Minted Launches Art Prints.

We’ve finally done it after dreaming about it for three years: Minted has launched a unique, carefully curated selection of art prints from our talented global community of designers and artists.  It may come as a surprise to lots of folks that inside the company, we have never thought of ourselves as a stationery retailer, but instead as a design community.  With the launch of our art business, we’re thrilled to provide further access to exposure, income, and community to creative geniuses everywhere.  We know consumers are interested in the work of independent artists; with Minted’s art collection, they can access the work of independent artists but also enjoy the trusted printing, paper, and customer service quality that Minted has come to represent over the past four years.

Christy Turlington Burns and Mariam Naficy at Minted's art launch party.

We are also thrilled to announce that we are partnering with Every Mother Counts, an organization dedicated to reducing the deaths of women and girls worldwide due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth.  Every Mother Counts was founded by Christy Turlington Burns, the model, yogini, and director of the documentary film “No Woman, No Cry”.  Christy founded the organization after experiencing a life-threatening complication during the birth of her daughter. Minted will be donating 50% of the sales of our children’s and nursery art collection to Every Mother Counts in the months of May, June, and December 2012, and 6% the remaining months of the year, all the way through May 2013.

To celebrate the launch of our art business and our partnership, Christy and I co-hosted a party at my home in San Francisco last week.  Minted community designers ERAY (Eric Comstock) and Hello Hailey (Hailey Myziuk) were flown to San Francisco at Minted’s expense to attend the party, based on their performance in a recent art competition.  I thought you might enjoy pictures from our very fun day:

2:30pm: Christy stopped by Minted headquarters in San Francisco to speak to our employees about maternal mortality and what they could do to help.

Art prints at Minted

Art prints at Minted

Christy Turlington Burns speaking at Minted

Christy Turlington Burns speaking at Minted

Christy Turlington Burns with the Minted.com team

(L to R): Janae Leininger, Mariam Naficy, Christy Turlington Burns, Niniane Wang at the Minted office

4:30pm: we traveled to my house in San Francisco.  Minted asked interesting people from the technology and design communities to curate art from our collection, and we displayed their picks throughout my house.  Jeremy Stoppelman, the founder/CEO of Yelp, Marissa Mayer,  VP at Google, Tabitha Soren, the former MTV VJ and now amazing fine art photographer, Victoria Smith (the blogger behind SFGirlbyBay), and Alison Pincus, the co-founder of online decor site One Kings Lane, all picked beautiful curated sets which were displayed on the walls of my house (I’ll do another post about framing and creating those collages later!).  When we walked in, this was Christy’s reaction to the art (you can see the wall she curated in the photo at right – her choices fit perfectly with the style of my home!)

Christy arriving at Mariam Naficy's house

Christy and Erin arriving at Mariam's home

Christy Turlington Burn's art choices from Minted

Christy's curated art picks from Minted's collection

Christy changed into a very gorgeous dress, then we sat down to discuss details of our partnership.  Here are Erin Thornton, the executive director of Every Mother Counts, Christy, and I sitting in my living room.  Erin and Christy are incredibly bright, caring, dynamic women.  The Minted team learned so much from them about global maternal mortality – more than one thousand women die every day from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and more than 90% of these deaths are preventable.  Christy and Erin recently launched a No Mother’s Day campaign to remember moms who are lost every day, leaving families behind.  We brainstormed ideas including fielding San Francisco and New York Marathon teams to raise awareness and funding.

5:15pm – Minted community designers Annie Clark, Hailey Myziuk (Hello Hailey) and Eric Comstock (ERAY) arrived at my house – they were pretty excited to see their art up on my walls!  It was really meaningful to the entire Minted team to be able to celebrate the launch with them.

Hailey Myziuk (Hello Hailey) and Eric Comstock (ERAY) with Christy Turlington Burns and Mariam Naficy

Hailey Myziuk with her piece "Elegampersand"

Hailey Myziuk with her piece "Elegampersand"

Eric Comstock with his piece "Fun Games that Make You Laugh", which we hung twice in a row for effect.

