Our Real Simple Ad Hits the Stands

Our November Real Simple Magazine ad hit the stands late last month and we’re thrilled to be able to share the final ad and a few behind the scenes photos. We shot on location in San Francisco at the beautiful home of Victoria Smith, the creative tour de force behind the ever inspiring design and lifestyle blog sfgirlbybay.

“All the Stops” by Campbell and Co. and “Noel Stardust” by j.bartyn design.

It was a great feat to decide on just two cards to shoot for the ad. This year’s holiday assortment provided us with so many incredible choices. In the end, we went with “All the Stops” by Campbell and Co. and “Noel Stardust” by j.bartyn design. We love the contrast between the two styles and the pop of red so nicely complemented by Victoria’s mostly black and white home.

Annie Clark and me having fun with holiday cards on location.

Suzanne Shade, Minted’s Creative Director, art directed this ad and our holiday ads from last year. She has the innate ability to pull ideas out of my head without my needing to say a thing. It’s really wonderful to be in absolute agreement when it comes to how we see the Minted brand. While last year’s ads captured the lightness of Minted, this year we wanted the feel to be elegant and sophisticated, like a chic dinner party.

Suzanne, hard at work in Victoria’s kitchen during the shoot.

Suzanne had this to say about the process, “My inspiration for the ad was my friend Victoria’s house and a shot she put up on her blog, sfgirlbybay. To me, the most fun was bringing that to life, and giving Minted the same relaxed elegance and wit that so many of her fans adore (including me!) We shot this with natural light and very little retouching. Our photographer, Annabelle Breakey, was joking during our scout: ‘This spot is so beautiful… all you need me to do is push the shutter.’ We had a ton of fun that day.”

Victoria’s Mantle. The backdrop for the Real Simple ad.

Victoria’s home is incredibly beautiful. We had a great time chatting with her about her decorating choices and eclectic style. What strikes you the most when you walk in her door is the contrast between her white furnishings and black chalkboard walls. Victoria said that she loved the dramatic difference between the two colors and the way the chalkboard walls look when you write and erase. The gorgeous mantle in Victoria’s home was the perfect backdrop for the ad. We were shocked to learn that the mantle was a recent addition to her home. She calls it her “DIY Fireplace” as she found it at Mega Salvage in Berkeley, brought it home and painted it herself. We’re so inspired.

Finding just the right accents for the cards was a lot of fun. Victoria picked up this sweet little reindeer at the Alameda Flea Market. The Alameda Flea Market is the destination for Bay Area antique enthusiasts.

We hope you enjoyed this peek behind the scenes. We thank the Minted Design Community so much for their amazing contributions to an already wonderful holiday season. Check out their beautiful Minted holiday cards here.


Your Cards On Us: Five Minted $200 Holiday Card Giveaways

Help us share this video with your friends… tweet a link to this blog post and leave a comment below to tell us that you tweeted, by 11:59pm Pacific Time on Saturday night, October 29, 2011.  We’ll select 5 winners to win $200 holiday card giveaways, and we’ll notify you by 6am Pacific on Sunday, October 30, in time to do your shopping for holiday cards this weekend!

What truly original holiday cards do, when no one’s looking…

(Update on 10/30 – Hi everyone, Thank you so much for your very kind comments about Minted.  We just couldn’t pick 5 so we picked 7 winners!  Congrats to the winners, who have been notified: @alinecate, Amie, @moglea_studio, MollyT, @NatCalAtkinson, @bornboutique, @sparkledawne.  Winners will be receiving their individual codes on Monday morning by email.  Stay tuned for more holiday fun on the Minted blog!)


The Dance of the Minted Holiday Cards

This holiday season has been full of interesting creative projects at Minted. One that I have enjoyed most is our new stop motion video, “Dance of the Minted Holiday Cards.”

I have wanted for a while to make a video that captures the creativity and spirit of Minted’s employees and design community, and was interested in exploring stop-motion video.  Plus, I have a strong passion for music and want to explore how to integrate it into our brand.  My friend and creative collaborator Suzanne Shade describes how the video’s concept evolved:

“We wanted a few videos for the holidays and talked about different ways to show off Minted. This video originally started off as a stop motion ‘description’ of the card formats and suites. After seeing some early roughs, we realized that our filmmakers, Matt and Julie from Tiger in a Jar, could bring more of their talents to the piece. We asked them to make it something they’d do for themselves, and the result was this fun story about the secret lives of the cards on Christmas Eve. I think the fun part was seeing how collaborating could bring a new twist on the spirit of Minted.”

Hope you enjoy this, and let me know what you think!  All of the holiday cards featured in the video are buyable here.  Our 10% off promotion ends on Monday, so be sure to take advantage of this before it ends.


