The Week In Pictures: 1.24.14

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

This has been one of those weeks where I feel like the universe is trying to shake me up and finally force me to become a responsible adult and I’m just holding on as tightly as I can. Cue bid proposals, meetings with lawyers, opening up new accounts at the bank, lots of conversations over the phone (I’m usually more of an email person) and reaching out and asking for help when I realize I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. No matter how full my days get though, the bright spot is always an early morning serving of granola, plain greek yogurt and a generous helping of blackberries on top. Oh, and some good reading material!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

If you’re ever in Portland and looking to make some new friends, the best place to go is the fire pit at the Doug Fir. Every time I end up there, I find myself in the middle of the most fascinating conversations. It’s the perfect refuge in the middle of the city.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

My escape ever since I was a teenager has been flipping through fashion magazines. Lots of them. They give me a chance to absorb colors, textures and trends without the confines of a design project looming. These tears are all from the current issues of Bazaar and Marie Claire.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

This photo isn’t the greatest but considering where we started with our very disgusting old bathroom, just the sight of floor-to-ceiling subway tile feels completely unreal! Joey’s been working like a maniac to get it all done and should be applying black grout by the end of the weekend. I’m lucky I married a jack of all trades. 😉

Have a great weekend, everyone. I’m trying to brush off the “I don’t know what I’m doing! HELP!” feelings when it comes to a few things on my plate and just accepting that the only way to learn is to jump in feet first.

P.S. Thanks for your sweet, thoughtful comments on the self-initiated project post. Totally made my day. Lots of love to you all!

Link Love: 1.23.14

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Nubby Twiglet | Steven Meisel

• I just did a little interview with FIDM in LA!

• Mandi just put together one of the best lighting tutorials I’ve come across. If you own a DSLR camera, this is an absolute must read!

• Who are your customers? Dig deeper.

• If you’re in the design industry, here’s what all those job titles really mean.

• Snoop Dogg is rocking some pretty fancy nails these days.

• Do you ever have those days where you want to shut everything down? How do you get past that feeling?

• Looking back, Cipe Pineles was a badass art director at top fashion magazines and broke many of the glass ceilings female designers faced at the time.

• Braun has always had some of the most classic design across its print materials. This gallery is a visual goldmine!

• Alexandra Franzen comes to the rescue and teaches us how to politely decline ridiculous, unreasonable requests.

• Make your own Valentine’s-themed paper flower wreath!

• This is one of the coolest Instagram experiments I’ve seen.

• Okay, now I really have to visit Bottega Louie when I’m in LA next month. Such a beautiful place.

• These kids think they’ve mastered hide and seek.


Photo: Emily Sandberg by Steven Meisel, Vogue Italia 2002.

Land Your Dream Clients: Prove You’re Capable Of Greatness Through Self-Initiated Projects

Nubby Twiglet | Land Your Dream Clients: Prove You're Capable Of Greatness Through Self-Initiated Projects

When you look around at other designers who are working on high-caliber projects for their dream clients, do you wonder how you can step up your game and land a few of your own?

When we’re starting out as creatives, it’s usually a constant case of feast or famine. In our eyes, every small lead that comes through the door has the potential for greatness and income generation. But in those early days, a lot of that work might not be the perfect fit. No matter, doing real work for real world clients post-graduation is not only a great feeling but necessary to drum up more work. After all, if you do a fantastic job for one client, chances are that they’ll tell all their friends — even in the digital age, word of mouth can grow your business by leaps and bounds.

While generating a lot of leads and building your portfolio is great, a few years in, the time comes to hit the brakes and ask yourself what you really want to be doing. Who are your dream clients? What types of work do you want more of? What would you rather do without, whether or not the pay is good? At this point, once you have some answers you’ll need to refresh and refine your portfolio to gear it towards what you want more of.

The thing is, maybe you haven’t actually worked with any of your so-called dream clients yet. Or, maybe they got in touch but only had the budget for one small piece of collateral. Don’t let that stop you from showing what you’re made of! For my first five years of freelancing, this was almost always the case and I built my relationships with the clients I loved very slowly, one tiny project at a time.

When it comes to design, the competition is fierce and the only way to truly get what you want is to take the initiative. Don’t get deterred by a lack of dream clients — instead, create your own self-initiated projects. Go all out. A lot of designers shy away from this because they’re afraid that if the brief isn’t real, it doesn’t count. But, as long as you clearly state that a project is self-initiated in your portfolio the sky’s the limit as to what you can do.

I’ve seen this work with beautiful results. A few years out of college, my brother wanted to get his foot in the door at Nike but didn’t have a lot of professional design experience. He spent the week before his interview building out a shoe design he’d dreamt up from scratch. He designed the shoe style, the pattern and the tagging and ended his portfolio with that piece. It worked and he got a contract.

