer a payment plan so you can choose to either pay the full amount upfront or you can pay in two installments. If you’d prefer to pay in even smaller increments, we can arrange that also. Get in touch at headmistresses @ theblogcademy.com and we’ll hook you up with all the details!

See you soon!

Graphic Design Book Recommendations: Jan V. White

Nubby Twiglet | Jan V. White Graphic Design Books

One of the questions I get asked most often is for design book recommendations. And while there are a million books out there that are great for different reasons, I always come back to the titles by Jan V. White.

Design trends come and go and styles change but underneath it all, the fundamentals of design are still there. Understanding these fundamentals is always the base and from there, you can take your work in any direction. I love Jan V. White’s books because they’re not preachy or dry. He doesn’t use obscure lingo and best of all, he mixes in a lot of images and thumbnail sketches for those of us that are more visual learners.

While he has written over a dozen books (most of which focus on editorial design), the one that should be on every designer’s bookshelf is the Graphic Idea Notebook. If you’re ever feeling stuck, it’s a treasure chest of quick, clever ideas ranging from type styles to images to page layouts. Sometimes, you just need to turn away from another “designspiration” site and be one with your own ideas.

Nubby Twiglet | Jan V. White Graphic Design Books

It’s been a few years since I first shared this news so it bears repeating for new readers: Jan V. White made his books available for download, free of charge. Pretty amazing, right?! If you’d still like some print copies, most titles including the Graphic Idea Notebook can be picked up used on Amazon for under a dollar.

These books prove that learning design can be fun and engaging. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

The Week In Pictures: 4.11.14

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Oh, Portland! This time of year in the city is the best. Sunny but not too hot. Everything is in bloom right now and I can’t stop taking cliché flower shots. Last year Kat and Gala were in town around this time and I remember us walking through Portland, rolling around in my poor neighbor’s yards trying to get the perfect shots (sorry, guys) and living it up. After a particularly gloomy few months where I barely left the house except to travel, everything is feeling alive again. If you’ve never been to Portland this time of year, please come visit!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Now that I work for myself, I live for the weekends. Even if I still have projects to get through, I slow down and read fashion magazines, dust off favorite reads from my bookshelf, get in a call with my mom and visit a few new places around town for food and drinks with my dad. The nail polish in this photo is Morange by MAC. I picked it up last year and it’s been a nonstop favorite since. It’s warm and poppy but not neon — great for everyday wear.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Last night, right before the sun set, Joey, Rocky and I took a nice, long walk. I always like stopping in front of The Woodsman Market (sandwiched between the original Stumptown and The Woodsman Tavern) to snap a few photos.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I find some of the best design inspiration in vintage type specimen books. This is a Chartpak one I found at a thrift store.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

This week I had a great mail day when Branch client Olivine Atelier sent us product samples. Getting to hold and try out the product that I’d designed branding and labeling for was really exciting. It’s now being sold at Anthropologie!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

The next exciting bit was getting to see this hair mist we just finished. That’s my handwriting in gold! I love that Olivine uses glass bottles instead of plastic. The hair mist smells like a day at the beach — I’m in love.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Okay, confession time: I’ve been putting off doing a legit media kit for Nubby Twiglet for YEARS. My clients’ media kits always came first and then both Blogcademy and Branch needed them, too. Mine was always at the bottom of the list. I felt guilty for a long time because I preach about the importance of media kits…but my other two businesses needed them the most. Well, it’s time to finally get over the guilt and get this baby together. I’ve been squeezing in time on it all week and it’s finally shaping up.

Earlier in the week, I Instagrammed this but it was partially a reminder to myself, too. No more excuses!

Enjoy your weekend. Sending lots of love (and nice weather) your way!

Link Love: 4.10.14


Nubby Twiglet | Link Love: Valentino 2014 RTW

• Fellow graphic designer Tara Victoria just featured me in her Wildly Talented column. I chit-chat about my childhood idol, the best part about working for myself and much more!

• Tired of waiting? Great. Start creating.

• 15 common mistakes that designers make.

• Is your business stuck in neutral? Use this post as motivation to get out of the funk.

• Here’s some great advice on how to deal with that little voice in your head that says you aren’t doing it right.

• Sian shares her 3 new favorite business apps.

• Wow! A 3D newspaper ad.

• Google Street View just got a whole lot better. Now you can take a romantic evening stroll through Paris.

• Interested in writing a book? A Beautiful Mess just launched an e-course that details how to write and pitch a book proposal!

• This post really makes me want to check out Miami Beach.

• What should you do when a client threatens to badmouth you?

• This is an interesting read about the brand behind Beyoncé.

• Even if you work in a shared office space with an open floor plan, you can still dress things up.

• An ex Google exec is inventing a better way to buy bras.

• I didn’t want to believe this was real but it most definitely is: human Barbie dolls.

Photo: Valentino Fall 2014 RTW.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.

Little Lessons #4: Saying No For The Right Reasons

Nubby Twiglet | Saying No For The Right Reasons

When it comes to client work, I have only recently gotten more comfortable with saying no. It’s always been hard because I have a bit of a guilt complex. The last thing I’d want to do is hurt a potential client’s feelings. Email should make it easier and in some ways, it does. But there’s still a human on the other side, reaching out.

It’s only been in the last two years where I even felt comfortable turning down projects. Up until that point, I took on everything I could get my hands on because I needed the real world experience, the income and I knew that each project would teach me something new. I took on the good, the bad and the questionable in a thirst for knowledge. A few projects landed me long-term clients that I still work with over at Branch and filled out my personal portfolio at a time when I spent my days working at agencies on large corporate projects.

Looking back, I wouldn’t trade any of those experiences because they not only taught me a lot about working with different types of clients but they taught me a lot about myself. I learned what I wanted more of. I learned that the sweet spot of Branch was creative small to medium-sized businesses.

