The Most Wonderful Time 2015 Holiday Card Challenge: Special Prizes

It’s Minted’s biggest and most influential stationery challenge of the year the annual Holiday Card Challenge! Our customers say that their jaws drop when they get a Minted card in the mail. That’s exactly the effect we were looking for from you, our immensely talented Minted Community, and wow did you deliver! A huge congrats to all the winners!  

For the funniest card that just makes you laugh 

Uh Oh“ by Genna Coswert

For the most unconventional, unique design in the challenge that you couldn’t find on any other site. This design exemplifies the kind of design risk-taking Minted is looking for

Popstract Multi” by Sydney Newsom

Note: Mariam Naficy’s personal holiday card pick will be announced at a later date.

For the card that uses clever wording to reinvent typical holiday greetings  

Forever Young“ by Carrie O’Neal

For the best design that showcases multiple photos our customers often can’t pick just one! 

Photo Booth Filter“ by Olivia Kanaley

For the best design that is simple, edited, and clean, with greater emphasis on photos and less on design

Joyfully Simple“ by Melanie Severin

For the most elegant, classic, and timeless design emphasis on photos and less on design

Classic Charm“ by Jody Wody

For the best design that celebrates the Christmas spirit with a religious message

O Holy Night“ by Elly

For the best design that doubles as a birth announcement holiday card

Jingle Around the Clock“ by Frooted Design

For the design that best showcases one of Minted’s unique die-cut shapes

Wreath of Joy“ by Qing Ji

For the card that would look best in a magazine advertisement – bold and highly visible

Boldly Stated“ by Jennifer Wick

For the best design showcasing a pet

O Howly Night“ by Paper and Parcel

For the best design for a newly married couple

Just Married Wishes“ by Cheer Up Press

For the best design that puts personalizable details on a curvilinear path

To the Moon“ by Susan Brown

For the best design that celebrates Hanukkah

Candle Warmth“ by Laura Bolter Design

For the design that best uses bold, non-traditional colors for the holidays

Happy Stripe“ by Olivia Raufman

Images created by: Leah Conroy 

The Fa La La La Font Award and the First Time Winner Collection Award will be announced at a later date.

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Winter Wonderland Holiday Card Challenge: Special Prizes

We took out the eggnog for our non-photo holiday card challenge! This is a fun challenge that Minted artists typically enjoy, because it allows their talents as a designer to shine, whether they are an artist, illustrator, typographer or graphic designer. We were looking to help customers express a broad range of styles; there is no one Minted “look”. Our artists had fun, took risks, and designed holiday cards that they would be excited to send themselves. Congratulations to all our special prize winners and runners-up!

For the most innovative non-photo holiday card that best exemplifies design risk-taking, while still conveying the cheer and spirit of the holiday season

Reindeer Love” by Cass Loh

Runners-Up: All I Want Is” by Magdalena Earnest | ”Year: The Board Game” by Betta

For the best holiday card that also announces a recent move

Decking New Halls” by Peridot Design

Runners-Up: Home” by Lori Wemple | ”Zola” by Chocomocacino

For the design that best reinvents the “annual letter,” in which families share major milestones from their year

Annual Highlights” by Shirley Lin Schneider

Runner-Up: Seasonal Update” by Jessie Steury

For the best funny, clever or witty card

Coal” by Paul Berthelot

Runner-Up:Christmas Cheer” by Hooray Creative

For the design that best showcases one of Minted’s die-cut shapes

Nutcracker Face” by Katie Zimpel

Runner-Up: Peace Angel” by Maria Mordvintseva-Keeler

 For the best New Year’s design

Geometric Numerals” by Kelly Schmidt

Runners-Up: Midnight Countdown” by Jessica Ogden | ”Dotted Numerals” by Aspacia Kusalas | ”Diamond” by Hooray Creative

For the best religious Christmas card

Introduced by the angels” by Ana de Sousa

Runners-Up: Newborn King” by Rebecca Turner | “Joy Blessings” by Gakemi Design Co

