Minted artist Alexandra Dzh fuels her creativity by living and learning abroad in Vienna

Minted artist Alexandra Dzh

Written by Jenny Griffin

Vienna-based Minted artist Alexandra Dzhiganskaya grew up in a historic city bordering the Danube River called Izmail in the Odessa region in southwestern Ukraine, a vibrant and multiculturally rich stretch of cities and towns along 300 kilometers of the northwest coastline of the Black Sea. The maritime, transportation, and tourism industries fuel the area, and people flock from far and wide to relish the sun, food, and locally produced wine. It’s an environment that has indelibly made its mark on Alexandra. “It has the starriest nights I have ever seen. The sky is so black and deep, and the stars are like diamonds. I think this is reflected in my work, because I love the space theme and painting night skies,” she says.

“Solar System” art print by Alexandra Dzh is part of the 2016 Minted x Pottery Barn collaboration. Minted teamed up with Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn Teen to introduce a new collection of artwork created by independent artists around the world. This piece is currently exclusive to Pottery Barn.

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How a Slovenian former journalist won top prize in Minted’s 2018 Holiday Photo Card Challenge

Written by Amy Cuevas Schroeder

When an Elvis impersonator busted out “Viva Las Vegas” at the tail-end of Minted’s 10th Anniversary Awards Ceremony at Camp Minted, Minted artist Petra Kern had no idea that roughly four minutes later she’d be presented a gigantic $10,000 check. But that’s exactly what happened. With The King at her side, Minted Founder & CEO Mariam Naficy approached table 14, holding the check facing inward to hide the name on the payable line. “I think you’re probably realizing,” Mariam said to the audience of nearly 200 Minted artists. “I am holding a $10,000 check. Right, Elvis? I’m here to award the 2018 Holiday Card Challenge winner. … My heart is pounding. I’m very nervous. I’m going to approach… and the winner is: Petra Kern.”

As you might have guessed, Petra was nearly speechless in the moments after Mariam presented the award for winning top prize in the What a Bright Time Holiday Photo Card Challenge. In a follow-up video interview with Mariam the next day (August 8), Petra said she was shocked and overwhelmed. “I am so thankful because we are currently living in a really small apartment and building a house,” explained Petra, a largely self-taught Minted artist who traveled nearly 6,000 miles from Ljubljana, Slovenia, to attend Camp Minted in Las Vegas. “This is like a fairytale, and the prize money will go toward building my artist studio.”

View a video clip of how Mariam Naficy surprised Petra Kern here.


2018 Holiday Foil-Pressed Photo Card Challenge: First Place Winner

Written by Brady Wood

To say that I’m humbly honored to recognize Annie Mertlich is a huge understatement. Being voted first place in the 2018 What a Bright Time Quickfire Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Challenge is a major feat in a prestigious and highly competitive category (1,444 submissions in a Quickfire competition with 473,593 votes).

It’s hard to believe that just four years ago, Annie was, in her own words, working a full-time day job that “sucked the creative life” out of her. Luckily it was around the same time that Annie discovered Minted’s design competitions, and entered her first submission into Minted’s 2014 Holiday Photo Card Challenge. As luck (or talent, really) would have it, she scored a pick in her first Minted challenge.

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2018 Holiday Photo Card Challenges: Second Place Winners

Written by Katherine Philpot

As the General Manager of Minted Holiday, I live, work on, and dream about the holiday season all year round. As we near the end of the 2018 Holiday Photo Card Challenge, we can’t help but reflect on all the hard work and skill Minted artists have brought to their submissions again this year. This year has been full of exquisite design truly worthy of Minted’s 10-year anniversary.

Today we announce the well-deserved 2nd place winners of the 2018 What a Bright Time Non-Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Challenge and the What a Bright Time Quickfire Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Challenge. Please help me in congratulating Angela Marzuki and Kristy Kapturowski of Hooray Creative!


