Holiday Photo Card Challenge: Top 41-50 Winners

While most people are wrapping up the summer, everyone at Minted is focused on the upcoming winter holidays.  And we’re excited to announce – the Holiday Card Winners are here!

“The Most Wonderful Time” was our eighth holiday card design challenge. I am thrilled to say that this was the strongest holiday card design challenge we’ve had in our 8 years; Minted’s community of independent designers produced breathtaking and exceptionally creative designs. I appreciated how much designers took to heart our request for creativity and to carve their own creative path.

Here is this year’s challenge by the numbers:

  • The artist community submitted a total of 4,661 designs
  • Designers held 856 design polls, and participants submitted 8,305 comments and 79,948 likes

As ever, we want to thank each and every designer who submitted a design, gave a critique, voted in a design poll, or shared festive posts in the Minted Community Facebook group to help their fellow community members get in the holiday spirit. Our community is truly what makes Minted unique and is, without question, the very reason we have the best design and art in the world.

Let’s not keep you in suspense any longer – here are your 41st-50th place winners. Stay tuned for 31-40 tomorrow. Huge congrats to our first batch of holiday winners!

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How Has Education Inspired Your Creativity?

Back-to-school season has got us thinking about how education inspires creativity. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, Minted artists Taleen Bedikian, Lori James, and Kaydi Bishop think back to their college days.

Taleen Bedikian
Torrance, California

“I love being surrounded by creative thinkers and even non-creatives who question the whole. When I was first majoring in Fine Art, my professor opened my eyes to the idea of gestalt, reminding me to step back and really look at what I am seeing. It’s the whole that we see that really moves us. Having learned this, I like to test myself when tackling projects, which usually means tilting my head, squinting, or backing up to assure that my work feels good as a whole. It’s just something that has stuck with me through the years, and I like to think it helps.”

Lounge-1” by TRB Design

There’s Always Hope” by TRB Design


Lori James of guess what?
Honolulu, Hawaii

“At Honolulu Community College, I had a very inspiring professor named Harrison ‘Bud’ Brooks who really spurred my passion for design. He stressed the importance of knowing the basics and instilled an ethic of discipline and hard work. He challenged us to seek out good design and analyze the underlying elements—composition, layout, typography, etc.—to understand what made it successful. He also taught us never to be complacent, but to continue to learn and grow and evolve as artists. Mr. Brooks definitely had a huge impact on who I am as a designer, and I’m so thankful to have had him as a mentor.”

Petit Monsieur” by guess what?

Snow Time Like the Holidays” by guess what?


Kaydi Bishop
San Francisco

“With a background in interior design and architecture, I find myself inevitably inspired by everything from the uncommon moulding detail to ancient tile patterns. In college, I had the opportunity to study in Florence, Italy, consequently studying many of these details first hand. After college, I was fortunate to travel throughout Asia and the Mid East for my job. Everywhere I turned, I found myself photographing inspiring patterns, materials, color combinations, etc. The education I receive from traveling continues to serve as my main source of inspiration to this day.”

Brushed Casablanca” pillow by Kaydi Bishop

The Half Shell” by Kaydi Bishop


How has—or does—learning and education inspire your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe.

#WhatInspiresMe is published every other Monday. This is the fourth edition; read the third edition here.

Published August 31, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Through the Lens Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Announcing the special prize winners for our first ever photography-only art challenge! In this challenge, we asked you, the Minted Community, to channel your inner Gursky, Weston, Sherman, or Steiglitz. We were blown away by the artistic photographs we received in this challenge. Congratulations to our special prize winners!

Curator’s Choice Award: for the photograph that most captures
the eye of Minted’s Curatorial Team
Going for a Swim” by Whitney Deal


Outer Edge Award: for the photograph that pushes
the boundaries of our assortment
Joshua Tree” by Kaitlin Rebesco


Urban Landscape Award: for the photograph which best
celebrates the urban environment
NYC Viewpoint” by Debra Pruskowski


Still Life Award: for the most interesting composition
using a combination of objects
Collection” by Sadie Holden


The Good Sport Award: for the best artistic and innovative
photographic image involving sports
Our Pastime” by Karen Kaul


Click through to see more special prize winners from our invitation challenge

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Meet a Minted Artist: Kristie Kern

Violin major-turned-graphic designer. History professor’s wife and awesome 10-year-old’s mom. Robust coffee lover and ambitious home cook. These are just some of the words Kristie Kern uses to describe herself.

