Martha Stewart Weddings captures Minted perfectly


Shira Savada, the Real Weddings Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings, writes about everything that makes Minted great in her Printed by Minted post in Darcy Miller’s The Brides Guide today. She talks about our speedy customization abilities, our three paper options, our incredible group of international designers, our exciting design challenges, our gorgeous calligraphy… she just gets us.  And of the 122 beautiful save the date designs currently available on Minted she picked Andrea Snaza‘s intricate Save the Date to showcase the great work our design associates do every day.

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The Real Simple Reader Etiquette Poll

7,000 of Real Simple‘s readers voted in their October issue’s Etiquette Poll, which did a great job of getting at the fact that, like everything in life, etiquette evolves over time. We find sticky social situations really stressful, so these findings were extremely reassuring. Lots of the questions involved stationery and invitations. And some of the results were relevant to our current celebration design challenge with Real Simple, as well as other recent challenges. Here are a few of our favorite, stationery-related, emerging-social norms (linked to corresponding Minted products):

If You Receive a Birth Announcement, Do You Have to Send a Gift?
No, only if you’re good friends with the couple: 73.9%
Yes, every time: 21%
Never: 5.1%

Do You Always Have to Bring a Hostess Gift When You’re Invited to Someone’s House for Dinner?
Of course: 49.7%
No, just follow up with a thank-you note: 33%
Only if it’s a fancy dinner: 17.3%

If You’re Invited to a Birthday Dinner With a Large Group, Do You Expect the Organizer to Pick Up the Check?
The whole group should split the bill: 78.6%
He or she should, of course: 21.4%

Your Significant Other Is Left Off a Wedding Invitation. What Do You Do?
Bring it up directly with the bride: 46.6%
Say nothing and attend the wedding solo: 44.3%
Return the RSVP with your significant other’s name written in: 9.2%

Do You Need to Write a Thank-you Note if You Opened the Gift in Front of the Giver?
Of course. Every gift deserves a note: 59.7% **We couldn’t agree more!**
No. A heartfelt “Thank you” in person is fine: 36.2%
It depends on how nice the gift is: 4.0%

How Should You Seat Guests at a Dinner Party?
Let them pick their own seats: 54.6%
Boy, girl, boy, girl: 28.8%
No married couples together: 16.6%

Bottom line: In all of the above situations, you can never go wrong with a hand-written note… and luckily Minted has some great new personalized stationery.

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Real Simple and the Number 10

We’re thrilled to launch our newest design challenge, which celebrates Real Simple magazine’s 10th-year anniversary with a design challenge theme around the number “10”. The magazine will be marking its 10th year of delighting readers in April 2010. Real Simple‘s art department, led by Janet Froelich, will be judging our challenge.  Increasing a quantity by “an order of magnitude” most often means multiplying the quantity by ten.  It feels to us at Minted that this challenge is an order of magnitude more exciting than others!  To inspire our design challenge around ten-year celebrations, we’d love to hear about your favorite cultural references to the number 10, or ten-year stories of any kind.

10

Here’s one from me to start this off.  Marc Benioff, the Founder and CEO of Salesforce.com, is quoted in “The Facebook Era” as saying that “in the technology industry, people overestimate what can be accomplished in one year and underestimate what can be accomplished in one decade”.  10 years ago, my business partner Varsha and I bought the URL www.eve.com from a very savvy mother who negotiated hard with us before parting with it.  At the time, she was using the URL to host a website for her 7-year old daughter, named Eve.  During the discussion, she put me on the phone to negotiate the sale with her daughter.  (Needless to say, that was the toughest negotiation I’ve ever had, since back then I had no experience negotiating with children, a condition that my 5-year old son has now cured me of.)  Eve ultimately got cash, stock in Eve.com, an honorary board seat, a trip to Disneyland, educational software, a computer, and lots of press interviews.  Eve.com was founded, sold cosmetics online, and was ultimately sold.  Though Varsha and I were told a few times by venture capitalists that “women don’t buy things online” (no, I am not kidding), the cosmetics business has thrived and become a big business online along with a lot of other things people didn’t think would ever be sold successfully online.  And just a few weeks ago, now 17-year old Eve reached out and contacted me through Facebook – a reminder to me of how much, both people and technology, can change in one decade.

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A Few of my Favorite (Type-Related) Things

My love for typography is no secret. I like to impress (torture) my friends and loved ones by identifying fonts in movie credits, billboards and print ads. Did you know Woody Allen always uses EF Windsor for his film credits and that the new Tonight Show With Conan O’brien opted for Neutra Face for their logo? Admit it, you’re pretty impressed. I know I’m not alone here so I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite type things:
The Rather Difficult Font Game

The Rather Difficult Font Game

Some people play solitaire on their computer, I play the Rather Difficult Font Game on ilovetypography.com. And they’re not lying — it’s really hard. Can you name a typeface by only an ampersand? I’ve challenged Koshi several times to a font identification challenge but he has yet to accept.

helvetica-poster

Helvetica
This documentary is a typophile’s dream. Massimo Vignelli, David Carson, Stefan Sagmeister and Paula Scher are all in this film – what more could a design obsessed gal want? It more than a movie about a font, it’s about the history of graphic design.

ampersand-tee1

Ampersand T-Shirt by House Industries
Not only does the team at House Industries produce amazing typefaces (who isn’t obsessed with Neutra Face right now?) but they make t-shirts to outfit every type obsessed boy and girl.

