Tag Archives: Graphic Design

Currently 01: A Peek Into The Graphic Design Side Of Life

Currently 01: A Peek Into The Graphic Design Side Of Life

Hi, I’ve missed you guys a ton! It’s been a very, very full month around here with family, work, travel and everything in-between.

When I’ve had some time to reflect, I start realizing how much I haven’t shared with you about what types of creative projects I’m working on on a daily basis, even though that’s what I spend the majority of my time doing.

The last year in particular has been pretty much nonstop at Branch and I’m embarrassed to admit that some of the projects we finished last year (or even before that!) are still waiting to be shared.

At this point, as soon as a project wraps, I deliver the assets, close it out and drop it into the Archive folder…only to discover I never shared it a few months down the road. Rinse and repeat…like 20 times.

There’s a lot to catch up on and I know it’s now or never — but in the meantime, I wanted to give you a peek at some of them. I’m lucky to spend my days working with an amazing roster of clients who let me have a ton of freedom to create cool stuff for them. Instead of keeping everything hidden away, it’s time to share and give a bunch of them a shout-out!

Here we go!

Currently 01: A Peek Into The Graphic Design Side Of Life

0. Luke Copping Newsprint Promo (top): We took Luke’s super polished images and applied them to newsprint for a really cool, analog feel. I have a copy sitting in my office that I still need to share but you can check it out here.

1. Radical Self Love Coven Branding: This is the first (and only!) time I’ve gotten to create a logo with a witch hat. Thank Gala Darling for that one! The logo is for a course all about living a more magical life that you can check out here.

2. Places Soap Branding and Packaging: This has been a massive undertaking over the last 6 months as I created a new brand and packaging system for a travel-inspired soap brand. The packaging has gold foil accents and we just approved the print files yesterday — can’t wait to show you the full line as it rolls out to stores!

Currently 01: A Peek Into The Graphic Design Side Of Life

3. Future So Bright Course: I’ve been working with Ellen Fondiler and another partner to create a course that helps graphic designers land their dream job. I so wish this had existed when I was graduating college and unsure of what my career options were. Hope it instead helps you!

4. Luke Copping Guide: I’ve been working with photographer Luke Copping since 2009 and we’ve created some great stuff together. We just finished this digital Getting Started Guide which is a cross between a portfolio and media kit.

Currently 01: A Peek Into The Graphic Design Side Of Life

5. Kate Eckman Branding and Website: I met Kate last year at our final Blogcademy class and we had an immediate connection — she’s a well-known model and QVC beauty host but literally one of the most down-to-earth ladies I’ve ever met. Her new site and brand is launching next week!

6. SCSD Branding: I can’t say much about this brand yet because it’s still in-progress but it’s super fun with a female focus and a bold color scheme with tropical-inspired accents.

7. Project Prescription: You’ve probably heard me mention this business that I founded with Paul Jarvis and we’ve got some exciting things coming up! We’re relaunching next month with a revamped document bundle including A4 sizing and Google Docs. Sign up to our list for free document samples!

8. TBW Beauty Packaging: I can’t share much about this new line of products yet because it’s in-progress but it will feature perfume sprays made of natural floral essences. So pretty!

9. DQ Branding: This is one of my favorite branding outcomes of all-time but it’s still very much in progress so I can’t share much yet. All I can say is that it involves an eye and rose gold. Yippee!

10. Rock n Roll Bride Magazine: We’ve been designing this alternative wedding magazine for a year now and the content just keeps getting better. The new issue just went on sale and features an epic David Bowie bridal-inspired tribute and lots helpful of advice. Take a look!

Currently 01: A Peek Into The Graphic Design Side Of Life

11. Art Of V Course: This is a side project I’m working on with Erika Lyremark with the goal of teaching women how to be more creative and leverage more of who they are in their brands. It’s something I’ve always wanted to teach because at its core, branding should be relatable and understandable.

12. B Branding and Website: This is still in-progress and is a brand for a new Australian stationery company. We’ve wrapped the branding and print materials and are now hard at work on the website. More soon!

13. Mick Hayes Collateral: I’ve been working with musician Mick Hayes since last year and we’ve been building his brand out to create custom posters, business cards and now, his latest album packaging. It’s so fun to see a brand come together, piece by piece.

14. Bad Witch Workout Branding: This is another brand we recently created for Gala Darling. I’m obsessed!

15. Chutzpah Creative Website: This website has been a huge labor of love based on the branding we did for Chutzpah last year. It just launched last night. Check it out!

