Meet a Mintie: Paper Plains

Paper Plains aka Sarah Lenger designs with the daring, self-assured hand of someone who embraces a diversity of inspirations and isn’t afraid of a good challenge. At her best, she captures different moods with each design and appeals to a variety of tastes and occasions. She was most recently featured on this blog as the winner of the best religious design prize in the Holiday Spectacular Challenge, and as you can see from her winning design, she really knows how to work the “wow” factor. Let’s get to know Sarah a little bit better in this week’s Meet a Mintie.

Paper Plains aka Sarah Lenger

How did your design career begin?

I originally went to college wanting to study photography. I found out about the graphic design program and decided

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2010 Holiday Spectacular: No. 1

Wow, I’m actually sorta nervous while writing this (and shielding my computer so others at Minted don’t see this), but we’ve finally come to the last episode of the Minted 2010 Holiday Design Challenge.  In the toughest competitive field we’ve ever had, over 1370 holiday card design entries, we are pleased to announce that our #1 winner as selected by the community, is…..(drumroll)

…. Annie Clark’s “Bright”, a design that perfectly captures the spirit, hope, and warmth of the holiday season. In case you don’t know Annie, she started entering design challenges as a Minted back in 2008, and after giving me an earful regarding how I should improve the design challenges, we got to know each other and she joined Minted in 2009.  Annie is highly regarded among her fellow Minties for her strong command of typography, incredible use of color, and for always remembering the idea behind the product.  We congratulate her on her never-ending quest for perfection, and her ability to prevail in a completely community-led decision.

Now, as many of our community know, Minted employees can earn glory and can win a place in our assortment, but are not eligible for cash prizes.  We do this in order to promote trust within our community.  Which means that by tradition, our $5,000 top prize award will now be awarded to the 2nd place winner, Sydney Newsom.  Our 2nd prize of $1,000 will be awarded to our 3rd place winner, Oscar + Emma, and our 3rd prize award of $500 will be awarded to our 4th place winner, Stacey Day.  Congratulations to all! You can view these designers and the others who made it into the top 10 on our winners page.

We have been blown away by your creativity in this challenge, and we excitedly look forward to offering all your beautiful designs this holiday season.  Editor’s Picks from the 2010 Holiday Challenge will be announced at the end of August.

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2010 Holiday Spectacular: No. 2

Our second prize award of $1,000 goes to the talented Sydney Newsom for her simple, elegant Gallery Classic.  Congratulations, Sydney, on this amazing accomplishment and your highest-ranked placement in any Minted Design Challenge to date!

The best holiday cards take us back in time to the nostalgia of our childhood holiday memories, but stop short of being tired and stuffy. The whimsical font spread out so leisurely across the card does just that, while the more modern font below keeps the card on this side of the Internet. And the miniature ’2010′ is just so cute! In addition to this monumental second prize, Sydney is also a recently minted Minted Mentor–our second community member to take on this honored role, joining Amy Ehmann of Design Lotus!

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2010 Holiday Spectacular: No. 3

I know, I know, you can hardly stand it! Yes, we have made it to the final three. Without further ado, we’re proud to announce that the third place award of $500 goes to a design that should be quite familiar to all of you at this point, the lovely and very popular Nordic Snowflake by Oscar & Emma.  In our opinion, the snowflake graphic is the perfect blend of delicate and strong – it holds its own as a beautiful piece of art that could be treasured on many pieces, not just holiday cards.

Karly’s classic design was also chosen by two of our guest judges so she will be taking home $1,500 in prizes for this masterpiece! Congratulations Karly on a showstopper to be sure.

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2010 Holiday Spectacular: Special Awards

We interrupt our countdown today to announce our four special category awards totaling $2,000 in prizes. These were incredibly difficult to decide upon… Our team has been deliberating over the choices all weekend long. But I think you’ll agree with us that each of these designs are quite special in their own, unique way. We’re, as always, so impressed by our community’s great creativity.

Our funniest/cheekiest award of $500 goes to Don’t tell Santa by Unless Someone Like You. What child doesn’t end up with marker on their face at least half a dozen times throughout childhood? I’m sure lots of families have pictures just like this one that they can’t wait to showcase (or I’m sure our talented design associates would be happy to do the mark-up as well!). This card made us laugh aloud, but not only that–it’s a really well-composed, spirited design with a fresh shade of green.

The best multi-photo award of $1,000 goes to Alex Elko for his brilliant Foursquare. Multi-photo cards are notoriously difficult to make look good, but doesn’t this look fresh, modern, and unique? Alex has really capitalized on the square size of the card; the big, block “Merry Christmas” lettering mirrors the square shape of the four images at the bottom making for a very nicely aligned card. I love how the family member’s names are tucked into that little square of white space. All in all, a very sharp design!

For our best religious $1,000 prize, it’s Madonna & Child by Paper Plains. Sarah Lenger has taken the traditional Madonna and Child and blended traditional with modern in a stunning gold halo and array of scintillating dots that spreads across the photo above. The font she has chosen is both soft and classic. What a gorgeous and truly unique way to celebrate Christmas!

And, finally, last but certainly not least, our newbie award of $500 goes to Robin Ott Design for Pear Family. Robin has so cleverly modernized the traditional ‘partridge in a pear tree.’ The tree is just so sweet! The pears and the leaves fit together so nicely in their varying shades of green. And has ‘love’ ever looked better? Isn’t the simply type treatment here just fantastic?

Robin hales from Cleveland, Ohio. She is a self-described “Owner + designer. Wife + mother. Addicted to paper, art, wine, cooking, anthropologie, trying to live organically and all things pretty.” We welcome her to the Minted community and look forward to seeing what she submits next!

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2010 Holiday Spectacular: No. 4

Now I know none of you will be surprised by No. 4… you’ve been waiting for it and here it is: The Greens by Stacey Day.

The various shades of green here are perfection! I especially love the light blue shade that Stacey has chosen for her text. And notice that brown modeling in the background of the wreath? It just hints at the branches buried below. The little dots are a great touch as well–they remind me of holly, but without using the conventional red. I also think the thick white circle, coupled with the double thin white circles, really helps to give the proper distance needed to accommodate a circular photograph. Of course, the black and white photo was a good choice here. The light text is also quite airy and classy at the same time. All in all, just very lovely.

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