R

Upper Case “R” in Hellenic Wide

Favorite font? Pssshhh, true connoisseurs of type have favorite letters. For me the R in Hellenic Wide does it for me. The slab serif, the perfect curve in the leg. This letter makes me wish my name started with an R.

I know the Minted community is equally type obsessed. What are your favorite letters, any current font crushes, and Koshi if you’re ever up for a font identification challenge, well you know where I sit.

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Catching up with The Happy Envelope

We had the pleasure of chatting with Sarah Pattison from The Happy Envelope recently, and she gave us a peek into the genius behind a brand known for its versatile, feminine, and often nature-inspired aesthetic.  Sarah uses an offset printing method that gives her wedding invitations a luxurious, clean feel, meanwhile offering  clients an accessible price point. You can see her entire collection here.

Happy Envelope

minted: How did you start The Happy Envelope?
Sarah: I came down to Tennessee from New England to go to design school at the University of Tennessee. It was fun, warm, and friendly here. I worked at a small design studio for a few years and started designing stationery and invites for friends—I thought it was a lot more fun than doing logos at work. So, when I lost my job, my husband said, “Now is the time. You might as well try it, and if it works, great.” And, here we are seven years later, so I guess it worked!

minted: Your designs pair expanses of clean, white space with delicate detail in all shades of the rainbow. Have you noticed any new trends in color recently?
Sarah: We see color trends come and go a LOT. I remember having brides a couple of years ago coming in and saying “I’m really excited about pale pink and chocolate brown” and I would think, ‘Oh, girlfriend you are two years too late.’ But I think in our industry we see things before they catch on with customers.

Six years ago it was the warms and now it’s the cools. Gray is the new neutral. People are doing a lot more blues and purples. I’m seeing a lot of eggplant or grape or magenta and beet. I am personally a warm person so I have to do a brain shift…although I am loving seeing tone on tone, so you would use a magenta with a violet and its gorgeous! It’s a way to incorporate something on the same side of the color wheel in a way that is just so pleasing to the eye. Or people are doing more tone on tone blue, like a turquoise with a navy, and I love, love that. Or a hot pink and a chartreuse. I’m happy to see the comeback of black. For a long time it was chocolate brown text with a color and I’m exited to see that people are willing to go black again. It’s so bold and crisp on a white paper.

Gingko Goodness

Also, I’m seeing a more natural palette — khaki, sand, dark brown. It’s great because it gives you that earthy feel, and with everyone being so “green” it has an environmentally-conscious element without saying it outright.

minted: And what’s hot in typefaces?
Sarah: In the last few years, we’ve really seen mixed typefaces take off. We’ve always done that here at the Happy Envelope, but now it’s even more mixed, for example an all caps serif with a really ornate script all in the same body of copy.  I love seeing this change because six years ago, the main focus for a wedding invitation was making the bride and groom’s names stand out from everything else’s name. Now, now it’s more detailed—it’s all about taking care to treat each line as an individual entity that should be crafted and made beautiful.  We’re also seeing more sans-serifs, even for wedding, which was rare just a few years ago because serif feels much more traditional.

minted: How do you pull it off?
Sarah: I would put my own limit at three fonts, period. I never mix an italic and a script—it just looks silly and italic just looks like slanted type so if you’re going to use a script don’t use an italic.  When it comes to type, I err on the conservative side because it needs to be highly readable, so I tend to stay clear of ALL script, especially on an A7 or A9.  I don’t even use three fonts often—I usually just mix two.  For new designers I would say that you have to be very careful when you go more than that. A little bit of discipline on the front-end goes a long way on the back-end.

minted: How has living in Tennessee inspired your work?
Sarah: For one thing I grew up on the beach, right on the bay in Rhode Island, and I just loved it—the wind in the hair and the salt in the air. It was a bit of a a shock to move to landlocked Tennessee, but there is a whole different beauty here. The colors are all shades of green, rather than blue. And the mountains! We’re right at the foothills of the Smokies, and they are called that because it looks like there is a haze of smoke around them. The Smokies have really gorgeous purples and blues—you’ll never see anything like that where I’m from.

