Design to Impress Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Just in time for the holidays, Minted pioneered a new printing technique that combines the unmistakable feel and luxury of letterpress with a digitally-printed photo card. We looked to you, our talented Minted community, to create modern designs in bold, vibrant colors that have never been seen before. We were blown away with how many imaginative and fun designs we received! They’re almost too beautiful to mail. Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!

For the best design using bright, non-traditional colors
Chunky Type” by Aspacia Kusulas

Runner-Up: Bright & Jolly! by Oma N. Ramkhelawan

For the best design featuring bold text or 
thick lines or design elements 
Floral Joy” by Katharine Watson

For the design that best gives the impression of a full bleed photo
Pressed Pine” by Jessica Williams

Runner-Up: “Much Joy” by Paper Dahlia

For the most unconventional, unique design in the
challenge that you couldn’t find on any other site

Pressed for Joy” by Phrosne Ras

Runner-Up: Merry Graffiti by Lehan Veenker

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

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DIY: Thanksgiving Place-Card Snacks

Written by Sharon Garofalow of  Cupcakes & Cutlery

Oh no! Your guests have arrived but the turkey isn’t done yet! Have no fear: These DIY place-card snacks not only point guests to their seats but also give them something to munch on while they wait. Because everyone will appreciate a little pre-game snack before the main course!

DIY Thanksgiving Snack Place CardsSet out these individual snack trays to keep your guests in good spirits
as they wait for dinner to be served.

Click through for instructions on how to make these DIY Thanksgiving Snack Place Cards…


Meet a Minted Artist: Susie Allen

“Nothing is too pedestrian or too weird to experiment with,” says Susie Allen, the Eastman, Georgia, designer and illustrator who uses a variety of materials and a mashup approach to creating her playful, eclectic stationery and art.

A graphic designer for a small printing company by day and a freelance illustrator by night, Allen shares how watercolors, list-making, and even vegetables inspire her work.

Newspaper Sailboat” is Susie Allen’s first-place winner on Minted. “I really love combining type and illustration, and I’m happy with the way this one integrated the two,” she says.

Portraits of Susie Allen by Stephanie Shadden

When did you begin painting and drawing?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and I had a creative mom who supported me from the start. As a kid, I didn’t know what graphic design was, but I often gravitated toward projects that combined visual art and lettering. I made my own illustrated books and elaborate, crayon greeting cards for family members, with my own “logo” on the back with my initials, “LSA Greetings.”

Click through to learn more about Minted artist Susie Allen


DIY: Portrait Place Cards

Sometimes place cards feel a bit stuffy, but if you take this fun “floating head” approach for your Thanksgiving table, guests will have a good laugh instead of grumbling that they’re not sitting in front of the rolls.

thanksgiving table ideas
place cards

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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Design to Dish: Spiced-Apple Pumpkin Bread

A few weeks ago, someone I follow on Instagram posted pictures of a harvest party they hosted, and it sounded like the dreamiest thing! My husband and I always say we need to start throwing an annual Fall party, but we just haven’t gotten around to kicking off the tradition. When we do, however, it will undoubtedly include all of the quintessential autumnal things a harvest party should have: hay bales, pumpkins, apple cider, crisp weather, cute invitations, and lots and lots of sweet and spicy baked goods. This yummy quick-bake bread combines my two favorite fall flavors—apple and pumpkin—plus an irresistible cinnamon sugar topping. Whether you’re hosting a delightful harvest party or just in the mood to bake, this spiced-apple pumpkin bread is a treat!

spiced cinnamon apple pumpkin bread recipe Vintage Pumpkin Seeds Holiday Party Invitations by Karidy Walker | Spiced-Apple
Pumpkin Bread (recipe below)

spiced cinnamon apple pumpkin bread recipe

Keep reading for this sweet and spicy fall recipe…

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6 of our favorite self-launch gift tags & wrapping paper

Written by Christina Loff

There’s no doubt that adding a well-designed gift tag and beautiful wrapping paper to a present elevates it to the next level. Minted has always been a destination for quality holiday cards and decor, and now that artists with Stores can self-launch products, it’s really exciting to see what they’ve been designing for the holiday season.

We wanted to take a moment to call out some of the great work we’re seeing, so we’ve rounded up some self-launched seasonal gift tags and wrapping paper.

Lisa Travis has been hard at work designing beautiful wrapping paper and gift tags. We love the range of designs she’s self-launched, from pine cones to snowflakes, all perfect for any gift-giving occasion, whether you’re religious or agnostic. Featured above is her Rustic Menorah Gift Card, and she also designed matching wrapping paper. Check out her Store for her full holiday collection.
Shannon Chen of Four Wet Feet self-launched these autumnal gift tags. How sweet would these be attached to a bottle of wine you’re taking to Thanksgiving dinner? These mini cards get us in the mood for fall in a big way.
The Antler Holiday gift tags from Swedish designer Johanna Phillips Huuva are a playful addition to any present. Want more antler art from Johanna? Check out her print Mr Dear, which makes for a great gift for a friend.
Laura Bolter has been busy designing for the holidays. We love the pops of red in her festive Flourished Berries and Pine Wrapping Paper. Check out all of Laura’s holiday designs in her Store right here.
We’re head over heels for this cheerful pattern from Sara Heilwagen of Noah & Olivia. This wrapping paper was inspired by her Shine Bright Burst holiday card, which we also adore. No need to limit this fun paper to the holidays—this is one design that works for any occasion.
We appreciate the subtle nod to the holidays Kristen Magee’s Snowball Wrapping Paper presents. If you’re feeling more festive, go for the red or green variations.

