Link Love: 8.16.12

link love

link love


Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern.


• Kat of Rock n Roll Bride has some great insight on why sometimes it’s good to look back in order to move forward as bloggers.

• How do you know if you’re ready to go freelance? Read this level-headed advice!

• If you’re interested in reading more about the development of my new site and learning more about responsive layouts, Star shares it all in her recap!

• As a blogger, how often should you post? It might not be as often as you think!

•  Elsie explains how to use color stories in your projects. This is something I consider with every new design project.

• A peek inside the world of designer fashion for toddlers. Really?!

• Out of Prints is selling vintage Pantone Letraset posters from the 80s. So cool! If I had the wall space, I’d definitely be snapping one up.

• This is New York now shows you Instagram photos in New York taken in real time.

• Around 90% of the clothing Americans buy is imported. Why outsourcing clothing manufacturing runs deeper and affects us more than we realize.

• W+K London talks about both losing and winning pitches.

• The true secret to success: gratitude.

Computer Arts Collection: Illustration

computer arts collection illustration

So I’m a little late to the game when it comes to the Computer Arts Collection, which is an annual series of six in-depth guides (a new edition is released every two months) full of inspiration from each of the following disciplines: graphic design, typography, illustration, branding, photography and advertising. But nevertheless, I am so glad I found this awesome set of ultra thick magazines that are so jam-packed full of content that they’re more in line with softcover books.

computer arts collection illustration

I was in Barnes and Noble last month and spotted the retro-futuristic cover for the Illustration Issue (number 3 in the series) and had to know more. This isn’t just your run-of-the-mill creative magazine. Each issue features industry leaders who share their processes and insights. And even better, there’s a talent directory in the back of each issue listing contact info for the best of the best!

computer arts collection illustration

Beyond that, at 200+ pages, I was blown away at just how well the content is designed. Multiple weights of paper, many saturated with colorful patterns and tons of unique graphic lockups make this a must-have if you’re in most creative fields. I could have easily scanned another 50+ pages because the content is THAT good…and I’m not even an illustrator. I’m now backtracking since I discovered these so late, trying to pick up the first two issues I missed (graphic design and typography).

computer arts collection illustration

Enough of my over-the-top excitement. All I can say is that this series is amazing and will send your creative juices into overdrive. All issues are available here.

Skate or Die DIY: Customize Your Own Skate Deck!

scotch blue tape DIY skate deck

When ScotchBlue Tape invited me to take part in their D.I.Y. creative challenge, I was both honored and flattered but I’ll be honest here: my mind when blank when it came to dreaming up a project. I’m used to spending my days designing behind the computer but feel like a fish out of water when it comes to handcrafting most things — luckily, this is Joey’s strong suit! He started his own line of skateboards last year and we’d often talked about collaborating on a design but it was one of those projects we never seemed to get around to. We quickly realized that this was our chance to finally make it a reality!

scotch blue tape DIY skate deck

To get started, I built out some inspiration boards to give Joey and idea of the direction I wanted my design to take. Pinterest is great but I thought it would be WAY more fun to curate my ideas on cork boards. I knew I wanted the design to be geometric, have at least one pop of color and include my old standbys, type and stripes.

scotch blue tape DIY skate deck


These are the supplies that are needed:

• Blank Skate Deck. Joey carved mine himself (see above) out of reclaimed wood from a furniture shop that was 9 ply but you can pick up a blank deck at most skate shops.

• Print-outs of Design. We printed out my design in three 11×17 inch sheets (black and white is fine on normal paper) that were then taped together as a stencil.

• ScotchBlue Tape. The thinner width was especially awesome for knocking out our stripes.

• Spray Adhesive: You’ll need this to affix the paper stencil to the tape. We used a 3M version.

• Spraypaint. We used Krylon brand with a gloss finish in black, white and yellow (see above) and finished with a clear coat to seal it.

• X-acto Knife. You’ll need to cut out the pattern so you can spray paint the design.

• Prep: Joey cut this deck out with a jigsaw himself, measured and drilled the holes for trucks and sanded it to a smooth finish. If you purchase one from a skate shop, the holes will already be drilled.


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1. Start with a base coat of spraypaint (we used white) and let it dry for a full day to make sure it isn’t tacky.

