Design + Illustration Studio

Design Updates + Inspirations


Archive: Dec 2012


Recent Work : Italian Fix

I’m excited to share a recent project for Italian Fix with you! Bianca of Italian Fix, a blog and travel guide about Italy, came to me when she needed a new logo and business cards. Bianca had some really great ideas for her cards, but we had to figure a way to translate her watercolor swatch from her logo onto her letterpressed cards. So I presented the idea that we could hand paint each card after printing – and Bianca decided she would tackle it herself! I’m all about creative and artsy clients and was BLOWN away by the end result. A big thanks to Cotton Paperie for helping us bring our ideas to life!


Spaces // Shauna Haider

Happy Monday everyone! I’m excited to share the workspace and a little background into the oh-so talented, Shauna Haider of Nubby Twiglet. I had the pleasure of meeting Shauna this past September at Design Life — this girl has a killer design style and fashion style!  Just check it out in her studio! Enjoy!

Tell us about yourself as a creative.
I’m Shauna Haider, a graphic designer and blogger residing in Portland, Oregon. My blog and design studio are both called Nubby Twiglet, which was created by merging two of my nicknames back in high school (I had a serious love of mod icon Twiggy). I’ve been blogging since 2001 and designing professionally since 2007 and do both in some capacity every single day — my life would feel incredibly empty without the two! I am also the co-founder of The Blogcademy, a strategy-based blogging workshop.

Describe your creative journey.
When I was young, I always imagined growing up and being an artist. I pursued art throughout high school, taking every class that was offered at least twice except, ironically, graphic design. Art was my passion but when I toured my top choice for art schools before graduation, an advisor flipped through my portfolio of collages and minimal layouts and told me I needed to include more drawing and painting. Looking back, he should have told me to enroll in design instead! I was having second thoughts about art anyway because truth be told, I wasn’t exactly sure how I’d make a living and being a starving artist didn’t seem very enticing!

Onwards I went, earning a business degree with a minor in marketing. The marketing classes were by far my favorite part but when I finally finished that degree, I felt incredibly unfulfilled. Something just seemed off. The thought of spending the rest of my life inside corporate America just felt like the wrong fit. I sat out a year, worked full-time at a shoe store and went back to the drawing board.

I’d finally become immersed in graphic design and scoured every portfolio, book and blog I could get my hands on during that year off. I was obsessed. In the Fall of 2006, I enrolled in a two-year design program at a community college partly to avoid a ton of debt and partly because I wanted to finish up quickly and get on my way with my career.

I was lucky that things happened fast. I was extremely focused and driven and by my second semester, I was designing album art for Virgin Records and by the beginning of my second year, I was interning for one of the best-known design studios in town. I never looked back. A week after graduating, I had my first full time job and shortly after that, I designed the logo and layout of the first Forever 21 blog.

It may have looked easy from the outside but I’d been blogging regularly since 2001 and by 2007, I was putting fresh content up on five days a week, even if that meant getting up at 6 am. I never took a day off from working on design or blog content and I was fearless about putting my work out there, even if it makes me cringe now! Because I only had a two-year degree, I knew I’d have to work a lot harder than a lot of my peers to fill in my gaps of knowledge and get to their level of expertise. I remember how daunting it all felt.

Since then, I’ve been lucky to work on projects and campaigns both big and small. I’ve designed look books for Nike, worked on the NBA All-Star game with Adidas and created more identities, websites and catalogs than I can keep track of. For the first five years of my career, I felt that it was necessary to get my feet wet in a variety of design areas and to learn as much about print, digital and production methods as I possibly could.

In 2013 though, I’m looking forward to refining my focus to doing what I love most: developing brand platforms for small to medium-sized businesses and diving further into everything digital. At the moment, I’m working with a variety of photographers and cosmetics start-ups and it’s been incredibly fulfilling partnering with clients that require a nice balance between strategy and style.

Share a little bit about your space.
I’ve always been someone that doesn’t draw a line between who I am as a person, my design work and my surroundings. Each is a piece forming a much bigger puzzle. That’s part of the reason I started a blog — I’m defined by much more than just my design work and wanted to share insights and inspiration with the world. My space is where I spend my time creating all my design and blog content.

My office is inside of my house which has a Bavarian theme and was built in 1928. It’s centrally located in Portland, gets a ton of natural light and it’s that one space I can go to, close the door, create and get away from the world.

