Meet a Mintie: Carrie O’Neal

Today we get to meet Mintie Carrie O’Neal. She’s a real perky gal with a lot of talent and I know you’ll enjoy every word from her!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I didn’t realize that design was an actual career path until high school, but I have great parents that fostered my creativity growing up. And lots of loving aunts who taught me how to paint, sew, quilt, crochet and knit.

Do you have any formal design training?
I have a Bachelor of Science from The Ohio State University, with a major in Industrial Design and a minor in Visual Communications.

How would you describe your style?
I don’t think I have a specific style (at least yet)… I love good typography, balance and simplicity.

All of your designs are quite different… How do you make sure you’re always making something so fresh?
It sounds so cheesy…but I try to stay true to my heart. These are BIG LIFE MOMENTS that we are designing for…babies, birthdays, weddings, holidays. BIG STUFF! I try to always remember that and keep my focus on the event taking place, rather than letting the design overpower the piece.

Favorite pen?

It’s sad to say…but I can’t live without my black, Paper Mate Flair pens! They are everywhere—my desk, my nightstand, my purse, car, and normally behind one of my ears.

Favorite notebook?
Rhodia Blank Notepads. It’s like writing on butter!

What is your workspace like?

Pretty normal… But I do have an ever-growing collection of “O”s that hang in my office (for O’Neal Designs).

What was your wedding invitation like?
There are actually a few good stories behind my wedding invites.

1. I worked on them for a year…showed them to everyone I knew…but do you think I noticed that I misspelled two words?!? Nope…not until I printed 200 beautiful invites on special order stock with metallic inks. Nope…Not until we were stuffing them in the envelopes did my hubby say to me…”uh, how do you spell hundred and immediately?”. A stiff drink and a long cry later I called the printer who luckily was a friend and able to reprint them for me. Lesson: SPELLCHECK!

2. We were married in the fall, so I used a maple leaf as the main design element on the invitations using a leaf shaped hole punch sold my Martha Stewart. After the invites were done and printed (for a second time) I sent a little note and a sample of the invites to Martha Stewart. I just got an address off the back of a magazine and mailed it! About 3 months later I got a voicemail from Darcy Miller, now the editorial director at Martha Stewart Weddings, that they wanted to feature my invites in their next wedding magazine. I about peed myself! I had to complete various forms to give them rights to photograph the elements and use them as they desired. In the end, I got a call about six months later from the magazine that the page with my invite on it had been trimmed from the magazine. Bummer….but a good story nonetheless.

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

Christmas cards are my love! I look forward to them all year round! Here’s a collection of ours over the past few years. I was elated to be able to send out a minted card this year that was my own design.

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

Although it’s not for sale yet, one of my favorites is probably Umbrella of Advice. I created it using pages from an old 1947 book called “Expectant Motherhood” that belonged to my grandmother. She passed away when I was 10, LONG before my children came along. But somehow, this silly book, still with her handwriting on the cover keeps me connected to her. I know she’d be proud of me. It was rewarding to get to use something that means a lot to me…to create a piece that will take on its own memories for others.

I know you do a lot of package design, how does that compare with designing for Minted?
That’s a great question. I do quite a bit of food package design. And for me, packaging and invitations are almost two ends of the design spectrum. A good food package is all about attracting consumers from a distance and enticing them to purchase, or at least pick up, your item. It’s about knowing what is on the shelf next to you, and how to stand out from the competition. Whereas stationery design is about the subtleties, the tiny intricate details that make a piece special. A good invitation makes the design look effortless. It’s fun to get to jump from one extreme to the other.

How do you find new clients for your business?

I am very blessed to have a wide range of wonderful clients. They have just spread the word over the past 10 years and I’ve developed a really great client base, working with companies from around the globe. Over time, it just seems like a large group of friends rather than “clients”. This year, as a holiday gift for one of my local food manufacturing clients I donated a dairy cow from Heifer International® on their behalf. (I had helped sell enough hamburgers over the years I thought it was time I spared one.) I found these adorable wooden cows to give them along with their gift.

What music do you enjoy listening to?
I don’t. I work best when it’s totally quiet.

What was your favorite Minted design challenge and why?

Probably the Holiday Card Design Spectacular. It was just busting at the seams with amazing entries and totally got my in the (early) holiday spirit. I’m one of those people who would put their Christmas trees up in July if I could. The holiday challenge let me fill my office with holiday inspiration in the middle of summer…and I had a legitimate reason.