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2. Cover the entire bottom surface of the skate deck in ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape.

3. This is the surface that the stencil will be cut out of.

scotch blue tape DIY skate deck

4. Cover the entire taped surface of the skate deck in spray adhesive.

5. Next, affix the stencil to the tacky surface and cut off the excess.

scotch blue tape DIY skate deck

6. Cut out the black portions of the stencil using an X-acto knife. Remember to cut through both the stencil AND the painter’s tape. The stencil and tape are affixed together so peel both off to reveal the painted surface.

7. All black portions of the stencil should be removed EXCEPT for the A.

scotch blue tape DIY skate deck

8. The first coat of black spraypaint is applied. The A was masked over with ScotchBlue Tape because we were going to apply a different color to it later in the process.

9. Remove the rest of the stencil.

scotch blue tape DIY skate deck

10. This is the result.

11. Peel off the A section of the stencil and SAVE IT!

scotch blue tape DIY skate deck

12. Create a fresh, inverted circle stencil.

13. Use paper and ScotchBlue Tape to mask the entire skate deck with exception of the circle and a single stripe (these are the areas we want to make yellow).

scotch blue tape DIY skate deck

14. Spraypaint the yellow sections. Let this dry for a few hours to ensure nice, crisp edges.

15. Remove all paper and tape to reveal the yellow. Then, replace with the A that was set aside earlier. Mask off everything that should NOT be black. Apply one final coat of black paint and let this dry for a few hours.

scotch blue tape DIY skate deck

16. Once surface is dry, remove all masking to reveal your final design!

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Joey wasn’t quite finished yet, though. Before I took my deck out for a spin, he applied grip tape to the surface and sliced out my trademark cross symbol. The perfect finishing touch! Get creative here — you can cut out anything in the grip tape you can dream up!

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I loved my finished design so much I put it on display in my office. Nothing beats a piece of functional art! If you have any questions at all about the process, please let me know in the comments and we’ll do our best to respond! And if you make your own skate deck design, let us know — we’d love to see it!


scotch blue tape DIY skate deck

This post is a collaboration with ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape. Visit Scotch Blue Tape on Facebook to learn how to win rad stuff and check out the other participants’ projects in the gallery. All concepts and designs within this post were created in partnership with Joey Maas.

The Week In Pictures: 8.11.12

week in pictures

week in pictures

Wowza, what a week! Thanks so much for all your thoughtful and congratulatory comments on my five year anniversary post! I wasn’t exactly sure how things would go down with the relaunch because during this whole redesign process, I didn’t tell a single soul except for two people: my close friend (and developer) Star and Joey.

I’d been wanting to redesign my blog for two full years but I just never seemed to have a chunk of time to put my vision into Photoshop and sit with it to see how it felt outside of my head. Over that time, I did make notes of what I liked, gathered research and screen shots and when it was time, I did the full layout in a few hours during one sitting. I just really wanted it done. It was time to stop making excuses to myself and get it out there.

I had two reasons for not announcing the revamp before it went live: I didn’t want to let anyone down if it took forever (which it did). And also, I didn’t want to be swayed by outside feedback. It can be hard to keep a big personal project to yourself but I’ve learned that first and foremost, you have to be happy with the design and not get too wrapped up in what other people think.

week in pictures

Someone recently asked me what my favorite part of the design process is. I really enjoy the beginning of a new project when the possibilities still seem endless and feeling the wave of inspiration that comes with gathering visual research. Over the weekend I pulled away from the internet to flip through one of my favorite design books, Letterhead and Logo Design 11 (which I’ve mentioned a lot on here before because it’s full of super good branding examples, many of which I’ve never spotted online).

week in pictures

There are many days when I revert to the simplicity of black jeans and a t-shirt but to dress things up, I throw on a colorful scarf. I found this version by Cooperative on the sale rack at Urban Outfitters for less than $10.00 but I can’t seem to find it on their site. It’s a super lightweight weave, perfect for the summer.

week in pictures

We took Rocky on a long walk through the rose gardens and neighborhoods near the zoo over the weekend and I loved the way this regal statue was displayed in the window. It’s like he’s saying, “Hello, world!”

week in pictures

New notebooks are the best. These ones from Urban Outfitters are pretty roomy and ruled and there are a bunch of great colors. I’m nearly a third of the way through the first one already! List making and note taking is good for the soul. And with that, I’m off. My mom is in town visiting and I’m very much looking forward to some family time. Have a rad weekend!