Where is all this leading? By now, it should be easier to say no. A few weeks ago, even when I looked at the Branch schedule which was booked solid for at least a month out, I found myself cringing inside as I told my project manager to turn down about five jobs. Saying no still stings but I’ve learned that it is better to be honest.

Sometimes, it’s a matter of timelines. If a client needs something faster than you can offer it to them, be upfront about it. There’s no point in disappointing yourself and them when you can’t keep up. Other times, it’s in an industry you don’t know much about or feel comfortable diving into. That’s okay, too. Take the time to offer some great referrals to other designers you feel would be a better fit. And in some instances, it’s a clash of communication styles — you’re going to be spending a lot of time with clients, even if you’re working remotely so it’s imperative that you mesh well right from the beginning.

If you’re saying no for the right reasons, you should never feel guilty. Every single person who contacts you deserves the absolute best service and outcome of their project. If you can’t make that happen for any reason, be honest. There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for potential clients. It’s nothing personal; it’s a matter of being comfortable enough with who you are to know what you excel at…and what you don’t.

Saying no doesn’t always have to be viewed as a negative — instead, it can be viewed as empowering, honest and straightforward. Don’t just focus on what’s best for you but also what’s best for your potential clients.

Your turn: What are your tips for making saying No sting less?

Project Spotlight: Gala Darling

Nubby Twiglet | Project Spotlight: Gala Darling

Today, a project Branch partnered up with Gala Darling on went live. A full year in the making, this was the most comprehensive project we’ve ever worked on to date! You can click through and see even more of the process here but I also wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the more personal side of things.

Gala and I met on Live Journal back around 2002, both in our early 20s, both not quite sure where we were headed. I was working in a mauve wallpapered corporate office during my summer breaks from college, helping the accounting department with their filing. Shortly after that, I moved onto working in a shoe store. Gala was working a string of unfulfilling retail jobs. I loved reading her posts oversharing every detail of her life, which at times sounded like a made for TV movie.

I didn’t really know anything about blogs outside of Live Journal at that time and in 2006, she was the first person I knew who made the leap over to her own, self-hosted domain. If I remember correctly, she even linked me in her first-ever article about fashion advice for recovering goths (haha).

Still not quite sure where things were going for me (I had just started my design program), I read her blog religiously every single day while standing around at my shoe job, killing time. It kept me inspired and gave me hope that I could find a way to just maybe get into design studios and ad agencies and find my spot in the world.

During the spring of 2007, I flew to LA for a Courtney Love concert (oh, the stories I have!) and spent the afternoon hanging out with my friend Star, who also knew Gala. Star said blogging was going to blow up big time and I needed my own domain. I mean, I had that already but no self-hosted blog. Star happened to be the best developer I knew. Thanks to her persistent pestering, this blog was launched later that summer.

Gala and I read each other’s blogs but we’d never met. Finally, we were going to be in New York at the same time. We spent an afternoon exploring the city together and it was so natural, I felt like I’d known her my whole life. We had different accents and were from opposite sides of the world but everything else was basically the same.

Nubby Twiglet | Project Spotlight: Gala Darling

We both had other friends that were into blogging. To be fair though, we weren’t just “into blogging”…we were full-on obsessed to the point that our nonstop discussions around the subject would have driven anyone else completely nuts. We found that bond with each other and carried that through our friendship.

I watched Gala’s blog take off and flourish and evolve. When we first started blogging, most people didn’t yet view their blogs as a full-time business. We came from the era where blogs were a place to share personal stories and snapshots — they weren’t the slick money-making, marketing machines we often see today. And because of that, most of us quickly cobbled together our own branding, if you could call it that. There wasn’t a whole lot of thought behind it at the time.

For Gala, things really started shifting when she began launching digital products a few years ago. I saw her business grow way beyond “just a blog” and when that starts to happen, there needs to be more consistency.

Last Spring, we finally started discussing what she needed to do to have that added polish while keeping the branding feeling rooted in her personal style which included a love of fashion magazine-inspired type, fuchsia and an obsession with “snail mail.”

It’s been inspiring sitting back and watching Gala put all the pieces of her new look to use, from the branding to the blog to the product graphics — she’s always had such strong content and cohesive branding is the ultimate cherry on top.

Congratulations, Gala. I am so proud of you!

More visuals can be seen here.

What I Wore: The Golden Hour In Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Golden Hour In Palm Springs

I have a total obsession with Palm Springs and a big part of that is because of the light. Yes, the light. I am fascinated with the golden glow of the desert — it’s the compete opposite of the usually overcast, cool light we get in Portland for most of the year.

Nubby Twiglet | Golden Hour In Palm Springs

While I was in Palm Springs with The Blogcademy, we worked with Made U Look, a trio of photographers who shoot primarily with film on vintage cameras. The way they picked up the light was unparalleled. We’d spent the day shooting and made it to The Saguaro just as the sun was beginning to set.

Nubby Twiglet | Golden Hour In Palm Springs

The light was still bright and clear out on the balcony but as we moved inside the room, the sun started dipping behind the mountains, creating deep, pronounced shadows. Even though it only lasted for about 10 minutes, it was so beautiful.

Nubby Twiglet | Golden Hour In Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Golden Hour In Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Golden Hour In Palm Springs

I love the variety of outcomes from just this set of shots and have such an admiration for photographers who still shoot with film. It’s always exciting working with Made U Look because truly, I never know what to expect until I receive the download link.

Nubby Twiglet | Golden Hour In Palm Springs

I Wore:
Dress with embroidered flowers, ASOS
White lucite buckle heels, Quelques Shoes De Plus

All photos: Made U Look.