 For the most elegant design that appeals to more traditional customers while still being fresh

Sparkling Love” by Phrosne Ras

Runners-Up: Pine Circle” by Leah Bisch | ”Much Joy & Peace” by Susan Moyal

For the best design that puts the customer’s name on a curvilinear path

Merry Bear” by Susie Allen

Runners-Up: Polar Bear Snow Globe“ by Four Wet Feet Studio | ”Cheers to a Wonderful” by GeekInk Design

For the best design showcasing a Christmas-specific greeting and traditional Christmas colors

Santa Beard” by Katie Zimpel

Runners-Up: The Magic of Holiday” by Chris Griffith | “Jingle Bells” by Ana Sharpe

For the best non-photo card that celebrates Hanukkah

Oh Hanukkah!” by Haley Weisberger

Runner-Up: Shine Bright Menorah” by Sara Showalter

For the card that uses clever wording to reinvent typical holiday greetings (like “happy holidays”, “Merry Christmas,” “happy new year”)

Fleece Navidad” by 24th and Dune

For the best design from a first-time winner

International Joy” by Betsy Berry

Runner-Up: Expedition” by Heather Azano-Brown


Images created by: Leah Conroy 


Guest Judge’s Award and The Most Wonderful Type Award will be announced at a later date.


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Who is your biggest creative influence?

Friends, family, strangers, enemies, teachers, other artists. There are so many people who inspire artists—and sometimes without consciously realizing it. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, we asked Minted artists Naomi Ernest, Melissa Egan of pistols, and Alexandra Dzh to tell us who inspires them most.

Naomi Ernest
Ann Arbor, Michigan

My main sources of inspiration begin with my family. Growing up, my parents were both artists-on-the-side. By example, they instilled in me the idea that art is an everyday part of life. These days, my five kids are daily reminders of the importance of the creative process; their blithe, uninhibited approach is evident every time I watch them.

Recently I’ve also been reconnecting to my family history, creating work as homage to my copper mining ancestors and their life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And, of course, a passion for my local environment is always evident—the lakes, landscapes, and resources of my home state of Michigan provide constant connection and inspiration for colors, textures, and themes in my work.

Drift” by Naomi Ernest

December – Turquoise“ by Naomi Ernest

Melissa Egan of Pistols
Portland, Oregon

One of my biggest creative influences is my husband, John. He’s a brilliant painter, curator, and craftsman who makes everything from furniture to movie props. He’s taught me so much about the importance of taking your time to make something right, paying attention to details, and staying true to your personal aesthetic instead of only following trends.

Gilded Trees” by pistols

Dipped Feathers” by pistols

Alexandra Dzh
Vienna, Austria

There are a lot of people who inspire me, but one of the biggest creative influences is Austrian illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger. In my opinion, the charm of her illustrations lies in her delicate watercolor style, the diversity and strength of her colors, her great perception for detail. Lisbeth’s delightful and lyrical pictures always serve me as powerful source of inspiration.

Flowers Everywhere” by Alexandra Dzh

Bouquet” by Alexandra Dzh

Who is your biggest creative influence? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

Need a quick creative pick-me-up? Read Minted artists’ solutions here.

Published September 28, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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How To: Assemble the Perfect Fall Gift Basket

Sure, a pre-made gift basket is totally convenient, but let’s face it—nobody wants cheese dip with pimentos (and there are always pimentos in there!). Rather than buying a basket full of uninspired snacks, the better way to go is to assemble your own gift containing your favorite fall-inspired goodies—it makes the perfect present for a new neighbor, teacher, or coworker. Here’s all the ingredients you need to assemble the perfect fall-themed gift basket:

personalized gift basket

Click through for Melanie’s fall gift basket ideas

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Giveaway: Win $1,000 for Your Wedding!

Did you know that Minted just came out with wedding websites? Yep! The wedding invitations you know and love are now available with stylish website designs to match. So, instead of struggling to build a site from scratch, you can choose one of our beautiful, easy-to-navigate templates, then quickly upload photos and wedding details to loop in your guests, in no time flat.