With 130 Minted awards under her belt, it’s no wonder she also calls herself an “exuberant Minted artist.” Here she shares her story—as an independent graphic designer who works from a beautiful home in Akron, Ohio.

How did you hear about Minted?
I first happened upon Minted while doing some research for a client, and was blown away by what I found. Though I often visited Minted after this to admire the amazing designs and designers, I didn’t enter a challenge myself until almost a year later; I was busy with my design studio and young son.

During the summer of 2011, my workload slowed quite a bit. Instead of immediately pursuing more work and clients, I decided to take advantage of the down time to finally enter a Minted challenge. I submitted one design for a gift tag challenge, and then received two file requests for my next challenge, which was for weddings. I was instantly hooked! Seeing my excitement as I jumped up and down at the news, my then 6-year-old son yelled, “We’re rich! We’re rich!”

I still get excited with each new file request, but what has become much more exciting to me over time is the way that Minted has reinvigorated my passion for design.

(Left) Kenton Kern, Kristie’s son | (Right) Minted works: “You and Me” by paper rose, “Numbers Elephant” by Kristie Kern, “A Very Happy Day” by Kristie Kern

What is a typical day like for you?
I often begin my day running with a group of amazing neighborhood moms, then aim to be in my office on the third floor of our 1919 Craftsman cottage by 8 a.m. First, I sort through email, then list my intentions for the day (on Post-Its!), which include work deadlines as well as personal goals. By far, my best time for creative work is early morning, so I try to make that happen as often as possible. Evening is spent enjoying family dinner and helping with my son’s piano and violin practice.

Criss Cross” by Annie Clark

How do you describe your style?
As an independent designer for nearly 11 years, I’ve been fortunate to work with a variety of clients; many of them long-term, ongoing relationships. However, much of the work I do involves designing within an established brand. The wonderful thing about designing for Minted is that I get to explore my own aesthetic—and it is still evolving. I love so many styles, from chic modern to whimsical, feminine, and urban. I love to experiment, and it’s so interesting to see what sells well—it may not necessarily be a design that was a big stand-out in a challenge.

Tell me about one of your designs for sale on Minted and how it came together.
I like the way my notebook and stationery set “English Countryside” turned out. It actually began its life as an art print submission that just wasn’t feeling right. I ended up taking that art print out of the challenge I’d submitted it to, but kept the basic design in my back pocket. When the time came to re-envision it as a notebook, it came together easily.

I also still feel good about my wedding invitation suite “Bliss.” This design evolved as I moved various elements around my Illustrator file rapidly—this often helps me see things that I wouldn’t otherwise.

I usually start a design without much more than a glimmer of inspiration, and just let things flow organically. One thing I’ve learned is that the creative process can be a strange and very personal thing, and can take on a life of its own. Sometimes you just have to follow where it leads and be “in the zone” while it’s happening. Being in this zone is where I do my best work, but it can be so elusive. I wish I could bottle it!

Who are your favorite designers?
I love the simple forms and bright, unexpected color combinations in the work of children’s book author and illustrator, Ezra Jack Keats. I also adore the rhythms of color New York painter Juri Morioka creates in her abstract art. In the stationery world (aside from the many crushes I have on the work of fellow Minted artists), I really enjoy the work of Ingrid Reithaug and Tonje Holand, the Norwegian duo who make up the design studio Darling Clementine.

Leaf Study” by Kristie Kern

What’s your advice for new designers?
Make a non-negotiable appointment with yourself each day to practice your passion, preferably during the hours that you are at your best. If you have to break this routine, try not to let too many days go by before you get back to it. I’ve found that the more time I spend outside the creative zone, the longer it takes to find that oh-so-happy place again.

In terms of design, these are some of the things I keep working on myself: When you realize you’ve stopped designing and have started “decorating,” take a break. Come back with fresh eyes, shift a few things around and take a few things away. Try to look at the overall composition rather than fussing with tiny details in the beginning. Find the focal point, then pare back on anything that competes with it (or decorates it rather than enhances it). Then refine: Check kerning, leading, and for a pleasing amount of space between text and graphic elements. Detailed attention to typography can really make a design.