Currently 01: A Peek Into The Graphic Design Side Of Life

16. Rock n Roll Bride Magazine: With the redesign of the inside spreads, we also revamped the outside, matching the logo gradient to the bride’s dress and switching up the headline fonts. Grab a copy here!

17. Artifact Creative Recycle Branding and Website: Over the last year, we worked with Portland boutique Artifact to update their branding, signage, print materials and website. Loving the simplicity of this outcome!

18. Gathered Home Branding: This soon-to-be interior design store will blow your mind. They have such a bold, beautiful aesthetic. There are two variations of this branding and a lot of colorful assets I’ll share soon.

19. Ellen Fondiler Branding and Website: Since Ellen’s brand, collateral and website launched, it’s been amazing to watch her grow as a career strategist. I love her no-nonsense advice so much that we’ve partnered up on Future so Bright (above).

Currently 01: A Peek Into The Graphic Design Side Of Life

20. Radical Self Love Coven Workbook: Gala’s first module is going live soon so we just created this 40 page workbook to accompany it. I love the idea of making magic more modern and accessible and this is reflected in the design.

21. B Media Kit: This is a snippet from the media kit of the Australian stationery brand I mentioned above. As soon as the site launches, I’ll share everything! The color combo of green and peach paired with a concrete texture makes me excited!

22. P2 Photography branding: I fell in love with Jenna and Jon of P2 as soon as I connected with them last year — this photography duo is incredibly talented and down to earth. We kept their brand very crisp and cool since they work with a lot of industrial clients.


So there you have it! This is a super condensed version of what I’ve been up to on the creative work front and I hope to share more soon on many of these…and the dozen more I probably forgot. Ha!

Now, it’s your turn.

What are you excited to be working on these days?
A personal project? Freelance work?
Something else?

Creative Chronicles: The Battle for Quality Over Quantity

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Today I want to talk about something we face constantly as designers in a fast-paced world: making the choice between quality and quantity.

Every single week, I get inquiries from potential new clients who need something done right away. More like yesterday. And trust me, I get the urgency. The online world is evolving fast and small businesses are doing everything they can to stay ahead of the curve. Updated branding, marketing materials and websites help project the right image. The sooner they can implement updates, the sooner they can potentially book up and sell more.

Even though I get it (I run small businesses myself), I won’t bend my processes or timelines to make it happen. In this world, being the cheapest and / or fastest is a race to the bottom because there’s always someone who can slice margins even thinner. It’s best not to compete on those principles. A few sloppy jobs to appease clients or make a quick buck will do nothing for your image and hurt your bottom line in the long run.

What you do have is the quality of work you put into the world, your ethics, your process, your unbeatable customer service and your personal story. Use these things to convey your worth instead.

Hold Your Ground

Breaking processes and bending ethics to make a quick buck is never a good idea. Things will go bad. Every time I have made an exception, I’ve learned the lesson again. It’s painful when you end up with a disappointed client and it’s your fault because you caved.

A few weeks ago, I was on a call with a client I really wanted to work with and after explaining my branding process, they mentioned they’d already done most of the steps before with another designer. Couldn’t we just skip ahead and use that content, they wondered?

While I explained that it would be helpful to see what they had, we still needed to go through my process in order to get the best results. We’re now a few steps into my process and making some major tweaks to the outcome of their new branding based on things I learned from their questionnaire and pins that weren’t immediately obvious during our original call. If I’d skipped the steps, we would be at a much different outcome (and not necessarily a happy one).

Red Flags

If you’ve explained your process and why it works but a potential customer is adamant that you change it for them, it’s usually a red flag that they’re not an ideal fit. And that’s totally okay — keep a list of referrals on hand for these situations so they can find a better suited partner.

Always remember that you’re a professional. You’ve done this before. There’s a reason for why you do what you do. You have the proven results to back it up. For a project to run smoothly, there has to be a level of mutual respect and a process in place.

I know how tempting it can be to stack on more work, bend your ethics and skip steps in processes to make more money but is it worth it? Does it make you feel good? That’s the only answer you need.

Quality over quantity, always.

P.S. If you need some help with your client process, I created Project Prescription with Paul Jarvis to make it easier.


Check out even more Creative Chronicles posts here.

Get Your Small Business Questions Answered LIVE with Project Prescription!

2016_NUBBYTWIGLET_PP_1

Processes, processes, processes. Who needs them?

Creative small businesses, that’s who.

When I started freelancing a decade ago, I was full of creativity but came up short on knowing how to manage client expectations and deliverables. Everything looked good from the outside but on the inside, my business was a mess. The turning point was when I launched Branch. I took the time to build out process documents that took potential clients from interested to signed with very little effort and since then, my business has grown massively.