To celebrate our new wedding offering, we’ve partnered with one our fave blogs Wedding Chicks and are giving away $1,000 in Minted Weddings credit to one lucky bride-to-be! The contest concludes on September 27, 2015; you can enter to win on our Instagram. Good luck!


DIY: Stenciled Pear Tote Bag

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of Alice & Lois

Pears are in season now and we are loving this delicious fall fruit. For this project, we added some personality to a plain ol’ tote with just a little fabric paint. Have you ever used freezer paper to create your own stencil? It’s so easy! Learn how to make your own stencil and add a fun pop of color to a basic farmer’s market tote.

DIY Stenciled Pear Tote Bag | alice and lois for minted

Click through for the step-by-step instructions


Very First Digital Invitation Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Minted’s customers have been asking for the same high quality design from you, the Minted Community, in digital form – and we can’t wait to offer this product at the end of October! Customers lean towards digital instead of paper for more casual and short-lead events like dinner parties, smaller holidays, and non-milestone birthday parties. We care a great deal about creating more opportunity for you, and digital invitations will present a chance for your designs to serve many more occasions and reach many more customers. Congratulations to all our special prize winners and runners-up!

For the best design that puts names or customizable 
information on a curvilinear path
Shark Attack Pool Party“ by iamtanya

Runners-Up: “Passover This Year” by Laura Bolter Design | “Tippling Bacherlorette” by Shari Margolin | “Congrats, Graduate” by Ann Gardner

 For the best dinner party design
Chalkboard Dinner Party“ by Laura Bolter Design

Runners-Up: Fresh Linen” by Pistols | “Red Plate Special” by Morgan Ramberg
Bon Appetit!” by Jennifer Wick 

For the best cocktail party design
Let’s Get Saucy“ by The Detroit Card Co.

Runners-Up: Cocktails & Conversation” by Morgan Ramberg | “Glam Cocktail Party” by Kelly Schmidt | “Mod Cocktail” by Keen Peachy

For the best design for bachelorette parties,  
rehearsal dinners, or engagement parties
Engagement Cocktails and Music“ by Bonjour Paper

Runners-Up: Hairdo” by Anna Elder | “Truffle” by chocomocacino
Soft Bouquet” by Jessica Williams

For the best design for a grownup birthday party  
Roaring 20s Birthday Bash“ by Leah Bisch

Runners-Up: “Big Numbers” by Cheer Up Press | ”Sneaky Surprise” by Jessie Steury
Quirky Surprise” by Up Up Creative

For the perfect birthday party invitation for an older boy or girl aged 13-18 
Chic Balloons“ by Melanie Severin

Runners-Up: “Sweetest Sixteen” by Phrosne Ras | “Sunset Sweet” by Lindsay Megahed
Age Appropriate” by Kimberly FitzSimons

For the best design for a birthday party invitation for a boy aged 8-12 
Laser Tag“ by Lori Wemple

Runners-Up: Wheels” by Bonjour Berry | “Kiddo Campout” by Leah Bisch
All Star” by Peetie Design

For the best birthday party invitation for a girl aged 8-12
Mani Pedi“ by Carrie O’Neal

Runners-Up: Scoop” by Carrie O’Neal | “Karate + Cake” by Up Up Creative
Tasty Type” by Jessie Steury

For the best design for a graduation party from 
high school, college, or any other school 
Hats Off Graduation“ by Frooted Design

Runners-Up: “Hats Off to the Grad” by Sara Showalter | “Painted Graduate” by Erin Deegan

For the best design for a children’s or grownup’s Valentine’s Day part 
Valentine’s Day Cocktails“ by Jessica Ogden

Runners-Up: “Heart Profusion” by Up Up Creative | “Lovestruck Potluck” by Jessica Booth
XO Bites” by SimpleTe Design

 For the best invitation to an Easter Egg hunt, bunch, or other Easter party
Easter Bouquet“ by Jennifer Wick

