Link Love: 6.6.13

link love

link love

Chris Nicholls

• If you only click one link this week, make it Joy’s The Art of Being a Goal-Getter. She had me at “75% of the business successes I’ve had are ones in which I sought out the opportunities and pitched myself or my ideas in order to make them happen. It’s all about knowing what your goals are, then taking the right steps to achieve them.”

• At its core, the best design comes from problem solving.

Stalker Sarah is the most famous celebrity fan in the world…and she’s only 17.

Casa Washi Tapes are larger versions of regular washi masking tape and are meant to be used all over your home’s interior surfaces including walls and appliances!

• 10 celebrity photobombs.

This color film shows what New York City looked like in 1939!

• Paul Octavious photographs the everyday and matches the colors to Pantone swatches.

• As a blogger, do you keep resource lists?

• Finding full-time work in San Francisco is an uphill battle for a lot of folks.

Here’s what to say after someone tells you that they can’t afford your services.

• I love Sian’s no-nonsense website tips.

Check out even more Link Love columns here.

5 Tips To Jump-Start Your Post-College Design Career

5 Tips To Jump-Start Your Post-College Design Career

‘Tis the season for graduation! But beneath all the anticipation and excitement, I have been receiving a number of nervous emails from freshly minted design grads looking for ways to carve out their post-college careers. Most of us have been in that boat as well and I know how stressful it can be so I’ve compiled some tips to help make the transition smoother.

1. If full-time work is your goal but you don’t have a job lined up, try placement agencies.

I’ve worked with both Aquent and 24 Seven in the past and have had fantastic results with both. Placement agencies are great for a number of reasons. If you’ve never been to one, here’s what happens: first, you’re interviewed by an agent and they review your portfolio in-depth to determine your skill set. From there, it’s their goal to place you in jobs that they feel are the best possible fit. They have a good reason for wanting to keep both you and your employer happy: for each hour you work, they earn a commission.

Through placements, I was able to get into a number of boutique design studios and even Nike. The experience I gained was incredibly valuable and by moving around, from the tip of corporate America all the way down to 10 person studios, I learned a lot about how the design industry functions in a really short period of time. By trying on different hats, you become much more adaptable to varying management and design styles and I would argue, more valuable as a designer.

With placement agencies, since the work isn’t consistent (unless you get offered a contract), you tend to get paid substantially more than you would at a full-time position. I had times where I would get booked for two days but I can tell you that if you’re a good fit, they will find a way to make room for you. One particular short-term gig I had turned into an entire year! And if the company loves you, there’s a chance that they will offer you full-time employment.

Placement agencies are a great way to test the waters, especially if you’re still finding your way and settling into a niche. You’re able try out a variety of places and determine what works best for you (Agency or in-house? Digital or print? Design or production?) And if things don’t work out, that’s okay, too. Your agent can help you with parting ways gracefully and it’s a lot less painful than quitting a full-time job.

2. Before you reach out, whip that portfolio into shape!

When I graduated in 2008, print portfolios were absolutely mandatory. I know that since then, a lot of job seekers have switched over to digital portfolios exclusively to showcase their work. While I do use my iPad for supplementary work, I still have a print version. Maybe I’m old school but I know that a lot of the people I meet with are older than I am and appreciate the time and energy it takes to put together a print portfolio. I limit mine to 10 to 12 projects max and then share a larger variety on my iPad if they request more samples. If you’re curious, here’s a peek inside the last print portfolio I did.

While my print portfolio is very tightly edited, my digital portfolio is much more broad. I love Cargo for its ease of use and very reasonable fees. The pre-made templates are fantastic and with a little CSS magic, you can refine them further. I’m working on a full website to house my projects (more on that later!) but in the meantime, Cargo has treated me well over the last two years. Also, Squarespace has some beautiful template options, too.

3. Nail the interview basics.

We’ve all heard tips for nailing a great interview from friends, family and industry professionals enough times to feel like they’re one big cliché. Show up on time! Dress the part! Act enthusiastic! We know, we know! UGH!

But seriously, all of these small things combine to make an unforgettable impact. I’ve been on dozens of interviews and can vouch that most run incredibly smoothly — most creative staff were once in your position and remember that nervous, uncertain feeling well. As long as you move through your portfolio quickly, they are usually incredibly accommodating.

But, there’s always those curveballs when we least expect them and that’s where practicing these tips comes into play so you can remain graceful under fire! There was one interview that I’ll never forget: it was so intense that I felt like I’d been transported to the O.J. trial. I kept thinking, “I’m being interviewed for a job so why does it feel like an interrogation?!” Even so, I made it through, smiled, shook the interviewer’s hand and thanked him for his time. And then quickly left. Always keep your cool! My 11 tips for acing your next design interview can help you get started.

