2016 Holiday Photo Card Challenge: Non-Foil 1st Place Winner

Today is one of my favorite days of the year — when I have the privilege of announcing the winner of Minted’s annual Holiday Photo Card Challenge, the most competitive stationery design event in the entire industry. In the ninth year of this challenge, we received 5,078 entries from artists and 2,021,056 votes from voters. Everyone who entered deserves applause for their accomplishments, their risk-taking, and their support of their fellow artists.

I’m thrilled to announce that the first-place winner, as determined by voters, of the 2016 “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge is Susan Moyal, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for her design “Christmas Sprigs.” Susan is the first artist from outside the U.S. in Minted history to take first place in our Holiday Photo Card Challenge!

Susan won $10,000 and a VIP trip to San Francisco along with second-place winner Ann Gardner for “Winter Window” and third-place winner Angela Marzuki for “Freshly Framed.” All voted-in winners and Editors Picks receive an up-front cash prize and earn ongoing commission on every sale of their winning designs. Scroll down to see a video of the surprise and my interview with Susan.

1st place: 2016 Holiday Card Photo Card Challenge — Non-Foil

An active member of the Minted Artist community since January 2014, Susan is a self-taught designer who’s learned a lot from fellow Minted artists in the last two years. In fact, Susan says fellow artists’ critiques and comments on her winning design helped her edit “Christmas Sprigs” as you see it here. The design of “Christmas Sprigs” is a stunning level of simplicity. It has just enough of the embellishment that customers love, and focuses on the photo. I think it may be the best oval photo card design we have ever seen — the card’s proportions are perfect.

Earlier this week, I flew to Toronto to surprise Susan with the news of her victory. Our PR team and Today’s Parent, the leading parenting magazine in Canada, concocted a cover story for the surprise. Susan’s reaction was priceless and heartwarming. It turns out that Susan started designing only two years ago, using Corel, and then eventually teaching herself Adobe Illustrator. Prior to submitting to Minted’s challenges, Susan was an interior designer-turned-stay-at-home mom. After surprising Susan, I enjoyed sitting down to talk with her, and learned more about her inspirational personal story.

Again, I want to thank all of the artists who participated in our Holiday Photo Cards Challenge. It takes courage to put yourself out there. Susan is living evidence that new designers can learn and grow very rapidly in the Minted community. To members of our community who didn’t get a pick in this challenge, I encourage you to keep learning, experimenting, and putting yourself out there. We are busily getting prepared for the rush of holiday customers. I cannot wait for you to see the products, high-quality manufacturing, marketing campaigns, PR, customer service, website experience, and more come together to make this a successful holiday season for Minted and our artist community.

We publish winners’ announcements in the Minted Community > Winners section of Julep.

More Winning Designs from our 2016 Holiday Design Challenges

Published September 16, 2016
  1. Niniane

    Susan’s reaction is so sweet! Loved watching this video.

  2. Heather

    Such a beautiful card design and an even more touching story behind the artist. Congratulations, Susan!!!