Nothing changed about the work I produced but everything changed about the processes I used. It worked so well that I partnered with Paul Jarvis to create Project Prescription.

When it comes to running design studios, we’d like to share what we do, how we do it, and most importantly, why — as well as answer any questions you’ve got TODAY at 1pm PST.

You can watch us LIVE and ask us questions right here.

See you soon!

Where Do You Work? Here’s Where My Creativity Happens.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

I’m endlessly fascinated by people’s creative workspaces. When I get really into what they do, whether it’s design, photography, painting or another creative endeavor, the next thing I wonder about is where the magic happens. I love the behind-the-scenes shots and also, learning more about their processes.

In a world that feels increasingly digital and disconnected, seeing where someone works feels grounding. It reminds us that what they did didn’t just magically appear online — it was crafted by a fellow human through a process of trial and error.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

I’ve been in my current studio space for nearly a year and a half now and it still makes coming to work feel exciting. To this day, it’s not perfect and I’m okay with that. I shot these photos yesterday without any staging or rearranging to show you what it’s like in its current state.

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Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

The prep-time before I moved into this space was nearly non-existent so you can see that there’s no finishing trim along the bottom of the walls. The plywood floors show grime quickly. The mostly brick structure and old windows make for some very cold winters which means that Samantha (my design assistant) and I are usually sitting next to a space heater. But I love it. I love the feeling of turning a key every morning and opening the doors to a space I can call my own.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

You might remember this post from early last year, right after I moved in. The space looked pretty good but has shifted quite a bit since then. The desk got switched out to a large kitchen table with space for two iMacs. My flat files moved in to house print samples and office supplies. A ton of succulents were added. Small switches in furniture and objects has meant that everything feels more organized and purposeful now.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

While I adore this current studio, it’s number 5 as far as creative spaces go. One thing that can be deceiving with having a blog (and being online in general) is to just show where you are now — because that never tells the full story. I’m one of those people who LOVES the story behind the story. With this space being a personal blog and a way to connect with you, things will never be picture perfect. That’s real life. Are you ready to take a little trip down memory lane with me?

My Past Creative Spaces

I pulled out a hard drive last night that was so old it needed to plug into a wall on one end and a USB on the other! It’s the size of a stack of journals and makes a loud, whizzing sound. I started digging for photos of my previous creative spaces — and wow, were they loud and messy! I could only find photos of the last two but I’ll tell you about all of them.

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

Space #1: The first was in my childhood room at my dad’s house — it’s where I started blogging on Live Journal and where my business ideas began! My dad helped me pick out bright red paint for the walls when I was a teenager, even though it made him cringe. Haha.

Space #2: My next space was in a house I shared with four guy roommates from 2005 to 2007. It was my first time living away from home so I had a lot of fun experimenting with decor. Thinking back now, it was a cluttered mess! This was my space all through design school.

Space #3: In 2007, I moved into a rental that had more room and privacy. It’s where my blog really grew and I built my freelance business while working my first full-time design job. There are some photos of it mixed into these collages.

Space #4: In 2009, my brother and I bought our house and it had enough room for me to set up a dedicated office space across the hall from my room. Over the course of two years, I went from a barren room to a well-designed space. This is the room where I launched Branch in 2013. Most of the photos in these collages were taken here. It’s since been redone and looks like this!

Nubby Twiglet | We Are Branch Studio

Space #5: After a year of running Branch from the spare room at home, I signed a lease for a studio in my neighborhood filled with other creatives and this is where I’m at currently. I love it but it’s good to remember that it wasn’t an overnight transition — in fact, it took nine years to get from my room at my dad’s house to here!

If you’re dreaming of having your own dedicated space, I want to remind you that it’s not out of reach. One of my favorite mottos is, “Do what you can with what you’ve got.” It’s definitely kept me going when things were less than ideal and makes me appreciate what I have now even more.


Your turn: I’d love to hear about your creative space! Do you work from home, in a co-working space or a favorite coffee shop? What do you love about it? What would your dream space be like?

Creative Chronicles: Five Places to Buy Fonts

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles #12: Five Places to Buy Fonts

Let’s get down to one of the basics you probably use every single day as a designer: fonts.

To stand out from the crowd, good fonts matter big time. Yes, there are dozens of free font sites out there but they’re not always created equally. The kerning in free fonts may be off and some important characters are most likely missing from the glyphs.