Runners-Up: “Dip Dyed Eggs” by Stacey Meacham | “The Big Hunt” by Peony Papeterie
Easter Parade” by Chris Griffith

For the best invitation to a St. Patrick’s Day party
Pot-O-Luck St. Patricks Feast“ by Bask In Design

 Runners-Up: Luck of the Irish” by Carly Reed | “Wear Green” by Leah Bisch
Shamrock Party” by Sarah Brown

For the best invitation to a Mother’s Day brunch 
Garden Burst Mother’s Day Brunch“ by Erin McManness

Runners-Up: Mother’s Day Garden Brunch” by Hooray Creative | “Mason Jar Brunch” by Olivia Raufman | “Brunch Leaves” by Katharine Watson

For the best invitation to a Father’s Day brunch 
Father’s Day Cookout“ by Dulce Dahlia


Runner-Up: World’s Best Dad” by Itsy Belle Studio


Images created by: Leah Conroy 


Guest Judge Awards will be announced at a later date.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Marta Spendowska

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: artist and illustrator Marta Spendowska, who is from Poland and currently lives in Green Bay, WI.

Growing up in communist Poland, Marta Spendowska loved the arts but never imagined an artistic career would be possible. After moving to the United States in 2005, however, her dream became reality—she was able to study and work in design, illustration, and fine art. Here, Marta shares a glimpse into her life as a working artist.

Marta Spendowska (VERYMARTA) Artist Profile

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
Actually, I really thought I’d be a writer but after living in the States for some time, I started to feel like an island—my Polish was useless here and my English was OK but not perfect at all. I grew up with an amateur painter (my father) and have painted all my life, and after moving here, I specifically made a commitment to communicate visually. I think the decision came from a point of sadness about losing that special gift of eloquence. If I think about it now, I almost feel that I came back to painting out of unhappiness. But it was my best decision. I studied design and worked at few agencies as a designer and art director, then eventually started my own design business. Two years later, I transitioned into illustration and, finally, fine art.

Where do you currently reside?
I’m in Green Bay, Wisconsin, right now due to my husband’s business, but we’re moving to South Carolina (hopefully Charleston) or North Carolina very soon.

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
I love my routines, actually. I get up and work out (HIIT—high intensity interval training) or skip rope for 20 minutes (to sweat off the dreams). Then I drink 20 ounces of water, set my podcasts, boil an egg, boil water and brew organic coffee, eat the egg (with onion, cucumber, and salt), feed my chipmunks, light two incenses, drink coffee while scrolling through Instagram, and I’m all set to go. I check my email and agenda, and divide my work into commission-based and a fine-art time slots. I like to bike for 45 minutes at least every other day and I read a lot to relax in-between working. Dinner at 6 p.m., in bed at midnight. My husband also has his own business so we both have very solitary jobs until 6–7 p.m.

What are some of your own “rules” for living and working?
I’ve always loved Björk, whose life, for me, is a perfect blend of incorporating art and work. I’m sure if I were a banker I would be miserable and I’d suffer being separated from my passions. My work spills into my life, my life spills into my work. There is no real life (or at least a fulfilling one) without my work and there is no work without my life—conscious, mindful, sometimes crazy, sometimes melancholic, but always interesting. I craft my life through working: painting, thinking, observing, feeling.

What does art mean to you?
Art is everything to me. I hope every piece I paint makes my collectors feel joyful and inspired every time they see it on their wall. This is the best job in the whole world.

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
I’ve loved watercolor all my life. Oil paint in Poland used to be expensive and hard to get so I reached for watercolors. I’ve always enjoyed it’s fluid nature. I’m currently working in mixed media, making my own pigments and mediums, so my fine art is moving beyond watercolors.

When did you begin painting?
When I was a toddler. I don’t remember ever not painting and drawing. My mom always said she was very glad to have given birth to a girl who was never bored or moody—all I needed was a set of watercolors.

Is there a movement in art history that speaks to you?
It has to be Fauvism for Matisse and Abstract Expressionism for Lee Krasner and few others.