For many of my early clients, the only thing they could afford was a logo, even with my very low prices back then. Often, I’d email them when we were finished and ask if I could build out a full suite of assets free of charge. Nobody in their right mind would turn down an awesome deal like that and by showing the application of their branding across a variety of mediums in my portfolio, I gained tons of new clients. I put in the extra time and effort, shared that extra work on my blog and the inquiries rolled in.


Nubby Twiglet | Land Your Dream Clients: Prove You're Capable Of Greatness Through Self-Initiated Projects

Above is an example of how I took a project to the next level. In 2010, Semiospectacle booked me for an identity and flyer design for their performance art event in New York City. Once that was finished, I knew the work would have more impact if I created more assets — these not only gave them ideas for how they could play up their event but they also helped me fill out my portfolio.

Just showing a logo and flyer felt a little dry so I thought of ways they could promote their event and in an ideal situation, use banners and second-surface graphics on the windows of their space. These graphics took me a few extra hours to create but shortly after that, I noticed them getting shared on inspiration sites (this was before Pinterest came along). Just taking that extra time really helped me get the word out to a whole new audience and in turn, bring in more work.


If you’re stuck on self-initiated project ideas, here are some ways you can get started:

1. Rebrand yourself / your business. When it comes to design, everyone loves a great before and after. Do it all and show your breadth as a designer — mock up print collateral, build your website (if you’re not code savvy, check out Squarespace or Cargo) and customize your social media profiles. A lot of potential clients will hire you because they love your personal style and want in on that magic. As a designer, your personal brand is your biggest calling card. If you need some good blank assets to show off the finished designs, Creative Market is a fantastic resource.

2. Offer to help out a family friend. There are so many small businesses that need a helping hand but just don’t have the resources to spruce up their collateral. Whether it’s a hair salon, an accountant or a tire shop, use the opportunity to shine. As a side note, treat them as you would treat a regular client — set up a contract outlining the parameters and deadlines. If you don’t set professional boundaries, these relationships can go south rather quickly!

3. Create a seasonal campaign for your dream client. While a lot of large companies have a set style guide and their branding rarely changes, the door for creativity opens up for seasonal campaigns (Anthropologie and Kate Spade do a great job of this). Get inspired by their current assets and create a campaign with a great story line. And when you’re finished, if you’re feeling gutsy, share it with them!


I’d love to hear from you — have you ever done self-initiated projects?
Did they help you land even more of the kinds of clients you were seeking?

Style Direction: Black On Black

Nubby Twiglet | Style Direction: Black on Black

Nubby Twiglet | Style Direction: Black on Black

Nubby Twiglet | Style Direction: Black on Black

Over the last few years, I’ve gotten more adventurous with color and set the intention of working more of it into my overall wardrobe. But even with a closet bursting with color, I still have those moments where only black will do. And, I’m definitely having one of those moments right about now.

When it comes to rocking head-to-toe black, my teenage goth roots still ring true but I’ve never been a fan of frills, heavy lace or anything that’s overly tattered. I’m much more of a fan of the sleek and avant garde.

Nubby Twiglet | Style Direction: Black on Black

One of my favorite wardrobe treasures is this Rick Owens jacket. Found five years on Ebay for a total steal, it is my dream cyborg wardrobe staple come to life. It’s weird yet wearable and takes even the most straightforward basics from casual to spaceship chic. And that’s what I love about clothing the most — it has the ability to transform us into characters, even if those characters are just slightly more dressed up, more confident versions of ourselves.

On the subject of black, I’ve been drawn to the idea of different finishes as of late, especially when they’re mixed together like on my jacket. I’m especially loving matte black:

Nubby Twiglet | Style Direction: Black on Black

Shown above: 1. FCTRY Kudu, 2. Kartell Sofia Boots, 3. Chanel Black Velvet Polish, 4. Larke Optics Glasses, 5. Tangiers Pendant Light, 6. Nixon Time Teller P Watch, 7. Bodum Bistro Blender, 8. Eames Chair and 9. Microbomata Laptop Bag.

Nubby Twiglet | Style Direction: Black on Black


I wore: Jacket, Rick Ownens via Ebay. Silk dress, vintage. Tights, found in Iceland. Boots, Proenza Schouler.

The Week In Pictures: 1.17.14

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

How’s your week been? I’ve been spending too much time inside so I’m heading out shortly to meet my old art director for tacos and margaritas. Sounds like the ideal Friday afternoon activity in my book!

