Every Mother Counts and the Little Journeys Art Challenge.

As you all likely know, our ‘Little Journeys: The Nursery, Children’s, and Family Tree Art Challenge‘ is going on right now and for the first time in a Minted design challenge, we’ve teamed up with an amazing non-profit organization: Every Mother Counts. Christy Turlington Burns, the founder of Every Mother Counts, will choose 3 judge’s picks from the challenge. A percentage of proceeds from all nursery, children’s, and family tree art prints sold on Minted will benefit Every Mother Counts and their mission to improve global maternal health. Working with Every Mother Counts makes a lot of sense for Minted, as both our designers and our consumers are mostly women (and many are moms), and we strongly believe in the power and importance of mothers in shaping the future of our world.

We thought you might like to know a little more about EMC… Every Mother Counts is an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal mortality reduction globally. Every Mother Counts seeks to engage new audiences to better understand the challenges and the solutions while encouraging them to take action to improve the lives of girls and women worldwide.

Here are some statistics that highlight what EMC is up against:

  • A death occurs every 90 seconds from pregnancy and childbirth complications. Hundreds of thousands of women die each year from pregnancy, making reproductive health problems the leading cause of death among women worldwide aged 15 to 44. 90% of these deaths are estimated to be preventable.
  • Pregnancy is the biggest killer of women aged 15-19 in the developing world. Nearly 70,000 young women die each year because their bodies were not ready for parenthood.
  • Women who have completed their secondary education decide to have a skilled worker present at the time of their delivery 84% of the time–which translates to a higher survival rate for mother and baby.

Every Mother Counts was founded by Christy Turlington Burns upon completion of her directorial debut, NO WOMAN, NO CRY in 2010.

NO WOMAN, NO CRY is a gripping documentary that tells the personal stories of pregnant women and their caregivers in four countries as they try to avoid adding to these troubling statistics. The film puts audiences in the footsteps of a Maasai woman in labor who must walk five miles to a clinic with no electricity, a young pregnant woman in the slums of Bangladesh too ashamed to seek out care, a pregnant OB in Guatemala who helps women who have suffered from botched illegal abortions, and a midwife in central Florida who treats uninsured women who are denied appointments elsewhere.

First time director Christy Turlington Burns opens the film with footage from her own harrowing birth experience. A quick turn of events during the delivery of her daughter inspires her to see firsthand what can be done to help other women who do not have the same access to quality care that she did.

Now in its second year, Every Mother Counts is an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal mortality reduction globally. Every Mother Counts seeks to engage new audiences to better understand the challenges and the solutions while encouraging them to take action to improve the lives of girls and women worldwide.

By entering this challenge, our designers will be indirectly supporting the work of EMC and helping mothers-to-be the world over receive better access to quality health care. It all starts with spreading the word about this incredibly important issue! Check out their informative site to learn more.

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Wedding giveaway: Invites + A Practical Wedding!

As we hope you all know by now, we’re in the middle of our 3rd Annual Wedding Invite giveaway, which you can enter very easily right here!

To sweeten the pot, not only will we be giving away $500, each week for the next three weeks, but we’ll also be giving away three copies of Meg Keene’s ‘A Practical Wedding.’ If you don’t already know Meg from her blog A Practical Wedding, it’s definitely worth checking out both her blog and her brand new book. In it she gives super practical, thoughtful hands-on advice about how to stay cool as a cucumber and how to make sure your day remains your own. She includes a fun chapter on questions to ask your future spouse: some serious, some practical, and some spicy. She also emphasizes the marriage over the wedding, which is a perspective we can all appreciate. In short, she’ll make sure you are the most gracious of brides!

Make sure to enter to win both this great book and $500 towards minted invites right now! Good luck to all! Also, feel free to tweet away about this fun opportunity!

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Minted’s third annual wedding invite giveaway!

We have launched our third annual wedding invitation giveaway… but this year it is better than ever!! We are giving away $500, not just once, but every week for the next four weeks!! You can enter every week for a chance to win, but you can only win once. Head over to this page to enter! The gift certificate is good for any and all Minted wedding stationery… here are some fun ideas from our new collection that you could use it on!!

Our first-ever postcards!! We just launched these adorable save-the-date postcards–they give you lots of fun options for what you can put on the back… detailed text or another photo. And they’re printed on that thick, luscious stock you’ve come to expect from Minted.

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Indoor garden party from Brooklyn Bride.

The ever talented Vané over at Brooklyn Bride game up with this beautiful indoor garden party inspiration board and I couldn’t help but share it with you.

Fracas by Paper Plains is featured dead center. That invite is perfect for really any occasion. I also can’t get over that patterned fern wallpaper–it’s so fun and classy at the same time! And I love the idea of pulling the stripes from the invite out into tray liners for cocktails. This whole board was the perfect Valentine’s Day hangover cure as it got me excited for St. Paddy’s Day! I hope it does the same thing for you!!

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Minted on Martha!

Our valentine notebooks were featured last week on The Martha Stewart Show!