Annie Clark with her piece "In a Row", which was chosen by Yelp's CEO as part of his curated picks.

Here I am standing in front of selections from Minted’s children’s art assortment, one of my favorite things we have launched.  I think people have been looking for a personal connection to art for a long time.  Our customizable art is still indie chic, but allows the customer to make it her own by choosing colors and text personal to her and her particular space.  Our customizable art includes family trees, maps, wedding celebration art, and more. The children’s selection is fresh and modern, and includes a variety of customizable and non-customizable prints for children’s rooms and nurseries.

Mariam Naficy and Minted's children's art collection

Mariam Naficy and Minted's children's art collection

6pm – The party was in full swing, with an interesting mix of design, technology, and retail people turning out to see Minted’s art collection and to hear more about Every Mother Counts.  All of our guest curators came to explain why they chose what they chose.  Hiroki Asai, the head of graphic design at Apple, was there and a hit with the designers.  Bloggers Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day and Victoria Smith of SFGirlbyBay were among those to make it to the party.

Alison Pincus and Gary Friedman

Ali Pincus, founder of One Kings Lane, and Gary Friedman, CEO of Restoration Hardware, in front of Ali's curated picks.

Alison Pincus, Tina Sharkey, and Dick Costolo

Alison Pincus, Tina Sharkey, and Dick Costolo

Victoria Smith, the blogger behind SFGirlbyBay, chatting with Mariam

Hiroki Asai, head of graphic design at Apple, and his wife April.

Hiroki Asai, head of graphic design at Apple, and his wife April.

Lara Deam, founder of Dwell Magazine, in front of art selection curated by Marissa Mayer

Lara Deam, founder of Dwell Magazine, in front of art selection curated by Marissa Mayer

And finally… here is a shot of the extremely hardworking, fabulous, intelligent Minted team at the party.

Minted team with Christy Turlington Burns

Minted team with Christy Turlington Burns

I would love to hear ideas as to how Minted can continually improve its art business and also how we can all help Christy and Every Mother Counts.  Please feel free to leave your comments here!

PS – Minted prints art on museum-quality, cotton rag archival paper.  The initial offering will range in size from 5”x7” to 44”x60”.  Crowd-sourced from an ever-growing community of thousands of artists and designers, the Minted art collection will be continually refreshed.  All artwork is available in several colorways, in order to allow customers to match art prints to their home décor.

PPS – Except for the photos of the Minted team and Lara Deam, which were taken by Drew Altizer, all other photos were taken by Elisabeth Fall.

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How to hang your Minted art.

So now your beautiful Minted art prints have arrived, you’ve gotten them framed, but how do you get them up on the wall? Read on for our step-by-step, how-to guide to arrange and hang your new art.
  • TAKE IT TO THE FLOOR. When working with multiple prints, first mark off how big your wall is on the floor with blue painter’s tape. Then, lay out the entire arrangement, framed on the floor. Keep re-arranging until you’ve found the perfect composition! You can also use our online inspiration board tool to help with this.

Image: HKHousewife.

  • MEASURE, MEASURE, MEASURE. Measure your wall and divide by half to find the wall’s center-point, width-wise. This is obviously helpful if you’re centering your collage and even if you’re not, it’s good to know where the natural middle is. You’ll want to hang your center piece first.

Image: HKHousewife.

  • PAPER TIME. When you think you’ve found the perfect composition, trace each frame onto kraft paper or even newspaper and if you can, photo copy the art in the exact size. If that’s too much trouble, you can just outline the size of the art. Using painter’s tape again, tape the arrangement onto the wall exactly as it would hang. This will really help you visualize the end result and make sure you’ve gotten it just right–feel free to move it around until it’s just so–the painter’s tape won’t hurt your walls.

Image: Pottery Barn.

