Tag Archives: Graphic Design

Paint, Glitter + Flowers: A Peek Inside Art Bride

Nubby Twiglet: Rock n Roll Bride Magazine — Art Bride

For the most part, I spend my days at Branch rotating between creative direction and design on a mix of branding, print and web projects.

While these are the core focus of what we do, I’m always game for a surprise — something that’s a bit off the radar. Those little surprises keep you on your toes and as a creative, there’s nothing like that jolt which I think of as an equal mix of adrenaline, excitement and fear.

Nubby Twiglet: Rock n Roll Bride Magazine — Art Bride

Nubby Twiglet: Rock n Roll Bride Magazine — Art Bride

So when Kat of Rock n Roll Bride Magazine emailed me with an idea for an editorial feature that included doodling over the top of the photoshoot she’d commissioned, I was ready. I’ve always wanted to test out this style but the deadline was tight and…there were A LOT of pages to fill.

Nubby Twiglet: Rock n Roll Bride Magazine — Art Bride

My lead designer at Branch, Sam was once a fine art major and after we went over the idea, she felt we could pull it off — so we jumped in. Since this had a fine art angle, I wanted to keep the style more organic than our typical processes to see where it took us. We collaborated on a total of 14 images (on top of designing the full issue — basically, that’s where I was for the last month!), a handful outcomes of which are shown here.

Nubby Twiglet: Rock n Roll Bride Magazine — Art Bride

Nubby Twiglet: Rock n Roll Bride Magazine — Art Bride

There was a big team that made Art Bride happen (see below) and I am in love with the beautiful images they shot in London, allowing us to embellish them here in Portland, thanks to modern technology.

If you’re interested in seeing the full outcome in print, copies of Rock n Roll Bride are available here and can be shipped worldwide.

Nubby Twiglet: Rock n Roll Bride Magazine — Art Bride


Art Bride Team: Photography: Devlin Photos. Styling: Mr & Mrs Unique & The Bijou Bride.
Art Direction: Kat Williams. Hair: Lovehair & Co. Makeup: Louise Seymour.
Model: Kenya at Lenis Models. Illustrations: Branch (Shauna Haider & Samantha Sacomano).

Creative Chronicles: Managing Negative Client Feedback

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Managing Negative Client Feedback

Let’s tackle one of the hardest parts of owning a service-based business today: managing negative client feedback.

I’ve talked about the negative feedback that comes along with sharing your work publicly but negative feedback from clients can sting on a much more personal level because they’ve sought you out and hired you for your expertise.

Even if negative feedback is very rare, it can stick wth you much longer and really affect your mindset. I’ve heard stories of fellow designers wanting to throw in the towel completely or change the direction of their business after negative feedback. It can make you question everything.

Before digging into tips that can help you manage negative feedback, let’s take a trip down memory lane. Long before I was a graphic designer, I worked in retail for about 5 years selling shoes and it taught me a lot about working one-on-one with a variety of personalities.

As a salesperson, negative feedback is inevitable. Sometimes, you’ll have an off day and a customer will complain that you weren’t friendly enough, though you can’t pinpoint what actually went wrong. And on others, an irate customer may take out their aggression on you when you can’t accommodate a return, through no fault of your own.

After being in a few of these situations, it became obvious to me that when someone is upset, getting upset in response and throwing negative emotions back at them is like squirting a bunch of lighter fluid on a fire! Instead of fighting fire with fire, the first step you can take is to stay cool, calm, and collected (even if you’re dying inside).

I can vouch for this tactic working in even the diciest of situations. I once had a mentally unstable person swing a large metal shoe horn at me when she didn’t get her way but because I didn’t add negative emotions into the mix, she eventually ran out of energy, gave up and put it down. After an interaction like that, everything else seems like gravy!

Here are 5 tips to help you manage negative feedback like a pro:

1. Being honest about expectations clears up a lot of misconceptions.

An upset client often boils down to a simple disconnect — they’ve misunderstood the process and feel lost but don’t know how to communicate that. One game-changer with my business has been clearly stating a general process in our media kit. Once they’ve signed on, I attach a PDF process sheet to their email for every step and this usually answers all their questions while letting them know what to expect. Giving your clients a clear framework of what happens when will put them at ease.

