Minted artist Kristin Doversberger weaves together industrial design influences with fine arts training

Written by Jenny Griffin

Minted artist Kristin Doversberger of Lorent & Leif dances a fine line, deftly balancing between the realms of fine art and graphic design. Take a look at her work and you’ll see exceptional examples of both disciplines. West Elm selected her ethereal pastel abstract landscape “Rise” to be sold in their stores as part of the Minted + West Elm collaboration and both her fine art and graphic design work have secured numerous Minted awards.

The pink-hued abstract art print “Rise” by Lorent + Leif featured in a West Elm catalog. “It was a huge thrill to see ‘Rise’ displayed in a West Elm Chicago store, says Kristin Doversberger.

Kristin grew up in Indiana and earned her BFA from Indiana University, with a minor in graphic design. She studied painting, drawing, and printmaking, all influences you can see in her Minted work in her playful mixes of color and texture. More recently, she’s experimented with a more illustrative style.

Kristin and her family—husband Mike and sons Thomas and Brooks—recently moved to Holland, Michigan, right on the shores of Lake Macatawa and not far from Lake Michigan. Her new community excites her, and she’s eager to get more involved with the local art museums, historical society, and architectural preservation efforts.

“Tomah” Minted art print by Lorent and Leif

Kristin’s balancing act started early. In college, drawn by her interest in fine art, she interned with a local art museum, learning about art history and working on community education, art preservation, art shipment, and acquisitions. After college she delved into the world of industrial style design, creating advertisements for an array of manufacturing companies. She found she enjoyed translating messages, ideas, and company visions into tangible art and design. It was gratifying and linked her training with her work.

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Minted artist Bethany Anderson shares top tips for success after reaching 100th win milestone

Minted artist Bethany Anderson says that when it comes to design, less is more. “But it took getting involved in Minted to learn this,” she says.

You know what they say about goals: If you write it down, it’s more likely to happen. Such was the case for Minted artist Bethany Anderson, who recently celebrated her 100th Minted Challenge win. Every January, the West Virginia graphic designer sets specific design goals, and “make it to 100” was at the top of her 2018 list. “I was so excited to not only find out I hit that mark, but that one of my Children’s Birthday invitations placed 8th in the Blow Out the Candles Kids’ Birthday Party Challenge,” she says. “The kids’ birthday challenge has always been my favorite, as well as the first I ever entered, so it was bittersweet.”

Bethany Anderson’s “Gone Fishin’” won 8th place in Minted’s 2018 Blow Out the Candles Kids’ Birthday Party Challenge.

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Minted artist Alexandra Dzh fuels her creativity by living and learning abroad in Vienna

Minted artist Alexandra Dzh

Written by Jenny Griffin

Vienna-based Minted artist Alexandra Dzhiganskaya grew up in a historic city bordering the Danube River called Izmail in the Odessa region in southwestern Ukraine, a vibrant and multiculturally rich stretch of cities and towns along 300 kilometers of the northwest coastline of the Black Sea. The maritime, transportation, and tourism industries fuel the area, and people flock from far and wide to relish the sun, food, and locally produced wine. It’s an environment that has indelibly made its mark on Alexandra. “It has the starriest nights I have ever seen. The sky is so black and deep, and the stars are like diamonds. I think this is reflected in my work, because I love the space theme and painting night skies,” she says.

“Solar System” art print by Alexandra Dzh is part of the 2016 Minted x Pottery Barn collaboration. Minted teamed up with Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn Teen to introduce a new collection of artwork created by independent artists around the world. This piece is currently exclusive to Pottery Barn.

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Brianne Larsen carves her own fluid path toward a life in design

Written by Jenny Griffin

Flashback to 2012. Brianne Schipman was going to school by day at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska, and working at a local pizza place on nights and weekends. The day after she graduated with an associate’s degree in Visual Publications, she married her college sweetheart Caleb Larsen, then an ROTC cadet at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Busy week. Brianne wasn’t sure what was coming next, or how to use her newly minted degree. She thought she might be able to land a full-time job in graphic design, but that didn’t happen.

Flash forward to 2018. Brianne Larsen is happily moving 442 miles east on I-80 from Cheyenne, Wyoming. She’s heading back home to Lincoln, Nebraska, with Caleb, their extroverted daughter Sylvee Ruth, age 17 months, and their photogenic Italian greyhound Indigo, age 3. Adding to the excitement is the impending arrival of a new baby to their growing family. A whole new chapter is soon to begin.

