Pencil It In Quickfire Photo Calendar Challenge: Special Prizes

Announcing the Special Prize winners from our Pencil it In Quickfire Photo Calendar Challenge ! Customers come to Minted for beautifully-styled photo products, and they love that our 12-month multi-page calendars can start at any month and allow their beautiful photographs to stand out. We looked to you, our talented community of artists, to create fresh and unique designs that Minted customers will be proud to hang on their walls all year round. We are so excited we were able to refresh our photo calendar assortment with this challenge too– this was our first photo calendar challenge in 5 years!

A huge round of applause to all of our winners!


Originality Award
For the design that incorporates the best original drawing, illustration, or lettering that has been made specifically for this Challenge and not used before.

Ink Detailing Frame by Shiny Penny Studio


Runners-up:
 Simple Floral Month by Alethea and Ruth, Foliage month by Summer Winkelman, and Delicate Frames by Paper Raven Co.


Out of the Box Award
For the most design-forward, innovative calendar design that you would only find at Minted.

Aztec frame by Baumbirdy


Runners-up:
Monochrome by Jessie Steury and Checked by Angela Garrick


Fully Booked Award
For the best design incorporating a full bleed photo on the front cover.

Jotted by Erin L. Wilson

Runners-up: Thin Line by Kacey Kendrick Wagner and Simplify by Guess What Design Studio


Colorful Plans Award
For the best design featuring colorful design elements and/or a pop of color in a unique way.

Colorful Minimalist by Playground Prints

Runners-up: Organic Shapes by Kann Orasie, Tides by Erin Deegan, and
Harmony by Shirley Lin Schneider


Simply Minimal Award
For the best understated minimal design.

Slick by Up Up Creative

Runners-up: Bright by Lori Wemple, Minimalisme by Ashley DeMeyere, and Wonder by
Sara Hicks Malone


Completely Classic Award
For the best classic/traditional design.

Didot Latté by Kate Ross

Runner-up: Sidelined by Erin L. Wilson


Modern Man Award
For the design best suited for a man.

Modern simplicity by Susanne Kasielke

Runners-up: Cutout by Kacey Kendrick Wagner, Wonder by Sara Hicks Malone, and
New Adventures by Playground Prints


Curvilinear Award
For the best design that puts customizable text on a curvilinear path.

Fancy Frame by Kristen Smith

Runner-up: Ethereal Wreath by Jackie Crawford


Newbie Award
For the best design from a designer winning for the first time.

Memo Block by Kimberley Henze


Critique Award
For providing helpful critique to other artists in the challenge.

Congratulations, Bekah Beckman!


Published December 11, 2018

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For Minted artist and former gymnast Jennifer Postorino, a PTSD anxiety attack led her back to a healthier path

Talk about fearless. As a former professional gymnast, Jennifer Postorino is strong and determined. And as a largely self-taught designer, Jen has continually pushed herself to improve her craft, combining hand-drawn sketches with design technology. But perhaps the most fearless thing she’s done is to help herself overcome the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and resulting anxiety she didn’t realize she suffered from for years.

And talk about passionate. Jen’s on a mission to design with her whole heart, wide-eyed excitement, and clear purpose. “I have adopted the philosophy of laying things out on the table — the good, the bad, and the ugly,” she says. “If you put your whole heart into whatever you’re doing, regardless of the outcome, you will come away with a sense of accomplishment. You will be able to take something away from that experience and apply it to whatever lies ahead. I try to be grateful for my failures and my successes, because you can’t have one without the other.”

Jennifer Postorino stumbled upon Minted by accident in 2008 after having her first child. At the time, her husband was a new college basketball coach at Clemson University and was gone most of the time. With no family close by, she was looking for a creative outlet while staying at home with her son. She entered her first Minted Challenge, and the rest is history. Although, she says, she got off to a clunky start. “It took me forever to figure out how to submit. After failing to upload my first file submission numerous times, I worked up the courage to call the Minted office and asked if someone could walk me through the process! Yep, I was that girl,” she says. “Someone emailed me step-by-step instructions and eventually I figured it out.” (Photo by Ashley Mauro Photography)

In this interview, the Ohio graphic designer and parent of two talks about about building her career as an artist, her incredible work ethic, and surviving the scariest day of her life that ultimately led to a new chapter.

MINTED: Did you go to school for graphic design or art?
JENNIFER POSTORINO: I went to school for graphic design at Ball State University, but had no clue what I wanted to do. I was a student-athlete, and after I received my degree, I had to make a decision. Either move home to Dayton, Ohio, where I had an offer to be a head gymnastics coach at a private club, or train with Cirque De Soleil with the hopes of maybe making it into one of their shows. My body was incredibly beat up from years of intense training — I’ve had 12 orthopedic surgeries due to gymnastics. Though the decision was hard, it made more sense to take time off to let my body heal and accept the coaching position. I figured it was a good way to be part of the sport I loved since age 4, and I could always find a “day job” doing something related to design.