  • JUST THE RIGHT HEIGHT. Next, decide the proper height from which to hang things. *Keep in mind* that most people hang things too high!! And consider whether or not your height is average… ideally you want to hang the center of the picture at the average person’s eye-level. So, if you’re really tall, this would be lower than what seems natural to you. The bottom should be no more than four feet off the ground. Hold your centerpiece against the wall to find the perfect place, keeping all of the above in mind, to hang this anchor piece. Make a small pencil mark at the top of the frame. A good rule is: 58″ from the floor to the center of the artwork. Other pieces will hang lower, higher or level, depending on the perfect arrangement you came up with! Also, when installing artwork over furniture, leave at least 8” between the base of the frame and the top of the furniture.
  • FIND THE NAIL HEIGHT. Next, turn the frame over and figure out how many inches from the top of the frame the hanging wire or hole is. Then measure that many inches down from the pencil mark and make an ‘X’ onto the kraft paper. This is where you’ll want to put your nail if you’re using just one. If you’re hanging with two nails, which we recommend for larger prints, then you’ll want to measure out an equal distance to either side of the ‘X’ and make two more ‘X’s for where your two nails should go.

Image: Pottery Barn.

  • SAVE YOUR WALLS. Place a strip of transparent tape over your ‘X’ to help prevent the plaster of your wall from splitting.
  • SAVE  YOUR FINGERS. It’s helpful to use a clothespin to hold the nail–place the clothespin perpendicular to the wall–and then hammer the nail in at a slight upward angle.
  • OOPSY DAISY. If you do mess up: fix mistakes on white wall with Spackle (sold at hardware stores) and a fingertip. Apply a tiny dot over a hole, then smooth with a damp paper towel. White toothpaste also does the trick!
  • LEVEL FOR PERFECTION. Rest a level on the top of the frame to straighten the frame just perfectly!
  • REPEAT. For multiple prints, you’ll want to repeat all of these steps, but instead of measuring from the center, you’ll want to measure from the other prints. A good rule of thumb is to hang all the images the same distance from one another. You can use a book’s spine to be the standard width or measure 2 or 3 inches.
  • KEEP IT THAT WAY. Buy double-sided sticky tape squares or rubber bumpers for the corners of your art pieces. There’s nothing more annoying than a crooked picture!!

Image: Dick Blick.

  • Also *remember* you don’t have to hang your art! Ledges are an awesome alternative. They simplify things quite a bit and offer ongoing, arranging flexibility. Plus, they also let you showcase books, cards, flowers, and other memorabilia alongside your art and photos.

Image: Pottery Barn. The Holman Ledge from Pottery Barn is pictured above. It’s available in white, black, and wood in 2′, 3′, and 4′ feet sizes.

Also, check out our other posts on how to select your Minted art and how to frame it.

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How to select your Minted art.

By far and away, and we know it’s a little cheesy, but the best way to buy art is to just pick what you love and what moves you. No advice is really better than that. But we do have a few tips below for how to put together the increasingly popular wall collage.
  • Minted’s inspiration boards are an incredible tool to let you both collect your favorites and also see how the pieces all work together… it’s so fun to go through the assortment and add your favorites and then use the shuffle feature to re-arrange them until they feel just right.

It’s very easy to start a Minted inspiration board… you need to create an account on the minted site first, and then you just click ‘add to board‘ in the upper right hand corner of each product detail page.

  • As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to pick one ‘favorite piece’ to anchor your gallery collection.
  • It’s helpful to have 2-3 larger pieces that balance out smaller pieces.
  • Although we do love mixing three or five sizes of prints, unity is also not the enemy. All one size can look really sophisticated, especially in a hall way.

Image: Pottery Barn. We love how the dark walls really make the prints pop!!

  • Depending upon how formal you want your collage to be, we recommend keeping one of the following consistent: size, subject, color or frame style/color. The more formal a collage you wish to create, the more of those elements you will want to have in common.

Image: West Elm by way of the bholder

Also make sure to check out Minted’s art collage created by Suzanne Shade for the ALTitude Design Conference, as well as our posts on ‘How to frame your Minted art‘ and ‘How to hang your Minted art.’

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Minted’s Art Preview at ALTitude Design Summit.

I wanted to, albeit somewhat belatedly, share with you the preview of our soon-to-launch art collection at the ALTitude Design Summit.

