Meet a Mintie(s): Allison & Jessica of The Social Type

Okay, so I realize it’s a little past Friday, but a bad flu and a few other minor delays later, and here we are at Tuesday! To make up for the wait, we have double the fun because we have both Allison and Jessica of The Social Type with us today. Allison has been a long time customer service maven here at Minted. She specializes in all the fancy custom printing our brands offer. Jessica is Allison’s husband’s childhood friend and they’ve known each other for about six years now. Both Allison and Jessica have been long time community members, but starting in 2010 they decided to team up and enter together. It seemed right for the partnership to just keep on growing! They had been collaborating on custom projects for about a year and a half and will launch their greeting card line this summer.

Allison at left, Jessica at right

At age nine, you wanted to be?

Allison: A greeting card crafter, a spy, or a professional ballerina.

Jessica: Whitney Houston…or a fashion designer

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?

Allison: I’m still trying to figure it out! There are so many different professions that I would like to say I am skilled at.

Jessica: I had an internship at Martin Williams an ad agency in Minneapolis. I was interning on the account management side of the business and quickly realized it wasn’t the side I wanted to be on…the creative teams were having all the fun.

Do you have any formal design training?

Allison: I have a BFA in Graphic Design.

Jessica: I have my Bachelors in Advertising and Certificate in Art Direction.

How would you describe your style?
Sophisticated yet lighthearted with an emphasis on understated type. We design for the social type.

How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
Too many! The designs that usually work best are those that haven’t been overworked, and the simpler the concept the better.

Do you have a favorite font?

Allison: No it varies with mood and season. There are so many wonderful typographers out there right now. I can’t deny a good calligraphers work either!

Jessica: Today it is Gill Sans Std Shadowed.

Favorite color? Or favorite color right now?

Allison: I don’t have a favorite color, however my favorite color combo right now is coral, warm grey, and gold.

Jessica: My favorite color is blush pink.

Favorite pen?

Allison: Le Pen for sketching and sending greeting cards, and my Faber Castell for everyday.

Jessica: I love a good old extra-fine point Sharpie.

Favorite notebook?

Allison: Again I don’t have a favorite, however I do love Graphic Image’s Day planners. They carry metallic leathers that are very chic, and you are able to get them monogrammed. I also love o-check’s journals and line, they are very hip.

o-checks cahiers

Jessica: I’ve been using one I stole from Allison’s house, Kokuyo Notebook, Mr Mister Series.

Favorite design tool?

Allison: Illustrator, I wouldn’t exist without it.

Jessica: Concur.

Allison what was your wedding invitation like?
The Social Type’s calligrapher and I worked together to create our invitations. Most of the type was done in calligraphy that I had letterpressed on extra thick paper. It really set the tone of the day. She also calligraphed all of our envelopes, place cards, chair numbers, guest book, you name it!

Did you have any other paper products in your wedding?
I created all of our paper products, including the menus, wine list, welcome bags, etc.

Allison, did you have any other fun design elements in your wedding that you want to mention?

I really love our save the date. I typeset it myself, and think it was a nice compliment to our invitations that followed. Erin at Rosenow Floral did a fabulous job with our flowers, and we worked together to create Sean’s boutonnière. Our dog Robot couldn’t be with us that day, but he was there in spirit. I created my hairpiece as well. It was last minute but worked out! Our wedding day photography was shot by Anthony Tahlier Photography. Tony is Andrea of Float Paperie’s husband. They are an amazing duo! Sean and Tony have been the best of friends since childhood. Andrea unfortunately couldn’t make it to our wedding, as she was about 8 months pregnant at the time with their little man Gus. She was with us in spirit!

Allison's Save the Date

Allison's wedding invitation

Allison's flowers and Sean's boutonnière

More paper at Allison's wedding!

Did you send out a Christmas card? If so, what was it like?

Allison: I did send out Christmas cards. They were three-color letterpress! My brilliant friend in Iowa letterpressed them for me. Cilantro Designs. It was my wedding gift from her. My mom sent out Jess’s Sparkle design. We changed the gold’s to navy to match the photo and printed it on the Pearlescent Paper with rounded corners. It turned out fabulous! (all thanks to Jess’s top-notch design skills)

Allison's Christmas envelope

Jessica: My mom also purchased my Sparkle Design for our Christmas family photo this year with all the bells and whistles… pearlescent paper and matching address label.

Tell us about one of your favorite cards offered for sale on Minted and how you came up with the design.

Our favorite card is Celebrate.