Minted artist Jennifer Postorino’s former career as a gymnast soared as an undergrad at Ball State University. During her junior year, she was ranked second in the United States for floor gymnastics. In high school, she was also offered athletic scholarships to Auburn, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Ohio State University, and LSU.

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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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Former actor Mary Gaspar revisits her childhood dream of making art

“If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be a professional artist, I would have said, ‘shut the front door.’”

That’s how Mary Gaspar responded when we asked how she became an artist, as she recalled the twists and turns that preceded her current career path. The Minted painter—whose popular “Plant Cell” series has made an impact in the design blogosphere and led to commissioned work for The Property Brothers—used to work as an actor.

Of “Plant Cell 1” (shown above) and the other prints in the series, Mary calls them the “little plant cells that could” because they’ve been featured on a number of blogs.

In a nutshell, Mary landed her first acting gig at age 13 by singing in the choir in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Chicago Theatre. In high school, she was immersed in both theater and fine art, and grappled with deciding which one to focus on in college. Although she worked diligently on her art portfolio as a teenager, Mary never submitted it to universities and decided instead to study theater at the University of Illinois.

After college, Mary moved to Los Angeles for a few years to pursue acting and worked doing commercials while maintaining a long-distance relationship with her then-boyfriend, Derek, a fellow actor who stayed in Chicago. He later joined Mary in L.A., but long story short, after marrying Derek, getting pregnant with their first daughter, Mary and her young family returned to the Chicago area to be near family in 2008. Fast-forward 10 years, and their family has expanded to three daughters (ages 2, 7, and 9); both Mary and Derek are on the up and up with newfound career paths—she as an artist and he as a restaurateur. But it didn’t happen overnight.

“After I had my girls, my husband was busy with work and school, and I was working for my father doing legal research while being at home all day with the kids,” she explains. “I felt like I needed to make something.” She naturally scratched the itch to paint once again, following her childhood passion for art.

In this interview she tells how the rest is history in the making.


Mary holds the original of “Blue Hearts” painting, which Minted repurposed into a fabric for home decor, such as the “Blue Hearts” table runner below.

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The Every Mother Counts Birth Announcements Challenge Special Prize Winners

Announcing the Special Prize winners of The Every Mother Counts Birth Announcements Challenge! New parents come to Minted in search of truly unique and fresh birth announcements to celebrate the arrival of their little one, and this year’s submissions were truly just that! From fun copy, to gorgeous understated typography, to whimsical illustrations, to striking foil, to timeless elegance – we were blown away by the breadth of talent and can’t wait to introduce Minted customers to the new assortment.

For the most design-forward, innovative birth announcement or invitation that you would only find at Minted.
I Got You Babe by Yours Madly

Runners-up: Colorforms by Frooted Design, Parfum by Nazia Hyder, and Letterboard by Lea Delaveris


For the best design featuring multiple photos.
Multi Simple Framed by Petra Kern

Runners-up: Linear by Lehan VeenkerID Bracelet by Michelle Taylor, and Indie by Lauren Chism


For the best classic design that will appeal to more traditional parents.
Stately Monogram by Stacey Meacham

Runners-up: Lyric by Jessica Williams, Formal Introduction by Shirley Lin Schneider, and Modern Welcome by Michelle Poe


For the design that highlights the new little one’s name in an extraordinary way and accommodates a wide variety of names.
Watercolor Script by Olivia Raufman

Runners-up: Bold Name Tag by The Carillos, Hi by Erica Krystek, and Meeting by Up Up Creative


For the most differentiated and unique full-bleed photo design.
Namely by Jessica Williams

Runners-up: Jubilee by Lauren Chism, Market Swirls by Jennifer Wick, and Lucky Stars by Hooray Creative


For the best design announcing twins or multiples.
Addition by Faith Dorn

Runners-up: Extra Blessed by Lea Delaveris, For the Love of Twins by Hooray Creative, and Bonded by Angela Garrick


For the best pregnancy announcement.
Soon to be Three by Ashley Rosenbaum

Runners-up: Bump Ahead by Pink House PressBaby Makes Three by AK Graphics, and Plus One by Bethany Anderson


For the best design for a boy.
Little Caterpillar by Moe and Me

Runners-up: Wood Carving by Jennifer Wick, Spunky by Lauren Chism, and Cars and Balls by Mai Jimenez