These days, Branch often works on upwards of five unique branding projects at any given time so I buy a ton of fonts. After all, even if you have a defined style, you want each project to stand apart on its own as much as possible.

These are the five places I love buying fonts from, each with different strengths and varied selections:

1. You Work For Them

I’ve been shopping at YWFT for so long that I remember when they specialized in design books! Their font selection is solid and while they do have over 40,000 fonts, they are neatly organized with simple thumbnail previews so you can scroll through quickly. The basics are thoroughly covered but there are a lot of fun gems as well, like the retro section.

2. Hoefler & Co.

If you have a bigger font budget, buying a few complete families is a great investment and Hoefler & Co. has some of the strongest options around. They’ve been around for over 25 years and take great care in everything they produce. My personal favorites (that I use on a near-daily basis!) are Archer, Gotham, Knockout and Chronicle.

3. House Industries

If your style veers more towards midcentury modern and funky, House is your place. I love them so much that I have their beautiful screen printed posters on each side of my bed! Also, do yourself a favor and sign up for their free catalog. I use a lot of House fonts in projects but my all-time favorite is Eames Century Modern. I also love that this foundry uses its best-selling fonts on home goods, too. I’ve long dreamed of having the Neutraface address tiles on a future house.

4. The Designer’s Foundry

This site works with dozens of international designers to produce beautiful custom fonts. They are always on the cutting edge of trends but manage to keep their selection super tight with a big focus on affordability. I have a huge crush on Kitune, Marle and Selador. If you’re working with younger, edgier brands, start here for font research.

5. Creative Market

I’ll be the first to admit that Creative Market is more ideal for buying assets like textures, mockups and imagery but I do use them a lot for unique handwritten fonts because they have many talented letterers selling their goods on the site. Creative Market has some amazing font options I’ve never seen anywhere else but be careful to read the licensing fine print because it’s not as clear-cut for commercial use. Font-wise, I’m a big fan of Madina Script and Faith & Glory.

I hope these font site recommendations inspire you to invest in your personal library. And if you have recommendations of other places you swear by, please share them in the comments!


Check out even more Creative Chronicles posts here.

Streamline Design Processes With Project Prescription + A Special Discount!

Nubby Twiglet | Streamline Processes With Project Prescription

The word “process” is so unsexy. But oh, is it necessary when you’re trying to make a living as a creative.

I learned the value of having a process the hard way because it wasn’t something we dug into at school or at most of my corporate jobs.

So, when I went out on my own, there was a lot of learning to do. As these things usually go, in the beginning, it was difficult, painful and resulted in unhappy clients. I always knew it wasn’t the work I was producing but how I presented and delivered it.

Clients first take notice of your work but your process is what keeps them coming back for more. On nearly every call I’ve had since starting Branch, I explain our in-depth process and it almost always seals the deal. Your goal as a designer is not just producing awesome work but also making your clients feel comfortable and at ease. The more at home you make them feel, they more likely they are to stick with you.

What Is Project Prescription?

I’ve joined forces with fellow freelancer Paul Jarvis to produce a set of digital documents that enable you to bypass the trial and error of developing a process of working with clients.

As we explain, “This isn’t theory about what might work, it’s hard data from the trenches on what does work. And now we’re sharing exactly what you need to do the same in gorgeous documents, checklists and processes.”

Nubby Twiglet | Streamline Processes With Project Prescription

What Documents Are Included?

Part 1: Exposure

Use these documents to bring in a steady flow of interested clients.

1. Media kit: Showcase your brand, skills, clients and success stories. This is the first time I’ve ever offered a pre-designed media kit template and trust me, the price is worth just this alone!

2. Getting Started Guide: Automate how you take clients from interested to hired with project links, testimonials and an outline of how you can work together.

3. Potential/Signed Leads: A simple spreadsheet to help you keep track of project bids you’ve created and won so you know where you stand.

4. Bookkeeping: Track money coming in and going out so you know where your budget is going.


Part 2: Onboarding

Take your clients from interested to signed off on.

5. Questionnaire: This is formatted with questions to ask your client about their project so you’re well informed.

6. Estimate: A list of deliverables, pricing and timing of a potential project for approval.

7. Onboarding steps/process: This simple chart helps you educate and design the experience of working with you from start to finish.

8. Project Checklist: Keep track of what’s needed to start each project so there’s no last minute scrambling.

9. Project Proposal: A standard terms and conditions document to make sure you’re on the same page with your client before the work starts.


Part 3: Project

Once you’re hired, it’s important to make sure the project stays on track and runs smoothly.

