2016 Holiday Photo Card Challenge: 2nd Place Non-Foil

By Easter, Christina, Kaitlyn, Elena, and Amy (Minted Artist Relations Team)

Without further ado, we’re thrilled to announce the second-place winner, as determined by voters, of our “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge. Make sure to read on, below, about this artist who has given so much back to the Minted Artist community over the years.

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2016 Holiday Photo Card Winner: 3rd Place Non-Foil

By Ashley Ganz, Director, Merchandising, Holiday & Gifts

I feel incredibly inspired and impressed by our holiday assortment this year. The tremendous, innovative talent within the Minted Artist community never ceases to amaze me! It’s my honor to reveal our third-place winner for the non-foil category of the “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge.

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2016 Holiday Photo Card Challenge: 4-10 Non-Foil; 1-2 Foil

By Amy Schroeder, Senior Manager, Artist Content & Education

Today we get into the very top ranks in our “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge, including (drumroll…) announcing the top two entries, as determined by voters, in the foil category of the Challenge. We couldn’t be happier to congratulate the winners of this Challenge. We delight in your success!

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2016 Holiday Photo Card Challenge: 11-20 Non-foil; 3-6 Foil

By Christiane Pendarvis, VP Crowdsourcing Design & Operations 

The winners countdown continues for the “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge. This is my first holiday season at Minted and I’ve been blown away by the quality of design produced by the community. Congratulations to all the winners!

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2016 Holiday Photo Card Challenge: 21-40 Non-Foil; 7-10 Foil

By Brady Wood

On April 4, we kicked off “Making Spirits Bright,” our ninth annual Holiday Photo Card Challenge. We asked the Minted community to create fresh, visionary designs that stand out on the mantel. And they did. We said, “There are no restrictions; we encourage you to be creative, take risks, and design cards that you and your friends would be proud to send.” As usual, our community surpassed our expectations.

This year, more than 500 artists submitted just over 5,000 designs, and their designs received a whopping 2,021,054 votes.

In our fine tradition, we’ll count down the top-ranked winners, as determined by voters. We’ll celebrate the winners from both the foil and non-foil categories of this challenge. Now, please help me congratulate the following artists on their remarkable work!

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2016 Religious Christmas Holiday Challenge: Top Winners

By Mariam Naficy

For the past several months, many Minted Artists have been heads-down, focused on creating the most beautiful, unique holiday card designs in the world. They’ve also been anxiously awaiting this blog post — the kickoff of our annual winner announcements for some of our most anticipated and celebrated Minted Design Challenges of the year.

The voters have spoken. Our guest judges — including Joanna and Chip Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Paul “Sweet Paul” Lowe, and The Girls With Glasses — have made their picks. We’ll begin spilling the candy canes in just a moment.

For our ninth annual holiday card challenge season, we created something new: the “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” Religious Christmas Card Quickfire Challenge, our very first faith-based design challenge. We developed this challenge for people who are specifically looking for religious or spiritual Christmas greetings and designs. We’re excited to share your cards with this growing market of Minted customers.

I’m thrilled yet again by the quality and beauty of this year’s submissions. If you’ve read our winner announcements in previous years, you’ve heard me say this before, and I want to reiterate: the Minted Artist community continues to surpass our expectations in design for the most unique, cutting-edge holiday cards.

As always, I want to thank every artist who submitted a design, gave a critique, voted in a design poll, and shared festive posts in the Minted Community Facebook group to help fellow community members get in the holiday spirit. At the end of the day, the heart and soul of Minted centers around our global community of independent artists and how they treat each other. We are a community that thrives on kindness and helping each other grow and learn with constructive criticism, and we appreciate all of us maintaining that spirit.

Here are the top winners, as determined by voters, for the “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” Religious Christmas Photo Card Quickfire Challenge. Stay tuned for the start of the “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge winners countdown tomorrow. Huge congrats to our first group of holiday winners!

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Perfect Match Award Roundup: Special Prizes

Announcing the special prize winners for our Perfect Match Awards! Our customers love that they can choose matching Minted Envelope designs that carry the theme of the invitation through to the envelope. These awards are for the most creative envelope designs that add something extra special to the invitations they accompany. A huge congrats to all the winners and runners-up!