Sending Good Cheer Special Award Winners

I hope you’re all as thrilled as I am about yesterday’s announcement of the top 20 winning holiday card designs. The Minted team has now recovered from its collective all-nighter in the office. (We had a wonderful visit today from Megan of Toast & Laurel, who was in town from Houston with her husband Greg. We took them out to lunch nearby, and now I’m back to finish this post!)

In addition to the community voted winners, the Minted design team and I have chosen an additional 19 Special Prize winners for designs that met one of our specific categories. We’ve already announced the Trailblazer Award for Kelli Hall’s “Grande Noel,” the Whimsy Award for Alex Elko’s “Frosty Paws,” and one of the Advertising Awards for Cecile Paper Lounge’s “Fleurs de Noel.” Today I’m excited to congratulate the remaining 16 winners and the Collection Award winners:

The Collection Award winners

In addition to our special prizes, we decided to award four designers the chance to launch a collection of 7 holiday cards on Minted.com. The two designers with the most designs in the top 100 designs and two additional designers chosen by Minted’s editors will receive the Collection Awards. Palm Papers and b. wise are the two designers who have the most designs in the top 100.  Minted has selected another two designers to receive the collection award – j. bartyn and Toast & Laurel.  We chose these two designers because they tied for having the 3rd largest number of designs in the top 100. Congratulations to these four designers for their massive accomplishment in such a talented field of competition.

The Big Picture Award for the best full-bleed holiday photo card design

Simply Noel” by Alex Elko Design

Alex’s beautifully crafted script is simple and powerful, and we love the contrast with the minimalist type used above for the family name. The swashes are bold and delicate while the uneven and textured edges give the design a handcrafted, rustic feel.


The Top 10 Sending Good Cheer Winners

For four years, Minted has sourced holiday cards in an open-submission call to the best designers in the world. In 2008, we received 110 entries; in 2009 637 entries, in 2010 1341 entries, and this year we received 2251 entries. This year, we were awed by the quality and quantity of design submissions. We saw beauty in so many designs that it became an almost impossible task to pick just a few.

Thankfully, we use the votes of the Minted community (consumers and designers) to help determine our assortment.  We are careful to remove ‘bad’ voting behavior that we feel is trying to swing the vote unnaturally.  One thing we have noticed is that the Minted community are tough graders; the top placing design in this challenge achieved a score of 3.51 out of 5.  While there has been a lot of debate in the Minted community about why great designs receive scores of “1” at all, I believe these are legitimate scores because there is true difference of opinion regarding design.  If anything, the Internet has enabled greater fragmentation of taste.  Individuality of style and self-expression are encouraged within the community at Minted; we should celebrate the “1s” as well as the “5s” as these scores are a reflection of the diversity of taste in the community.

OK, so at this point I will stop blathering on about voting because I know that this is not what you are interested in reading about.  It is 2:47am here at the office and we are here listening to Lady Gaga and other dance music.  We’re excited to launch these designs, and we’re even more excited for our customers to have access to them.

Among thousands, here are the 10 top voted designs from our Sending Good Cheer Holiday Challenge. I couldn’t be more thrilled to say congratulations to you all.

1st place: “Kraft Ribbon” by Alethea & Ruth

We are very excited that “Kraft Ribbon” by Alethea and Ruth was voted number one, winning the grand prize of $5,000.  This card was distinguished by its popularity among consumers and designers alike, and it was a personal favorite among many at Minted.  I happen to be flying down to Southern California shortly and will be delivering a $5,000 check to Rachel Simonsen of Alethea and Ruth myself.

This card is the very definition of beautiful. Rachel of Alethea & Ruth weaves together a crisp kraft paper background, soft colors, and a gorgeous hand-illustrated greeting. We’ve just celebrated one year of having Alethea & Ruth as part of the community and look forward to many more awe inspiring designs.


Sending Good Cheer 11th-20th Place Winners!

Hi everyone,

We’ve all been going holiday-crazy for months now and we know the Minted design community has been too. For all you designers who donned holiday sweaters in May and who celebrated Christmas in July (and August and September), the wait is over! This challenge blew us away—over 2,200 strong submissions, 3,000 voters, and nearly 450,000 votes later, an announcement of the incredibly talented 11th-20th place winners. To properly celebrate these gorgeous designs, we are announcing the 11th-20th place winners today. We will follow with our announcement of the 1st-10th place winners tomorrow, including a commentary about our voting process.

We would like to say one thing to all designers who participated: we thank you for participating in the Minted holiday card design challenge, and we and other Minted designers are here to continue to enable your creativity, growth, and careers. We have seen immense growth among designers within a matter of months; please believe us that if you didn’t place in the top 20 in this challenge, you shouldn’t give up – your place in the limelight is coming soon.

And now… Congratulations to the creators of these designs, which have been lauded as some of the best by consumers and designers alike:

11th Place: “Merry Everything Bright” by Laura Hankins

Each and every detailed letter in the vibrant greeting that dances across the top of “Merry Everything Bright” is unique and positively perfect. We especially love the wreath hanging from the “G.”  This was the top-ranked multiple-photo card in the entire challenge.