Brianne Larsen Minted card designs, clockwise from top center: “Tall Love,” “Elegant Angles,” “Simply Abstract,” and “The Highest.”

A whole lot of cool stuff happened in between those years, including Brianne finding her designing rhythm with Minted and the realization of her capacity to carve out a designing life for herself independent of location, well suited to the peripatetic nature of the Air Force family lifestyle. Brianne and Caleb began married life in Lincoln while Caleb finished up his two remaining years at UNL. A five-month stint in Lompoc, California, for Caleb’s Air Force training came next, followed by four years in Cheyenne. Caleb is currently a captain in the Air Force, but is transitioning out of military life into a civilian computer programming job. He’s considering joining the Reserves in Omaha, an hour or so from Lincoln.

Brianne’s fluid, flexible trajectory was launched, ironically, by not getting a full-time graphic design gig. Instead, she landed a part-time photography job with a local clothing boutique. This turned out to be a surprise boon, as her part-time hours allowed her to embark on a path as an independent artist with Minted. She submitted her first design to a Minted Stationery Gifts Challenge in July 2012 after first hearing about Minted through a friend. “Looking back, I’m so thankful I didn’t get a full-time job,” Brianne says. “I really believe everything happens for a reason.” Underscoring her retrospection and her embrace of her path is her faith. “My faith is really important to me and shapes every part of my life, including my love for art,” Brianne says.

Success didn’t come instantly; it took nine months for Brianne to get a design pick. Her work developed as she continued to submit designs. She’s now secured 74 awards through her Minted Store: Peony Papeterie. We asked Brianne some questions about being part of an Air Force family, her creative approach, and what might surprise people about her.

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Fashion. Bass Playing. World Travel. Kelly Schmidt Weaves an Adventurous Path to Career Independence.

Written by Jenny Griffin

When Minted artist Kelly Schmidt was a kid, she painted murals on all four walls of her bedroom. One year she painted another big mural in the kitchen for her mom for Mother’s Day, inspired by artwork she’d seen in a design magazine. All this creativity was highly encouraged by her Canadian parents who even gave artistic license to Kelly’s and her sister Karen’s friends. While most of her friends lived in homes with white walls, Kelly’s house had a special wall where not only she, but all of her friends were welcome to draw freely. Talk about setting the stage for a life in design.

Kelly would grow up to become a graphic designer at both an animation studio and a special effects studio; a creative director at a renowned fashion, makeup, and esthetics school; an aspiring potter; and an amateur bass player in a band with the Attorney General of British Columbia. Along the way she married a museum educator who curates exhibits for the Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia and for the expanding Canadian coffee and tea cafe, Kafka’s. When she’s not busy making art, looking at art, or talking about art, she and husband Michael Schwartz are out exploring the scenic wilderness surrounding Vancouver. Whew!

Oh, and as of March 2018, she’s struck out on her own as an independent graphic artist, thanks in large part to what she discovered was possible with Minted. She’s having a good run and just recently won the Best File Prep Award at Camp Minted in Las Vegas.

We talked to Kelly about her work, her endless interest in trying new things, and the influences along the way.

“Clean and Modern” wedding invitation by Kelly Schmidt

Minted: You had some really influential teachers in high school. How did they help you?
Kelly Schmidt: I was planning to study interior design after high school, but my art teacher gave me some key direction. He had looked through my art projects and had discussed them with the graphic design and photography teacher. What they noticed was that a lot of my collage work revolved around communicating a message. They encouraged me to pursue graphic design instead. That meant dropping the drafting class I’d signed up for and switching directions to graphic design and photography. I loved it. If I could have dropped all my other courses and spent all my time in the photography studio or on the school’s ancient Apple computer, I would have been so happy. I didn’t even know graphic design existed until it was introduced to me.

After high school I got a scholarship to attend the Graphics and Visual Design program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. In college, I fell in love with typography and the marriage between communication and design, the way color and letterforms can shape the feel and mood of a pieceThe program switched from a three-year to a four-year granting program after I completed my third year. I could have returned, but instead traveled for a year in Australia. I’ve always been very driven and goal-oriented, and this was the first time in my life where I was cut loose of all schedules and plans and could really be in the moment. It was incredibly valuable.

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Art and design run through Minted artist Christine Taylor’s veins

Written by Jenny Griffin

Christine Taylor reads a story to her daughter, Isla, at home in Hagerstown, Indiana.