For the best simple, modern design.
Editorial Keepsake by Snow and Ivy

Runners-up: Simple Type by Faith Dorn, Small Heart by Jennifer Lew, and Clean and Classy by Dozi


For the card that best leverages clever wording to announce baby’s arrival.
The Snuggle is Real by Up Up Creative

Runners-up: Sup by Jennifer Postorino, Melting Hearts by Frooted Design, and Our Party Animal by Melissa Casey


For the best design that announces an adoption or is uniquely suited for same-sex couples or singles who are celebrating the birth of a child.
Hoped and Waited by Shiny Penny Studio

Runner-up: Homecoming by Lea Delaveris


For the design with elements that truly shine in foil.
Our Story by Lehan Veenker

“Our Story” will also be launching as a non-photo foil-pressed birth announcement design! This is a great option for parents who want to pair a standard printed photo of their newborn with a separate card containing birth stats.

Runners-up: Little Jewel by Carolyn Nicks, A Dream Come True by iamtanya, and Morning + Night by Carrie Oneal


For the best design specifically created for one of the die-cut shapes Minted offers.
Ornate Frame by JeAnna Casper

Runners-up: Floral Curved Frame by Erin Deegan, Formal Introduction by Kasia Labocki, and Precious Petals by Oscar & Emma


For the best design that puts the baby’s name or other customizable text on a curvilinear path.
Baby Train by Baumbirdy

Runners-up: Modern Classic by Shirley Lin Schneider, Flora and Fauna by Lorent and Leif, and Brushy Love by Anchored Paper Co.


For the best design from a designer winning for the first time.
Our Newest Adventure by Aileen Pasion

“Our Newest Adventure” will be launching as a non-photo, foil-pressed birth announcement design. This is a great option for parents who want to pair a standard printed photo of their newborn with a separate card containing birth stats.


For the best design that incorporates an original hand-drawn illustration or hand lettering.
Woodland Forest by Lori Wemple

For the Originality Award we took nominations from our community and picked the winner based on your recommendations. Mariecor Agravante described this design as “elegantly enticing and uplifting.” Debb W. also nominated Lori’s design, noting the “wonderful transparencies, adding depth, and a rich color palette that enlivens her watercolor.” We completely agree!

Congratulations to the winners!

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Minted Real Wedding: Laura & Joshua in Cleveland, NC

For their rustic North Carolina nuptials, fashion blogger Laura Leigh Bain and her marketing exec beau Joshua Elliott chose a floral-patterned invitation (“Classic Floral” by Alethea and Ruth) to send to wedding guests. Following an alfresco ceremony, the celebration moved indoors for dinner, dancing, and additional merriment (complete with a s’mores station!).

Minted Real Wedding, The Arbors Events

Bride and groom: Laura Leigh Bain & Joshua Elliott
Occupations: Fashion + lifestyle blogger at Louella Reese (Laura); marketing account executive (Joshua)
Based in: Charlotte, NC
Wedding dateOctober 15, 2016
Venue: The Arbors Events, Cleveland, NC
Number of guests: 135
Minted save-the-date: “Jotted” (foil-pressed) by Ashley Hegarty
Minted wedding invitation:
 “Classic Floral” by Alethea and Ruth
Wedding planner: Paris Prusak
Florist: Lily Greenthumbs
Cake designer: Honey Butter Bakery 
Photographer: Faith Teasley

How did you and Joshua meet?
We met in our marketing classes in college. My roommate actually introduced us and we worked on a group project together.

Tell us about the proposal!
Joshua planned an incredible day from start to finish, taking me to different places where we had very monumental dates. It ended with the proposal in a sweet park near his home that we frequent often, followed by a surprise dinner with all of our family. All of the details can be found on my blog Louella Reese.

Minted Real Wedding | The Arbors Events

How did you find your wedding venue?
I spent hours searching online for rustic venues in the Charlotte area. After a lot of research, we went through my list of venues and chose four we wanted to visit. The Arbors Events was the last one on our list and we knew the search was over the second we pulled in.

Click through for more from Laura and Joshua’s wedding

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2016 Valentine’s Day Challenge: Special Prizes and Guest Judge’s Pick

Announcing the Special Prizes and Guest Judge’s pick for our Nothing but Love Valentine’s Day Quickfire Design Challenge. Your fresh, unique Valentine’s Day designs made our hearts skip a beat. Congratulations to all the winners!

 

Guest Judge’s Pick by Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies 

Taco Truck by Itsy Belle Studio

Jenny Keller, a self taught baker, author, and stylist who is passionate for throwing over the top parties, is the creative mastermind behind Jenny Cookies.

