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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Meet a Mintie: Linda & Harriett.

Happy week-of Christmas everyone! This monday morning, I bring you a fine treat: a Meet a Mintie with Liz from Linda & Harriett. Liz is a relatively new member of our community, but boy did she get into our holiday challenge, submitting several stunners!

First things, first! Who’s Linda and who’s Harriett?
My mom’s name was Linda & my middle name is Harriett, also the name of my great grandmother. When I was thinking of names for my business, my husband mentioned using these names because they’re pretty old-fashioned unique names & obviously mean a lot to me. As a result, I get called Linda a lot. But I never mind because it reminds me of my mom, who passed away when I was 17.

How did L&H get its start?
I started Linda & Harriett as a custom stamped invitation business. I made rubber stamps & used them for people’s invitations & personalized stationery. It was a lot of work & a lot of hand-work, but there’s something so gratifying about putting ink to paper for an immediate result – and one that changes depending on that moment of contact – the pressure of your hands, the ink saturation, the paper, the rotation of the stamp – it all adds up to something slightly different each time. It’s fun, and I’ve just gotten back into it again.

I’ve moved away from the custom work & now concentrate on a few key products that I really love from start to finish – namely, our calendars. I love creating them, selling them & giving them as gifts. I stand by them 100% and I’ll keep doing them as long as that’s the case. Cutting back on our line has also freed up time for other projects, like creating designs for Minted!

As you know, I’ve been purchasing your calendars for five years and counting now and am a HUGE fan. How do you go about designing it each year?
My process for our annual letterpress calendar, which I’ve been doing since 2008, starts in January of the prior year and is by far my favorite project. In my sketchbook, I list all 12 months & over several weeks, I take notes on what I want to do for each month. The summer months are usually the first to fill up with ideas. I’m a total sucker for sea life images – whales, crabs, sailfish, anchors, seagulls. I could do June, July and August twenty times over each year. But back to the process. So I take notes & sketch possible layouts in January. The next few months are spent sketching the images & month titles. The last part is deciding on colors. I tape Pantone swatches in my sketch book next to the months to make sure I’m not overusing or missing a color or duplicating colors in back to back months. This is the part that definitely takes me the longest. I hem & haw over colors so much that sometimes I spend most of the day deciding on a shade of blue. I’m not really that picky of a person, but when it comes to my colors, I’m crazy. We go to print by April and debut the calendar at the National Stationery Show in May.

Speaking of the National Stationery Show, that is where I met you! Natasha told me about Minted while I was still in the thick of custom work, so it didn’t feel like the right time since I was busy with my own clients & production schedule and couldn’t imagine taking on more. Cutting back on custom work over the past year freed up some time, and I submitted my first designs this May for the Holiday Card Challenge. Sometimes I feel like I work in a vacuum a bit, so getting immediate feedback in comments & then later in sales is particularly fun for me. And I have to admit, I do love a good challenge!

I loved meeting you for the first time–I am such a big calendar fan that I was quite starstruck. What is your favorite design for sale on minted now?

My favorite design of mine on Minted right now is my Handlettered Merry Christmas card. I ordered it as my company holiday card (non photo, citron green color — so cool!) and will use it as our family Christmas card, too, with a big photo of Griffin, my one year old son. I like that it’s simple enough to let the photo shine, but has personality in the loose lettering. It feels light-hearted – and to me, that seems like the perfect sentiment for the season.

How is your letterpress work different than designing for minted’s flat printing?
Designing for flat printing is a bit different than letterpress. Letterpress printing gets more expensive with each color you add, so I typically use one or two colors, sometimes three and almost never four. And even though I can use more than three colors for flat printing, my designs for Minted have so far rarely exceeded two colors. I can’t help it:) I also think that when you’re using photos, it’s best to limit the number of colors in your design. Too much can be too much.

How does your new son Griffin fit into your work / life / balance?
When I was pregnant with Griffin over a year ago, I started anticipating work life with a baby. I realized pretty quickly that my time was about to turn to gold & I didn’t want to waste it. So with that in mind, I cut back on things in my business that I didn’t enjoy & didn’t have faith to grow. I cut back on a lot, actually. It was risky, but I am so happy I did because it’s allowed me a whole day off a week to hang out with Griffin and has given me more time for other projects, such as designing for Minted! So really, Griffin brought me to Minted:)

Isn't little Griffin's bum adorable on her Merry Merry giftag?

And we’re so glad he did!! Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season Liz!! Thank you for letting us get to know you a little better. Keep in touch with Liz over on her blog here.

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Meet a Mintie: Palm Papers.

