Minted at the National Stationery Show

Oscar + Emma and Lucky Paperie
Karly Depew of Oscar + Emma and Melanie Carter of Lucky Paperie

Phew, I”m back from walking miles up and down the aisles at the National Stationery Show in New York and wanted to share pictures from the trip.  It was exciting to see our friends from Elum, Dauphine Press, Wiley Valentine, The Happy Envelope, Mr. Boddington’s Studio, Egg Press, Paper + Cup, and more showing fabulous new letterpress wedding invitations and letterpress stationery.

Oscar + Emma and Kelli Hall
Karly Depew and Kelli Hall

One of the most exciting parts of the trip was gathering our community of designers together.  After seeing each other as small thumbnail photos on the Minted website for so long (and me as a profile cameo, it was pointed out by Amy Fontes – OK, I’ll change it), it was an unforgettable experience to meet everyone in 3D.  My impression was that new friendships were made and designers were helping each other navigate the show – the supportiveness we all see online came through in person as well.  Thank you to all the designers who attended our cocktail party at Bottino’s and took the time to give Annie and me great suggestions.

– Mariam

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Minted Thank You Cards Get Noticed at Elizabeth Anne Designs

Modern Dots Thank You Cards by Oscar + Emma

Rachel over at Elizabeth Anne Designs writes about our Thank You cards printed on 88 lb. Strathmore Fine Writing paper and our great customer service. She ordered Modern Dots by Oscar + Emma, and by the sound of it was very pleased, “Minted was very easy to order from! It’s great because you can personalize your notes to say anything you would like, from a basic “Thank You” (like mine), or something more elaborate with your names and a date, or even a favorite quote. You can play around with it online and see what the design and wording will look like before you place your order, and after you order you’ll receive an email “proof” showing exactly what they will look like. After I approved the proof, it was only about a week until I received my cards in the mail!”

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Jody Wody at Minted HQ

We were lucky enough to have one of Minted’s newer designers come visit us today and give us her feedback. You may know her as Jody Wody, a local San Francisco designer whose sophisticated designs have already caught the eye of our customers. Here is her winning design from our Pre-Wedding Party Challenge:

Dinner Party Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
Dinner Party Rehearsal Dinner Invitations

We love to hear from our designers, so if any of you out there have something you want to tell us, please feel free to drop us a line, comment in the forum, or comment here on our blog.

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An Interview with Wiley Valentine

Following on such great response from our interview with Kelli Hall, I decided to get in touch with one of Minted’s first brand and community designers Wiley Valentine. Emily Owen and Rachelle Schwartz, both graphic design professionals steeped in the throes of agency life, finally decided to take their creative future into their own hands and started up their own design house. Wiley Valentine, their stationery brand inspired by their grandmothers, has leveraged the letterpress with a distinctly modern mood, giving forth to paper remixes that redefine traditional.

Michelle Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine
Michelle Wedding Invitations

minted: I love the back-story on the WV name. How much of their aesthetic is reflected in your work? What do you think your grandmothers would say about WV?
WV: My grandmother, Norma Jean, is still with us, and she is absolutely thrilled! She loves to watch us grow as a company and see what we do next. It’s really fun that I get to share it with her. In terms of their influence I think it comes more in their overall artistry and creativity. Although our love for all things vintage can definitely relate back to them I suppose. We also launched a line of cards last year featuring paintings that Mary Wiley had done in her teens! I think she would have been thrilled to see that!

minted: In an increasingly digital world, why is paper important?
WV: It’s such an important form of communication. With all the texting, emailing twittering etc…going on, paper has become all that more special. It makes such an impression when someone receives a beautifully printed wedding invitation or hand written thank you note on gorgeous personalized stationery.

minted: Do you tweet? I’m sure minted fans will start following you.
WV: I have not gone over to the dark side just yet… ie. twitter. Although I feel it’s only a matter of time! 🙂

Metropolitan Muse Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine
Metropolitan Muse Wedding Invitations

minted: Recent advancements in letterpress have opened up the creative possibilities for designers. How does the world of digital design and its tools affect your analog design work?
WV: The ability to create custom artwork and then have plates made has given us endless possibilities with the letterpress medium. It’s so fun to see what we create on the computer, translated into a hand letterpressed piece!

minted: What’s the printing process like, are you moving plates around and mixing and matching on the fly? Or is it a more calculated process?
WV: The plate process is more exact. We create the artwork, than we have photo-polymer plates made (the eco-choice of plates). One is made for each color and printed one color at a time.

Carolyn Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine
Carolyn Wedding Invitations

minted: The WV design wedding collection is richly intricate and heavy with organic floral motifs. Where do you get your wonderful patterns?
WV: We are largely inspired by vintage books, wallpapers, advertisements, and old magazines. We love blending the vintage inspired look with modern applications.

minted: Where do you find your material, the library, garage sales, archives?
WV: We can find inspiration in anything from old books that used to belong to Emily’s grandmother, to old print ads that we found at flea markets, etc. There is really no rule, our inspiration comes from everywhere! I even like to look at my inspiration book before designing a collection. I get tons of ideas from my magazine clippings.

minted: What are the rules for what makes it “in” to the collection?
WV: There aren’t really any rules. We try and make a collection touch upon different design aesthetics so there is something for a varying type of design tastes. Something simple and modern, something decorative and over the top, and something in between.