2. Lending a sympathetic ear goes a long way.

As a client, there’s nothing worse than feeling misunderstood. Even a simple miscommunication can come across totally wrong over email. If this happens, get on the phone or Skype as soon as possible and clear it up. Taking the initiative is important and it shows that you care enough to make things right. After a quick chat you’ll be able to pinpoint where things went wrong and put together a plan to move forward.

3. It’s not always about you and the work.

This is the hardest one to understand because it’s not rational. On the very rare occasion when a client has really blown up and I can’t pinpoint where the anger is coming from, I take a step back and remind myself that it may be a side-effect of something else that’s happening in their life. When this happens, I think back again to my shoe selling days — whenever a customer was really upset, after talking to them at length, it never really was about the shoes. If this happens to you, talk to someone you trust to get it all out before responding because throwing negative emotions back at a client will accomplish absolutely nothing.

4. If you notice the same issues with multiple clients, use a feedback sheet.

I learned this tip from Paul Jarvis. Remember, a lot of your clients are new to hiring a professional designer and it can be hard to know what kind of feedback you find helpful. How much should they give you? How many directions should they choose? They’re not mind readers and what you think is common sense is all new to them. With Project Prescription, we added a feedback guide that teaches clients how to give you the feedback you want. This is another simple way to put clients at ease.

5. You can’t be everything to everyone.

This is something I’m still learning on a daily basis. There will be clients who you connect with from the first call and become deeply intertwined. Projects and feedback naturally flow with very little effort. And then, there will be the occasional client, who despite your best intentions, is impossible to please. Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be and cutting ties is necessary.

If you find yourself at this crossroads, remember that it’s not about letting a client down but instead caring enough about them to know that you’re not the best fit for what they want. If you find yourself in this position, take the experience and funnel it into providing the best service possible for the clients you do click with.


It’s your turn: have you received negative client feedback and how did you handle it? Did the situation turn out as you expected?

Getting Creative with Very Very V

Nubby Twiglet | Getting Creative with Very Very V

As this year winds down, there’s one personal project I’m extra excited about: Very Very V. It’s turned into something much bigger than a course and is a chance to explore design concepts for my ideal vision of a brand.

When Erika and I started working on this business a year ago, it was because we were both seeking a creative outlet not attached to a dollar amount, client expectations or a deadline.

Nubby Twiglet | Getting Creative with Very Very V

We wondered: what would happen if we threw out the pressure of delivering content by a certain date and instead, experimented like style-obsessed mad scientists who worshipped Diana Vreeland?

We took our time, allowed ideas to blossom and in the meantime, began sharing personal anecdotes on our mailing list along with black, red and pink-filled graphics over on Instagram.

Nubby Twiglet | Getting Creative with Very Very V

Each week, VVV blossoms bit by bit and we’ve moved beyond just a course. That will happen eventually but there’s talks of something so much bigger than just that: a community — a place for women who want to hone their voice and visuals. Over time, there will be products. This is just the beginning.

Nubby Twiglet | Getting Creative with Very Very V

As Very Very V continues to grow, I hope it inspires women to tell their stories honestly and fully, dress exactly the way they want, express themselves visually and be unafraid to go big.

VVV_VROOM_MOCKUP_3

If you want to keep up with VVV, you can join the mailing list and grab Vroom, a free style guide with stories to get you inspired right here.

More Than a Pretty Picture: The Story Behind the Cover

Nubby Twiglet | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 11

Good design is great but when there’s a great story behind it, that layer of depth makes it even better.

This cover Rock n Roll Bride is my favorite yet because of the story inside. Of course, the couple is beautiful and photogenic. What you can’t see is that the bride, Jaquie had been wheelchair-bound for the 8 years prior to her wedding day after a spinal cord injury left her paralyzed from the chest down.

Nubby Twiglet | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 11

After a year dedicated to intense physical therapy and countless hours spent at the gym, she surprised the audience at her ceremony by not only walking down the aisle but dancing the night away. As my designer Sam and I were laying out the cover, I thought a lot about how too many magazines focus on putting models and unattainable ideals on their covers instead of real people with amazing stories that can inspire us to strive for more in our own lives.