Check out the whole segment here. Darcy Miller, the editor-in-chief of Martha Stewart Weddings shares lots of fun valentine ideas with Martha… Darcy sure knows how to package candy in a pretty way and has so much enthusiasm for the holiday in general!

All of the details of the segment are available on the Martha Stewart Family blog here.

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Something Old, Something New Guest Judges Awards.

While we love to see what all of you voted on, we also really love to see what caught the eye of our guest judges… these ladies are deep in the wedding trenches, looking at and blogging about beautiful weddings all day long. So when they like something, we know they’re surely on to a trend.

We had such interesting bloggers guest judge our Something Old, Something New Challenge. They have all carved out distinct niches for themselves and are covering a certain genre of weddings really well. Read on for their picks, and also perhaps discover a few new blogs for your reader along the way!

Jen Campbell from Green Wedding Shoes award goes to A Wedding in Marrakesh by Cecile Paper Lounge. Jen says, “I Love how elegant and modern this invite was. The colors are gorgeous and you can see the couple’s heritage in the graphic pattern.”

Jen also loved Sushi Love by Casey Fritz. “The sushi illustrations are adorable! Love how fun + cute this invite is”

Another of Jen’s favorites was Retro Hawaii by Gakemi Art+Design. “I love old poster design and this one really stood out with the bold graphics and island illustration.”

German Stein Toast by Casey Fritz was one of Jen’s tops. “Love the beer stein illustrations at the top and the way they incorporated hearts into them also. Great nod to the couple’s heritage.”

humuhumu 10x by guess what? caught Jen’s eye. “Love the colors, design and the illustration. It’s also fun which I think is great and let’s the guests know what kind of wedding it’s going to be!”

Fri Forjindam, the driving force behind Wedding Nouveau chose Happiness Doubled by GeekInk Design for her favorite. “To me, the beauty of culturally chic designs like the “double happiness” symbol that represents good luck and well wishes in many Asian celebrations, is that it’s not only personal, it’s timeless. This design has a carefree vibe and effortless brush strokes that reflect the passion that many newly weds feel for each other. It’s no surprise that it got the most votes from our savvy readers. Now, if there could just be a symbol for ‘happily ever after.’ ”

Greek Key to Happiness by Shari Margolin was the team favorite over at Shawna Gohel’s Maharini Weddings. You can see more of Shawna’s favorites here.

Naoise McNally and Susan Gallagher, the founders of One Fab Day, chose French Bliss by Kayla Grunder. “Perfect for a modern Irish-inspired wedding, this invitation conveys a subtle cultural message with the combination of white and green in the wreath set against the taupe background. It has a contemporary folksy feel that is soft, romantic and informal, just like Ireland.”

Darjeeling by Annie Clark was another favorite because of the beautiful Indian style.

Danish I do by Rachel Wiles/Benign Objects was noticed for its Dutch/Danish/Scandinavian inspiration.

And last, but certainly not least, the lace in Pink Henna by Four Wet Feet Design really made an impression.

A big congratulations to all the winners and a huge thank you to our guest judges for lending their talent to help make this challenge more fun and interesting! Have a lovely weekend ahead everyone!!

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Meet a Mintie: e-ray.

Today we get to know a self-described “design geek” who we think happens to be one of the coolest members of our community. No doubt by now you’re familiar with Eric Comstock’s or e-ray’s whimsical, hand-drawn lettering and delightful cherry and blueberry color pairings. Eric is a veteran designer who came to minted with a very large portfolio and a lot of experience in both the advertising and design worlds. We hope you enjoy getting to know Eric a little better!

A cool marquee letter Eric found on ebay.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I loved art from the time I was a kid, but it was really when I was working in advertising as an art director that I really started to think about it seriously. I was jealous of the graphic designers at our agency. It just seemed to me that they had the really fun job.

A drawing that I did when I was 14. When I did this drawing I realized I wanted to go into advertising. I didn’t even understand what one did in advertising but I thought if I could do drawings like this all day I would love it. Ten years after getting into advertising I left that career and started working with my wife. We spent a lot of time designing surface design. Advertising was good but I really love what I do now.

How would you describe your style?
Definitely not serious. I like to have fun and create things that make people smile. So, I think modern with a quirky flair and emphasis on typography is a pretty good description.

What is your normal workflow or process like?
You mean after I’m done procrastinating? Well, I usually draw out some sketches on paper, then scan them into illustrator to finish.

How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
I guess it depends on the design.

How did you hear about minted?
I read about minted on designworklife.com. Shortly after, I met Mariam and the rest of her team at SurTex and they invited me to participate. I’ve loved it ever since!

Favorite design for sale on minted and why you like it?
The Retro ABC notebook is my favorite because I really love the colors and the texture from the hand drawn letters.

Favorite design challenge to date?
I have enjoyed the art poster challenge best of all. One of the things I love about Minted is having the opportunity to work on these different assignments. Every challenge gives me a chance to solve a new problem and some fun solutions have come from that.