The Most Wonderful Time 2015 Holiday Card Challenge
Merrily Matching Award


Everlasting Love Save the Date Challenge
Perfect Match Award

Suite Love Wedding Invitation Challenge
Perfect Match Award

Great Expectations Baby Shower Invitation Challenge
Perfect Match Award

Sweet Celebrations Kids’ Birthday Party Invitation Challenge
Perfect Match Award

Imagery created by Leah Conroy
Perfect Match Awards will be announced as a roundup twice a year. 
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15 Questions to Inspire Quality Art Critiques

By Nathan Bond & Amy Schroeder

Many Minted artists say peer critique is one of the most valuable aspects of our community and challenge process. After submitting your work to a challenge, Minted artists are encouraged to share feedback on other artists’ work and invite fellow community members to critique their own work.

We’ve found that when artists ask specific questions about their work, they are more likely to generate quality feedback. Armed with this constructive feedback, many Minted artists iterate their submissions or put the feedback in their back pocket for future projects.

We asked Nathan Bond, an art instructor at Parsons School of Design, to create the following list of prompts to inspire quality critiques. We recommend that you copy and paste the questions that resonate with you into the “Ask for Feedback” pop-up field after submitting your work.

Fossilized Rock” by Frooted Design

With more than 20 years of experience, Nathan said he created this list for a wide range of artwork, including paintings, drawings, and photography. “These questions focus on the fundamental elements of all works of art, regardless of genre or style,” he said. “I organized them in an order that develops similarly to how you would develop a formal critique, starting with the basic foundations of the image and developing toward the more interpretive aspects.”

15 Art Critique Prompt Questions

1. Does the composition effectively move the viewer’s eye around the image?

2. My intent with this composition is to take the viewer to ____________ location. Did your eye go there?

3. Are there any classic compositional errors? For example, is the subject matter too centered or too far off to one side? Are things cropped in an effective way? Is anything “kissing” the edge?

4. Is there good positive-negative space, and is it balanced and harmonious?

“Skyward Angles” limited edition print by Gabrial Reising

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Minted Artists Critique Holiday Designs at Atlanta Meetup

Story and photos by Kristen Smith

In late April, I had the pleasure of organizing an incredible live holiday stationery design critique session with six fellow Atlanta area Minted artists. The meetup was especially exciting because it was the very first in a series of gatherings we’ve planned this year as part of the pilot Minted Ambassador program.

In addition to Kristen Smith, the six artists who attended the Atlanta meetup were Stacey Meacham, Ashley Ottinger, Kelli Hall, Camilla Acosta, Zanne Bedore, and Susie Stern.

We all gathered at the lovely home of Kelli Hall, who was so very gracious to host us, and we each brought print-outs of designs we were currently working on. Because the “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge is one of Minted’s biggest and most competitive challenges of the year, sharing live critiques was absolutely invaluable. Being able to take a break from our computer monitors and interact with the printed, tangible work was a much needed, fresh perspective. We scheduled our critiquing meetup about a week before the day final submissions were due, so it was the perfect little boost to motivate us and carry us weary and cross-eyed through the finish line.

As there are quite a few Minted artists in the Atlanta area, we were fortunate to have veteran community members like Stacey Meacham (pictured above) as well as a few first-timers and recent first-challenge participants. Our hope is to see many new faces at future meetups as our talented community of independent artists and designers continues to grow.

Stacey said she enjoyed the holiday critique because it gave her the confidence to move forward with submissions that she was questioning. “I often have designs that linger on my artboards that I know have something but am unsure if they are finished or good enough,” she said. “Having in-person feedback from respected designers, friends, and artists is invaluable. Even if there are not changes that need to be made, just getting the confirmation that ‘yes, this is good—you should definitely submit’ is so helpful.”
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Minted Artists Pay It Forward

It takes a community to thrive as an independent artist.