Designing for Minted has brought amazing opportunities. The added visibility has helped potential clients find me and has generated additional work. More important to me, though, is the strong sense of support that I’ve received from being part of the Minted community. Especially for anyone in a solo career, feeling connected to a group of peers is so important, and I’ve found my fellow Minted Artists to be not only wildly talented designers, but also incredibly smart, funny, generous and good people.

Hello World” by Kristie Kern

More from Kristie Kern:
• Minted Store
• KristieKernCreative.com

Photography by Stephanie Miller and Angie Arthur

Published August 28, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

 

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Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand

One of the coolest aspects of personal branding is that it’s entirely up to you. “Artist branding is a very personal thing and should be a true reflection of you as an artist, which really is a reflection of yourself,” says Melanie Severin, a Minted artist from Alberta, Canada.

The digital world (and even traditional sources) is your oyster when it comes to sharing and experimenting with your brand identity. Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr in addition to business cards and event promo materials are great channels for telling your story and connecting with a local or global audience.

If you have a Minted Artist Store, you have a number of ways to curate your persona—via your product assortment, cover image, and the “About Yourself” bio and carousel of up to five 1420 pixel x 640 pixel photographs.

Before you dive into updating your Artist Store and other marketing content, consider our advice for developing your brand identity.

1. Define Your Brand
If you had to describe the meaning and style of your work in a handful of words and visuals, what comes to mind? Think about these words and visual references as you’re developing copy and photos that best represent you.

Like many artists, Melanie says she’s constantly evolving and growing, but a mix of sophistication and whimsy is the consistent theme in her work. Part of Melanie’s brand includes her personal life—her rural home-based studio, being a mom of three young children (who raise chickens!). “And the fact that I live in Canada and am heavily inspired by nature,” she says.

Melanie’s artistic style varies widely in terms of the different media, color palettes, and disciplines she works in, so it doesn’t make sense for her to show only a limited palette or style in her branding imagery. “But for some, that works very well, and in fact I’ve seen some absolutely stunning Instagram feeds built on a very limited palette or style,” she says.

2. Get the Lighting Just Right
“Great lighting is everything,” Melanie says, and we couldn’t agree more. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to overspend on lighting equipment.

Perhaps you want your photos to be shot primarily indoors with natural light, or maybe a cloudy outdoor setting perfectly captures your mood and style. Like we said—it’s up to you! Read our DIY photography tips in “10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store.”

3. Shoot For the Appropriate Format
The 1420 pixel x 640 pixel dimensions of the Minted Store “About Yourself” photo carousel are long and lean—the opposite of, say, Instagram’s square photos. When planning and styling your photographs, take a step back and leave space to crop in a way that will look best in the long landscape format.

4. Focus on Quality Over Quantity
If you don’t have five great images for your About You Carousel, don’t upload five images. In other words, focus on quality over quantity. Because photography reflects consumers’ impressions of your work, Melanie says, “definitely don’t feature any photos that are poor quality, grainy, or out of focus.”

If you’re taking your own photos, we recommend investing in or borrowing a decent camera. You could also do a “trade” with another Minted artist or photographer—you take his or her portraits in exchange for him or her taking your portraits.

Melanie takes most of her own brand photographs, but a fellow Minted artist, Ardell McLennan, also has taken some of the photos in Melanie’s Minted carousel and Instagram feed. “I recommend working with a photographer occasionally for portraits,” she says. “It’s pretty difficult to get good photos of yourself, in your workspace, and in the process of creating.”


5. Mix It Up
What’s unique about you as an artist? Convey your personality and what makes you stand out with a variety of shots. “Consider what it is about your style and process that might be really interesting and different from others and think of creative ways to capture that in a photograph,” Melanie says.

For the Minted Store About You carousel, we recommend artists show at least one portrait in their creative environment or places that represent their “artist brand,” in addition to at least one photo that depicts their creative process, and styled product shots.

6. Tell Your Story
“People want to know what inspires you, what your typical workday is like, how and where you create. All of these things become part of your ‘brand,’ in addition to the overall style of the products you create,” Melanie says.

Social media and the Artist Store photo carousel are great ways to share not only beautiful styled images of your products, but also your day-to-day adventures. Melanie’s biggest goal is to “be herself” and give followers and customers a glimpse into her life and inspirations—and sometimes that’s portrayed with a sense of humor.

“One of my absolute favorite photos in my Instagram feed is of our daughter when she came into my studio dressed as Darth Vader,” Melanie says. “It was a priceless moment that embodies what it’s like for creatives who work from home with children. Sharing these real-life moments with your followers helps connect you with them and makes your work that much more meaningful.”

