What the foodies want in their paper goods.

We asked leading food magazine editors to be special judges in our recent holiday party invitations challenge. Here is what they picked. Congratulations to the Minted design community again for coming up with fantastic designs for this challenge.

Emily Kaiser, Associate Food Editor, Food & Wine

Here’s my favorite:
Light Bright Party Invitations
Light Bright Party Invitations

by escargot studio

It jumped right out at me from the page displaying all 140 entries; I particularly loved the light strings, it was quite a feat the way they were both elegant and playful at the same time. I also loved how the warm gray background allowed the information about the party to look clear and, well, inviting. The choice of fonts also helped make the invitation clear and easy to read.

Close runners up:

Snowy Bloom Party Invitations
Similarly enjoyed the fun design and clean presentation.

This Little Light Party Invitations
I loved the color and the candles; the way the candles floated on the page, there seemed to be a surreptitious allusion to the Adams Family.

Bird on a Branch Party Invitations
I was drawn to the robin on the branch and the play on red and green.

Francis Lam, Contributing Editor Gourmet
I’m so glad you got such an enthusiastic response, and with so many wonderful entries. It wasn’t easy to choose from many designs I really liked, but here we go. I have a pick and a few runners up.

My pick:

oh, joy Party Invitations
oh, joy Party Invitations

by Stacey Day

I love the colors here, using the traditional Christmas combination but in a muted, restrained way. But even more, I love the subtle contrast and harmony. The green circles are a happy mess, set and anchored by the graceful strokes of the “Oh Joy” before them – the invitation speaks of a party both elegant and playful. I’d want to go to this party, dressing up neatly for it, knowing that we’ll all be a little sloppier by the end.

Runners up:

Holiday Elephant by Erin Rau

This is a really lovely way to express winter; the rich blue and rough-edged white space suggest sky and snow, but the roundness of the elephant suggests softness, plushness. It’s a really appealing invitation. It gives a real sense of warmth. The text fonts don’t work for me super well, though – I find them a little busy and heavy in relation to the simple curves of the elephant and the simplicity of the rest of the design.

Decorative Ornaments by Lauren Mummé

Really beautiful; I love the warm colors and the “Tis the Season” font. It’s deliciously retro, like a card I might have found in my
mother’s attic.

Up Up and Away by Milkmaid Press

I have to confess that my favorite part of this card is also, to me, the most inexplicable. What does a hot air balloon have to do with this party? It’s not really clear from the rest of the card. Still, that graphic is gorgeous with its fine lines and textures, a quality echoed lightly in the elegant fonts below. I keep wanting to stare at the balloon, but the weight of the word “Celebrate” keeps drawing my eye to itself, a nice trick that makes the balloon really feel like it keeps floating away from me.

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Interior designers weigh in on their favorites.

We were over the moon when three internationally renowned interior designers signed on to guest judge our Inspired Personalized Stationery Challenge. Their involvement really jump-started our community and inspired hundreds of stunning designs. After giving us their final picks, we picked their brain about how they arrived at their tough decision.

minted: In general, what do you look for in personal correspondence cards?

jay jeffers: I want something that reflects my personality. I send many handwritten notes to friends, colleagues, and clients because I feel its a more personal gesture and gives you the opportunity to create something beautiful.

martha angus: A piece of personal stationery should really be a portrait of the person sending it out. It’s asking a lot; you have to get the whole person down onto one tiny piece of paper.

orlando diaz-azcuy: I want the recipient to be able to identify the sender even before reading.

minted: How did you arrive at your final decision?

jay jeffers: Monogram by SunnyJuly – is elegant, modern, and versatile – I feel I could send it to a friend or a business colleague.
Mongram Personal Stationery
Monogram Personal Stationery

martha angus: I have a fine art background so those designs really resonated with me. The final decision was agonizing! It was really difficult to widdle it down past my top ten. In the end I picked what I love: bright and colorful. Candy Buttons by Cayce Cobb reminded me of Damien Hirst–I used to have one of his paintings hanging behind my desk.
Candy Buttons Personal Stationery
Candy Buttons Personal Stationery

orlando diaz-azcuy: typehead full stop by six other press looks like it identifies with me and my name and represents my attitude of minimal and sensual.
typehead full stop Personal Stationery
typehead full stop Personal Stationery

minted: What were your other close favorites?

jay jeffers:
I really liked Simplicity by Amanda Larsen and Jacquard by Vinyl. They’re all elegant and simple, and feel balanced to me. Each is also very individual.

martha angus: There were WAY too many wonderful designs to choose from and it amazed and it overwhelmed me! There is a staggering amount of talent that Minted draws in. It was such a treat to be on the other side of the design process. Thank you SO MUCH for all this genius sent my way!!

Loved Paper Dahlia‘s nob hill.

Loved stacked type for Orlando by annie clark but I realize my name wouldn’t look as good as his does.

I’m also crazy about Gabriela Cartin‘s orange frame.

Marabou‘s posy personal was great.

KRUSHgraphic‘s from martha is fab.

Katie, who works in our office and has a graphic design degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, loved navy rings by jessica jenkins.

talk bubbles by Jody Wody was divine.

orlando diaz-azcuy:
Unity Personal Stationery by R Studio and Mod Flowers Personal Stationery by Amy Fontes Graphic Design were my other favorites.

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Design Trends: Hand Drawn

First off, let me say that I absolutely adore hand drawn elements in design. Much to the chagrin of my family I made them stop every three buildings on a trip to France to take pictures of hand painted signs.

Look at that! Art is all around you! Don’t you see how beautiful the curve in that “S” is??!?!

With my love for all things handmade, it’s been wonderful to see our amazingly talented Minted community incorporating hand drawn elements into their work.

Carved Tree by pottsdesign
carved tree Save the Date Cards

Emily Potts of pottsdesign beautifully married a rustic illustration of a tree with clean, classic typography. And all the variable elements that our customers can change right down to the initial carved into the tree are a font — which makes the designers at Minted very happy.

Line Blur by Lili Meng
Line Blur Personal Stationery

Who knew scribbles could feel so modern? Lili Meng’s stationery design is colorful, energetic, unique and hand drawn!

Dry Petals by Gleaux
Dry Petals Personal Stationery

Erika of Gleaux certainly has a knack for layering modern graphics with hand drawn illustration and Dry Petals is a perfect example. Overlaying organic line art brings depth and warmth to her design.

Foggy Holiday by Kimberly Schwede
Foggy Holiday Holiday Photo Cards

Our Last Call Holiday Challenge has just begun we’re already amazed by what our design community is creating. It’s hard not be charmed by Kimberly’s whimsical illustrations of San Francisco. By eschewing clip art Kimberly’s hand drawn elements give this design personality and a truly unique flair all its own.