Interview with Nubby Twiglet

Nubby Twiglet, a Portland-based graphic designer, was kind enough to share her experiences of college searching, internships, and finding inspiration.

Portland based graphic designer


What is your job title?

I am a full-time freelance graphic designer and blogger.

Please give a basic overview of what you do at your job.

It really depends on the day! I wake up early and try to get fresh content posted to my blog every weekday. At any given time, I am working with 5 to 15 personal clients and sending off rounds of work for review. Also, I am on-call at many local agencies so if they’ve booked me, I could be there anywhere from a day to a few months working with their teams to design corporate identities, catalogs, retail displays and more. Part of being a freelancer is the excitement of knowing that no two days will be the same. It keeps things interesting.

If you are an independent artist, how did you develop your art/design skills into a full-time job?

Before I began freelancing, I earned a two year design degree and did a year-long internship at an ad agency. I also worked a year full-time learning the ins and outs of the business. I try to keep my skill set fresh by regularly freelancing on-site at a variety of agencies. It helps me to stay grounded and to keep in touch with design colleagues. Running my business full-time definitely didn’t happen overnight. It took years of hard work and determination. To this day, I subscribe to a ton of design blogs and save clippings from magazines — I am constantly on the hunt for fresh inspiration and work on design in some way every single day.


What college(s) did you attend?

At first, I earned a four year degree in Business with a minor in Marketing. This gave me a solid foundation for becoming a designer later on. I went back to community college to earn a two year degree in Graphic Design. Both colleges were located in Oregon.

How did you ultimately choose to attend this program?

It really came down to convenience (close to home) and affordability. I didn’t have a college fund and didn’t want to go into extreme debt. I took as many classes at community college as possible and it was the best choice I’ve made with regards to my education.

What were your majors or concentrations?

First time, Marketing and the second time around, Graphic Design.

What did you like about your college experience?

I met a variety of people from all walks of life, became much more rounded and branched out socially.

What might you have done differently regarding your experience?

I really wish I hadn’t worked full time so I could have taken more time to immerse myself in the learning process. Looking back, it was all very rushed.

Did you complete any internships or co-ops? If so, what were they and how did they help you?

During my second year in Graphic Design, I interned at a local ad agency. It was exciting; I got to work with clients including Nike and HP and gained so much valuable experience and insight. After I graduated, I was hired full-time — the hard work paid off!


Please list a few of your current favorite artists.

Andy Warhol, Milton Glaser (graphic designer), Paul Rand (graphic designer) and Herb Lubalin (graphic designer).

Where do you find inspiration when you are having a creative block?

Blogs and Flickr always keep me inspired!

Please describe common themes or subjects you use in your work.

As funny as it sounds, SHOES! I worked retail for a few years at a shoe store during my early years of college. It created an obsession. Also, I love Swiss graphic design and favor simple grids along with red, black and white.

What media are you currently experimenting with or using?

These days, I am always behind a computer but I still love the simplicity of collaging with magazine cut-outs, a pair of scissors and a glue stick.

How has your artwork changed over time?

Perhaps most noticeably, it’s become more minimal. I really do feel like more simple is better.


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