What are you busy designing for the season? We know from our Minted Merchandising experts that red is king around the holidays, but what other color palettes are inspiring you? Share with us in Comments below.

Christina Loff is an Artist Relations Manager at Minted, focusing on outreach and onboarding. She relishes every opportunity to collaborate with creative people and bring communities together around original products and ideas. She’s been lucky enough to work with the talented and innovative teams at ReadyMade magazine (RIP), Creativebug, Hello!Lucky, and Chronicle Books, where she worked as a publicist and marketer for six years, developing and promoting their lifestyle and craft category. Christina has also written for various websites and magazines including CraftStylish and SFist. Follow Christina on Instagram and Twitter @tweetsweet.

Minted Self-Launch Templates
Minted Artist Stores Merchandising Tools Tutorial Video
How to Merchandise Your Minted Artist Store for the Holidays

Published November 10, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.



Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?

When it comes to cultivating creative inspiration, it seems like there are two schools of thought: One, freeing the mind to let creativity happen when it happens, and two, scheduling yourself “creative thinking time” in order to make it happen.

Of course, there’s no “right” way to inspire creativity—it’s different for everyone—but there may be a best route for you. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, busy Minted artists Alexandra Nazari and Sarah Curry share how scheduling works for them.

Alexandra Nazari
Los Angeles
Minted Artist Store • • Instagram: @AlexandraNazari

I think it’s a very romantic idea to think that artists don’t need some sort of routine. In practice, however, I’ve found that scheduling blocks of time is the best way for me to develop my work. I try to spend at least a few hours every other day at my studio. If I can’t make it there because I’m tired or unmotivated after a long day at my day job, I try to at least tackle some retouching or printing tasks. It’s sort of like working out—even if you can’t make it to the gym every day, there are still ample little ways to maintain your fitness.

If I’m on deadline and creatively stuck, I like to go for a long drive to clear my head. Also, turning off my cell phone is another great way to stay on task.

California Dreams” by Alexandra Nazari

Upside” by Alexandra Naziri

Sarah Curry
Santa Cruz, California
Minted Artist Store • Instagram: @sarahcurrydesign • Twitter: @pinksuitcase
Portraits of Sarah Curry by Blue Lace Photography 

I work full time as an art director, so I have to block out chunks of time during evenings and weekends to design stationery and work on other creative projects. My routine really depends on my available time and deadlines I have to meet.

On weekday evenings, after spending a good part of the day working on a computer, it really helps me to get outside to refocus and refuel my creative energy. On weekends when I have a little more time, I love experimenting with painting and photography, or grabbing my sketchbook and heading to the beach or a coffee shop. I feel like I get more ideas when I work on art that is tactile and exercises different parts of the brain. My Stamped Seashells fabric was the result of an experiment with seashells, sumi ink and kraft paper. Other experiments haven’t turned out as well but I always learn something in the process.

When time is limited or I’m trying to meet a deadline, it’s not uncommon for me to go straight to the computer to start designing or to work late into the night. These times can make for long days and lost sleep, but in the end I think it’s all worth it to do something I love.

Gilded Brush” Foil-Pressed Holiday Card by Sarah Curry

Stamped Seashell” Table Runner by Sarah Curry

How about you—does a scheduled routine inspire or stifle your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

Has anything ever scared you so much it’s inspired you?
Who’s your biggest creative influence?
When you need a quick creative pick-me-up, what do you do?

Published November 9, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.


DIY: Simple Thanksgiving Place Setting

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

Now that its November, I’ve got holiday entertaining on my mind. I love hosting dinner parties but always wish I had more time to create a pretty “tablescape” for the meal. What usually ends up happening is that I spend the majority of time cleaning the house and preparing the food instead of decorating. But this year, I’m determined to carve out time to make some simple table decorations. My preference is to incorporate fresh flowers and greenery from my local flower mart and today, I’m sharing a quick and easy way to add a lovely natural element to your Thanksgiving place settings.

Click through for the step-by-step instructions


Announcing the Winner of our First Outside Art Challenge!

For the very first time, Minted is taking your art to the streets—our street! We hosted our first Outside Art Challenge in October 2015, and we were blown away with the number of fresh and modern submissions we received. Out of 342 submissions, we have one winner, 10 runners-up, and one Special Editors’ Prize.

We’re thrilled to announce that the winner, as voted by California voters, is “Wind in the City” by Yuke Li! “This is an image of wind passing by,” Yuke says. “When the wind blows, the dandelions fly.”


We just finished painting “Wind in the City” on Minted’s headquarters building this week. We are so excited to share it with all of you and our neighbors in San Francisco’s Jackson Square neighborhood, where indeed it can get windy! Check out the video below to see our blank wall turn into a beautiful canvas.

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Minted #NotSoSecretSanta Giveaway

Ho-ho-ho! Minted is hosting a #NotSoSecretSanta Event! We’re celebrating the launch of our new 2015 holiday collection by gifting six lucky participants a series of $200 gift certificates towards their Minted holiday card purchases.

Every other day, Minted will feature a new holiday card product on our Facebook page with the #NotSoSecretSanta hashtag to signal a fun new giveaway. To join the giveaway, participants will be asked to visit any one of the following holiday product categories to share a comment on the Facebook post with a link to their favorite holiday card design from Minted’s community of independent artists:

Each #NotSoSecretSanta giveaway will be open for 48-hours only. Winners will be selected through a random draw and announced in the comments section of the Facebook post. Participants may enter on multiple posts, but will only be selected for one winning draw. Prize cannot be combined with any additional promotional offers and valid for 1-time Minted Holiday card purchases only.

Head to Minted’s Facebook page now to enter. Good luck!