4. Knowledge Is Power.

I’m always reading books about my field in an effort to stay current with design trends, strategy and business. My top three picks for highly valuable insight on breaking into the industry are:

A. How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy

I found this book to be hugely beneficial when I was first starting out — it’s simple, relatable and immediately applicable. And that’s exactly what I needed.

B. Work for Money, Design for Love by David Airey

I love the smooth flow of this book, from beginning to end. It’s so rare that hugely successful designers open up and share the inner workings of their businesses along with detailed insights of their processes.

C. Design Student Handbook by Computer Arts

Looking for a guide that covers all the nitty gritty of prepping a killer portfolio and breaking into the design industry? The Design Student Handbook is for you. I wish there was something like this on the market back when I graduated!

5. Blog about your projects. Always.

When I was first starting out, I used my blog to share all of my new client work. The good, the bad and the ugly made its way up for the world to see and each project I shared brought in new prospects.

Getting comfortable with sharing my work was hugely beneficial in getting my foot in the door at a number of design jobs because I’d already developed my voice and style very publicly. It can be scary putting your work out there but it’s something you have to get accustomed to because you never know who’s reading it. A good example: In 2009, I was three days into a Nike contract when I got called into my department manager’s office. I thought I’d done something terribly wrong and was getting fired! Instead, he said he’d recognized me from my blog and wanted to know if I’d be interested in permanent positions.

If steady work doesn’t pop up right away post-graduation, your blog can be a great way to drum up freelance work. And who knows, you might be so successful at it that a full-time job becomes a fading memory. Oh, and don’t forget to share those in-progress snippets on dribble and your glowing final outcomes on Behance.

Graduates, I know it’s not easy but view each opportunity (no matter how small) as a learning experience and with time, your path will unfold. Good luck on your new, exciting journey!

In Bloom: A Stroll Around My Portland Neighborhood

In Bloom: Portland Tour

At the end of March, the Made U Look girls, fresh into Portland after a 14 hour drive from Bakersfield, swung by my house for a pre-game hangout. When it came time to line up a photographer for The Blogcademy, they were at the very top of our list — their style has always stood out to me because the majority of their photos are shot on a variety of film cameras. I love that sense of mystery because really, you never know what you’re going to get and the results are always so varied. I always feel that sense of suspense creeping up, just waiting to see what they captured and it’s always even better than I could imagine.

Made U Look had perfect timing: when they arrived, my entire S.E. Portland neighborhood was full-on in bloom. That week, the usual drizzly Portland weather had decided to part for us and it didn’t rain for a record five days straight (haha).

In Bloom: Portland Tour

In Bloom: Portland Tour

Only one photography team could convince me to crawl into my grumpy neighbor’s yard and pose in his flowers: Made U Look, of course. As I looked on at Gala, there was a creepy undercurrent…an element of a dark Alice In Wonderland vibe permeated the shoot.

Continue reading

Latest & Greatest #18: The Novel by Joyce Lee

Latest & Greatest: The Novel

Over the weekend, I rediscovered The Novel by Joyce Lee which I first spotted last year in this beautiful bedroom makeover. I’m still on a huge kick for citrus hues ranging from apricot to mandarin and the tones in this photo represent everything I’m after right now.

I’m loving:

1. The Novel Print, 2. Shape Shifter Dress, 3. Givenchy Pandora Wallet, 4. Washi Tape, 5. Tassel Plume Necklace and 6. Marc by Marc Jacobs Neon Cutout Sneakers.

Check out more Latest & Greatest roundups here.
And view even more of Joyce Lee’s photography here.

The Week In Pictures: 5.31.13

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

To say I’m getting antsy for Summer is an understatement — it’s going to be a fun-filled one, with trips to New York, Minneapolis, Austin and then, stops in Greece and London right as Fall inches up. Between now and then, there’s a lot to get done but I’m a big fan of working hard and playing hard!

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Over the weekend, I pulled out a pile of some of my favorite books, removed the slip covers and stacked them up. I always forget what I own when it’s shoved away on shelves and in closets and I like the idea of using the objects around me like books, shoes and records as decoration. It’s all art to me.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

After much trial and error with marbled floors in the backyard bar, we finally defaulted to black, which I am really liking. With the pine walls, ceiling and shingles on the outside, it’s nice to have a more modern touch with the black floor. We’re getting so close to finishing up! Our back yard has never been nice (sparse grass, faded barkdust) so to watch Joey slowly transform it over the last few weeks with a freshly seeded lawn and river rock is really inspiring. We’re itching to have that party. 😉

