Meet a Mintie: Alethea and Ruth

Today we are lucky enough to have Rachel Simonsen, the creative genius behind Alethea and Ruth with us today. I know you’ll love learning about her close relationship with her sister, how she’s breathed fresh life into florals, how the Minted community helped her claim first prize in our most recent wedding invitation challenge, how she’s inspired by outfits, and what she does during the day. That’s a long-winded way of saying Rachel is truly incredible so enjoy your time with her!

Let’s start with names, How did you come up with the name Alethea and Ruth?
My sister and I started a blog under the same name, and while I’ve done all of the designing for minted thus far – she’s a huge part of where I find inspiration and is my sounding board for mid-project questions. Alethea and Ruth are our middle names.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I think since I was little and couldn’t stop drawing – even when I shouldn’t have been. I always answered the question of what do you want to be when you grow up I with something art related. Specifics ranged from interior designer to computer animator (toy story was very powerful to my small self) – I loved computers, so graphic designer was just sort of the natural progression of my passion for art.

Do you have any formal design training?
Yep – I have a BFA in graphic design

How would you describe your style?
Funky, whimsical, full of lots of color and pattern

What is your normal workflow or process like?
I’ll brain storm – talk with my sister – who is also an artist, look through sketchbooks, maybe doodle a few ideas and then start working on the computer.  I start with a single illustrator document and work on a bunch of ideas at once – it gets crazy messy, but it’s all in one place and I can everything better that way. Then I edit by pulling the best parts out on separate documents and fine tune them.

How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
I think it’s different every time – some designs just work right away. But on a whole for every design I finish, I have three other ideas, sometimes related – sometimes not –that don’t make it off that first ‘idea’ document.  Either they weren’t strong enough, or too similar to other better designs, or I just ran out of time to work it out.

What tools, techniques, and mindsets do you find absolutely essential?
Hand drawing things first, a scanner and my wacom tablet – I love my wacom pen.

What are the easiest and the most difficult aspects of the design process?
Easiest is brainstorming – Hardest is editing.

Your flowers are awesome! Banners and Branches and Celebrate Florals are amazing. How do you go about creating them??
Thanks! I’m a compulsive doodler – constantly drawing on one of my many sketchbooks / moleskins / paper stacks. And I love florals – they’re what I draw when I’m not even thinking about what I’m drawing, so I always seem to have a bunch of ideas to start with when it comes to flowers. I have a few illustrator documents of wacom tablet drawn flowers that started in my sketchbook.  I’ll pull those up when I’m working on an invite that needs flowers.

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Guest Judge’s Awards: February Showers

We were beyond thrilled to have three of the biggest names in the blogosphere guest judge our February Showers Challenge. I’ve had the great privilege of meeting them all in person and let me just say that they are the classiest, wittiest, prettiest, sweetest, most fun ladies ever. And their taste is impeccable, as their very popular blogs attest to, so I know you’re as excited as I am to hear which designs caught their eye in the challenge and why they liked them… so without further ado:

Erin Loechner from Design for Mankind chose couple’s recipe by Ana Gonzalez for her award.

“For me, this design won by a landslide. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s incredibly well thought-out. Most invitations are promptly recycled after the event, but this design will be long-treasured by the lucky couple in the form of a recipe card. Genius, and what a memory for the bride and groom!”

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Special Editor’s Picks of The February Showers Challenge

Imaginative? Check.  Unique? Check. Gorgeous? Check! The February Showers Design Challenge assortment put forth by Minted designers was simply unparalleled. Congratulations all! Here are the Special Editor’s Picks and the Runners Up in each design category: “Customer Favorite”, “Best Over-The-Top-Pretty-While-Still-Modern Design”, “Best Couple’s Wedding Shower Design”, “Best Couple’s Baby Shower Design” and “Best Design from a Minted Newbie”. See what Mariam (Minted Founder & CEO) and the Minted design staff have to say about all these stunning designs!

Customer Favorite:

Prairie Tale by Moglea

Congratulations to Moglea – this design, Prairie Tale, was voted #1 by Minted customers!  We agree wholeheartedly.  This is a beautiful modern interpretation of sweet animals welcoming a new arrival, with composition and color making this design unusual and unforgettable.