Since my office is where I spend the majority of my life when I’m not traveling for The Blogcademy, I’m pretty picky about the way it looks and functions. Here’s a photo I took yesterday — from this angle, everything looks about the same as it has been for the last two years.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Here’s a shift to the left. Since 2002, I’d had a red round Magnavox TV on my desk that I was pretty attached to. Here’s what my set-up looked like with it. Once the digital conversion happened, I had to have a converter box stacked behind it. I actually didn’t mind because I rarely watch TV…except for Dr. Phil at 3 pm on weekdays (yes, I’m serious). But, it did take up the whole left side of my desk and that was annoying. At the end of the year, I cashed in an Amazon certificate and finally stepped up to this TV by Sceptre. It’s white so it blends in a bit better, isn’t too large to be hugely distracting and best of all, I now have so much more room to work.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Here’s a close-up. I wish I could ditch the black cord but we don’t have cable so I have a set of rabbit ears sitting on the floor behind my desk.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

It’s been a great start to the year over at Branch with some of our favorite clients popping up with new projects — this is a sneak peek of a 32 page print piece we’ve been working on for Luke Copping. He always comes up with the most unique ideas and I’ve been particularly obsessed with this one. Will show more soon!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Our demolished bathroom is looking much more inhabitable these days and we’re finally getting to the fun stuff. Yesterday, Joey and I ventured out to pick out tile — the floor will be oversized hexagons while the walls will be floor-to-ceiling subway tile. Everything will be white with black grout.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

On Friday, I had two sets of plans when my car decided to break down. My poor dad had to pick me up off the side of the road and drive me to a goth show and needless to say, I felt like I was 15 again. Haha. I went out to Analog to see my friend Voltaire play and every time I catch one of his shows, I feel like it’s a stand-up comedy routine perfectly suited for goths. I’ve never seen goth folks laugh so hard in my life! I forgot to take any photos until 1 am as I inhaled a plate of fries in the bar and looked up at the TV. There he is in all his pirate-goth regalia!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Late last week, I finished a mini media kit for Molly Crabapple. My favorite page is filled with notable quotes…of which she has many. Okay, time to duck out for those previously mentioned tacos and margaritas. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Link Love: 1.16.14

Nubby Twiglet | Link Love

Nubby Twiglet | Patrick Demarchelier

• This thought-provoking article questions the modern day phenomenon of doing what you love. “DWYL is, in fact, the most perfect ideological tool of capitalism. It shunts aside the labor of others and disguises our own labor to ourselves. It hides the fact that if we acknowledged all of our work as work, we could set appropriate limits for it.”

• The latest artisanal food craze hitting San Francisco is toast. Yes, toast. Often at $3.00 per slice.

• Have you ever walked out of a job?

• Looking for stylish wallpaper? Check out this roundup for the best sources.

The most photographed places on Earth!

• 10 tax deductions for small business owners.

• A must-read: Life As A Blogger.

Nostockphoto allows you to search for images without all the annoying stock photo results!

• As a female, do you abide by the so-called girl code?

• The perfect gift for the world traveler in your life: airport tag pillows!

• Ruby Press is looking for a PR intern.

• For the last 40 years, Bob Mazzer has been photographing passengers of the London Underground.

• Robert Murphy shares what he learned from going on a six month spending freeze!

This pretty much sums up every cocktail bar menu ever.


Photo: Patrick Demarchelier.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.

Lookbook #5: Madonna NYC83

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

I have a longstanding love of Madonna (just scroll to the end of this post to see how long!) and when I first spotted this book in Melbourne, I knew it had to be mine.

It’s a gritty yet glam walk down memory lane beginning in May of 1983 when photographer Richard Corman got a call from his mother who was casting for a Scorcese film. Over the phone, she told Richard of a woman she’d just met. “She’s an original! I’ve never met anyone like her!”

Richard obliged his mother’s wishes and followed Madonna across the Lower East Side and later to some of her earliest gigs. Of this time in Madonna’s career, he said, “She was amazing, but she was also a part of a movement of creativity where the more you pushed, the more it yielded — and there were so many young artists all pushing at once.”

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Truthfully, these photos and scans just can’t do the book full justice — it’s beautiful. The cover of the book resembles a tightly wrapped canvas and is a piece of art in its own right (I keep my copy sitting out in my office).

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

Back on the subject of my longstanding love of all things Madonna, it all started around 1985. After preschool, I’d hang out with my teenage cousin Tracy and to kill time, we’d play dress-up. She had all the cool belts, bandanas, rubber bracelets and black layers. I was always a willing subject to impersonate Madonna!

Nubby Twiglet | Madonna NYC83 Book

“This is an invasion of privacy! Why won’t the paparazzi leave me alone?! Oh sorry…it’s just you again, Aunt Shannon.” Huge props to my aunt who always had a camera handy and captured the drama of my childhood!


Featured title: Richard Corman: Madonna NYC 83
Photos and scans: Shauna Haider
Check out even more Look Book columns here.