5 Ways to Connect With the Minted Artist Community

One of the things that makes Minted such a valuable place for artists is our strong and supportive community. There are many benefits of being part of Minted, but we’ve heard over and over from artists that the friends they make and the advice they receive within the community brings them lifelong connections and pushes them to improve their craft.

“Generosity is the word that sums up the most special thing about the Minted community,” says Laura Bolter, who’s been designing with Minted since 2011. “The artists and designers freely share their resources, support, and most importantly their feedback with each other—their competitors.”

If you’re new to Minted and wondering how to become part of this amazing group, we’ve gathered some tips so you can jump right in and start making meaningful connections.

See Me Go Wee Wee!” wall art print by Maja Cunningham

1. Participate

This seems like an obvious tip, but it’s one thing to merely join a community and another to be an active participant. Take advantage of the ways Minted helps connect community members: join the Minted Community Facebook group and chime in when you have something valuable to add to a thread, volunteer to organize and attend meet-ups, and sign up for the Buddy Program. These are all ways you can get to know Minted artists on a deeper level.

“Socialize and interact with other designers,” says Kimberly Fitzsimons, who has been designing for Minted since 2009. “Your favorite designers will become your Facebook friends, Instagram buddies, and your biggest supporters. One or two may become your closest friends.”

Chris Griffith, a Minted designer since 2011, agrees with Kimberly. “I can’t even begin to describe how many wonderful people I’ve met from participating in Minted,” she says, adding that her Minted buddy Ann Gardner was a key inspiration and helped her advance to a new level with her work. “We have become friends in the process.”

A Dallas Minted Artist Meet-Up. (Clockwise from the front): Jill Efrussy of Stamped Paper Co., Annie Roche of 5by7 Designs, Susan Asbill, Ann Gardner, Lauren Chism of Palm Papers, Rebecca Bowen, Vivien Jordan of The Eclectic Press, Lesa Abney of Paper Nest by Lesa, and Abigail Luby of Chips and Salsa Designs.

2. Give Back

How do you give back to the Minted community, especially if you are new? You can offer feedback, participate in polls, and “Share!” says Amy Ehmann, one of Minted’s first designers. “Share your resources. Share deals. Share stories. Share something funny,” she says. A great place to share is in the Minted Facebook Group. The community will provide valuable information and tips, so make sure you’re adding value as well as asking questions.

“Be helpful—offer specific constructive criticism or praise when you see an opportunity to make a difference in a design,” says Kim Dietrich Elam, a Minted designer with 50 wins under her belt. “Find ways to connect with other designers and artists—exchange feedback and encouragement with Minties who joined about the same time as you.”

3. Be Active in Challenges

Being active in Minted challenges means you aren’t just submitting your designs and then waiting to see what happens. Instead, you’re leaving comments and feedback on other artists’ submissions, participating in polls, and responding when designers ask for critiques of their work. “Being active in the challenges by commenting and giving feedback to other designers and at the same time using the critique you get constructively really helps to hone your skills,” says Chris Griffith. “You will find that everyone has a voice and is respected whether they are experienced or not.” Read expert advice in 7 Ways to Master Art and Design Critiques.

And don’t forget to vote! We don’t expect everyone to vote on every single design submitted, but as a designer with a good eye we value your votes. After a challenge closes take some time, even if it’s only a half hour, voting on submissions.

4. Ask for Help

In the wise words of Amy Ehmann, “Ask questions. There’s no such thing as a dumb question. We were all new at one time.”

The community and Minted’s Artist Relations team is here to help as you navigate your way through Minted. So don’t be shy if you have a question. There are specific places you can look for answers like the Artist FAQ section, the New Artist Call (which takes place every two months), and Office Hours for New Artists.

Artists at a Chicago Makers Night in December 2015. Minted artists Angela Marzuki, Melissa Egan, and Erin Deegan cut fabric, which they later modge-podged into the bases of their trays. Diana Bitting of Interior Define looks on.

5. Be Original

Originality can be a touchy subject, but it’s important to address. When we asked a group of seasoned artists what their dos and don’ts were for new Minted artists, almost all of them included originality on their list. “Don’t ever copy anyone’s work,” says Amy Ehmann. “It won’t end well.”

Karly Depew, who has seen a lot in her seven years designing with Minted, said that, in some cases, new designers can be a little too inspired by seasoned designers, and that sometimes their submissions may look similar to others’ work. “I do think it is important to look at other people’s work and see what makes them successful, but use that knowledge to your advantage and create something that is unique to you,” she says.

Also, don’t make things harder for yourself than they need to be. “Don’t compete with yourself,” said Minted designer Julie Green of Up Up Creative. “I’ll often see designers submit multiple versions of the same concept. You’re not likely to get picks on more than one of those, so instead of submitting separate designs, use the polling feature to get feedback on which execution is the best and then focus on refining that one.”

Minted artists at a Minted event during the National Stationery Show in New York, 2015.

Christina Loff is an Artist Relations Manager at Minted, focusing on outreach and onboarding. She’s been lucky enough to work with the talented and innovative teams at ReadyMade magazine (RIP), CreativeLive, 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 @tweetsweet.

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7 Ways to Master Art and Design Critiques

Published February 12, 2016 • Become part of the Minted Artist Community. Submit to a Challenge here.

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