We wanted to design an invitation that emphasized the word Celebrate, simply focusing on great type and color. We also love the fact that this would look great printed digitally or letterpressed with the right paper.

What design trends do you think will emerge this spring/summer?
As much as we love letterpress, we believe the trend will still swing towards budget friendly invitations. There are so many great options out there right now, and Minted definitely has a great collection of digitally printed wedding suites that are affordable. There are alternatives for those brides that want letterpress and don’t think they can afford it. We suggest printing one color letterpress invitations and minimize the need for additional cards with a cute website it’s a great place to add wedding weekend details.

What is your least favorite recent design trend?
Wedding invites with pockets, and tights worn as pants…NO NO NO! Very unrelated but we feel strongly about both!

What was your favorite Minted design challenge and why?
The Breakout Wedding Challenge was our favorite. We enjoyed working together on three wedding designs. It was nice to have boundaries, knowing that we had to submit three and no more.

Did you have any idea how popular Hitched would be when you designed it? What was the inspiration for that one?
We had no idea Hitched would be a success at all. Hitched was a simple concept, clean type, flat color. With all the swirly twirly Save the Dates out there we really wanted to design a simple and modern solution for those couples that wanted an alternative to all the fluff.

What are the places in your hometown that you would recommend a visitor check out?

Allison: I’m from Madison, Wisconsin originally, however I have many more recommendations for Los Angeles where I lived for six years prior to San Francisco.

Must stops for LA’s Silver Lake Neighborhood:

SHOP: Reform School. Home Ec.

EAT: Lark Cupcakes. Cafe Stella. Gingergrass.  The Cheese Store of Silver Lake.

DRINK: The Red Lion. Lamill Coffee. Silver Lake Wine.

Jessica: I am from Green Bay, Wisconsin, if you end up there it’s likely a football game is involved. Have lunch at Kroll’s West across from Lambeau. Other places I’ve lived and things worth checking out:


SHOP: Patina

EAT: Café Barbette

CHECK OUT: Walker Art Center

San Diego:

CHECK OUT: Museum of Contemporary Art


SHOP: Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe

EAT: Martin’s Tavern

CHECK OUT: The Georgetown Waterfront (and try an electric lemonade)

Where do you go for design inspiration?

Allison: I gravitate towards home décor magazines and blogs. I’m so inspired by interior design and styling.

Jessica: I grab books I have laying around the house; Communication Arts, CMYK, Archive Magazine, award show books…

Where do you like to shop? What are your favorite stores?

Allison: My favorite Bay Area stores are – Bellochio (talk about merchandisng!), Nest, The Tail of the Yak, and the Alameda Flea Market. If you live in the area and haven’t been to these places you MUST! Don’t ask, just go. I’m a sucker for Anthropologie too, they always have something I want.

Miette in San Francisco

Jessica: One of my favorite stores in San Francisco is Y & I, a great little boutique on Chestnut Street. I also LOVE stopping at Miette the most amazing little pastry shop. If you need design inspiration you will find some here!

What are your favorite online design sites and blogs?

Allison: I have daily blog reads and a few of those are; Design Sponge, Oh Joy, The Sartorialist, Once Wed, 100 Layer Cake, Elements of Style and the somewhat new Mrs. Lilien Styling House.

Jessica: I’ve always admired my insanely talented old instructor Brock Davis, check out his project Make Something Cool Every Day– I love his M & M’s (scroll down to Feb 28th-March 24th entries).

A few others I love: Jessica Hische and Lab Partners.

What designers do you really admire? Do you have a favorite graphic designer? Fashion designer? Furniture designer?

Allison: I love Michelle Adam’s pattern work for her line Rubie Green. It’s feminine and oh so hip.

Jessica: I heart Jessica Hische.

Is there a celebrity or famous locale whose style or aesthetic you envy or want to mimic?

Allison: Style I would say Michelle Williams (actor). She’s always so darn cute. I would love to see her home featured in Lonny Mag! She has great taste, I’m sure it’s gorgeous.

Jessica: I honestly love Jennifer Lopez’s style. She’s sexy and sophisticated and wears lots of blush pink and white – my favs!

Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

Allison: Paris, it’s just so damn romantic. It is my favorite city in the world.

Jessica: So far my favorite trip has been renting a sailboat and sailing in the British Virgin Islands. You must check out The Willy-T floating restaurant and bar if you go! Positano, Italy isn’t too shabby either.

What can’t you travel without?

Allison: Earplugs, lots of H2O, and cute flats for walking.