Minted artist Christine Taylor grew up in small town Indiana surrounded by artistic people. “As a kid, I remember my mom was always doing something creative,” says Christine. Her mother delighted in arts and crafts and calligraphy, always ready to help Christine and her younger sister Jessie make homemade Valentine cards, personalized greeting cards, and clever Halloween costumes. That early exposure to the pleasures of design stuck. Both Christine and her sister would grow up to become graphic designers.

The creative impulse spilled down and across generations with an array of artists on both sides of Christine’s family. A maternal great grandmother and great aunt shared their love of painting and the arts with Christine’s mother and her sisters. Various family members are engaged in music, writing, architecture, photography, and filmmaking. Art and creativity flow freely through this big family.

“Oh Baby!” baby shower invitation and “Let’s Party” by Christine Taylor

As a child, Christine loved holding and thumbing through the pages of picture books, novels, and magazines. She still does. “I loved to touch the pages, and to admire the colors, typography and layouts.” She relished the comforting smell of the paper, the residual scent of the ink, and the tangible sense of promise contained within. In high school, Christine scored a job working at her local public library. “I loved dealing with all the books, especially when new shipments would come in and I could flip through the books and delight in the cover designs and illustrations before they hit the shelves.”

Those early influences fueled a slowly developing desire to learn her craft. Years spent paging through publications (always wondering why things were placed where they were), admiring book and album covers, and scanning store aisles for just the right greeting card made her recognize design could be something even more. “I realized I wanted to create and package things that would communicate to other people,” Christine explains.

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Minted artist Eric Clegg navigates the changing landscape of graphic design

Written by Jenny Griffin

Really good music, chocolate, and a Coke. That magic combo gets the creative juices flowing for Minted artist Eric Clegg. Current Spotify favorites: The National, Natalie Prass, Washed Out, and Yumi Zuma. The Smiths are always in the mix. Eric clearly has a soft spot for independent artists. No surprise there.

Eric works at night at home after he’s put in a full day as an art director, managing the in-house creative team for the Utah-based company Chalk Couture. His limited time availability concentrates his focus. At the moment his work space is neat and spare, but it wasn’t always that way; it’s evolved as his family has. “I’ve shared the space with my wife’s and kids’ crafting supplies, and it’s doubled as a storage room at times,” Eric laughs. “We’ll see how long the grown-up look lasts before one of the kids comes home and asks if they can store a few boxes in my office for ‘a while.’”

Eric’s first exposure to graphic design came in high school. “I had the opportunity to take a commercial art class at a vocational center. “It was the first time I’d heard the term graphic designer. When I learned you could actually get a job being one, I knew that was what I wanted to do.”

That impulse drew the SoCal native to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he had the good fortune to meet his wife Elissa. Eric graduated with an BFA in graphic design and was ready to hit the pavement. Or the beach as it turned out. Right out of school, Eric landed a sweet job working for the graphic design firm Clarence Lee Design in Honolulu, Hawaii. “My wife and I had the best 6-year honeymoon there!” Eric enthuses.

The birth of their son Palmer and the desire to be closer to their families drew them back the mainland. The trio returned to Utah, settling in Pleasant Grove near Salt Lake City. “The Wasatch Front has been an awesome place to raise our kids,” Eric says. “We can be up in the mountains within 15 minutes from our home with skiing and snowshoeing in the winter and hiking in the summer. It’s an all-around great outdoor environment.”

We asked Eric some questions about his creative approach, his influences, and his experience working within the Minted artist community.

“Aspen Ridge” wedding invitation by Eric Clegg

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Melissa Egan finds design success by diving in, asking questions, and learning by doing

Portraits by Ashley Poskin

When I met Melissa Egan of Pistols in 2016 at a Minted artist paint-and-sip meetup in Chicago, I immediately sensed her creativity, down-to-earth spirit, and ability to laugh off the small stuff. She had recently relocated to the Windy City from Portland, and was settling into a pretty packed life that included a full-time job as an art director, freelance design work, and a burgeoning body of work on Minted.

Fast-forward to now to 2018, and Melissa has recently added another piece to the the brimming pot of life: her first child, Henry, whom she can’t wait to see every night after work. “One smile from him, and I’m dead,” she says, attributing much of the hustle and bustle to the support of her husband, John, her son’s primary caretaker. “I’m trying my hardest to enjoy Henry while he’s so little, and not worry too much if I’m not able to do it all,” she says.

