The Future is Bright Graduation Challenge Special Prize Winners

Announcing the Special Prize winners of The Future is Bright Graduation ChallengeWe were floored by the quality and breadth of designs submitted to this challenge. The graduation business is one of our fastest growing stationery categories, and 2017 graduates will be thrilled with the new assortment this year!

For the most design-forward, innovative graduation announcement or invitation that you would only find at Minted.
Photo Booth by Stacey Meacham

Runners-up: shaping the future by Guess What Design Studio, Grad Doodle by Katharine Watson, and Scribbled Spirit by The Carillos


For the best design that appeals to the male grad.
Virginia Beach by Little Words Design

Runners-up: Cornerwise by Jennifer PostorinoBold Statement by Kristie Kern, and Minimalist Frame by Jennifer Lew


For the design that best highlights the graduate’s name.
Just Fab by Paper and Parcel

Runners-up: sharp by Sara Hicks Malone, my name is by Phrosne Ras, and Grad Chart by Shirley Lin Schneider


For the best design featuring multiple photos.
Pride and Joy by Carrie ONeal

Runners-up: distinguished by Sara Hicks Malone, Classic Stack by Stacey Meacham, and Artifact by Jennifer Lew


For the best design that incorporates a creative way to share where the graduate is heading after graduation.
Destination University by Cheer Up Press

Runner-up: Destination College by Melissa Casey


For the best traditional and timeless design.
Stacked Class by Jennifer Wick

Runners-up: Stylish Celebration by Lauren Chism, Elegance by Jennifer Postorino, and Gracious Grad by Guess What Design Studio


For the best simple, modern design.
Double Grad Gallery by fatfatin

Runners-up: Commence by Lauren ChismAcknowledged by Michelle Taylor, and Simple Grad by Still and Mundane


For the most differentiated and unique full bleed photo design.
elegant grad by Erin Deegan

Runners-up: Yay for Graduate by Amy Payne, Our Grad by Chris Griffith, and Adventure Awaits! by Hooray Creative


For the design that best showcases a graduate’s school colors and can be easily customized to suit various school colors.
impactful by lena barakat

Runners-up: Simply Tagged by Cait Trainor, Classic Graduate by Owl and Toad, and Grad Stripe by Rebecca Durflinger


For the best design showcasing a graduate through the years.
The Years Fly By by Amy Payne

Runners-up: Always Proud by Susan Brown and Tiles by Shari Margolin


For the best design that puts the graduate’s name or other customizable text on a curvilinear path.
Cum Laude by Kimberly Morgan

Runners-up: retro by Poi Velasco and Golden Graduation by Itsy Belle Studio


For the best design from a designer winning for the first time.
Graduate Knock Out by Megan Roe

Congratulations to the winners!

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2016 Wedding Invitation Challenge Special Prize Winners

We’re excited to announce the Special Prize winners of our Wedding Bells are Ringing: 2016 Wedding Invitation Challenge! This was our largest and most competitive Wedding Challenge of the year with over 2,800 submissions. We were absolutely delighted by your beautiful invitation designs; we know that engaged couples and wedding guests will be too. Congratulations to the winners!

For the most creative and innovative take on a wedding invitation.
Rainbow Roll by Katharine Watson

Runners-up: love is strong by Aspacia Kusulas, Artful Oneness by Moglea, and Happy Day by Angela Marzuki


For the design that best lays the groundwork for a sophisticated, classic wedding.
Classic monogram by Stacey Meacham

Runners-up: We Do. by Eric Clegg and Subtly Sweet by Kimberly FitzSimons


For the best gender-neutral design that will appeal to both men and women.
Elan by Griffinbell Paper Co.

Runners-up: Painted Leaf by Katharine Watson and Astor by carly reed walker


For the best non-floral wedding invitation.
Josephine by kelli hall

Runners-up: Mod Lines by Alethea and Ruth, Brushed Stripes by Everett Paper Goods, and Stable by Roxy


For the best design with a simple, edited, and clean aesthetic.
Scattered Diamonds by Nikkol Christiansen

Runners-up: The Minimalist by Kelly Schmidt and over and over by Lea Delaveris


For the best design for a destination wedding.
Palm by Kaydi Bishop

Runner-up: Stellar by Elly


For the design that best showcases one of Minted’s unique die-cut shapes in an original way.
Arched Wedding by Jennifer Wick

Runner-up: Adorned Ampersand by Jennifer Postorino


For the best design that puts the couples’ names or other customizable text on a curvilinear path.
Rustic Love by GeekInk Design

Runner-up: Wonderland by Laura Hankins


For the best design from a first-time winner.
Art Deco Frame by Caitlin Mac

Runner-up: Wedding Stamp by Kasia Labocki


The following Special Prizes will be announced at a later date: End-to-End Award, Stamp Award, Perfect Match Award, and Font Award.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Erica Krystek

Triathlon magazine creative director. Former competitive tennis player. Journalism major. Mom and wife. These are a handful of the words we can use to describe Erica Krystek, who like many of her fellow community members, enters Minted challenges by night. With more than 200 Minted awards to her name, Erica’s work spans from exuberant holiday cards to humorous baby and kids designs, and a little bit of customizable art for good measure. If you look a little closer at Erica’s work on her Minted Artist Store, you’ll likely find yourself smirking at her usage of clever puns: “Let’s Taco ‘Bout How Awesome You Are” and “You’re Tool Cool” among them. It goes without saying that she’s not only a talented designer, but she’s also got a way with words.