Here are two other designs that were in the ‘top 10’ of what Minted customers loved:

Customer Favorite Runners Up

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Meet a Mintie: Laura Hankins

I hope you are as excited about this Q&A as I am! I’m sure you remember that Laura Hankins was recently chosen as the collection winner in our Happily Ever After Wedding Challenge–a huge honor! She is also a military wife posted with her husband James in Kapolei, Hawaii and we’re lucky to get to know this rising star a little better today!

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Meet a Mintie: Ann Gardner

What a treat–literally, it has a very sweet ending–to have Mintie Ann Gardner with us today! Ann has such a wide range of styles and aesthetics in her design portfolio that you might not be able to pick out one of her pieces instantly, but you’ll certainly notice the excellent typography and her awesome use of color. Enjoy learning about living in Texas, her stint as a pastry chef, and the adorable theme Ann chose for her wedding.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I think I knew from an early age that I wanted to do something where I could create all day and get paid for it. I LOVED colorforms, playdough, crayons, spirograph…

Do you have any formal design training?
I have a BFA in Communication Arts from Simmons College in Boston. I had taken a few community college courses while I was in high school and the credits transferred over. By my senior year, pretty much all I was taking was independent study classes in photography, silkscreen printing, and a few other art related classes. I was also a teacher’s assistant in photography, so I had access to the photography lab. Best school year ever!

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Special Editor’s Picks of The Stay In Touch Business Card Challenge

The Stay In Touch Business Card Challenge is Minted’s first challenge in the business card category and all of us here at Minted have been itching to see what Minted designers come up with. Minted designers have always pushed the envelope when it comes to original design and this challenge proved to be no exception.  We were so impressed with all of the designs! As with every challenge, Mariam (Minted’s Founder & CEO) and a group of Minted design staff came together to pick out the Special Editor’s Picks and the Runners Up in each design category. For this challenge, the categories are “Best Business Service”, “Best Personalized Calling Card”, “Best Business Card or Calling Card that incorporates a photo”, “Best Creative Professional”, “Best Food”, “Best Service” and “Best Home & Garden”. In addition to the Special Editor’s Picks, we are also proud to announce the “Customer Favorite” as voted by Minted customers!

Best Business Service:

Fileshare by Maddy Nye. We absolutely love the use of bold colors and the half-tone dot pattern to create the stacked file folders in this design.

Fileshare by Maddy Nye

Runners up for Best Business Service

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Ruffled’s ‘Getting Hitched’ Save the Date Judge’s pick.

Oh, Ruffled, how do I love thee. Let me count the ways. I adore all of your insanely creative DIY ideas. Your ‘Real Weddings’ always have a hint of old world glamour. You have a wonderful green marketplace for ‘recycling your wedding’ = pure genius. But most of all I love Amanda Nistor’s voice and aesthetic and how it is carried throughout the site. So without further ado, I am very pleased to bring you Amanda’s top five picks from the ‘Getting Hitched’ Save the Date challenge, including her Judge’s pick.
Says Amanda of the challenge: “I am overwhelmed with the creativity and talent of all designers who participated in the Design Challenge. So, so so many gorgeous designs!”

floriculture by Moglea

“Love the fresh colors of this design. It can be used for virtually any wedding style – from a beach bohemian wedding to a modern loft city wedding, you have plenty of wiggle room to change your mind about your wedding vision.”

palm by Palm Papers

“This save-the-date sets the tone for an uber chic wedding. I imagine a glamorous Miami or Beverly Hills wedding or an intimate Destination wedding just by swooning over this design.”

flowchart by Paper + Parcel

“The flowchart has just the right amount of quirkiness! My hubby would picked this one for sure – it’s a bride & groom winner all around.”

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Special Winners of Getting Hitched Save The Date Challenge

We have spent a few weeks reviewing the entries in the “Getting Hitched” Save The Date Challenge and were thrilled to see the level of genius and creativity on display by the Minted community.  After a lot of deliberation, we were finally were able to pick the winners of our special awards.  With so many great submissions, we wanted to show you the runner up designs for each category.

These designs will all be for sale on Minted very soon!

Customer’s Favorite Design:

Flowchart” by Paper and Parcel.  This design received the most love from Minted customers – and it is one of the most unique and creative designs we’ve ever seen!  This design would have been perfect for many analytical friends.

Runners Up for Best Customer Pick Design  
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