I’ve got the perfect anecdote to the craziness of the holiday season; a very fun interview today with Lauren from Palm Papers! Lauren shares how she recently found her passion and made a big career switch, as well as dishes on letterpressing, wedding logos, and being an Apple convert.

How does an accountant become a stationery designer?
I was always creative growing up, but never thought much about an artistic career. When I went to college (at Texas A&M University), I thought the business school was the best place to figure out what I wanted to do. I was leaning towards a Marketing degree, but when it was time to choose a major, accountants were in high demand and I actually ‘got’ the whole accounting thing (and nerd alert: I kind of enjoyed it), so I went that route. After 5 years of school, I graduated with my masters, got my CPA license and started working for an oil & gas company.

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Meet a Mintie: Griffinbell Studio

Happy Halloween Minties! Today we interrupt your celebrations to get to now Lynn Knipe and her Griffinbell Studio a little better. Lynn has been a prominent member in the minted community for the past two years and we’re very lucky to have her; she has such a broad range of talent and has really excelled in every genre–no easy feat. Enjoy this sweet treat!

First things first: how did you come up with the name Griffinbell Studio?
Griffinbell Studio is named for my two children, Griffin and Bella.

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Meet a Mintie: Francesco Bongiorni

Italian designer Francesco Bongiorni lives in Spain and illustrates the covers of everything from the New York Times to Frankenstein. He is an incredibly talented “ideas guy” and we are thankful to have him drop in on a Minted challenge from time to time! Today he talks with us about the advantages of living abroad and travelling and how his work takes him into the minds of people all over the world. Thanks for taking a minute to let us get to know you Francesco. We look forward to seeing what you submit next!

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Meet a Mintie: Kristen Smith

Happy Fall Minties! We hope you all had a wonderful Labour Day and short work week.

Whether it be her one-eyed monster Halloween card or beautiful floral branches bridal shower invitation, we’re quite certain you know the work of Kristen Smith. Read on to get to know the lively gal behind her festive designs.

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Introducing: New Minted Mentors!

This is a very exciting time of the year for Minted. With the launch of the 2011 Minted holiday assortment fast approaching and a huge wedding design challenge on the horizon, we thought this was an excellent point to select three additional Minted designers to join Amy Ehmann of Design Lotus and Sydney Newsom as Minted Mentors! It is my great pleasure to announce that Ann Gardner, Hailey Myziuk of Hello Hailey and Jennifer Wick will be joining the Mentor team. We feel very lucky to have these inspiring ladies as part of the community and feel their shift into officially guiding, engaging and informing their fellow Minties is a completely natural one. In the weeks and months that follow, our community has a lot to look forward to. The Minted Mentors will be kicking off fun, interesting and informative threads in the Forum, connecting designers with the resources they need to participate in design challenges and making sure that Minted receives the feedback we need to constantly improve the community and customer experience. Newbies take note; these are the ladies you want to chat with.

Ann Gardner was Minted in February of 2010. Not only does she have a ton of well-deserved wins under her belt, including three first place prizes, Ann has also been extremely active in the challenges by voting and commenting on her fellow Minties’ designs. Ann doesn’t just create incredible paper creations either; she’s also a formally trained pastry chef. You can see some of her gorgeous edible creations and learn more about this Minted Mentor here.

Hailey Myziuk of Hello Hailey was Minted in March of 2010. It’s been wonderful to see Hailey’s warmth and personality shine through so many of her winning designs. Her bubbly personality also comes through while she’s actively commenting on submissions and threads in the Forum. When Hailey isn’t creating beautiful designs for Minted, she freelance designs for some amazing causes and created illustrations for an adorable children’s book called ‘Daddy Can You.’ See more of Hailey’s work and learn more about her here.

Jennifer Wick was Minted in September of 2010. Happy first anniversary of being a Mintie Jen! We’re so pleased to have Jen as part of the Mentor team as her enthusiasm and energy are contagious. Her big wins in a variety of categories, coupled with the thoughtful comments she leaves on design submissions and in threads in the forum have made her such an asset to the community. Find out more about Jen and her budding design business here.

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Meet a Mintie: Yolanda Mariak Chendak

Today we’re pleased as punch to get to know Mintie Yolanda Mariak Chendak and learn a little about how her graphic design career started and how she does the career / mother juggle now. I know you’ll especially enjoy peaks into her Polish heritage (especially the eggs!!), corporate career, wedding and her idyllic family life!

Yolanda with her husband David and their two sons Austin (2 yrs) and Aidan (5 yrs) we are at the Annual Balloon Festival in their hometown Whitehouse Station, New Jersey.

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