Minted 2015 Holiday Challenge Winners Visit San Francisco

When we asked the top three winners of Minted’s 2015 Holiday Challenge about the favorite part of their prize-winning trip to San Francisco, they shared similar sentiments about instant connection. “Being an independent designer can sometimes be a little lonely,” explained first-place winner Karly Depew. “So getting to be with Kristie [Kern] and Phrosné [Ras] and meeting the people who work hard at Minted to make our designs come to life was inspiring and invigorating.”

The 2015 holiday challenge winners outside Minted’s San Francisco office, from left: Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma; Phrosné Ras; Kristie Kern. “The trip was a whirlwind!” Kristie said. “The Minted team kept us on the go from the time we hit the ground, which was absolutely perfect for me. It was my first trip to San Francisco, and I wanted to take in as much as possible. The experience was a great combination of sightseeing, celebration, and opportunities to learn more about Minted.”    

The winning designs of The Most Wonderful Time 2015 Holiday Card Challenge, from left: “Embellished” by Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma; “Amazing Frame” by Phrosné Ras; “Sparkling Frame” by Kristie Kern.

After spending nearly three days with Karly, Phrosné, and Kristie, exploring the city’s restaurants and sites—including breakfast with CEO Mariam Naficy at The Battery—it’s an understatement to say that we at Minted learned a lot from the artists. We really got to know them and enjoyed hearing about everything from their families to the fact that they’re all self-taught designers to their tongue-in-cheek fears about earthquakes and “what if foil goes out of style?”

When we asked if the artists had any “a-ha!” moments after visiting the Minted office and meeting the other artists, Phrosné talked about feeling inspired to experience “the brain behind the brand.” “Minted employees are constantly working on new and exciting things,” she said. “I was also reminded that the three of us shared an uncertainty about our work and a desire to improve. We share and recognize in each other a healthy insecurity about our work, which I believe is a powerful thing, because you’ll never become complacent.”

We hope you enjoy our photo album of the trip.

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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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Artists Create Fun Inside #MintedBox

We tend to encourage out-of-the-box thinking, but for a fun summer project, we’re thinking about the inside of the box. We invited a small group of Minted Artists to get creative with Minted shipping boxes. The result? #MintedBox, a collection of eight interactive designs, including an astronaut by Bob Daly, rocket ship by Jessie Steury, and hot dog by Kayla King. This summer, customers who order stationery products will receive their products in one of the #MintedBox designs, in honor of Minted’s community of independent artists.

#MintedBox hot dog design by Kayla King, sported by Lolita and Joe, the dog and husband of Minted Artist and Creative Director Annie Clark.

This is project #001 of the Minted 100
The Minted 100 is an ongoing series of projects by Minted to promote collaboration among and between our community and customers. Projects will vary between big and small, but always focused on independent, creativity-first thinking.

#MintedBox cactus design by Pistols, worn by Avery, the daughter of Mary-Kevin Stuart, Minted’s Senior Merchandise Manager, Baby + Kids.

#MintedBox Social Media Campaign
We’re encouraging customers to show our community how far their art has traveled with the #MintedBox social media campaign and contest. Get your creative juices going and take a fun photo of yourself with a Minted Box to post on Instagram with the hashtag #MintedBox. Tell us where you are, and we’ll put you on the Minted Box Map on Minted.com. We’ll award prizes for the first in your state to post, the furthest away from the artist to post, and many more.

#MintedBox ice cream truck design by Susie Allen, sported by Delaney, a friend of Karen Zinn, Minted’s Head of Catalog.

Susie Allen shares a few insights about her #MintedBox ice cream truck design.

Minted: Have you ever done anything like this before?
Susie Allen:
No, and I’m excited to see it in person. One thing I love about working with Minted is the variety of new materials and genres I’ve been able to experiment with, from customizable art prints to fabric/home decor — and now interactive boxes.

Your ice cream truck design is really clever. How did you approach the concept?
When I got the assignment, one of the suggested themes was an ice cream truck, based on my “Ice Cream Truck” custom art print. I really loved the idea, but I knew it was going to be a challenge to make it into a character with a face, and an image that extended down the length of the box. When I hit on the idea of a whimsical map-like scene winding through different landscapes, it really clicked with the idea of the boxes traveling all over America. There was still a bit more box to fill, so I added some optional cutout props to up the interactive factor.

Ice Cream Truck” custom art print by Susie Allen

What did you learn from the #MintedBox project?
That limitations can actually be super helpful for the creative process. The map-like scene (complete with happy sun) is my very favorite part of the image, and it’s not something I would have conceptualized without the challenge to make use of such a long, narrow space. I was initially very nervous about the color restrictions — only three Pantone colors (plus the white background) to make a fun image that really pops. That limitation forced me to make decisions I typically wouldn’t (like red/pink trees and lakes) and to incorporate texture into the illustration in different ways than I normally do. This project has really changed the way I look at color, and I’m excited about using some of the new tricks I learned in upcoming work.

