$5,000, Hand-Delivered By Our CEO

Our CEO & founder Mariam Naficy recently flew down to Southern California and hand-delivered a $5,000 prize to Rachel Simonsen of Alethea and Ruth, the winner of our 2011 ‘Sending Good Cheer’ holiday card challenge.

Here Rachel (left) and Mariam (right) are in Laguna Nigel. Mariam said, “Rachel is incredibly talented and has a vision all her own. We had a great time over glasses of wine and with a view of the Pacific Ocean, discussing her upcoming wedding (which will be gorgeous!) and future opportunities at Minted.”

Two very happy ladies indeed!

Rachel’s winning design was Kraft Ribbon. A big congratulations again to Rachel! We’re all so thrilled for you and hope you have big plans for that check!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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2010 Holiday Spectacular: No. 1

Wow, I’m actually sorta nervous while writing this (and shielding my computer so others at Minted don’t see this), but we’ve finally come to the last episode of the Minted 2010 Holiday Design Challenge.  In the toughest competitive field we’ve ever had, over 1370 holiday card design entries, we are pleased to announce that our #1 winner as selected by the community, is…..(drumroll)

…. Annie Clark’s “Bright”, a design that perfectly captures the spirit, hope, and warmth of the holiday season. In case you don’t know Annie, she started entering design challenges as a Minted back in 2008, and after giving me an earful regarding how I should improve the design challenges, we got to know each other and she joined Minted in 2009.  Annie is highly regarded among her fellow Minties for her strong command of typography, incredible use of color, and for always remembering the idea behind the product.  We congratulate her on her never-ending quest for perfection, and her ability to prevail in a completely community-led decision.

Now, as many of our community know, Minted employees can earn glory and can win a place in our assortment, but are not eligible for cash prizes.  We do this in order to promote trust within our community.  Which means that by tradition, our $5,000 top prize award will now be awarded to the 2nd place winner, Sydney Newsom.  Our 2nd prize of $1,000 will be awarded to our 3rd place winner, Oscar + Emma, and our 3rd prize award of $500 will be awarded to our 4th place winner, Stacey Day.  Congratulations to all! You can view these designers and the others who made it into the top 10 on our winners page.

We have been blown away by your creativity in this challenge, and we excitedly look forward to offering all your beautiful designs this holiday season.  Editor’s Picks from the 2010 Holiday Challenge will be announced at the end of August.

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2010 Holiday Spectacular: No. 2

Our second prize award of $1,000 goes to the talented Sydney Newsom for her simple, elegant Gallery Classic.  Congratulations, Sydney, on this amazing accomplishment and your highest-ranked placement in any Minted Design Challenge to date!

The best holiday cards take us back in time to the nostalgia of our childhood holiday memories, but stop short of being tired and stuffy. The whimsical font spread out so leisurely across the card does just that, while the more modern font below keeps the card on this side of the Internet. And the miniature ‘2010’ is just so cute! In addition to this monumental second prize, Sydney is also a recently minted Minted Mentor–our second community member to take on this honored role, joining Amy Ehmann of Design Lotus!

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2010 Holiday Spectacular: No. 3

I know, I know, you can hardly stand it! Yes, we have made it to the final three. Without further ado, we’re proud to announce that the third place award of $500 goes to a design that should be quite familiar to all of you at this point, the lovely and very popular Nordic Snowflake by Oscar & Emma.  In our opinion, the snowflake graphic is the perfect blend of delicate and strong – it holds its own as a beautiful piece of art that could be treasured on many pieces, not just holiday cards.

Karly’s classic design was also chosen by two of our guest judges so she will be taking home $1,500 in prizes for this masterpiece! Congratulations Karly on a showstopper to be sure.

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2010 Holiday Spectacular: Special Awards

We interrupt our countdown today to announce our four special category awards totaling $2,000 in prizes. These were incredibly difficult to decide upon… Our team has been deliberating over the choices all weekend long. But I think you’ll agree with us that each of these designs are quite special in their own, unique way. We’re, as always, so impressed by our community’s great creativity.

Our funniest/cheekiest award of $500 goes to Don’t tell Santa by Unless Someone Like You. What child doesn’t end up with marker on their face at least half a dozen times throughout childhood? I’m sure lots of families have pictures just like this one that they can’t wait to showcase (or I’m sure our talented design associates would be happy to do the mark-up as well!). This card made us laugh aloud, but not only that–it’s a really well-composed, spirited design with a fresh shade of green.

The best multi-photo award of $1,000 goes to Alex Elko for his brilliant Foursquare. Multi-photo cards are notoriously difficult to make look good, but doesn’t this look fresh, modern, and unique? Alex has really capitalized on the square size of the card; the big, block “Merry Christmas” lettering mirrors the square shape of the four images at the bottom making for a very nicely aligned card. I love how the family member’s names are tucked into that little square of white space. All in all, a very sharp design!

For our best religious $1,000 prize, it’s Madonna & Child by Paper Plains. Sarah Lenger has taken the traditional Madonna and Child and blended traditional with modern in a stunning gold halo and array of scintillating dots that spreads across the photo above. The font she has chosen is both soft and classic. What a gorgeous and truly unique way to celebrate Christmas!

And, finally, last but certainly not least, our newbie award of $500 goes to Robin Ott Design for Pear Family. Robin has so cleverly modernized the traditional ‘partridge in a pear tree.’ The tree is just so sweet! The pears and the leaves fit together so nicely in their varying shades of green. And has ‘love’ ever looked better? Isn’t the simply type treatment here just fantastic?

Robin hales from Cleveland, Ohio. She is a self-described “Owner + designer. Wife + mother. Addicted to paper, art, wine, cooking, anthropologie, trying to live organically and all things pretty.” We welcome her to the Minted community and look forward to seeing what she submits next!

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2010 Holiday Spectacular: No. 4

Now I know none of you will be surprised by No. 4… you’ve been waiting for it and here it is: The Greens by Stacey Day.

The various shades of green here are perfection! I especially love the light blue shade that Stacey has chosen for her text. And notice that brown modeling in the background of the wreath? It just hints at the branches buried below. The little dots are a great touch as well–they remind me of holly, but without using the conventional red. I also think the thick white circle, coupled with the double thin white circles, really helps to give the proper distance needed to accommodate a circular photograph. Of course, the black and white photo was a good choice here. The light text is also quite airy and classy at the same time. All in all, just very lovely.

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2010 Holiday Spectacular: No. 5

Are you ready for your heart to skip a beat? Wait no longer. Joyeux Noel by Potts Design our No. 5!

There is so much beauty and attention to detail here, it’s hard to even know where to start. So let’s start with the obvious: the hand lettering. It is incredible. Only a true artist can sketch such lovely and animated letters. I love how both ‘joyeux’ and ‘noel’ have slanted cross hatching, but that it isn’t the same pattern. And I think the banner wrapping around the ‘o’ is incredible. It ties in so perfectly with the looped borders on the top and bottom, which play so well off of the cut-out blue background and the shape of the photo, which is by itself an innovative idea. I love the little dotted border around the entire design, but I especially love how Emily has added little cream circles around the brown dots when it is not overlapping over the cream text shape. Also, I love the hand drawn underline under ‘Noel’. Oh and then there’s the umlaut over the ‘e’. Great touch that even references the colored in dotes on the end of the border swirls. Finally, I love the colors–light blue and burgundy have never looked better together. Emily–you are incredible! We will all be toasting your brilliance all weekend long!

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