10. Invoice: We’ve included the information you need to get paid quickly and easily.

11. Client Evaluation: Use this internal document to figure out if a client is a good fit.

12. Feedback Guide: I wish I had this when I was starting out! This sheet teaches clients how to give you the feedback you want and need.

13. Presentation: This has a bunch of pre-formatted page templates to help you present work that gets signed off on quickly.

14. Post Launch Questionnaire: Learn what went right (and didn’t) and mine for testimonials.

15. Follow Up: This document outlines a schedule for staying in touch.

There you go! There’s a lot of documents in this pack (and by no means do you need to use every single one of them) but we want you to be prepared as your business grows.

As I mentioned last week, having a solid process was the key difference between just getting by as a freelancer and growing my studio into a six-figure business. My goal with these documents is to take the guess-work out of designing a process that works.

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Special Offer

We’re running an introductory offer of $69.00 for Project Prescription, no promo codes necessary. Just click through and buy! In less than a week, the price will return to $89.00.

Once again, thanks for your support during this launch and I hope these documents help you grow your business. If you have any questions about Project Prescription, let me know in the comments! -Shauna

Creative Chronicles: Streamline Processes, Teach Clients How To Treat You and Charge More with Project Prescription

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Streamlining Processes and Teaching Clients How To Treat You with The Project Prescription

When I started freelancing ten years ago:

1. I assumed that my creativity alone would be enough to stand on.

2. I thought that my great ideas and follow-through would be enough to earn a full-time living.

3. I assumed that by saying nothing, my clients would automatically know how to treat me.

And….then I learned the hard way that none of the above were true.

Does earning a living as a freelance designer feel like an uphill battle but you’re not sure how to transform your career into something more lucrative? I feel you — because I spent years in the same boat, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Streamlining Processes and Teaching Clients How To Treat You with The Project Prescription

The Process Problem

From the beginning of my career, I had a strong sense of style but no matter how creative my ideas were, at times I struggled to get work approved and even worse, to charge what it was worth.

Designers can be a sensitive bunch and when things didn’t go my way, I often took the rejection personally.

My issues had nothing to do with creativity or talent and everything to do with teaching my clients what to expect. My creative work wasn’t falling flat….but my processes were.

As you navigate the tricky world of running a freelance business, one thing becomes very clear: producing creative work is only half of the equation. The other half is less obvious but it’s just as important.

Processes are everything. Without them, you’re missing the opportunity to increase your output, get treated fairly and earn what you deserve.

Having a process wasn’t always clear to me and for good reason: nobody likes to openly discuss their internal processes.

And, can you blame them?

It’s their so-called “secret sauce” and if they give it away, they’ve essentially handed over what makes them unique. While design style is important, how you present it and convey your value to clients is what makes you a living.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Streamlining Processes and Teaching Clients How To Treat You with The Project Prescription

The Shift

What finally changed for me?

I worked at a lot of studios, attended plenty of workshops and retreats, asked a ton of questions and swapped ideas with fellow freelancers. I kept digging until I’d cobbled together a process. Then, I launched Branch and tested it out a few dozen times, making tweaks along the way.

Once I was happy with my process, I started thinking: if I struggled for so long with this, there has to be others who feel the same way.

And, let’s be honest here: processes can take a lot of time to develop. When you have projects to get done, the last thing you want to do is dump a bunch of time into something you’re not sure will even work.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Streamlining Processes and Teaching Clients How To Treat You with The Project Prescription

The Simple Solution

I had an idea to share ready-made process documents but knew it could be better so I reached out to Paul Jarvis. He’s worked with the likes of Marie Forleo, Danielle LaPorte and dozens of others over the last 17 years and, as you can guess, his process is SOLID.

With our partnership, Project Prescription was born: a set of 15 fully customizable documents so you can quickly add your branding, colors and fonts to a pre-set formula and get back what you love — the creative side of things.

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Streamlining Processes and Teaching Clients How To Treat You with The Project Prescription

Interested?

Sign up for our mailing list for an exclusive download of two free documents plus a specially priced offer when Project Prescription launches.

Developing a process for your creative business doesn’t have to be intimidating and full of unknowns. Project Prescription launches February 7th and I genuinely hope it helps you level the playing field and grow your business.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be back next week with more specifics about the documents and how to put them to work for your creative business! -Shauna


Fine print: To customize Project Prescription documents, a basic knowledge of InDesign is recommended. Documents are built on the Adobe CC Suite. A trial version of InDesign can be downloaded here.

Questions? Email us at us@theprojectprescription.com.