Award-Winning Minted Artists Share 3 Tips for Making a Good Illustrator File Great

Written by Kelly Schmidt, Sarah Baumgardner, and Carolyn Doogan

After announcing that Kelly Schmidt won the first Minted File Prep Award during Minted’s 10th Anniversary Awards at Camp Minted 2018, a number of fellow Minted artists wanted to know: What exactly makes a good file great?

Thanks for asking, BTW. Kelly and File Prep Award nominees Sarah Baumgardner and Carolyn Doogan of Baumbirdy were happy to share their top file prep tips for customizable stationery and art products, using Adobe Illustrator. The twist? We asked them to mention tips that weren’t already surfaced in the Top 10 File Prep Tips for Minted Artists post (psst psst: another good resource).

Here are Kelly and Baumbirdy’s top tips for making Minted files great. Armed with these best practices, you’ll be better prepared to submit organized files that allow Minted’s Production Team to launch products to the site as quickly as possible.  —Minted Artist Relations Team

The Best File Prep Award was one of 11 accolades that we announced at Camp Minted 2018. Click to read more in “Minted’s 10th Anniversary Community Awards Recognize Artist Leadership.”

1. Complete your first colorway before starting other colorways

Baumbirdy: Double- and triple-check that all design, type, foil, and photos are in their appropriate layers and that text spacing, leading, kerning, and sizing all look good—and save. Then, give yourself some space from the first colorway. Walk away from it for a bit, come back and give it a fresh look to see if you are happy with everything added to the design. Make sure all your ducks are in row in the first colorway, which will save many frustrating hours in going back and making changes to, sometimes, six colorways!

Kelly Schmidt: Each file in each colorway must be exactly the same—as in, the order of the elements in each layer from front to back, the details in each file, etc. I learned this the hard way after using Minted’s Custom Self-Launch tool in 2016, and having issues with my files where one colorway would look wrong. I often noticed mistakes after I’d finished my various colorways; I would go back to fix the errors in each individual file, and inadvertently made edits that were causing glitches, such as the items on the background layer were no longer in the same order because I brought something to the front, or sent something to the back in one file only. I now make sure that any updates are changed exactly the same way, in all of my files, with hopes that this creates clean files for the Minted files team, that are easy to launch. 

I recommend using the Recolor tool mentioned in Tip #3 in the Top 10 File Prep Tips for Minted Artists post—it’s amazing and saves so much time.

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Blow Out the Candles Kids’ Birthday Party Invitation Challenge : Special Prizes

Announcing the special prize winners of our Blow Out the Candles Kids’ Birthday Party Invitation Challenge! Each year, parents come to Minted to find the perfect invitation to celebrate another year in their child’s life. We invited our talented Minted community of artists to design fresh, fun and unique invitations that set the tone for a memorable party and become a keepsake for the parent and child to enjoy for years to come. Congratulations to our Special Prize winners!


Out of the Box Award
For the most design-forward, innovative kids’ birthday party invitation that you would
only find at Minted
.

Dress for a mess by Baumbirdy

Runners-up: Bounce into a birthday by Heather Francisco, Puppy Pizza Party by Stephanie Given, and Shero Party by Baumbirdy


Originality Award
For the best design that incorporates an original handdrawn illustration or hand lettering.

Birthday Experiment by Shiny Penny Studio

Runners-up: jungle party by Cass Loh, Unicorn dreams by Jennifer Wick, and
sssomeone’s birthday by Kiersten Garner


Birthday Boy Award
For the best design for a boy.

Dino Friends by Alethea and Ruth

Runners-up: Sun Sand and Surf by Maggie Maeve, Roswell by Gwen Bedat, and volcano blast by Karidy Walker


Perfect Picture Award
This award is for the best party invite featuring one or more photos of the birthday boy or girl.