Here the San Diego artist talks about her “plannerly” creative process, how she’s evolved as a Minted artist, and how quality mommy time and a good work-life balance makes her heart happy.

Sleepy Fox” baby shower invitation by Erica Krystek

Minted: Did you study art or design formally in school?
Erica Krystek: I grew up in San Diego and, other than college, have lived here my whole life. I did not formally study graphic design, and instead received a B.S. in journalism at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2002. My intention was to be an editor or writer; however, my senior year while working as an editor at Cal Poly’s daily newspaper, I realized I enjoyed the design aspect of journalism more than the editorial side. At the time, the paper was a very low-budget operation, and as an editor, you were also tasked with designing your editorial section. So I quickly taught myself Quark and found that I kind of had a knack for it. After I graduated, I was fortunate to get a wonderful job working for a firefighting magazine, where I honed my design skills, eventually working my way up the ladder to Art Director.

Erica’s dog Sherman likes to stick his nose into Erica’s work.

What’s it like to work as the Creative Director of LAVA magazine?
I grew up heavily involved in many sports and received an athletic scholarship to college, so working for any sports-oriented publication piqued my interest. When I had the opportunity to work as the Creative Director for LAVA, it seemed like a perfect fit. LAVA is a newsstand, coffee-table-style triathlon magazine, published nine times a year. Our content caters to more serious and seasoned triathletes, versus beginners, and takes its name from the lava landscape of Kona, Hawaii, where the Ironman World Championship (the premier event for most triathletes) has been held each year since the early ’80s. We have a very small operation of eight people, so I do the majority of the design work for print and web as well as create our marketing materials and direct our cover shoots.

Erica Krystek is the Creative Director of LAVA Magazine.

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DIY: Last-Minute Printable Heart Glasses

Written by Sharon Garofalow of  Cupcakes and Cutlery

Need a fun, last-minute craft to do with your kids today? I’ve got the perfect, easy activity for you! Just download and print the template for these adorable heart-shaped paper glasses!! They’re the perfect accent to your Valentine’s Day festivities!

Easy last minute Valentine's Day craft for you and the kids.
Printable heart shaped glasses for kids on Valentine's Day.

Click through for step by step instructions

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DIY: Galentine’s Day Party Invitations

Written by Kathleen Ballos of Snowdrop & Co

Are you having friends over for Galentine’s Day this year? These simple DIY rosé party invitations are the perfect start to a relaxing night in with the girls. Plus, they go perfectly with Minted’s Rosé S’il Vous Plait print! Happy Galentine’s Day!

Galentine's Day Invitations | Julep Galentine's Day Invitations | Julep

Click through for step-by-step instructions … 

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DIY: Heart-Stamped Tote Bag

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

Give me a plain white tote bag + paint + a potato and I am a happy crafter! This Valentine’s Day I made this heart-stamped tote for my daughter. And to make the stamp, I used—get this!—a potato. If you haven’t made a potato stamp before, you have to give it a try, it’s so easy. And I love the look of ombre, so I stamped my hearts in varying shades, ranging from soft pink to cherry red. This is the perfect little gift for your sweet one this February 14.

DIY Heart Stamped Tote Bag
DIY Heart Stamped Tote Bag

Click through for the step-by-step instructions …

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Jessica Hische’s Guest Judge Pick!

Back in October, we invited Jessica Hische to be the Guest Judge for our biggest Wedding Challenge of the year, the Wedding Bells are Ringing: 2016 Wedding Invitation Challenge. Jessica Hische is a lettering artist, illustrator, author, and self-described “avid internetter” working in San Francisco and Brooklyn. Jessica has become as well known for her side projects as she has for her client work. She’s created several educational micro-sites including Mom This is How Twitter Works, Should I Work for Free? and Don’t Fear the Internet

Out of 2,848 submissions, Jessica selected Beloved by Design Lotus! When asked specifically why she chose this design, Jessica said, “It was incredibly hard to choose a winner because there were so many outstanding submissions this year, but I kept coming back to this design. I love how it combines classic elegant components (the use of gold engraving illustrations and beautiful clean typefaces) in a modern asymmetrical layout. It almost feels like the design could double as a high-end wine label. I think it’s really difficult to design in a way that feels understated and elegant but not minimalistic. I could see this design working for a wide range of weddings—from a big elaborate affair in a gilded ballroom to a small outdoor ceremony in an overgrown garden.” Congratulations Design Lotus!

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DIY: Valentine’s Day Embroidery

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

We love to gift our friends with little Valentine’s Day presents, just like the kiddos do. This year, we’re making a simple embroidered gift that’s straight from the heart. We fell in love with Minted’s “First Crush” fabric by Katherine Roberts and added a special touch by stitching pink embroidery floss to the fabric. We started with a small hoop and used basic split stitches and French knots to add some sweet embellishments to the darling fabric. Lastly, just add some string to the top of the hoop to turn the embroidery into a wall hanging for your friend.

DIY Valentine Embroidery

You also have to see some of our other favorite heart-patterned fabrics:
• “Loved” by Carolyn MacLauren
• “Love of Heats” by Four Wet Free Studio
• “Hand-stamped Hearts” by Hooray Creative

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DIY: Valentine’s Day Plates

Written by Kathleen Ballos of  Snowdrop & Co

Do you like candy hearts? I think they’re so cute, but I don’t like actually eating them. Enter these DIY Valentine’s Day message plates! Write any message onto the plate to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. I chose simple messages, but you could customize them with names or inside jokes for a simple DIY gift.

DIY Valentine's Plates | Julep DIY Valentine's Plates | Julep

Click through for step-by-step instructions … 

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