The show was curated by the insanely talented Suzanne Shade, the founder of the Beholder, a marketplace for artists.

Don’t you just love what she put together?!

Here’s what Suzanne had to say about how she made her selections: “Art is all about what makes you happy, makes you wonder and connects you to others. When I chose the collection for the ALT exhibit, I wanted to just focus on what pieces I loved and try to see the connections between them.”

“The more I chose, the more I realized that ‘love’ itself was the central theme to a lot of the pieces,” says Suzanne.

“And because of the way the Minted Community votes on art challenges, I could see how many other people enjoyed a piece, too.”

“This was such a joy, because once you saw all of the love a piece was getting, it made me feel really connected to the people voting, not just the artists.”

Here are a few bloggers in front of the show!

And here’s just how packed with bloggers the lounge where the art was showcased got in between conference sessions.

The installation itself was an all-hands-on-deck effort, which included our CEO and founder Mariam Naficy working away with Suzanne until the wee hours of the morning.

And being a bit of a night owl, that smile never left her face!

Match it up just right!

And just one more shot of the curator with her beautiful collection! 

We’re looking forward to the collection’s official launch on our site later this spring.

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Guest judges awards from ‘Untitled.’

As you all know, we simply could not be more excited about our new line of art prints soon to launch from “Untitled: The First-Ever Minted Art Print Challenge.” Every time we think about hanging these beauties on our own walls, our hearts go pitter-patter!!

Today we’re happy to announce the guest judges’ awards from our esteemed panel of decor experts. Each design chosen will be awarded $500, plus the designers will also receive a print of their design!

Our first judge was Alison Pincus. Alison is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of One Kings Lane, the leading private flash sales site in the home market.

Alison’s three picks will be featured and sold on One Kings Lane during a special sales event in 2012. How cool is that?! Following the 72-hour sales event on One Kings Lane, the three prints will then be sold on Minted.com along with the rest of the winning prints. In no particular order, Alison chose Ocean Whale by Colorado-based Creaform Design.

Alison says, “I adore this for either stationery or perhaps a notebook cover.  The whale is sweet and joyful.  Although the name Holden initially grabbed my attention (I have forever loved the name), I am a fan of the typography.   Overall, it’s preppy, fresh and fun!”

Bird Count by Portland-based Tara Lilly Studio also caught Alison’s eye.

“When I first viewed “Bird Count” by Tara Lilley, I immediately thought it would be ideal for a 4th baby’s birth announcement,” says Alison. It’s adorable and memorable.  And, on the other side, I can imagine the messaging done in beautiful typography.  And there will be space for the baby’s precious face.”

Last but certainly not least, Friendly Forest by Atlanta-based Wondercloud Design also garnered Alison’s stamp of approval!

“One Kings Lane is passionate about giving our members access to the work of both renowned and emerging designers & artists,” says Alison. “I’m always enthusiastic to support the work of talented artists, and look forward to providing One Kings Lane members the first chance to buy these unique and original pieces from up and coming Minted designers.”

The other esteemed judges included Christina Brian, the founder of the blog Full House, which often highlights life at home as well as ramblings about design with an emphasis on home decor.

Christina chose Highway Wildflowers by Atlanta-based Kelli Hall.

“In my mind Highway Wildflowers is a winner not only for the fact that it is an abstract but also for its beautiful colors,” says Christina. “I feel that every home could benefit from an abstract piece like this one because it is fun, fresh, modern, chic and sophisticated. Also abstracts are not just for modern homes but in fact sometimes look the best when juxtaposed with traditional elements.”

Mary Jo Bowling works for McEvoy Media, where she covers the best of California design and architecture for California Home+Design and writes about the unique, stylish and sometimes quirky nuptials of the Golden State for 7×7 Weddings.

Mary Jo chose Initial Wreath by Ohio-based Kristie Kern.

Our hats go off to all you brilliant designers and a huge thank you to Alison, Christina and Mary Jo for taking the time to lend their talented eye to our new collection. We really can’t thank you enough. And a happy weekend to all!