Link Love: 8.9.12

link love

link love


Alex Box for Rankin.


• Why is everyone on the internet so angry? These days, online comments “are extraordinarily aggressive, without resolving anything…at the end of it you can’t possibly feel like anybody heard you. Having a strong emotional experience that doesn’t resolve itself in any healthy way can’t be a good thing.”

• I’m so sad to hear that legendary fashion icon Anna Piaggi has died. Her colorful style will be missed.

• I love a good set of Photoshop brushes and Breanna Rose has gathered up a great selection of faux watercolor ones. Score!

• Emily Henderson shares 15 do’s and don’t's when trying to get an internship (and keep it)!

• The New York Times weighs in on our preoccupation with Pinterest, Tumblr and the trouble with curation.

• I’ve enjoyed reading how Makeshift Society is coming together. It’s a private clubhouse in San Francisco where creative folks can mingle, take classes and get work done. I wish there was a branch in Portland!

• So funny! What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball?

• I love the thought of buying new experiences, not things. Some of my all-time best memories revolve around trips I’ve taken.

• Here’s a fun project: learn how to make a handwritten D.I.Y. poster.

Cheers to Five Years

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When I started my first blog in 2001 and mashed two of my nicknames together in the title box and hit submit, I had no idea how much it would impact my life and career. At that time, I was a 20 year old getting my general credits out of the way at a community college down the road from my dad’s house and blogging seemed like a fun way to pass my free time. I worked in an office helping out the accounting department during summer break and read a lot of fashion magazines; I didn’t have an inkling that design was the path I would take at that time.

In 2007, as I noticed many of my friends jumping from our tight-knit community on Live Journal to their own domains, I made the switch as well. I’d registered Nubbytwiglet.com a few years earlier but it was little more than a splash page (remember those?!) The shift happened when I was on a whirlwind 24 hour trip to LA — my friend Star (also a lover of red, stripes and crosses) was getting into web development and told me that blogs were the wave of the future. I was in school for design by that point and wasn’t so sure that I wanted to be so public; all the designers I admired were a bit mysterious. We had a heart-to-heart talk at a Coffee Bean in Hollywood: I wondered, if I shared who I was and more of my life, would my work be taken as seriously? Star convinced me that the new wave of creatives were different and that it was okay to step out from the shadows and share. So I gritted my teeth and in August 2007, I hit publish on my first post here.

I wasn’t exactly sure what I should post about so I just shared what came naturally; travel shots, my art, school design assignments and vintage graphic design books. I was lucky because although my following was small at first, it was loyal — I still count many of the people I met through Live Journal over ten years ago as close friends today.

Blogging is far from easy but it’s helped me find my voice, share my work with the world and make friends I never would have otherwise made. To say that blogging has changed my life is an understatement. Thanks most of all to Star for sticking with me and helping me get this third revamp of my site live — it’s been an amazing ride.

This design has come full circle, employing my love of Swiss design, minimalism, red and the symbolism of the cross. I’d been wanting to update the look of this blog for the last two years but having the time proved to be elusive — I’d planned it all out in my head for so long that it came together in two quick drafts when I finally sat down. I hope you like it! Star and I are still working out some bugs (including the slow loading times — sorry!) but we’re almost there.

Thanks so much for your continued support, encouragement, feedback and enthusiasm. It means the world to me.

Made U Look: Santa Monica Pier

Nubby Twiglet Made U Look Santa Monica

The third and final scene in our Santa Monica adventure with Made U Look took place at the iconic Santa Monica Pier. Between the beach, arcade, food stands, rides and playground, there’s a lot going on and it was unsurprisingly packed. The sun getting close to setting for the day so instead of changing, Gala and I made a quick beeline from the canary yellow library to the beach (about a five minute walk).

Nubby Twiglet Made U Look Santa Monica

We had just been on the pier that morning eating yogurt and riding bikes (how Californian of us!) but by this time, the level of excitement was much higher as we weaved our way through the crowds towards the rides.

Nubby Twiglet Made U Look Santa Monica

Nubby Twiglet Made U Look Santa Monica

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