Melissa Egan finds design success by diving in, asking questions, and learning by doing

Portraits by Ashley Poskin

When I met Melissa Egan of Pistols in 2016 at a Minted artist paint-and-sip meetup in Chicago, I immediately sensed her creativity, down-to-earth spirit, and ability to laugh off the small stuff. She had recently relocated to the Windy City from Portland, and was settling into a pretty packed life that included a full-time job as an art director, freelance design work, and a burgeoning body of work on Minted.

Fast-forward to now to 2018, and Melissa has recently added another piece to the the brimming pot of life: her first child, Henry, whom she can’t wait to see every night after work. “One smile from him, and I’m dead,” she says, attributing much of the hustle and bustle to the support of her husband, John, her son’s primary caretaker. “I’m trying my hardest to enjoy Henry while he’s so little, and not worry too much if I’m not able to do it all,” she says.

When we dug into how Melissa learned her craft, she described landing on design after dabbling in a few other fields (Maybe business? Why not try enironmentalism?). Her try-and-see career approach also extends to her view of the design discipline. “In my opinion, there really isn’t a ‘right’ way to do design,” she says. “I try to design around an idea, rather than a particular style. My designs are most successful when they come from a concept I’m really excited about.” She loves illustration and most enjoys creating characters with personalities, like “Cakeasaurus Dinosaur” or her award-winning “Party Sloth.”

In this interview, Melissa talks about her experiments in environmental activism, creating Anthropologie store displays, and how cool dads don’t get the credit they deserve.

In 2017, Melissa Egan won a prestigious Louie Award for her “Party Sloth” children’s birthday party invitation. Melissa’s stationery designs are fun, attention-grabbing, often including winks of humor and whimsy.

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Time-Saving Tips for Faster File Prep

By Olivia Goree 

While a Minted challenge win is exciting and exhilarating, the file prep that follows can be, well, not so fun. Formatting text boxes, building out colorways, and getting that foil sheen placed just right can be time-consuming and exhausting. We get it! Illustrator is an extremely powerful and complex program that can be overwhelming at times, but there are tons of tools and shortcuts to help you work in the program more efficiently. We’ve gathered our favorite “time-saving tips” to help speed up your file prep and make the process a little less painful.

 

1. Eyedropper Tool

The Eyedropper is a handy tool that allows you to pull styling from one element and apply it to another. Use this to match the color between two design elements (or even text settings from one text box to another) to ensure consistency.

2. Paste in Place

A simple but commonly used feature, Paste in Place allows you to copy one element and paste in the exact same spot it was copied from. This feature comes in handy when you need to either copy something from one artboard and paste in the same spot on another artboard, or if you are copying elements from one colorway file to another. You can find this feature by going to Edit > Paste in Place, or by using the shortcut Shift + Command + V on a Mac (or Control + V on a PC).

3. Shortcuts!

Keyboard shortcuts in Illustrator are by far the most helpful feature in speeding up your file prep process. Although they can take a while to set up and get used to, they are life-changing within Illustrator once you become comfortable with them. While some shortcuts are automatically programmed into Illustrator, others are open for you to set up on your own. These are the Minted Production team’s favorite shortcuts; you can set up these same ones or set up your own by going to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

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