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Special Art Awards from “Untitled”

Happy Long Weekend!  I am writing to you from Hawaii, where I have just had a lovely meetup with Minties Laura Hankins, Charis Derry, Melissa Rota, and Allison Richardson.  We toasted each other at Brasserie du Vin in Honolulu, and discussed ways in which the designers felt we could improve Minted.  Thank you, ladies, for a really nice afternoon!

On another note, we’ve finally finished our art selections at Minted, and we look forward to a launch by early April.  We’re thrilled to see the emergence of an entirely new category, which will evolve and grow to further and further heights as time passes.

We received over 1,600 submissions and set very loose guidelines as to the types of art we were looking for.  Here are Minted’s editorial team’s choices for the best art from the challenge.  One thing to note is that if you examine the rating distribution for each individual piece of art (located at the top right of each design rating page), you’ll find that votes seem to be distributed further from the mean than the average stationery submissions.  Put another way, people seem to agree more on their ratings of stationery designs and less on their ratings of art.  What constitutes “art”, it seems, is truly in the eye of the beholder.

So, Minted design community, thank you for bravely trying and succeeding in this new category at Minted, and take with a grain of salt that the picks below are simply Minted’s editorial team’s subjective selections.  We look forward to seeing in which new directions you lead us.

All the designs selected below, both winners and runners up, will be launched for sale at Minted.

Rule of Two Award for the best set of 2 art prints

Winner: glink glunk and e is for elephant by ERAY

Eric truly knocked it out of the park in our first art challenge. His color combinations are unexpected and amazing, and we love the way his sense of humor shines through in every piece. The cityscape in “Glink Glunk” complements the characters in “E is for Elephant” like a charm. We’d love to live in the quirky world he has imagined.

Runner Ups (clockwise from top left): “Jazz Duet #1” and “Jazz Duet #2 by Moglea | “Below Ravello” and “Ligurian Houses” by kelli hall | “Lots of Hearts” and “Woodgrain Hearts” by Max and Bunny | “Two Villages and the Little Bear” and “Restless” by Kayla King

Loft Living Award for the best art print suited to a modern, urban home

Winner: Metropolitan by Susan Asbill

Every time we visit New York City, we dream of setting up camp in a super chic loft. Susan channels loft dwellers perfectly with her geometric skyline and mod color blocks in “Metropolitan.” We love her sophisticated use of negative space.

Runner Ups (clockwise from top left): “Type Study: New York” by pottsdesign | “Chevy Chevron” by SimpleTe Design | “Highway Wildflowers” by kelli hall | “b&w ode 6” by koshi | “Rectangles” by carly reed

Avant-Garde Award for the best edgy or boundary pushing art print

Winner: quiet places by Annada Hypes



The truth is we hang things on our walls because they either consciously or subconsciously move us in some way. Annada Hypes has captured the wonder and awe that we all have towards that which is much bigger than ourselves. She couldn’t have picked a better saying—it’s a new one to us—and she couldn’t have paired it with a more perfectly executed, gentle giant.

Runner Ups (from left): “Deer Flirtation” by SimpleTe Design | “Goners” by Ryan De La Hoz | “Parceled-Out” by Jessica Kleinman

Best personalizable children’s art print

Winner: More than a village by Cadence Paige Design

Paige has taken a sweet, bucolic saying and image and made it both fresh and modern. We love her combination of bright and subdued colors that all really work together. While perfect as is, Paige has designed this so that family members or loved ones can each sign a leaf, thereby completing the village. We can’t imagine a cuter baby shower activity / souvenir for a mom-to-be.  Take note, designers who are entering the current children’s art challenge – we wanted to give you a sense here of the balance between whimsy and modernity that we are looking for in the children’s/nursery category.

Runner Ups: “Summer Picked Poppies” by kelli hall | “Family Circle” by Wondercloud Design | “A Family of Oranges” by Christine Loo | “Happiness is…” by ERAY

Best non-personalizable art print

Winner: bumble bee by ERAY

Inspired by Richard Diebenkorn, Eric has created his own piece of wonder-filled abstract art. We see an endless number of things happening in this collage of textures, some known like the school paper and book text, and some quite unknown. We see fish colliding, we see helicopters taking off, we see balancing birthday candles… but mostly we see unrelated shapes that combine to form something both extremely interesting and very complete.