When I read an article or blog post, I want the grit, I want the comeback story and I want the passion. I want to feel like maybe the seemingly impossible is somehow possible, that whatever setback there is can be overcome, even when I’ve heard otherwise.

Nubby Twiglet | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 11

The timing of this cover really hit home because my cousin’s surgery had complications and he hasn’t been able to walk since. It’s been a very difficult time and this cover and story is a reminder that anything is possible. This year has been a tough one for many people I know and perhaps you, too. Working on a magazine dedicated to real weddings and love always leaves me feeling good about those happy moments in the world.

Nubby Twiglet | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue 11

If you’d like to pick up a copy of issue 11, you can have it shipped straight to your doorstep!

This post is a reminder that sometimes, all you need is love.

Create a Seamless Client Experience with Project Prescription for Photographers

Nubby Twiglet | Project Prescription Photography

Photographers, I’ve heard you loud and clear: you need a process that works, too.

The one thing I know for sure after freelancing for a decade is that earning a living as a creative becomes easier when you have a process in place that you believe in and can easily relay to your clients. The more they understand about how you work, the easier it becomes for them to commit to working with you — because quite simply, it alleviates the fear of the unknown.

Most creative school programs teach you how to produce epic, jaw dropping work but the trade-off is that they don’t teach you how to be a good businessperson. And, as much as creativity matters, it’s not enough on its own to pay the bills.

Nubby Twiglet | Project Prescription Photography

The Backstory

Today I want to share a new version of Project Prescription with you, specifically designed for photographers.

As you probably know by now, Project Prescription is a set of customizable documents I originally created with Paul Jarvis earlier this year to help graphic designers take the guesswork out of creating a client process, from beginning to finish.

Creating this offering seemed like a no-brainer because I’d struggled so much in the beginning of my career conveying my worth to potential clients and it held me back big time. Because I didn’t know how to explain the strategy and steps behind what I did, I wasn’t able to charge livable rates and lacked confidence in presenting the work I produced.

After years of trial and error, I created my own process and perfected it across hundreds of client projects. Project Prescription for Designers is based on the processes both Paul and I use on a daily basis to run our respective studios.

Shortly after launching Project Prescription for Designers, Paul I started receiving emails from other creatives who were also struggling to figure out a process that worked. What we didn’t expect were the emails we received from another audience altogether: photographers.

Nubby Twiglet | Project Prescription Photography

Project Prescription for Photographers

Luke Copping is a photographer I admire immensely. He was one of my first-ever clients back in 2009 and we’ve built out dozens of projects together in the years since. I admire his creative work, his dedication to the photography industry as a whole and his willingness to help other photographers understand how to build viable businesses.

What sets Luke apart from his peers is that he isn’t just a photographer — he is a process fanatic. Luke has every step of his creative process precisely documented and knows how to clearly communicate to his clients how he works and how they’ll benefit directly from that work. As a professional that not only manages his own studio but is often traveling to remote sets for extended periods of time, he has to be extremely organized.

For Paul and I, partnering with Luke to create Project Prescription Photography made perfect sense. After years in the trenches working directly with professional clients, he knows what it takes to produce stunning images. But, like any photographer will tell you, snapping the perfect shot is just one piece of the overall puzzle. There are contracts, shot lists, questionnaires and so much more that happen before that even takes place.

Nubby Twiglet | Project Prescription Photography

What’s Included

Project Prescription Photography includes the following:

• 20 fully customizable process documents broken into 4 areas including Onboarding, Pre-Production, The Shoot and Post-Production & Delivery (read all the descriptions here).

• InDesign and Google Doc file formats so you can use whichever software you’re most comfortable with.

• U.S. sizing (8.5 x 11) and European sizing (A4) for every document.

• A screencast that explains how to quickly customize your documents in InDesign including changing out the logos, colors and fonts.

Project Prescription Photography is available at a discounted launch price of $88.00 for this week only. After that, it will return to its regular price of $108.00.

Nubby Twiglet | Project Prescription Photography

Whether you’re a beginning photographer looking to build a process from scratch or a seasoned photographer interested in perfecting your process, Project Prescription Photography makes it easy to customize your documents and get back to what you’re most passionate about — your work.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about Luke’s background and how having a process transformed his own career, you can read more about his experiences right here.