2018 Holiday Photo Card Challenges: Third Place Winners

Written by Jennifer Gosselin

It may be hard to believe, but we do actually print out and carefully review every single submission to Minted Holiday Challenges. There are thousands of submissions each year and, yes, it does take a lot of time, but it is a critical step in our process and a successful outcome resulting in an assortment that is both aspirational and commercial. Also, we love doing it!

This process gives us a chance to discover emerging trends, unusual new approaches to holiday card design as well as new artists. In case you’re wondering, we recycle all of the print-outs afterward, and of course, we prioritize the voting data of each submission. After all, the voting data is what determines the top winners in Minted’s coveted Holiday card competitions, but in addition to the final scores, we take a step back to identify additional factors like diversity of style and unique techniques, as well as gaps in the current assortment to help select Editor’s Picks and prepare for the assortment launch.

Our assorting process is a blend of art and science and goes through a series of steps involving boarding and re-boarding designs to validate selections from a number of different angles. At its core, it is backed by data and our small team reviews all submissions behind closed, locked doors. Once voting closes, no one—not even other Minted employees—have access to the Holiday card submissions. The review process is top secret until we open the floodgates during the annual Holiday countdown.

We deeply value each and every submission from Minted’s community of independent artists and are so grateful for the time and creative energy you invest in your work. The thoughtful craft and inspirational design is what make Minted cards so special. It gives me great pleasure to announce the third-place winners, as determined by voters, of Minted’s 2018 What a Bright Time Non-Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Challenge and the What a Bright Time Quickfire Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Challenge.

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2018 Holiday Photo Card Challenges: Top 4-10 Winners

Written by Amy Cardillo and Annie Shapiro

We’re excited to continue the countdown of winner announcements for the What a Bright Time Non-Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Challenge and the What a Bright Time Quickfire Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Challenge!

Can you believe we’ve been announcing winners in countdown style for just more than a decade? The Minted artist community never ceases to amaze us with their incredible holiday designs. The community’s talent and holiday spirit during the spring and summer months make our work all the more worthwhile.

Congratulations to the 4th through 10th place winners of our 2018 Holiday Photo Card Challenges!

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Minted Artists in the Press September 2018

Congratulations to Minted artists who are featured in Martha Stewart Living, New York Family, The Knot (Regional Editions), and TODAY. Join the fun of spotting Minted artists in the press by uploading PR clips on your social media with the hashtag #mintiespotting.

Martha Stewart Living (September 2018), “Finishing School: Geek Chic” featuring “Elemental” art print by Marabou Design

New York Family (August 2018), “Learn In Color” featuring “Buffalo Plaid” Custom Name Labels by Karidy Walker

The Today Show (August 28th, 2018) “Tips to Get Your Family Organized Before the Start of School” featuring children’s name labels, “Dinomite” by Oma N. Ramkhelawan, “Favorite Colors” by Abby Munn, “Fire Engine Name” by Dea and Bean, “Joyful Rainbow” by Hooray Creative, “Alligator” by Jessica Ogden, “Llama Fun” by Karidy Walker, “My Deer” by Laura Hankins, “Kitty” and “Pop of Color” by Lori Wemple. Also featuring custom pinboards displaying “River Rocks” fabric by Carrie ONeal, “Shibori Lines” fabric by Sweta Modi, and “Moroccan Ikat” fabric by Oma N. Ramkhelawan.

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2018 Holiday Photo Card Challenge: Top 11-20 Winners

Written by Annie Clark

For the past 10 years, one of my favorite holiday traditions has been the hotly anticipated Holiday Card Challenge winner announcements. Having participated since the very first challenge back in 2008, I remember eagerly refreshing the challenge page and waiting not so patiently for Minted to reveal who took the top prize. Each year’s winner announcement means that I now have the go-ahead to break out the decorations and put on my favorite holiday records — totally normal to do this in September; after all, we designers have been thinking about Holiday since April!