To celebrate Minted’s extraordinary community spirit, we bring you Pay It Forward, our campaign to help Minted artists connect, collaborate, and succeed during the 2016 Holiday Stationery Design Challenge season. Because artists tell us that peer critique is one of the most valuable aspects of the Minted community, we’ve compiled these resources to help you give and receive quality feedback, stay inspired, and get the most out of the Minted challenge process. Stay tuned for updates.

Julep Features

Critiquing Advice
7 Ways to Master Art and Design Critiques (insights from Parsons School of Design faculty)
15 Questions to Inspire Quality Art Critiques
10 Tips for Critiquing Minted Art and Designs (insights from the community)

Thrive During the Holiday Challenge Season
5 Ways to Connect With the Minted Artist Community
6 Tips for Success in Minted Challenges
4 Mantras for Being Boss in Work and Life
How to Thrive During Minted’s Holiday Challenge Season

Creative Inspiration
7 Podcasts for Inspiring Your Creativity
Minted’s 20 First-Place Challenge Winners of 2015


Critique Awards

Chance to win a Minted feedback session

To recognize constructive feedback, we award critiquers in every Minted Design challenge.

Give fifteen or more constructive comments in the New Year’s Challenge by the time voting opens and you’ll be automatically entered in a random drawing to win a one-on-one feedback session with a Minted merchant of your choice! Remember, this is not a numbers game — quality feedback is much more valuable than quantity of feedback. Make sure to use the “Mark as Constructive” button to reward great feedback when you see it.This will be based on the Feedback leaderboard for each challenge, and we will combine results from the foil and non-foil version of each challenge.


Community Connections

Join our Facebook group
The Minted Community Facebook Group is open to all Minted artists who have submitted to at least one design challenge. Connect, share resources, and ask questions in this active global group. Learn how to join here.

Call in, meet up, get involved
The Minted team hosts weekly office hours, quarterly calls, meetups, and other community events. View and subscribe to our events calendar here. Are you interested in hosting a Minted meetup in your area? Fill out this form.

Join the Buddy Program
The Minted Buddy Program is an opportunity for you to make a deeper connection with one to two other artists. We pair people based on personality, experience, and category (art, stationery, etc.). Learn more here.


How the Minted Artist Community
Pays It Forward

Jennifer Postorino
Eight-time Minted Critique Award winner

“Taking time to critique designers is important to me, not only for their growth, but for mine as well. It keeps my current skills in check and allows me to continue learning as a designer. I’ve learned so much from so many designers. I honestly can’t believe where I am at today. Not only do I feel like I have gained some real friendships simply by reaching out to people, but my design skills have gotten so much better.”

Christian Bennin
from in “Ever Thought About Your Creative Turnoffs?” on Julep

“I get over creative blocks faster as I get critiques from other designers, and the creative briefs for each project really help me focus my thoughts. The story of my first Minted design challenge illustrates my point perfectly. The first competition I entered was the grad challenge. I was a bit over-eager and posted a quickly created design that hadn’t been thought through very well. Once I submitted my design, I saw how the critique process worked and got really inspired by it. I decided to sit down and really do this. I sketched and designed two versions of a new design and used the community polling feature to narrow down to the option that eventually won me my first award! It was a great eye-opener to me and example of how the process can work.”

Julie Green of Up Up Creative
from “Meet a Minted Artist” on Julep

“I once left a comment on one of Jen Wick’s designs with a few minor-detail suggestions about sizing this up, rotating that, and moving it all over or something like that, and she commented back to me privately that I’d make a good art director. Ever since her comment, I think I approach my work very differently. Having a designer who I like and admire point out this strength just changed me. It has added a whole new layer to my interaction with my own work, and it has helped me better understand what I like and don’t like about stuff out in the world. I think the work I’ve produced in the time since Jen’s comment is more confident, more purposeful, more polished, and more wholly mine.”

Susan Brown

“When I was a newbie and saw Karly Depew‘s save the date design ‘Timeless’ in the Jan 2012 challenge, I went to her page and asked her advice. She sent me an email where she presented my design in three different type styles and explained the importance of typography. So special.”


Published March 24, 2016 • Want to join the Minted Artist Community? Submit to a Challenge here.

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