What are the places in your hometown that you would recommend a visitor check out?
We have a great local grocery store called Jungle Jims. It’s amazing!!!

What do you enjoy doing when not designing?

I love to throw parties!! One of my favorite events is our annual gingerbread party. My sweet hubby helps me make all the houses before the party begins…so when the kids arrive all they have to do is decorate away. The kitchen table is always overflowing with candy, gumdrops, and chocolate! (Can you say “sugar high”?)

One of the best parts is scouring the grocery store for fun, odd candies to use on the houses. As the kids get older each year, they get a little more creative and intricate with their designs.

Where do you go for design inspiration?
Life. If you just keep your eyes open the inspiration is everywhere. My kids do a good job of keeping me on my design toes too!

What is your favorite thing about minted?
I love, crave, admire the design community at minted so much! I love seeing all the talent that is out there, and am so grateful for the advice and feedback that we all share. It’s like having a bunch of design sisters (and brothers) out there.

What are your favorite online design sites and blogs?
Party Planning: Hip Hip Hooray
Color: Kuler Adobe
Fun: How About Orange
Purpose: Loving the Least

Did you have a New Year’s resolution?
Yes. I’m trying to start my own design blog.

What advice would you give a new designer?
Believe in yourself. And never quit learning.

Well, I for one can’t wait to start reading your design blog. And I would die to be invited to your gingerbread party. To just get to decorate and not have to worry about the walls caving in would be incredible. You are one spirited gal Carrie! Thanks for being such a festive Mintie.

Find more of Natasha on her blog.

  1. gerrie@chocomoccacino

    ohh i love ur gingerbread partyy!!! want to be part of it so much… LOL

  2. Anng

    Love your interview, Carrie! You do great work! I also do an annual gingerbread fest with my best girlfriends every year. We fly in from where ever we are to get together at least once a year and decorate houses. Isn’t it fun?!

  3. Jessica Y

    Great interview! Love your work and your gingerbread party looks like so much fun 🙂

  4. Love your work and the story behind \umbrella for advice\. So creative!

  5. Laura

    Another Big Ten ID major- woohoo 🙂 Love your work Carrie, great interview!

  6. Robin Ott

    Carrie, you make me laugh! Loved the butter stick in your photo 🙂 I adore the emotional touch you have on all of your designs, especially your Umbrella of Advice. Look forward to seeing you again soon!

  7. Meg G.

    love the butter. 🙂 Really enjoyed getting know you. Good luck on your design blog! I’ll definitely read it if you start one…love your work!

  8. Great interview, Carrie!! I’ve never heard of “Rhodia” notebooks but after a quick search on Amazon, I’m convinced I have to have one. They had me at “spiral-bound”! I’m thinking “gingerbread house challenge” . . .

  9. Hailey M

    Carrie!! I love the story behind “umbrella of advice” – could not be more perfect – what a beautiful way to honor your grandmother. It was lovely to ‘meet’ you!

  10. Carrie…you are talented, gifted and it is such a joy to call you friend. Your gingerbread house party was always a highlight for Ella and I to attend together. 🙂 I am so happy you are going to start your own design blog! You have so much to offer others with your creativity!! Oh, and I love that you gave to Heiffer International as a Holiday gift…that is classic!

  11. Paige

    Carrie, what a wonderful interview! I was so excited to learn even MORE about you! You’re such a sweet person and you emit joy & creativity in everything you do! Looking forward to seeing you again!

  12. Angela

    love all your work! your interview was great- made me laugh 🙂

  13. Karen Glenn

    So fun to read more about you, Carrie! Cracked me up about your wedding invitations. You are such a talented lady and wonderful addition to the Minted community.

  14. Aspacia

    Great interview! love the stories behind your beautiful work! Gingerbread party how fun!!! 😀

  15. Jen Wick

    Carrie, your bubbly personality shines through everything you do!! Can’t wait to meet you this summer – and yeah to another awesome BIg Ten designer!!

  16. Sandra Pons

    So nice to learn more about you Carrie. The inspiration and execution behind Umbrella of Advice is brilliant. I always look forward to what you come up with next!

  17. Kristin

    OMG Carrie! I’d forgotten about your wedding invitations…aaahhhhh, humanity. I’m so happy to know you 🙂