Matzinger Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine
Matzinger Wedding Invitations

minted: Despite the ornate patterns, the WV collection remains very modern. How do you strike a balance between the traditional and the modern?
WV: I think it’s a blend of color, typography, and overall layout that creates the modern edge. Also using a vintage looking floral as a pattern, for example, is a way of using a vintage inspired image in a modern way.

minted: What are your favorite colors for this season and favorite typefaces? (I know this is like asking you the meaning of life, perhaps your top threes, you can list by Pantone if you like for colors :D)
WV: We are completely obsessed with champagne (8003) and what we have dubbed Buttercup (134). We are also loving Aubergine (8802). In terms of fonts we like to use a mix of calligraphy inspired fonts next to more minimal modern fonts for the contrast. I also love hand-written inspired fonts.

Yolanda Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine
Yolanda Wedding Invitations

minted: As a collaborative design project with only two votes, how do you come to consensus on making design decisions?
WV: Many times we just start designing and it becomes clear to us right away if it’s working or not. However we also love to toss around ideas with our great staff at the office. It’s great to get feedback from our staff, especially if it’s not from a designer but from our office manager for example. She gives us more of the consumer opinion which is very important to consider when designing.

minted: How many iterations does it typically take for a design to reach its final state?
WV: In terms of how many rounds does it take to come to a final design, it really varies. There are those designs that come instantly and they are so obviously right, and then there are others that have more of an evolution process that could be 4 or 5 different iterations before we come to a final design.

Adrianna Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine
Adrianna Wedding Invitations

minted: How do you pick what gets sold on your site?
WV: We usually design a collection, then Emily and I review it as a whole. We immediately trim it down and finalize what designs are the strongest. Then we show it to our trusty Wiley Valentine staff to get a broader perspective. We often create items that are inspired by some of our most popular designs as well.

I love the WV blog, you both cover so many cool places and sites. How do you find all this great stuff?
WV: A lot of places are just places we have here locally. I love to share these wonderful places with people that may not be in this area. We also have a lot of relationships with wedding coordinators and photographers that are kind enough to share some of their work, which is where the real weddings come from largely. But overall I find myself being inspired constantly and it’s just a way to document that on a daily basis!


Type Crimes

I recently convinced Annie Clark to let us in on her secrets to great typography. As one of our most popular designers, her insights are not be missed by all of you budding typophiles.

Type Crimes! by Annie Clark

The first project for my college typography class was to design a poster strictly using type that responded to a pithy fortune cookie fortune, “Chance will lead to thrilling prospects.” How easy will this be, I thought to myself, I will use the type to construct playing cards into a poker hand — perfect! Enthusiastic and wide-eyed, I transformed R’s and Q’s into an ace of spades, spaced letters far apart to create the cards delicate boarder. “I am a typographic genius,” I thought to myself, I can’t wait for tomorrow’s critique.

I proudly pinned my design to the board for critique, admiring it from a distance. You couldn’t tell it was abc’s and ampersands that made those cards, what typographic genius! Then came the critique.

I waited with delight as he came to my design. “This is an example what not to do,” stabbed my professor as he started his criticism, “type is much more expressive on its own, it doesn’t need to be manipulated into shapes, and I won’t bother getting into the type crimes going on here.” Type crimes?! I thought this was type genius! Later that day in class he passed around a list:


1. Horizontal & Vertical Scaling
When the proportions of the letter have been digitally distorted in order to create wider or narrower letters. If you want a font to look condensed try Helvetica Condensed.

2. Pseduo Italics, Bolds, and Small Caps
A type family can be faked by slanting, or inflating or shrinnking letters. Not all type faces are created equally, a good font should have at least a bold and italic.

  • Italics: The wide, ungainly forms of these skewed letter look forced and unnatural.
  • Bold: Padded around the edges, these letter feel blunt and dull.
  • Small Caps: These shrunken version of full size caps are puny and starved.


3.Too Much Space
Digital typefaces are designed with spacing between the letters carefully thought out, too much kerning does not make your type look light and airy, it makes it awkward and hard to read. The same goes for leading, the space between lines of text, mind the gap and don’t get carried away.
too much space

4. Negative tracking
Make the shoe fit, not the foot. Don’t use negative tracking to save space.
negative tracking

5. Stacking type
Roman letters are designed to sit side by side, not on top of one another. Uppercase letterforms create more stable stacks than lowercase ones and centering the column can help visually even-out the differences in width. Stacks of lower case letters are especially awkward because the ascenders and descenders make the vertical spacing appear uneven and the varied width of characters make the stack look precarious.

Needless to say, it was a steep fall from my genius, and certainly prevented me from being a repeat offender. Sticking to the to basic foundations will not only prevent you from violating the laws of type, it will make your designs more legible, more stable, and better composed.

List compiled by Professor Steve Jones, with help from Ellen Lupton’s Thinking with Type.