Introducing: New Minted Mentors!

This is a very exciting time of the year for Minted. With the launch of the 2011 Minted holiday assortment fast approaching and a huge wedding design challenge on the horizon, we thought this was an excellent point to select three additional Minted designers to join Amy Ehmann of Design Lotus and Sydney Newsom as Minted Mentors! It is my great pleasure to announce that Ann Gardner, Hailey Myziuk of Hello Hailey and Jennifer Wick will be joining the Mentor team. We feel very lucky to have these inspiring ladies as part of the community and feel their shift into officially guiding, engaging and informing their fellow Minties is a completely natural one. In the weeks and months that follow, our community has a lot to look forward to. The Minted Mentors will be kicking off fun, interesting and informative threads in the Forum, connecting designers with the resources they need to participate in design challenges and making sure that Minted receives the feedback we need to constantly improve the community and customer experience. Newbies take note; these are the ladies you want to chat with.

Ann Gardner was Minted in February of 2010. Not only does she have a ton of well-deserved wins under her belt, including three first place prizes, Ann has also been extremely active in the challenges by voting and commenting on her fellow Minties’ designs. Ann doesn’t just create incredible paper creations either; she’s also a formally trained pastry chef. You can see some of her gorgeous edible creations and learn more about this Minted Mentor here.

Hailey Myziuk of Hello Hailey was Minted in March of 2010. It’s been wonderful to see Hailey’s warmth and personality shine through so many of her winning designs. Her bubbly personality also comes through while she’s actively commenting on submissions and threads in the Forum. When Hailey isn’t creating beautiful designs for Minted, she freelance designs for some amazing causes and created illustrations for an adorable children’s book called ‘Daddy Can You.’ See more of Hailey’s work and learn more about her here.

Jennifer Wick was Minted in September of 2010. Happy first anniversary of being a Mintie Jen! We’re so pleased to have Jen as part of the Mentor team as her enthusiasm and energy are contagious. Her big wins in a variety of categories, coupled with the thoughtful comments she leaves on design submissions and in threads in the forum have made her such an asset to the community. Find out more about Jen and her budding design business here.


Chronicle Books chooses Minted Designers!

Today is an exciting day for us… we are thrilled to announce the designs that Chronicle Books, our first-ever partner, has chosen designs submitted to the Chronicle-Minted challenge to print and launch in stores around the world.  Christina Amini, Executive Editor of Chronicle, along with her colleagues, has chosen:

Ballooning, by Momo


Special Awards from the International Celebration Challenge

Dear Readers,

I am writing this post from the Gansevoort Hotel, where a few of us are staying as we attend the National Stationery Show in New York.  The Gansevoort’s location in the Meatpacking District, by the way, is spectacular – right across from Pastis, where I plan to have breakfast every morning, and around the corner from too-tempting shops like Scoop.  I have yet to try the rooftop club at the Gansevoort, but I hear good things from the Minties who have scouted the place out and several us are planning on hitting that tonight to celebrate a successful trip (join us if you are in town!).

Alright, now down to business on the International Celebration Challenge.  I was really moved by this challenge, and here is why:  The Minted design community threw themselves into learning about other cultures with dedication, and they were willing to take risk in submitting designs around holidays that they were not necessarily familiar with.  Designers like Lena Barakat and Sheila Sunaryo, and many others tried to help other designers out with language and cultural expertise.  I am continually astounded and thrilled by how helpful this community is to each other.

Here are the winners of the Special Awards, and Runners Up:

Customer Favorite and Best Rosh Hashanah Design: The Matisse by Jess Taich

Jess Taich’s “The Matisse” was the favorite design as voted by customers in this challenge and Minted Editors wholeheartedly agree!

Customer Favorite and Best Rosh Hashanah Design - The Matisse by Jess Taich


The ‘Best of the Best’ awards.

It has been 3 years since Minted launched, and our community has grown and evolved tremendously. All of us at Minted feel very privileged to have been given the gift of working with a highly talented design community. Perhaps the most impressive thing of all is how supportive the designers in our community are of one other.

For the first time this year, we have launched an annual ‘Best of the Best’ award where we recognize the top designs of the entire past year. Before you peek at the results, please believe us in saying that it is a true honor to have made the top 200 list to begin with. Minted’s competitions have become known industry-wide for being very tough, and to achieve a top-20 ranking in the past 10 challenges is no small feat. We are thrilled to recognize these designs and designers as the top 10 Best of the Best of the past 12 months:

No. 1: no job too small by Ann Gardner

This clever design is an example of what so often makes a minted design successful: the genius idea behind the design. Our designers are always thinking outside the box and certainly adding a ruler to the back of a business card for a handyman seems like such a natural idea, but yet only Ann was brilliant enough to think of it!