It seems like you had a ton of fun with letters during the notebook challenge. All of your designs are incredible. Can you walk us through what it’s like to hand letter an entire alphabet?
It can be a challenge to create new ways of designing a letter, but that is also the fun part. Sometimes creating a new way of looking at the alphabet can lead to a bunch of other ideas.

I believe you’re married… what was your wedding invitation like?
I am married… My wife had her neighbor, a talented artist, hand letter our invitation. The lettering was shot with a stat camera and printed on an ivory cardstock.

Favorite pen?
Uniball Vision (Fine)

Favorite notebook?
My Retro ABC notebook, of course!

Favorite design tool?
Illustrator, Wacom tablet and my scanner

A sketchbook pic.

How does living in the Utah influence your design?
I’m not sure Utah has really influenced my design much. Sitting on our deck enjoying the perfect summers here with a glass of wine might not hurt too much though.

Although I will say that because I am not skier (not a fan of the winter here) it forces me to stay at my desk. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fall and Winter are my most productive times of the year.

Another sketchbook pic.

What are the places in your hometown that you would recommend a visitor check out?
Caffe Ibis for really great coffee, lunch or breakfast. Logan Canyon for hiking. Sardine Canyon in the fall for seeing the leaves change.

Eric thoughtfully brought Mariam a bag of his beloved Caffe Ibis coffee to our Salt Lake City meet-up.

Where do you go for design inspiration?
I put on some really good jazz music, pour a really tasty cup of coffee and then I just wait. Sometimes they show up and sometimes they don’t.

My desk. Sort of boring. This is how my desk looks for about 5 minutes after I have cleaned it.

On the wall above my desk is a print that Nate Williams sent me. The other is a print by Jim Flora that I bought on fab.com.

Where do you like to shop? What are your favorite stores?

Being 6′ 5″, I shop online mostly. I like JCrew, Gap, Etsy and Fab.com (my latest favorite).

What are your favorite online design sites and blogs?
designworklife.com, designsponge.com, grainedit.com and of course my own site that I just put together with the help of virb.com, the url is www.eray.us (a work in progress).

What designers do you really admire?
Alexander Gerard, Ray and Charles Eames, Miroslave Sasek, Jim Flora and Richard Diebenkorn whose paintings I just love.

What advice would you give a new designer?
The more work you do, the stronger you will become at what you love doing. When I worked in advertising, we were expected to come up with 20-30, maybe even 50 ideas for each assignment. Only 3-5 of those ideas would make it to the first round of presenting to our creative director. It would be narrowed further from there. Persistence is more important than talent. Don’t give up!

Keep in touch with Eric on his website here.

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Head Over Heels Guest Judges Awards.

We’re very excited to be announcing the guest judges awards from our Head Over Heels wedding invitation challenge today! Our guest judges are pretty much the most impressive, sweetest and most talented ladies we’ve come across so it comes as no surprise that their winning selections are nothing short of swoon-worthy.

Heather Lee, the Associate Editor at Brides.com, awarded her prize to: Gallery Hopping by Annie Clark. “I REALLY love that one,” says Heather. “And I’m totally not a “pink” person! I love the look of the stacked all-capped letters and the large wash of pale pink is very Rothko-esque. This design is perfect for modern couples hosting their nuptials in an artistic venue, such a Chelsea art gallery, renovated warehouse, or former foundry.”

Before deciding, Heather asked her readers for help and their favorite design was In the Park by Amanda Larsen Design. Says Heather of their selection: “I’ve seen plenty of faux bois invitations—it’s a popular look for outdoor weddings and this design is done particularly well. The typography reminds me of chalkboard lettering, which gives the design a nostalgic feel, while the flower and leaf details add a touch of sweetness to the overall rustic look.”

Cathleya Schroeckenstein, the Editor-in-Chief of Weddingbee.com, asked the Bees at Wedding Bee to help her decide and they all voted for Love Story by Cadence Paige Design.

Their second place favorite was Flourishing by Griffinbell Studios.

Cyd Converse from The Sweetest Occasion chose Leaf Specimen by Krista Messer. Says Cyd of her selection: “I’m always a sucker for great type and hand lettering so I instantly loved this invitation. Plus, it’s just super pretty so you can’t help but love it.”

One of Cyd’s other favorites was chalkboard by Alethea and Ruth. “The bold mix of neutrals on this invitation is modern while still feeling timeless,” Cyd says. “I love the white type against the dark background, it makes the design feel both whimsical and modern.”

A huge hip, hip hooray to Heather, Cathy and Cyd for their excellent input! We really appreciate your time ladies. Thanks so much!!

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GIVEAWAY: One pass to ALTitude Design Summit.

We are giving away a FREE pass to the astounding, amazing, awesome ALTitude Design Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, next week: January 18th–21st! The conference is now completely *sold out* so this may be the only way for you to attend!

This year we’re very proud to be a sponsor of this amazing event and will be camped out in the lounge all day Thursday. If you’re lucky enough to already be attending, please stop by, meet us and see our lovely stationery and art in person!

TO ENTER TO WIN: Please leave a comment with the name of your blog and your favorite design for sale on minted!! One winner will be chosen at random on Thursday at NOON PST. Good luck!

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