I’ve had many offices over the years so this is a culmination of items I’ve collected for the last decade. My round Magnavox TV and alarm clock were from Target circa 2002 and the TV is so old it needs a converter box but I can’t bear to get rid of it! My long desk is from IKEA and gives me plenty of room to spread out and sketch, read magazines and research. I love collecting design books and I like having my personal library next to me — sometimes I just need to get off the internet! Directly behind my desk are two IKEA flat files which store anything and everything: process books, client proofs, design samples, office supplies, magazine tears and more.

When I’m working, I usually turn on the TV for background noise or flip through Spotify for some new music recommendations.

What’s your favorite thing about your space?
Natural light! I like knowing that the world is right outside of my window.

What’s one thing you think every creative needs in their space?
Inspiration. I’m such a visual person and having everything from my favorite shoes to a stack of the latest fashion magazines to magnetic board I can put up my latest finds on is incredibly important. Being surrounded by all of my favorite things makes me feel energized and inspired to create.

Thanks so much Shauna!
Check her out: Website | Portfolio | Twitter | The Blogcademy 

Spaces // Sarah Sherman Samuel

Let’s kick off this week with another really inspiring and beautiful Spaces column, featuring, graphic designer, Sarah Sherman Samuel. Sarah has a really beautiful blog / studio, Smitten Studio. She also did some really amazing work for Greenroom, but I’ll let her share more about those things! Today is also a really exiting day for Sarah — find out why below! ( also – she totally makes me want to paint a wall black or better yet – chalkboard! ) Enjoy!

Tell us about yourself as a creative.
My background & formal education is in Graphic Design but what I especially love is applying the graphic design principles into the roles of maker, stylist, and art director. My blog Smitten Studio has turned into a great creative outlet for each one of those paths as well as my time as Creative Director at Greenroom. While there for the last 5 years (basically since its inception), I was able to wear all of those hats while building the fashion paper line’s collection in Target. However, as of today.. (yikes!) I have taken the leap out on my own to full-time freelance so that I can concentrate more on Smitten Studio and put more time into developing my own line of artisanal products… which I CAN NOT wait to share!!

Describe your creative journey.
Growing up I always, always knew I wanted to do something creative. My parents didn’t have jobs in the arts but both of them had creative hobbies that they are gifted at. My dad is a very skilled wood worker, and my earliest memory of working along side him was at age 6, sitting in his workshop making tiny cat and dog figurines out of scraps of balsa wood while he was building model airplanes. (I’ve been a maker from the very beginning). I was also always rearranging the furniture with my mom or getting into her oil paints.

Like many other creatives I enjoyed so many artistic fields that at times it was hard to nail down which path to take. From a very young age if asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would answer either a writer, painter, or an interior designer. In high school I took as many art classes as possible and still feel so lucky that our school offered such a variety of courses in the creative field. Painting, drawing, ceramics, craft, wood shop, film, and technical drawing were all offered in depth and I gobbled each of them up. Once I discovered graphic design in college I knew that it was the right path to go down and it became my foundation for design.

My professional design career started at an advertising agency but I quickly realized that was not right for me, so I pursued more creative opportunities before eventually landing at Greenroom. It was there that I grew from designer, to art director, and then to creative director all while honing my own personal aesthetic and solidifying my love for surface design and styling. Finally, almost a year ago, I started Smitten Studio and I plan to continue on designing, making, and styling through the opportunities it brings from here on out.

Share a little bit about your space.
I set up my studio in the second bedroom of our town home in Los Angeles. The floor to ceiling windows give a good amount of light and the floor to ceiling shelves give loads of storage. I custom made the work table that sits in front of the windows and it usually ends up completely covered when I’m mid project. Luckily my clean freak husband doesn’t go in that room that often because I can really get into some “creative messes”.

What’s your favorite thing about your space?
My favorite thing about the space is the chalkboard wall. It’s always changing from project to project and I like that I can use it as a pin board or as a giant sketchbook page.

What’s one thing you think every creative needs in their space?
A place to work away from the computer… like my large workbench and the chalkboard wall. Basically, a space to spread out and see an entire project live as opposed to digitally is a necessity for me. Good things always happen off the computer. Oh and definitely a dog or two 😉

Thanks for sharing Sarah!

*If you love her workspace as much as I do – you have to check out her cabin reno – it’s equally beautiful! 

Check her out: Blog / Twitter / Instagram