We live in a pretty rural little town right outside of Knoxville. It’s a very small town, and I don’t know if it effects my design sensibilities directly, but it’s fun to be in a small community and to get to work directly with people.

minted: When you were starting out as a designer, where did you draw your inspiration from?
Sarah: Even when I had no money as a college kid, I would buy clip art books at garage sales and art stores. I would scan things in from the library and go through old cookbooks.

minted: How do you know when a design is done and it is as perfect as it can be?
Sarah: It is really hard. At the end I’m usually taking things away rather than adding to it. It’s not anything I can put my finger on — it’s more a feeling of what’s right. For myself, if I keep trying to add things and it doesn’t feel right – I must be finished.

And then of course I am really, really particular about what our studio and home looks like and what our house looks like. People who have a passion for design want their whole world to look good all the time. I definitely love shopping for clothes and I love having things look a certain way. My husband Pat told me we’re done painting the living room: we’ve only done it five times!

Botanica

minted: What color is your living room now?
Sarah: We had this really fantastic light olive green for the least three years and then one day I was siting in the living room, and it just felt like I was living in a cave, so we just painted it a light cream. Our dining room is a dark cream, so there were go again with the tone on tone. The light cream really opened up the whole room though—the art really pops.

minted: What is the storefront like?
Sarah: We really lucked out. Our studio was redone right before we moved in. It’s all exposed brick with great white trim everywhere, hanging chandeliers, and big, white shelves. It’s just a fantastic space and we didn’t have to do anything to it.

It’s 2,000 square feet with 30 square feet of retail. In the front part, we only sell our own products. The boxed cards and note cards are printed here, and we also meet some brides here.

The whole area is fantastic. In Clinton, on Market Street, there are antique stores all up and down our street. You get really good bargains. I got a shelf unit and metal cabinet for $25. There’s a great mix of clean fresh paper on old beat up pieces of furniture. All of it is super cheap, and you don’t have to get anything shipped.

minted: Your design aesthetic is clean, with lines and splashes of color precisely arranged on large expanses of white. Would you say your organizational style is similarly clean and organized?
Sarah: I’m not horribly disorganized, but I definitely wish I were better organized.  For a long time, I was messy, but I knew where everything was. I was organized in my own disorganization, but then I had two babies really close together, and I swear to you that since that first baby came around I can’t even remember where my keys are. It must have burst half my brain when I gave birth to my child. I’ve heard the same things from other moms, so it must really be true, but in terms of images, I keep really organized. My design files and workspace are really organized — that’s a must.

minted: What is on your desk right now?
Sarah: Two pantone books, color chips, paper swatches, a bunch of business cards, scratched up post its everywhere for myself, a pile of samples that I am going to do something with,  a clip art book, and a clip art disc on the desk. Its always a little on the messy side —  I definitely tend towards a happy mess I think.

minted: It seems that in the stationery industry, there are a lot of supportive husbands throwing their weight behind their designer wives. How do you make the wife-husband team work?
Sarah: Communication. It’s the key. We’ve got to talk. It is funny because people ask about what it’s like to work with my husband, and think it must be so hard. He and I were talking about it and he said, “I like hanging out with you or I wouldn’t have married you, or spend all this time working.” We know each other well enough that we both know my strengths and weaknesses. I don’t do anything ever with invoicing, and when I do I think I mess it up anyway. So we just have to communicate. About the invoicing thing, he always says, “Why don’t you just let me do that.”

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Last call holiday card judge’s picks.

We are continually stunned by the incredible talent in our design community and by how many great designs are entered in each challenge — the last call holiday card challenge was no exception. We asked our guest judges for their favorites and, like us, they had a hard time picking a favorite.

Rachel Levin, senior travel editor at Sunset magazine, has never sent a Christmas card — but she’s excited to do so for the very first time this year with her new daughter front and center. She says she “leaned towards more general, less Christmasy” designs when making her selection.

Rachel: These are my top two. Even though I think you only want one; it was a tough call — so many fun ones!

cocoa Holiday Photo Cards
cocoa Holiday Photo Cards

retro greeting Holiday Photo Cards
retro greeting Holiday Photo Cards

Lindsay Bierman, Editor-in-Chief at Coastal Living.

Lindsay: This was tough — so many great choices and beautiful graphics. I went back and forth, but if I had to choose just one I’d say the space needle would be my top pick. Since the challenge was to refer to a city or region, I love how the card can be recycled for use as an architectural tree ornament!

Seattle Space Needle Ornament   Holiday Photo Cards
Seattle Space Needle Ornament Holiday Photo Cards

Tied for second, I really like the “bright holidays ahead” (although no place mentioned) and the “santa cruz basics” card. I liked the integration of type, graphics, and photo on the bright holidays, and adored the surfboard motif on santa cruz. Both are really bright and cheerful graphics that don’t overshadow the photo. I’d personally send the surfboard, but the conversion to an ornament gave Seattle the slight advantage.

Bright Holidays Ahead Holiday Photo Cards
Bright Holidays Ahead Holiday Photo Cards

santa cruz basics Holiday Photo Cards
santa cruz basics Holiday Photo Cards

I can’t wait to see what your visitors choose!

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