Meet a Mintie: Max & Bunny

Name: Rebecca Hardie
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Years with Minted: 4
Expertise: Bold, modern and colorful
Occupation: Max and Bunny founder and designer, Mintie

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I was in college, sitting in an accounting class and the professor had gone off on a tangent telling us to pursue our passions and I realized my passion was definitely not accounting; it was design. While the thought of doing hours of accounting homework made me cringe, I had been working for the student government creating posters for various activities on campus and loved doing that.

Where do you go for design inspiration?
Everywhere. I recently was at a wedding and was sitting in the most gorgeous 1860s church building with the most amazing stained glass windows and detailing throughout. I found myself sketching out designs and snapping pictures—I couldn’t help myself. I was also in Stockholm last winter and fell in love with Scandinavian design and drove my husband nuts taking an excessive amount of pictures of buildings, signs, streets, random objects and patterns.

How has moving to Richmond just recently influenced your work?
I’ve loved learning about Southern style and that has definitely rubbed off on me.

After being in the New York for several years, I had some clients tell me how this design would be perfect in the South whereas another design was too “city.” I couldn’t fully understand that until moving here and really getting immersed in a more Southern culture. I think it’s nearly impossible to experience something new and not have it influence your work. I also love how Richmond has both the old and the new – being rich in history and the new with a strong art community that is well-supported and seeks out all aspects of art from design to food to fashion.

What is your normal workflow or process like?
My process varies a bit from project to project, but typically I start by drawing out ideas. It helps me to get it down on paper and explore everything first, before creating on the computer. I’ve also found that I’m at my most creative in the afternoon and into the night—I’m definitely not a morning person.

As an independent designer, how do you self-motivate / stay on track?
I find the most success in setting little daily goals. I also like to try and balance it out. For example, after having several intense work days where I feel like all I’ve done is sit behind a computer for hours on end, I like to get out and find some inspiration. That may be going to the art museum for a couple hours, antiquing, or even just taking a long walk with the dog.

How did you hear about minted?
I have my own design company, Max & Bunny, and we have a booth at the National Stationery show every year. The Minted team approached me and I loved the crowdsouring idea and thought the camaraderie it created was infectious. Besides, the Minted team is so amazing, I jumped at the chance to be a part of that community. 

Tell me about one of your designs for sale on Minted and how it came together.
For the Color Zip holiday card, I was inspired taking a taxi home in New York City. While riding up the West Side Highway, the passing lights of cars and the cityscape blurred together creating a line of color that sparked the idea for that card.

What’s a cool DIY project you’ve worked on recently?
I love my YuDu desktop screen printer. It allows for easy at home screen-printing and I’ve done all sorts of projects on that — everything from invitations to t-shirts to baby onesies. It’s really fun and it makes for great homemade gifts.

Do you have any fun party planning or decorating tips you can share with us?
I love sending my guests home with personalized party favors, like notecards with their name on them because it really is something that makes someone feel special. Also, decorations don’t have to be expensive or purchased to be beautiful.  You can do so much with tissue paper, kraft paper, and a little time.

Favorite pen? Favorite notebook?
Both are from MUJI—I’m in love!

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Meet a Mintie: Penelope Poppy

Name: Nicole Armstrong
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Years with Minted: 4
Expertise: Watercolor style marker with black line art
Occupation: Elias/Savion Advertising Graphic Designer and Mintie

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
Since I was little, I loved to color and draw. My mom would tell you it all started when I won my first coloring contest when I was 4 years old. It was a Christmas contest, and I won a teddy bear wearing a Santa hat. After receiving the bear, I immediately cut his hat off and thought it would look better on me, though it was too small. I still have “Teddy” (I know, so original), sans hat, to this day!

Throughout my grade school and high school years,, I took every art class there was.
I wasn’t really familiar with “design,” but I knew I loved being creative. Turns out, I was pretty good at it.