7. Write in First-Person Voice
Let the world know it’s you behind your messaging by writing in first-person voice. For example, in your About You bio on your Minted Store, you could write something like, “I’ve traveled and surfed the world over, and my work reflects my adventures.”


Curious about Minted Stores? Artists who win Minted Design Challenges are invited to open their own store. Read more in our FAQs.

About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Published August 28, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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DIY: Watercolor Wedding Fans

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  alice & lois

Summer weddings are in full swing and if you’re holding your ceremony or reception outdoors, then it’s thoughtful to think of ways to keep your guests from melting beneath the blazing sun. These sweet handmade fans are easy to make and perfect for cooling off; paint them in your wedding colors and you’ve got a pretty handmade element to add to your wedding décor.

Click through for the full tutorial

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Fall and Winter Digital Invitation Challenge: Special Prizes

Announcing the special prize winners for our Fall and Winter Digital Invitation Challenge! In this challenge we asked you, our talented community of artists, to build our assortment for fall and winter events including Back to School, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and more. The holiday season is the biggest party season of the year, and once Digital Invitations launch in late October, we are expecting them to be extremely popular. A huge congrats to all the winners and runner-ups!

Guest Judge Pick 
Vintage Pumpkin Seeds” by Karidy Walker

We asked Jenny Keller a self-taught baker, author, and stylist whose creative work has been featured in Romantic Homes, US Weekly, OK! Magazine, and Brides Magazine among others to guest judge this challenge.

Her thoughts on her Minted pick: “I love all things vintage and this design has the perfect mix of colors and a great variety of fonts.  The back of the card would be darling with a plaid design in a mix of  oranges, black, browns and greens. This design would be simple to coordinate party decor and can be used for any fall occasion.  I imagine a big party at a local pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins or an outdoor family gathering with pumpkin carving and hot apple cider.  I may need to plan a party with this card!”


For the most original holiday party invitation that
you wouldn’t find on other sites 
Floral Fete” by Baumbirdy

Runners-Up: Coffin Break” by Pistols | “HotDogtoberfest” by Shari Margolin
pignolata” by chocomocacino


For the funniest or wittiest holiday party invitation
Ripped” by Kim Dietrich Elam

Runners-Up: “BooYah” by A.J. | “Latkepalooza” by RedRedOrange
Bewitching Soiree” by Itsy Belle Studio


For the best design that puts customizable information
on a curvilinear path
Carving Party” by Pad and Paper

Runners-Up: “Festive Catrinaby Maria Mordvintseva-Keeler
Holiday Cookie Jar” by Chelsey Scott


For the best design showcasing a Christmas-specific
 theme and traditional Christmas color
pandoro” by chocomocacino

Runners-Up: Holly Exclamation Point” by Sara Malone | “Editorial Chic” by Stacey Meacham
Pretty Party” by Phrosne Ras

Click through to see more special prize winners from our invitation challenge

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August L.A. Minted Meetup: A Two-Way Learning Experience

We always walk away from Minted Meetups newly inspired and full of ideas—and the August 21, 2015, L.A. Meetup was no exception. On an idyllic Southern California evening, more than 20 artists met at a restaurant called Primitivo in Venice Beach.

Conversation topics included the Minted Home launch, the challenges of managing a busy schedule, and artists’ desires to develop their personal brands.

Meetup attendees, top row from left: Dustin Miller, Maria Mordvintseva-Keeler,
Aeryn Donnelly-Terrey, Renee Pulve, Simone Klein, Erica Krystek, Eric Beckett,
Aspacia Kusulas, Karen Leung, Dariana Cruz, and Amy Hall.
Bottom row from left: Shirley Lin Schneider, Jessica Nugent, Patty Vargas, Aporn Khananusit-Hama, Jessica Miller, Jessica Druxman, Lynn Knipe, Tanya Peng Lee, Anthea Tjuanakis Cox,
Sara Berrenson, Jeanetta Gonzales.
Not pictured: Annie Seaton, Leah Bisch, Jennifer Thorp Morehead.

Dariana Cruz of Dari Design Studio said the event was a refreshing break from her working-from-home routine, and her takeaway was realizing Minted’s interest in learning from the community.