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

I’m a creature of habit when it comes to meals but sometimes I get completely sick of everything! When those times hit, I default to the tried-and-true basics like Joe’s O’s. Gotta love them.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Over the long weekend, I knocked out the first 40 pages of the new Rock n Roll Bride Magazine and we’re moving along quickly because the second issue just completely sold out last week! 1,100 issues are gone and we still can’t believe it. I’m not one of those girls who gets obsessive over weddings but putting this magazine together has given me a whole new appreciation for the planning it takes to put one together, especially when you have a tiny budget and no planner like most of the featured couples (I skipped all that and took off to Vegas!) Kat and I are itching to show you more…which means I need to design faster. 😉

Have a super duper rad weekend, everyone. We’re babysitting Rocky’s little friend, Raleigh, who we affectionately refer to as wolf man. What a cutie!

Any plans you’re looking forward to?

Link Love: 5.30.13

link love

link love

Source: Anna Lomax

• 75 of the best Tumblr blogs for designers is jam-packed with amazing discoveries.

• I always look forward to Launched, which covers the latest blog launches and my friend Star’s beautiful new site is included in this batch!

• What the hell should you do with your life? The whole article had me cracking up, starting at the intro: “So you just graduated. Congratulations. Hopefully you spent the weekend patting yourself on the back. It took me eight years to graduate from college. And that was in the ’90s, when the internet wasn’t even any good yet.”

• Brushing up on your knowledge of espresso-based drinks? This infographic will help!

• This article about a 14-year-old who’s completely addicted to her phone and social media is frightening.

• Take a peek at rejected early drafts of iconic movie posters.

• If you travel often, Jess Lively has the best method for organizing bath products I’ve seen.

10 notable design books of 2013.

• Thanks to the stills from this post, I’m even more excited to see Behind The Candelabra now. The costumes, blow-dried hairdos…it’s all too much. Obsessed.

• 11 quick tips for writing compelling posts on your blog.

• Gala shares how she made the transition from corporate corpse to blogger babe.

• Looking for a real time waster? Check out the list of common misconceptions that Wikipedia has gathered!

2 Game Changers I Learned in Entrepreneurship Class

Game Changers

Last week, I completed a two-part entrepreneurship workshop, So You’re The Owner of a Million Dollar Company and You Don’t Even Know It! While the whole class was jaw-droppingly good from beginning to end (really, it takes a lot to keep business chit-chat interesting and Stephanie Lynn sure delivered), I thought I’d share my top two takeaways. While it’s never a walk in the park running a small business, these two points were huge eye openers for me:

1. To overcome your fears, put them on a shelf. Literally.

Hear me out: we all have fears when it comes to running a business / blog / etc. and I have a lot of them. If you’ve met me, you’ll know that I’m confident, a hard worker and I’m never afraid to seize new opportunities but at the same time, I also value stability. There’s a really fine line between craving a stable life and playing it too safe.

In class, we were asked to write a list of everything we were afraid of. I quickly scribbled down half a page of notes without a second thought. Easy enough, I figured. Fear flows out freely if you let it and glancing down at that paper, I was holding onto much more of it than I realized.

Next, we were each handed a Ziploc bag and told to place that list inside, zip it closed, take it home and place it on a very high shelf. It was time to put away those fears, once and for all.

I know this exercise sounds simple but sometimes the act of physically doing something is such a powerful thing. Just writing that list wasn’t enough — how many times have we each written those same lists when we’re scared? But the symbolism of physically putting those fears on a shelf really inspired me to finally let go and move on.

2. For your business to flourish, you MUST understand the difference between price and value.

No matter how fabulous your business is, there will always be people who come along and ask for a discount. There will always be people who want something for nothing. But if you’re not benefitting, don’t be afraid to say no. It’s hard but most of the time, these are not your ideal customers anyway.

Your ideal customers do value your offerings enough to pay you what you’re worth. They respect your talent and your experience. These customers aren’t the easiest to find at first but I promise you that they’re out there.

One of the keys to convincing your ideal customers that your product or service is worth the price you’ve set is to back that value up with a story. For instance, Stephanie used the example of her business, Sweet Spot Skirts — her story is that all of her products are manufactured in the U.S. and she provides jobs for unemployed women. She clearly outlines her commitments here.

Any time someone balks at your prices, reaffirm the value they are receiving from doing business with you. Do not lower your pricing unless you have very specific reasoning for doing so (such as a holiday sale, anniversary and so on).

If you have sales all the time and offer up a discount to anyone who comes along, you’re diluting your offerings and once you’ve gone down, it’s a tough climb back up.

Thinking back, I had come across these two concepts at earlier points in my life but sometimes it takes a certain teacher outlining specific experiences to bring them to life. And when they finally click, they’re lessons you’ll never forget.