Learn more on the #MintedBox page.

About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

Published June 29, 2016 • Want to join the Minted Artist Community? Submit to a Challenge here.
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8 Tips for Getting Started in the Design World

If you’re a recent college graduate on the hunt for design work, good news. Not only is there demand for traditional full-time jobs, but opportunities are on the rise for becoming your own boss. “There are so many resources for independent designers, platforms to sell your work, and opportunities to create passive income streams,” says Hailey Myziuk, who works full time for her company Snow and Ivy. The 31-year-old Detroit artist joined the Minted community in 2010 and says now is “such an exciting and fun time to be a designer.”

To help you curate your career, Hailey and Genna Cowsert — a fellow Detroit area designer and Minted artist — share these right tips for getting your digital foot in the door and developing your career.

The Sky Is the Limit” by Genna Cowsert

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Minted x Pottery Barn Art Challenge: Special Prizes

We were thrilled to partner with two of the most widely recognized and largest brands in the children and teens home decor space: PotteryBarn Kids and PBteen. Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen share Minted’s dedication to producing high quality and well-designed products, and we can’t wait to introduce unique artwork from Minted’s community of independent artists into their assortments. Congratulations to all the special prize winners!

Minted Editor’s Choice Award
For the artwork that is chosen as most innovative by the Minted Team
Anim-Alphabet by Sarah York


From the Heart –Teen Award
For the best piece of art displaying an inspirational or unique quote for a teen room
Stay Awesome by Hannah Williams


From the Heart – Children’s Award
For the best piece of art displaying an inspirational or unique quote for a child’s room
You are so Loved by Alethea and Ruth


Click through for more special prize winners

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5 Tips for Building Your Creative Brand Online

With loads of Internet tools and resources just waiting for your personal touch, developing a creative brand can seem at once exciting, full of possibilities… and overwhelming. Which is why we tapped industry experts to share their insights at the Minted headquarters for San Francisco’s Design Week 2016.

Photo by Tiffany Tran

On June 7, we hosted a lively panel discussion featuring Minted Creative Director (and one of our first Minted artists) Annie Clark, Chronicle Books Design Director Kristen Hewitt, and artist and jewelry designer Lisa Anderson Shaffer. Here are the top five takeaways; view the panel recording here.

1. Cohesiveness Is Key

Do you want to build a website and create social accounts for your creative business? If so, focus on creating a cohesive body of work to share online.

“A lot of new artists and designers are all over the map, and it’s hard to understand where their focus is or what style they want to bring to the table,” said Kristen Hewitt, Design Director at Chronicle Books. She advises that designers and artists present a sense of who they want to be and what they want to make. Showcase a clear, cohesive body of work to attract clients and help them understand your vision.

Minted Creative Director Annie Clark said it’s equally important to keep your portfolio fresh and up to date. “It’s not important to share everything you’ve ever done in your career online,” Annie said. For example, you can keep those works from when you dabbled in oil paint during art school offline if it’s not something that will be central to who you are now as an artist and what you will be selling.

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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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New Minted Artists Talk Picasso, Pizza, and Mentors

Every month we welcome some of our newer Minted artists to the community in the Welcome Wagon series. Hop on and learn some fun facts about Belia Simm, Seth Smith, and Stephanie Strouse.

Belia Simm
Fishkill, New York

Personal website: beliasimm.com
Instagram: @beliasimm
First winning design: ”Name Initials“ during the A is for Art challenge in August 2015.

Name Initials,” Belia’s first winning design for Minted

Which artist or designer would you like to invite to your home for dinner?
Pablo Picasso, since he was such well-rounded artist. He is famous for his paintings but he also did sculptures, sketching, printmaking, and even stage design. As an artist, my goal is to also have an extensive portfolio of quality, diverse work like he had.

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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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First Minted Artist Paris Meetup Full of ‘Pinch-Me’ Moments

In mid-May, London-based Minted Artist Annie Montgomery organized the very first Minted artist meetup in Paris, bringing together one Parisian, as well as a German, French, American, and Italian. “It was absolutely lovely! An evening filled with inspiration and new friends…all set on a rooftop overlooking the rooftops of Paris,” Annie said.

Cheers! (From left) Annie Montgomery (London), Cécile Kotsch of Bonjour Paper (Germany), Liz Conley (U.S.), Gwen Bedat (Paris), and Gerrie Magnani of chocomocacino (Italy).

The five artists met at 43 Up on the Roof, dined at Fish La Boissonnerie, and finished the evening at Grom for gelato—”trying to make the night linger for as long as possible,” Annie said. “There were lots of bubbles and cheers involved because we had so much to celebrate, including the end of the big Minted holiday design challenge.”

Despite being from various parts of the world, Annie said the artists had so many things in common, from travels and expatriatism to designer role models and friends and families humming Christmas music in March. “We laughed and nodded and bonded over so many similarities,” she said.

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