“It felt really good to feel Minted’s sincere intention to connect with and listen to us,” said the L.A. artist who collaborates with her sister, Dariela. “By paying attention to that connection, we can create new systems, products, ideas, and projects that benefit the artists, the company, and the consumer as well. Not many companies allow for that openness to happen.”

Anthea Tjuanakis Cox, Director of Artist Relations, flew to L.A. from Minted’s San Francisco office and enjoyed the open dialogue. “I loved learning how Minted fits into different people’s lives and seeing just how diverse it is. During nap time, between jobs, a place to have full creative control after a day job,” she said.

One of Anthea’s takeaways centered around Minted’s growth and the need for creating a strategy to help artists manage the large number of design challenges. She also encouraged artists to enter new challenge categories. “Amazing things happen when artists bring their influences to a new canvas,” she said.

We gave L.A. Minted Meetup attendees totes and California-themed Minted prints,
like “San O Daydream.” This photo was created by husband-wife duo Jessica and Dustin Miller of Owl and Toad, who attended the event.

The next Los Angeles Minted event is a Maker’s Night in October 2015.

Published August 25, 2015

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What to Include on Your Wedding Website

The goal of every good wedding website: Give guests the details they need to prepare for your wedding—and get them pumped to join you for your celebration in the process. To help you pull it off, follow our handy guide to everything you should include on your wedding website.

Everything You Need to Include on Your Wedding Website

THE ESSENTIALS
• A warm welcome and a photo
Welcome guests to your wedding website with a favorite of yourselves and a heartfelt message letting your guests know how ecstatic you are to see them. After all, this is probably one of the only times you’ll have all your loved ones gathered together in the same place at the same time.

• Wedding date, time, and location
Kind of a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed at how many couples forget to include this vital wedding-day information.

• Schedule of events
Most guests just want to be told where they need to be and when, so be sure to include details on the ceremony and reception start times, as well as extra events like the after-party and morning-after brunch. But only include the events where everyone is welcome to avoid any unexpected drop-ins!

• Travel information and accommodations
Think about what you’d need to know in order to plan a trip and provide this info to your guests so they don’t have to do lots of legwork: lodging suggestions (and any negotiated hotel room rates); a list of local airports, train station, and car rental companies; maps and driving directions; public transportation information (including car services like Uber and Lyft); and venue parking details.

• Online RSVPs
These days, more couples are opting for online RSVPs instead of traditional mailed response cards, so choose a wedding website template that includes built-in RSVP management. (Bonus: You’ll save on reply cards and return postage!)

• Contact information
Let your guests know how to reach you if they have questions or want to send their congratulations.

• FAQs
It’s nice to have a catch-all section devoted to any questions guests may have. This is the place to include helpful notes on attire suggestions, whether children are invited (since some guests don’t know the ins and outs of envelope etiquette), a list of reputable local baby-sitting services, whether you will provide transportation to/from the celebration. Think about all the questions you ask when you go to other people’s weddings and try to include the answers to make life easier for your guests.

NICE TO HAVE BUT NOT CRUCIAL
• “Our Story”
Chances are not all of your guests know how the two of you met and when you decided to get married, so devote a section of your website recounting your love story and the proposal.

• Wedding party information
Many couples opt to include a section with a brief bio of wedding-party members describing how they know each person.

• Registry
Printing registry information on your actual wedding invitation is usually not advised by etiquette experts, so your website is the perfect place to include these details (be sure to supply links that allow them to click through to shop).

• Sightseeing suggestions
If many of your guests are traveling to your city for the first time or if you’re hosting a destination wedding, then they will appreciate suggestions on local sights and attractions. Provide a helpful guide to the area by making a list of your and your groom’s favorite spots: restaurants, coffee shops, hair and nail salons, local tourist attractions. And if the area has special significance to you, let guests know! For example, if you met, went on your first date, or even got engaged near the wedding venue, those can be fun facts to share.

• Photos
If you had engagement photos taken, this is a great place to display them. But don’t go overboard: One of guests’ biggest gripes about wedding websites is the never-ending photo gallery. So pick the best ones from your engagement session and a few favorite snapshots of you and your fiancé, and you’re all set.

Ultimately, remember that your wedding website is a tool to make life easier for your guests. Choose a design that is easy to navigate (bonus points if it’s easy to read on mobile, too!); focus on their needs and try to anticipate any questions they may have. Your guests will sincerely appreciate it.

What to Include on Your Wedding Website

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