Runner Ups: “Autumn” by Tin Ornament | “Ojo” by Maddy Nye | “Muted Bouquet” by Moglea | “Glink Glunk” by ERAY

Best art print using only black and white

Winner: constellation by annie clark

Fear, vastness, and emptiness have been taken out of the galaxy in this print, leaving sweetness and intimacy. The texture from the watercolor paper creating the background is beautiful and we love the brush stroke on the side, which suggests continuation.

Runner Ups: “Emerson Love” by Wondercloud Design | “Little Prince” by Linda and Harriett | “Change” by Sydney Newsom | “Woods” by j.bartyn design

Best hand-illustration or painting to be made into a print

Winner: stargazers by Maria Gromek

These girls may be the two very sweetest in the whole world. Maria has such command over textures and details. We love the lined wall, the cross-hatched bench, the checkered skirt, the striped scarves and the dimples in the sky. Wouldn’t every mother hope her daughters were just like this? Perhaps looking at life from a different angle and maybe one prefers books and the other animals, but still delighting to be in one another’s company?  A story is waiting to be written around this picture.

Runner Ups (clockwise from top left): “Friendly Forest” by Wondercloud Design | “Lucky Girl” by krista messer | “Love Birds + 1” by rene mijares | “Treetop” by Unless Someone Like You | “Map of Paris” by angel b lee | “Longing for Sutro” by Wilka Design

Best typography-based art print

Winner: heaven by j. bartyn design

Now this is practically our company motto. We can barely resist printing it a million times and tacking it up everywhere. With her perfectly justified choice of typeface, Cambria has illustrated her point brilliantly. And we love how the cold, hard truth is the small afterthought at the bottom.

Runner Ups: “God is Love” by VOSS | “Little Prince” by Linda and Harriett

Best art print using only black, white, and one other color

Winner: You and Me by rose eckford

Rose’s “You and Me” has a quirky personality that we love. The contrasting letter weights between “you” and “me” create a certain tension, while the organic shapes of the imperfect circle and the swirling ampersand add character. The de-saturated pink provides a modern, unusual pop of color that would jump off any wall.

Runner ups: “Love is in the Air!” by ERAY | “Stone” by annie clark | “City” by Todd Jones | “More than Coffee” by lehan paper design | “Jazz Duet #1” by Moglea

Best personalizable nursery art print

Winner: raindrops keep falling by Stacey Meacham

Now this is personalized art at its pinnacle. With a lovely color palette and liberal use of white space, Stacey has made a truly lovely piece of nursery art. The idea of a new baby coming down from above in such a miraculous way is quite touching. The script of the child’s name with the birth date in a block below make the piece feel very complete.

Runner Ups (clockwise from left): “Quiet Places” by Annada Hypes | “Frolic” by nocciola design | “prairie tale” by Moglea | “Family Circle” by Wondercloud Design

Best personalizable wedding art print

Winner: Je t’aime by chocomocacino

Gerrie’s “je t’aime” is the very definition of ‘sweet simplicity.’ What better way to say ‘I love you’ than with this modern, yet pretty art print? We love the texture of the pink bubble; from the rounded shadows to the slightly heathered background, the print feels so inviting. And of course we’re suckers for a bit of romantic French.

Runner Ups: “Surname” by Yolanda Mariak Chendak | “Shot Through the Heart” by Anna Elder

Customer’s Choice Award

Winner: prairie tale by Moglea

While Meg Gleason’s design is not new to us (we’ve loved it since Meg first entered it as a baby shower invitation), we couldn’t be happier to see it as art print as it’s always been just that; a true piece of fine art. There just isn’t much one can’t not love about these whimsical little creatures and we all know how much little ones love animals. Meg has gone with a retro shade of green, which we feel makes the design slightly more edgy and art-like.

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