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Meet a Mintie: Cadence Paige Design

Name: Paige Rothhaar
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Years with Minted: 4
Expertise: Layers of detail and inspired whimsy.
Occupation: Graphic Design Professional at Fahlgren Mortine, Mintie, Mother to two.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I went into college with the notion of becoming a nutritionist but as soon as I realized how much chemistry was involved, I quickly changed my major to art education. It wasn’t until I had finished a study abroad in Italy that I realized that my future might be in graphic design. We had to keep a sketchbook/journal to receive credit for the course. We were expected to do studies of famous architecture and works by the great masters, but I was more fascinated by the details that usually go unnoticed in the art history world. I sketched intricate patterns that were hammered into Roman armor, geometric shapes on Etruscan vases, even patterns found on the coffins of Egyptian mummies. I also drew various coats of arms you’d see on buildings around Florence, which were basically an early form of branding for wealthy families. When I turned in my sketchbook at the end of the trip, my professor thought that I might really enjoy graphic arts and suggested I make it my concentration. Her instincts were right and that’s exactly what I did the following semester.  

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Meet a Mintie: Robin Ott

Name: Robin Ott
Location: Orrville, Ohio
Years with Minted: 4
Expertise: Mid-century meets organic. Equally adept at painting and drawing.
Occupation: Watch designer turned freelance graphic designer, Mintie, Mom to two little ones.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
My high school was fortunate to have an ambitious art instructor, who introduced his students to so many opportunities related to the arts. He often invited local artists to visit and share their real-life work experiences with our class. I remember very specifically when my “ah-ha” moment occurred after a freelance, graphic designer came to our class and shared her story. I remember thinking that would be my “dream job”. Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my dream came true. Anytime I get discouraged or in a creative rut, I remind myself that I’m living my dream.

I went to school for Computer Animation at the Art Institute of Dallas. My 3-D training and feminine style helped me land a job at Fossil, Inc. designing watches and accessories. I collaborated with other designers on brands like Armani, DKNY and Nike. It was so much fun that it didn’t even seem to be “work”. I returned to Ohio and started my freelance business in 2003, and I slowly transitioned to graphic design, forming several long-lasting relationships with clients that I still work with today. 

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Meet a Mintie: Katharine Watson

We are very excited to be bringing back an old favorite, our ‘Meet a Mintie‘ designer interview series. Look for these ‘get to know a designer’ features every other Friday going forward! And let us know if there is anyone you want us to feature. We’d love to hear from you!

Name: Katharine Watson
Location: Hyde Park, Vermont
Years with Minted: 3.5
Niche: Bringing a modern twist to traditional textile designs with block printing.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I think I’ve always known, it has just been something I’ve loved to do since I was very little. But it wasn’t until college, when I sold my first painting at a coffee shop, that I realized you could actually make a living as an artist. That was a very exciting day! 

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A Talk with Minted Artist Jorey Hurley

By Jen Casebeer, Community Editor

Last week, we were very lucky to have Minted artist, illustrator, and author Jorey Hurley visit us here at Minted HQ in San Francisco. Jorey sat down with Mariam, our CEO and Founder, for a Fireside Chat to talk about Jorey’s work, her inspiration, her Minted experience, and her new book, Nest, with Simon & Schuster.

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R Studio and Students in Minted’s State of the Art Challenge

Minted artists are incredibly supportive of each other; they critique each others’ work, give suggestions, celebrate others’ wins, and often become good friends. Many see Minted as a type of “design school” and a valuable source for learning and inspiration. So it’s very fitting that we’re writing today about a Minted relationship that incorporates education on a whole new level! Longtime Mintie Renée Stevens of R Studio is a professor at SUNY Oswego in upstate New York. We were so happy and flattered to hear that last semester, she encouraged her graphic design students to submit their artwork to Minted’s State of the Art Challenge.

In a challenge with an incredible 1,044 art submissions, two of Renée’s students won Minted Editors’ Pick prizes! “The Mess” by Emily Hinckley and “Townie” by Melissa will both be up for sale on Minted.com soon. We see Minted as an artistic community, first and foremost, and nothing makes us happier than seeing artists take a risk and learn through the challenge process.

Emily, Renée, and Melissa

 We were lucky enough to get to hear from Emily, Renée, and Melissa about their Minted experiences and about the inspiration for their work.

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Meet a Mintie: e-ray.

Today we get to know a self-described “design geek” who we think happens to be one of the coolest members of our community. No doubt by now you’re familiar with Eric Comstock’s or e-ray’s whimsical, hand-drawn lettering and delightful cherry and blueberry color pairings. Eric is a veteran designer who came to minted with a very large portfolio and a lot of experience in both the advertising and design worlds. We hope you enjoy getting to know Eric a little better!