Jessica: My camera.

Do you have any hobbies of note?

Allison: With wine country so close our collection is growing quite nicely. I never let my husband buy an ugly label though, so it can get tricky!  I also have a small collection of vintage serving trays, for whatever reason I am always drawn to them at the flea market and antique shops. I would love to take up quilting (I’m such a grandma).

What can’t you live without?

Allison: My dog Robot! His affection is the best.

Jessica: Working out-I’m a gym rat.

Always in your closet?

Allison: Santa Maria Novella Sachets (they smell so lovely).

Jessica: Lots of costumes. I’m a sucker for a great theme party.

Favorite piece of clothing?

Allison: I have a few Betsey Johnson dresses, including my wedding dress that I absolutely love. Her designs can get wild, however her more vintage inspired dresses are absolutely girly and sweet.

Allison in her Betsey Johnson wedding dress

Jessica: My Frye boots.

Biggest self indulgence?

Allison: A regularly scheduled pedicure.

Jessica: I love a change of scenery; I like to go on a trip of some sort at least once a month.

Do you have a favorite design tome?

Allison: Does Lonny Mag count? I thought I was going to die when Domino went under. I’m still saddened by it. I’m so happy to see that it’s closing lead to many other great things by the staff there.

What was the last book you read?

Allison: Julie and Julia

Jessica: Craft Inc.

What piece of art would you most like to own?

Allison: I’m so picky, I don’t really like much and when I do hang art I get sick of it quickly. Right now I would really love a painting by Kelly Reemtsen. I discovered her on SF Girl by the Bay.

Orange Dress by Kelly Reemsten

They Match!

Jessica:  I think a Rothko would look quite nice hanging on my wall.

White Center by Rothko

How did you come up with the name The Social Type?
A few good brainstorming sessions with creative and intelligent friends.

What advice would you give a new designer?
We think Annie Clark said it best, Type classes are soooo important. Understanding type is essential.  Focus on what you are good at too. If type isn’t your strong suit than maybe focus on illustration or photography. Team up and make friends with other designers skilled in specific mediums. The Social Type is a great team, we work together very well and pick up where the other left off, or is stumped. Sometimes all it takes is another set of eyes.

Find more of Natasha on her blog.

  1. Alison

    Oh my goodness. I loved reading this.

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  3. Annie

    lovely ladies! your most recent wedding entries were flawless

    sidenote: in addition to having a knack for type, allison is a wonderful flea market shopping companion 🙂

  4. Annie

    Nice work ladies- you guys are the best!!

  5. Lauren

    You are both so creative and inspiring. I love your work – good luck with The Social Type.

  6. Nice one, gals! PS – I think I’m in love with the Robot boutonniere.

  7. This is a great article. Wow, so many of these things I never thought of before. I read posts often, even on this side, and I think it is great, but I make time to leave a comment. From the outset, to ensure more comments.
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  8. Rachel

    Fun getting to know the artistic side of both of you! I can’t wait to see what designs come from the two of you working together. Very exciting things to come I’m sure!

  9. Alison

    They’re so cute. Oh my gosh the Robot boutonniere, precious!

  10. Amy E.

    I heart The Social Type! Can’t wait for the site to be up.

    Jessica – funny you should mention JLO… I distinctly remember thinking a few of your entries had a JLO’ish style to them. Love her style too.

  11. Lindsey

    My favorite card is Celebrate, too!! Allison, your wedding paper products were gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Andrea S

    Thanks for sharing with us Allison & Jessica!! you are such fabulous designers and it was fun to hear more from you- you both have such great taste and aesthetic!!

  13. Amy E.

    Love your work ladies! Can’t wait for the site.

  14. Andrea

    SO great to hear more about you ladies- you both have amazing taste and you do such great work!! I truly admire your stuff!

  15. Andrea S.

    SO great to hear more about you ladies! you both have amazing taste and style- I truly admire your work!!

  16. Katherine

    Really loved “Love Struck” from the Breakout Wedding Challenge. Perfectly romantic and simple.

  17. Ellen

    Great interview! Love the comment about ugly wine labels 🙂

  18. Angie

    Allison, your save the date card is amazing!

  19. thanks gals! annie you know i love a good flea market. 🙂 – allison

  20. Rachel

    …and i LOVE LOVE LOVE Allison’s wedding save the date and invitation. Beautiful work!

  21. Jess Tree

    Thanks for the sweet comments ladies. Al, still LOVING your wedding dress. Ahhhh…so pretty. -Jessica

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