Calling All Princesses by Half Pint Studio

Runners-up: Typography Clouds by Simona Cavallaro, Simply One by Joanne Williams, and
yippee for three! by Susan Asbill


Great Shape Award
This award is for the best design specifically created for one of the unique shapes Minted offers.

circus party by Anupama

Runners-up: Hop on Over II by Hallie Fischer and Shimmering Princess by Rebecca Durflinger


Fantastic Foil Award
For the best design with elements that would truly shine in foil.

whimsical balloon by Phrosne Ras

Runners-up: Sweet unicorn by Anne Holmquist, She’s A Wild One by Susan Moyal, and
Princess Carriage by Paper Sun Studio


First Fete Award
For the best party invitation for a 1 year old girl or boy.

Wild One! by Christie Garcia

Runners-up: freshly cut flowers by Jennifer Wick, Big one by Ana de Sousa, and
Big Confetti 1 by fatfatin


Changing Seasons Award
This award is for the best design that celebrates a fall or winter birthday.

playful ice rink by Karidy Walker

Runners-up: ONEderland by Anne Holmquist and Pumpkin Party by Michelle Shanaman


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

at the park by elena diaz

Runners-up: bears marching band by Faith Dorn, Handy Man by Ink and Letter Designs, and
Hot Air Balloon Birthday by Noonday Design


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

Surfer’s Dream Beach Bash by Maggie Maeve


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

Congratulations Jan Shepherd!


Published October 26, 2018

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Minted Artists in the Press October 2018

Congratulations to Minted artists who are featured in The Knot (Regional Editions), Coastal Living, Buzzfeed, Lonny, and Style Me Pretty. Join the fun of spotting Minted artists in the press by uploading PR clips on your social media with the hashtag #mintiespotting.



The Kno
t Regional Issues (Winter 2018)

“Rust + Petal” featuring “The Artist’s Wedding” wedding invitation by My Splendid Summer


Buzzfeed (September 29, 2018)
“17 Best Places To Shop For Your Baby’s Nursery Online” featuring “Newspaper Sailboat” by Susie Allen, “Love You To The Moon & Back!” by Chasity Smith, and “So Loved Heart” by Alethea and Ruth


Coastal Living (October 2018)
“Havens: Fresh Ideas for Beach Homes” featuring “Watercolor Links” Fabric by Erin Deegan

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Minted artist Kristin Doversberger weaves together industrial design influences with fine arts training

Written by Jenny Griffin

Minted artist Kristin Doversberger of Lorent & Leif dances a fine line, deftly balancing between the realms of fine art and graphic design. Take a look at her work and you’ll see exceptional examples of both disciplines. West Elm selected her ethereal pastel abstract landscape “Rise” to be sold in their stores as part of the Minted + West Elm collaboration and both her fine art and graphic design work have secured numerous Minted awards.

The pink-hued abstract art print “Rise” by Lorent + Leif featured in a West Elm catalog. “It was a huge thrill to see ‘Rise’ displayed in a West Elm Chicago store, says Kristin Doversberger.

Kristin grew up in Indiana and earned her BFA from Indiana University, with a minor in graphic design. She studied painting, drawing, and printmaking, all influences you can see in her Minted work in her playful mixes of color and texture. More recently, she’s experimented with a more illustrative style.

Kristin and her family—husband Mike and sons Thomas and Brooks—recently moved to Holland, Michigan, right on the shores of Lake Macatawa and not far from Lake Michigan. Her new community excites her, and she’s eager to get more involved with the local art museums, historical society, and architectural preservation efforts.

“Tomah” Minted art print by Lorent and Leif

Kristin’s balancing act started early. In college, drawn by her interest in fine art, she interned with a local art museum, learning about art history and working on community education, art preservation, art shipment, and acquisitions. After college she delved into the world of industrial style design, creating advertisements for an array of manufacturing companies. She found she enjoyed translating messages, ideas, and company visions into tangible art and design. It was gratifying and linked her training with her work.

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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.

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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!

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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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