A cool marquee letter Eric found on ebay.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I loved art from the time I was a kid, but it was really when I was working in advertising as an art director that I really started to think about it seriously. I was jealous of the graphic designers at our agency. It just seemed to me that they had the really fun job.

A drawing that I did when I was 14. When I did this drawing I realized I wanted to go into advertising. I didn’t even understand what one did in advertising but I thought if I could do drawings like this all day I would love it. Ten years after getting into advertising I left that career and started working with my wife. We spent a lot of time designing surface design. Advertising was good but I really love what I do now.

How would you describe your style?
Definitely not serious. I like to have fun and create things that make people smile. So, I think modern with a quirky flair and emphasis on typography is a pretty good description.

What is your normal workflow or process like?
You mean after I’m done procrastinating? Well, I usually draw out some sketches on paper, then scan them into illustrator to finish.

How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
I guess it depends on the design.

How did you hear about minted?
I read about minted on designworklife.com. Shortly after, I met Mariam and the rest of her team at SurTex and they invited me to participate. I’ve loved it ever since!

Favorite design for sale on minted and why you like it?
The Retro ABC notebook is my favorite because I really love the colors and the texture from the hand drawn letters.

Favorite design challenge to date?
I have enjoyed the art poster challenge best of all. One of the things I love about Minted is having the opportunity to work on these different assignments. Every challenge gives me a chance to solve a new problem and some fun solutions have come from that.

It seems like you had a ton of fun with letters during the notebook challenge. All of your designs are incredible. Can you walk us through what it’s like to hand letter an entire alphabet?
It can be a challenge to create new ways of designing a letter, but that is also the fun part. Sometimes creating a new way of looking at the alphabet can lead to a bunch of other ideas.

I believe you’re married… what was your wedding invitation like?
I am married… My wife had her neighbor, a talented artist, hand letter our invitation. The lettering was shot with a stat camera and printed on an ivory cardstock.

Favorite pen?
Uniball Vision (Fine)

Favorite notebook?
My Retro ABC notebook, of course!

Favorite design tool?
Illustrator, Wacom tablet and my scanner

A sketchbook pic.

How does living in the Utah influence your design?
I’m not sure Utah has really influenced my design much. Sitting on our deck enjoying the perfect summers here with a glass of wine might not hurt too much though.

Although I will say that because I am not skier (not a fan of the winter here) it forces me to stay at my desk. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fall and Winter are my most productive times of the year.

Another sketchbook pic.

What are the places in your hometown that you would recommend a visitor check out?
Caffe Ibis for really great coffee, lunch or breakfast. Logan Canyon for hiking. Sardine Canyon in the fall for seeing the leaves change.

Eric thoughtfully brought Mariam a bag of his beloved Caffe Ibis coffee to our Salt Lake City meet-up.

Where do you go for design inspiration?
I put on some really good jazz music, pour a really tasty cup of coffee and then I just wait. Sometimes they show up and sometimes they don’t.

My desk. Sort of boring. This is how my desk looks for about 5 minutes after I have cleaned it.

On the wall above my desk is a print that Nate Williams sent me. The other is a print by Jim Flora that I bought on fab.com.

Where do you like to shop? What are your favorite stores?

Being 6′ 5″, I shop online mostly. I like JCrew, Gap, Etsy and Fab.com (my latest favorite).

What are your favorite online design sites and blogs?
designworklife.com, designsponge.com, grainedit.com and of course my own site that I just put together with the help of virb.com, the url is www.eray.us (a work in progress).

What designers do you really admire?
Alexander Gerard, Ray and Charles Eames, Miroslave Sasek, Jim Flora and Richard Diebenkorn whose paintings I just love.

What advice would you give a new designer?
The more work you do, the stronger you will become at what you love doing. When I worked in advertising, we were expected to come up with 20-30, maybe even 50 ideas for each assignment. Only 3-5 of those ideas would make it to the first round of presenting to our creative director. It would be narrowed further from there. Persistence is more important than talent. Don’t give up!

Keep in touch with Eric on his website here.

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