If you could sit down with any artist past or present, who would it be?
Virginia Woolf, Björk, Ewa Kuryluk.

What objects have been most significant to you lately?
I have a table at my home with old family pictures, notes from psychics or tarot readings, crystals, old Polish books. It’s a sacred corner.

Please describe your last month in one word.
Salt. (P.S. I’m writing these answers from Baltyk Sea in Poland where I’m staying until the end of September.)

Can you share an as-of-yet unrealized project with us?
A lot of my illustration work will finally see the light very soon—I work with many companies on their product lines and it always takes a long time to be released into the world. It’s mainly beauty brands hiring me for watercolor work. I’m also taking part in a three-person show this November at a Sacramento gallery, which excites me beyond belief.

What are you serious about?
My fine art career. Part of my focus is commercial illustration (I consider Minted one of my commercial illustration clients) and I love working on commissions for products and marketing campaigns, so this is important for sure. But I’m growing my fine art career right now, painting big and working on a noncommissioned-based work for galleries. I’m happy to say that my trajectory is rising fast.

How did you first hear about Minted? And when did you join?
I’m a Minted newbie. I joined during the last Domino challenge in October. I saw the call for submissions and noticed that a few of my colleagues were a part of Minted. Because Domino has always been one of my favorite magazines, I knew it was a perfect opportunity.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Minted community?
The community! Since I joined I’ve connected with a lot of artists with similar careers, and we’ve created a sort of advisory group where we can discuss work with and outside of Minted. We share the ups and downs of the artistic career and it’s been amazingly fun and helpful.

Artist Profile: Marta Spendowska of VERYMARTA
Marta’s Favorite Things
We asked Marta to share her current favorite art, style, home décor inspirations.

Who inspires you: Currently Katarzyna Kobro (I’m reading her biography right now)
Favorite recent discovery: That I’m blessed—it’s a daily discovery.
Favorite city: Hopefully soon Charleston, SC  [ 1 ]
Favorite charity: Room to Read
Favorite movie: The sad and dark film The Hours directed by Stephen Daldry
Favorite colors: Fluorescent pink and orange. Maybe violet. But then also black and white.
Fashion idol: After watching the documentary Advanced Style, Debra Rapoport and Sarah-Jane Adams  [ 2 ]
Favorite place in the world: Baltyk Sea/Poland  [ 3 ]
Daily website read: I think it’s Instagram
Song in your head: Sia’s “Chandelier”
Favorite Instagram account: @themuseumofmodernart

Favorite art supply store: Jerry’s Artarama
Favorite watercolor paints: Winsor & Newton or M. Grahams
Favorite brushes: From Poland  [ 4 ]
Favorite artist: Henri Matisse and Jenny Saville
Favorite works of art: Right before my trip to Poland I saw Modern Rebels exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum and I loved seeing Lee Krasner’s “Milkweed” [ 5 ]. I have to say, nothing compares to seeing works in a museum instead of on a laptop screen.

Favorite pieces of art in your home: Old Catholic crosses from Lwòw—my grandfather gave them to my father, who gave them to me.
Stationery: I create my own line of greeting cards and I must say—I love them!  [ 6 ]
Pets: My dachshund Tapsiu and very soon my father’s Maltese CoCo
Favorite flowers: Wild plants
Favorite gadgets: My iPhone. Always and forever.
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Z Harvest Cafe in Green Bay
Favorite drink: Chocolate smoothies made by my husband or red wine
Coffee-table book: My own—I made a book interspersed family pictures with my illustrations and gave them to family members as gifts.
Favorite snack: 1 chopped tomato, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped avocado, olive oil, lots of balsamic vinegar, salt, and cracked pepper.
What’s in your Netflix queue? I cannot wait for the new season of Bates Motel! Also, these are awaiting me in my queue: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Still Alice, and a lot of old French movies.


