Minted Artists Critique Holiday Designs at Atlanta Meetup

Story and photos by Kristen Smith

In late April, I had the pleasure of organizing an incredible live holiday stationery design critique session with six fellow Atlanta area Minted artists. The meetup was especially exciting because it was the very first in a series of gatherings we’ve planned this year as part of the pilot Minted Ambassador program.

In addition to Kristen Smith, the six artists who attended the Atlanta meetup were Stacey Meacham, Ashley Ottinger, Kelli Hall, Camilla Acosta, Zanne Bedore, and Susie Stern.

We all gathered at the lovely home of Kelli Hall, who was so very gracious to host us, and we each brought print-outs of designs we were currently working on. Because the “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge is one of Minted’s biggest and most competitive challenges of the year, sharing live critiques was absolutely invaluable. Being able to take a break from our computer monitors and interact with the printed, tangible work was a much needed, fresh perspective. We scheduled our critiquing meetup about a week before the day final submissions were due, so it was the perfect little boost to motivate us and carry us weary and cross-eyed through the finish line.

As there are quite a few Minted artists in the Atlanta area, we were fortunate to have veteran community members like Stacey Meacham (pictured above) as well as a few first-timers and recent first-challenge participants. Our hope is to see many new faces at future meetups as our talented community of independent artists and designers continues to grow.

Stacey said she enjoyed the holiday critique because it gave her the confidence to move forward with submissions that she was questioning. “I often have designs that linger on my artboards that I know have something but am unsure if they are finished or good enough,” she said. “Having in-person feedback from respected designers, friends, and artists is invaluable. Even if there are not changes that need to be made, just getting the confirmation that ‘yes, this is good—you should definitely submit’ is so helpful.”

As a member of the Minted Artist community for nearly six years, I cherish the times I get to indulge my paper obsession (and let’s be honest, Minted obsession!) with other savvy creatives. For those interested in hosting a live critique in your area, I have a few suggestions.

  1. Get involved. Bring work to share, but also don’t be shy when offering feedback.

  2. Create a conversation, not a roast. Lend helpful ideas and suggestions but don’t attack another’s work or point of view.

  3. Leave emotions at the door. The work will always feel personal, but often that attachment to a particular design element or color can keep you blinded from distractions and common mistakes.

  4. Don’t be afraid to go bold. Take a few risks and bring some designs you may not normally submit but want help working through. Above all else, always be respectful to fellow participants!

Krafted Winter party decor by Jennifer Wick

If you’d like to host a Minted meetup in your area, please fill out this form.

About the author: Kristen Smith is a freelance designer and hand lettering artist living in Augusta, Georgia, who volunteers as Minted’s Community Ambassador. After receiving a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Georgia, she worked hard to establish a freelance career and officially launched her own company in 2011. She has a passion for fresh and beautiful designs with subtle feminine hints and a dash of whimsy. You can follow her on Instagram here and shop her Minted collection here

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Published June 1, 2016

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