Every year I wonder how the artist community will surpass last year’s assortment, and without fail, I am continuously blown away by the innovative designs, your sophisticated use of color, incredible illustration skills, and perfectly kerned type.

I am honored to announce the top 11-20 winners, as determined by voters, for the What a Bright Time Non-Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Challenge — especially because I admire each and every one of these artists. Though it’s a little awkward to describe one of my own designs in this roundup, I did my best, and in case you’re curious: The Artist Relations team asked me to write this announcement before we even knew which designs were deemed winners.


Brianne Larsen carves her own fluid path toward a life in design

Written by Jenny Griffin

Flashback to 2012. Brianne Schipman was going to school by day at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska, and working at a local pizza place on nights and weekends. The day after she graduated with an associate’s degree in Visual Publications, she married her college sweetheart Caleb Larsen, then an ROTC cadet at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Busy week. Brianne wasn’t sure what was coming next, or how to use her newly minted degree. She thought she might be able to land a full-time job in graphic design, but that didn’t happen.

Flash forward to 2018. Brianne Larsen is happily moving 442 miles east on I-80 from Cheyenne, Wyoming. She’s heading back home to Lincoln, Nebraska, with Caleb, their extroverted daughter Sylvee Ruth, age 17 months, and their photogenic Italian greyhound Indigo, age 3. Adding to the excitement is the impending arrival of a new baby to their growing family. A whole new chapter is soon to begin.

Brianne Larsen Minted card designs, clockwise from top center: “Tall Love,” “Elegant Angles,” “Simply Abstract,” and “The Highest.”

A whole lot of cool stuff happened in between those years, including Brianne finding her designing rhythm with Minted and the realization of her capacity to carve out a designing life for herself independent of location, well suited to the peripatetic nature of the Air Force family lifestyle. Brianne and Caleb began married life in Lincoln while Caleb finished up his two remaining years at UNL. A five-month stint in Lompoc, California, for Caleb’s Air Force training came next, followed by four years in Cheyenne. Caleb is currently a captain in the Air Force, but is transitioning out of military life into a civilian computer programming job. He’s considering joining the Reserves in Omaha, an hour or so from Lincoln.

Brianne’s fluid, flexible trajectory was launched, ironically, by not getting a full-time graphic design gig. Instead, she landed a part-time photography job with a local clothing boutique. This turned out to be a surprise boon, as her part-time hours allowed her to embark on a path as an independent artist with Minted. She submitted her first design to a Minted Stationery Gifts Challenge in July 2012 after first hearing about Minted through a friend. “Looking back, I’m so thankful I didn’t get a full-time job,” Brianne says. “I really believe everything happens for a reason.” Underscoring her retrospection and her embrace of her path is her faith. “My faith is really important to me and shapes every part of my life, including my love for art,” Brianne says.

Success didn’t come instantly; it took nine months for Brianne to get a design pick. Her work developed as she continued to submit designs. She’s now secured 74 awards through her Minted Store: Peony Papeterie. We asked Brianne some questions about being part of an Air Force family, her creative approach, and what might surprise people about her.

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2018 Holiday Photo Card Challenge: Top 21-40 Winners

Written by Easter Kim and Amy Schroeder

Way back in March, we kicked off the What a Bright Time Non-Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Challenge, our 11th annual Holiday Photo Card Challenge. We know how challenging it is to break out the inspirational cocoa and candy canes on the eve of springtime, but the Minted artist community was not only up for the task — they pushed and shoved boundaries of holiday card design. We set out seeking fresh, unique designs that serve Minted’s diverse customer base, and Minted artists exceeded our hopes by creating an array of styles, ranging from traditional and reinvented classics to Millennial minimalism.

Today we’re excited to begin counting down the top winners, as determined by voters, for this esteemed Minted Design Challenge, one of our biggest competitions of the year. This year, our international artist community submitted a combined total of 6,868 designs, and our customers and community of voters generated approximately 2.5 million votes.

Please help us congratulate all of these artists for their remarkable work!

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