“For Art’s Sake” Challenge: Special Prize Winners

We are continuously impressed with the high quality of artwork and photography that our Minted community has created. As our art business continues to grow, we can’t wait to launch a more diverse and unique assortment of art. We turned to you to submit your most interesting and creative pieces. You wowed us once again! Congratulations to all the winners!

Curator’s Choice Award: For the artwork that most captures
the attention of the Minted curatorial team
The Mountains Before Us“ by Mande

Newbie Award: For the best work of art by a first-time entrant
Sable Song“ by Juniper Briggs

Color Award: For the best bold and colorful art piece
Green Garden“ by Tae Lee

Nursery award: For the most charming print for a little one
Blue Fish Wish“ by Maja Cunningham

Avant-Garde Award: For the best edgy print that pushes boundaries
Star Child“ by Tolani Lightfoot

Abstract Award: For the best abstract painting, illustration, or graphic
Melt“ by Adrienne Jackson

 Photography Award: For the best photographic art print
Red Rock and Sky“ by Compass Rose Photography

 Seasonal Award: For the best piece of artwork inspired by the fall or winter months
Blue Mountain“ by Jenny Partrite

Landscape Orientation Award: For the art piece that best utilizes the landscape orientation
Linger Longer III“ by Lindsay Megahed

Square Award: For the most interesting square-shaped composition
Sombras“ by Lulaloo

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“Joy to the Work” Holiday Challenge: Special Prize Winners

This holiday season, businesses across the country will search for the perfect card to send customers and partners. We asked you, our talented Minted community, to significantly update our corporate holiday card assortment with fresh, original designs. We were overjoyed with the incredible submissions to this challenge. A huge congrats to all the winners and runners-up!

For the most innovative corporate holiday card
that you wouldn’t find on other sites
Abstract Tree“ by Erica Krystek

Runners-Up: Stateside” by Jessie Steury | “Christmas Birds” by Ana de Sousa

For the best simple (but still interesting!), masculine design
Holidays Stamp“ by Erin L. Wilson

Runners-Up: “Big Joy” by iamtanya | “Joy All Around” by Alston Wise

For the card that best communicates gratitude to customers
lettered thanks“  by Dawn Jasper

Runners-Up: “Thanks for being Awesome” by Genna Cowsert  | “Shimmering Snow” by
Pistols | ”Simple Script” by Misa

For the best design incorporating stats & 
data from the year in a fun way
Infographic Joy“ by Bonjour Berry

Runners-Up: Holiday Pie Chart” by Hooray Creative | Watercolor Stats” by Smudge Design

For the best design that incorporates a company logo
From Our City“ by Frooted Design

Runners-Up: Delivering Holiday Cheer” by Itsy Belle Studio 
Winter in our City” by Shelly Gerritsma

For the most clever, witty card that makes you smile
Loading“ by Elly

Runner-Up: Tools of the Trade” by Cheer Up Press

For the best design showcasing the company’s office location
nickname city“ by Aspacia Kusulas

Runners-Up: Joy From Our State” by Sarah Brown | “West Coast Greetings” by Erica Krystek | “Location Location” by Hooray Creative

For the best new year’s corporate card design
A Complete 2016“ by fatfatin

Runners-Up: Bright New Year” by Kaydi Bishop | “Bright Ideas” by Elly

For the design that best showcases one of Minted’s die-cut shapes
Wreath of Prosperity“ by Qing Ji

Runners-Up:  Joyful Garland” by Katherine Moynagh | “Watercolor Laurel” by Baumbirdy

For the best design that puts text on a curvilinear path
Watercolor Pine Wreath“ by Gakemi Art + Design

Runners-Up: holiday streamers” by peetie design 
Good Cheer is Good Business” by Chelsey Scott

For the best design from a first-time entrant:
Vintage Snow Globe“ by Lisa Assenmacher

Runners-Up: Winter Sprigs“  by Claudia Bianchi | “Merry & Bright, You Were the Highlight” by Chelsea Voorhees

Images: Leah Conroy
Ed. note: ”The Most Wonderful Type Award” will be announced at a later date.

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