When asked to pick her favorite design, Jenny said “I love the Taco Truck classroom Valentine card! The nostalgic valentine pun in text is funny and a theme I haven’t seen yet. The colors and design are fresh combined with genius placement of greeting. A perfect classroom Valentine card for boys or girls!”


For the most unique, innovative design that you would only find at Minted
iguana be yours by Lori Wemple

Runners-up: Love Brings You Home by 24th and Dune, Hedgehugs by Kelly Nasuta, Ornate Love by Mansi


For the classroom valentine design that best uses one of Minted’s die-cut shapes
Kiss Emoji by Jody Wody

Runners-up: Sweet Cookie by Lehan Veenker, Hoot by Shari Margolin, Over the Rainbow by Baumbirdy


For the best valentine photo card design that offers those customers who didn’t end up sending holiday cards a fun, creative way to send out belated greetings
HO HO XO by Lauren Chism

Runners-up: Love for the Year by Erica Krystek, Late Merry by Heidi Lee Miller, Love Brings You Home by 24th and Dune


For the best sports-themed classroom valentine design
Baseball Hit by Allison Kizer

Runners-up: You’re a Catch by Anna Elizabeth Whinnery, Number One Foam Finger by Jackie Crawford


For the best design with elements that truly shine in foil
Spreading Our Love by Ana Sharpe

Runners-up: Magical Pegasus by peetie design, Nailing It by Laura Hankins, Heart of Gold by Karidy Walker


For the valentine photo card that uses clever wording to reinvent typical Valentine’s Day greetings
Hugs and Hearts by Laura Hankins

Runners-up: Spread Love by Lauren Chism, Love Struck by Sweta Modi


For the best valentine photo card design that is also a birth or pregnancy announcement
New Valentine by Ashley Rosenbaum

Runners-up: Love at First Sight by Shirley Lin Schneider, Our New Love by Melissa Casey, Valentine Baby by Mansi


For the classroom valentine design that best incorporates an activity that the recipient can engage in

We Connect! by Christina Novak

Runners-up: Heart Search by Oma N. Ramkhelawan, Fill My Heart with Joy by Mandy Porta, Wonderful Words by Jessie Steury


For the best valentine photo card design featuring multiple photos
Little Sweeties by Jennifer Lew

Runners-up: Elegant Valentine by Ana Sharpe, Glittered Hearts by Oma N. RamkhelawanHugs Upon Kisses by Lauren Chism


For the funniest classroom valentine design that is sure to make kids laugh out loud
Soda Pop by Guess What Design Studio

Runners-up: Whale Love by Laura Bolter Design, Kitten Around by Cara McGrady, Do Me a Flavor by Genna Cowsert


For the best classroom valentine design featuring one or more photos
Heart Glasses by Jessie Steury

Runner-up: Pretzel Lover by Grae Designs


For the most unique full bleed valentine photo card design
XO Side Note by Baumbirdy

Runners-up: xoxoxoxo by Melissa Casey, All Our Love by Sweetgrass Paper Company, xo fancy by Guess What Design Studio


For the best design that puts a name or other customizable text on a curvilinear path
Hanging Buddies by Gwen Bedat

Runners-up: Jean Jacket by Jody Wody, Thank You, My Friend by Rebekah Disch


For the best design from a designer winning for the first time
Love You Lots by Parrot Design Studio

 

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Great Expectations & Sweet Celebrations Challenges: Guest Judges’ Picks

Announcing the Guest Judge prizes from our Great Expectations Baby Shower Invitation Challenge and Sweet Celebrations Quickfire Kids’ Birthday Party Invitation Challenge!

Great Expectations Baby Shower Invitation Challenge

We were thrilled to partner with the talented ladies from 100 Layer Cakelet, a creative collaboration between friends and fellow designers Jillian Clark, Amanda Dawbarn, and Kristina Meltzer. Their wedding blog, 100 LayerCake, launched in 2009. 100 Layer Cakelet, their family blog and newest addition to the brand, is the natural next step, for readers who want a space that can inspire their lives after the last bits of wedding confetti have been combed from their hair.

They selected “Bright Confetti Pop” by Ashley Little of Little Print Design. They “loved the simplicity and the fun modern design and that it’s totally appropriate for a boy or girl (or surprise!) shower.” 100 Layer Cakelet announced their selection via Instagram to share this great design with their followers in addition!

Congratulations, Ashley!

Bright Confetti Pop” by Little Print Design


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2016 Holiday Photo Card Winner: 3rd Place Non-Foil

By Ashley Ganz, Director, Merchandising, Holiday & Gifts

I feel incredibly inspired and impressed by our holiday assortment this year. The tremendous, innovative talent within the Minted Artist community never ceases to amaze me! It’s my honor to reveal our third-place winner for the non-foil category of the “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge.

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