When we dug into how Melissa learned her craft, she described landing on design after dabbling in a few other fields (Maybe business? Why not try enironmentalism?). Her try-and-see career approach also extends to her view of the design discipline. “In my opinion, there really isn’t a ‘right’ way to do design,” she says. “I try to design around an idea, rather than a particular style. My designs are most successful when they come from a concept I’m really excited about.” She loves illustration and most enjoys creating characters with personalities, like “Cakeasaurus Dinosaur” or her award-winning “Party Sloth.”

In this interview, Melissa talks about her experiments in environmental activism, creating Anthropologie store displays, and how cool dads don’t get the credit they deserve.

In 2017, Melissa Egan won a prestigious Louie Award for her “Party Sloth” children’s birthday party invitation. Melissa’s stationery designs are fun, attention-grabbing, often including winks of humor and whimsy.

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Sandra Picco attributes success to creative risk-taking, the Minted community, and evolving with the Digital Age

With a graphic design degree from Montclair State University in hand, Sandra Picco ignited her career on the production side of things and spent many hours in press rooms before actually focusing on design. She even walked the famous halls of Vogue magazine, working as a production manager for a spell. “It was humbling but also made me question every fashion choice I ever made,” the New Jersey Minted designer says with a smirk.

Sandra Picco works on her Minted designs at home in Barnegat, New Jersey, a small shore town located on the Barnegat inlet off the coast of New Jersey. “My husband and I just built our home here and moved in about six months ago,” she says. “The best thing about this area of New Jersey is that we can be at the beach in minutes or get in the car and be in New York City or Philadelphia in under two hours.” Portraits by Born Rival Cinema.

In addition to those humbling moments, Sandra attributes much of what she learned in her early production days to her refined skills as a designer and typographer. Ultimately, I discovered I was not cut out for magazine publishing and chose to pursue design over continuing in print production,” she says. “I did learn a lot about the inner workings of magazine publishing—and maybe a thing or two about what not to wear.”

Sandra also attributes her growth as a designer to Minted. She joined the Minted artist community of independent artists in 2010, when the company was only two years old. Eight years later, Sandra says she looks to Minted to provide room for creativity that her day job as a corporate designer doesn’t always provide. “Stationery design and being a part of the Minted community have given me reasons to push myself to take more risks and try new things creatively,” she says. “The support of the community cheering me on has also saved me from design burnout on a few occasions. It’s been pretty amazing to watch other designers, who I now call friends, grow alongside me as well.”

“Subtle Statement” save the date card by Sandra Picco

Though Sandra can’t quite put her finger on her design style, we call it “cheerful classics with a twist.” “I tend to have ‘shiny object syndrome’ when it comes to sticking to one look, but I usually favor a clean, modern aesthetic, and I love using type as the main focal point in my work,” she says.  

Here Sandra talks about her creative evolution, the art of being receptive to constructive criticism, and more.

“Burst of Happy” holiday photo card by Sandra Picco

How have you continued to learn about graphic design since college?
I’m going to date myself big time here, but I studied graphic design before computers were commonplace. It’s hard to even imagine that now. I was taught how to “copy and paste” the old-fashioned way—with a blade and adhesive! I didn’t really learn how to design via the computer until I started my first job after graduation, and with the pace of technology, I feel like I’ve been learning ever since. Needless to say, a lot has changed over the years, but I’m happy that I entered the field when I did because it gave me valuable insight into both worlds.

By day, Sandra works full time as a graphic designer for a small design and print company in New Jersey, where she designs everything from logos and brochures for small businesses to banners hanging in professional sports arenas. “It’s never the same from one day to the next, which keeps things interesting,” she says. “Stationery is my ‘side hustle.’”

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From retailer to designer: How Bethan Lumb built her career through hard work and Minted Challenges

Bethan Lumb sits in the ‘Basket of Dreams’ in Queenstown, New Zealand.

When you look at Minted artist Bethan Lumb’s body of work—clean, minimal stationery designs with carefully crafted typography—you might assume she’s been working as a graphic designer for many years. In actuality, the English artist has been a self-described steady “work in progress” who’s designed her own path.

“Golden Pines” wedding invitation by Bethan Lumb

At 18, Bethan went to Manchester School of Art to study Embroidery—which she describes as “more like fine arts and textiles”—followed by a stint at Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Bergen, Norway. “I thought maybe I wanted to pursue a career that had something to do with printed textiles or interiors, but I wasn’t really sure,” she says in retrospect. Upon graduation in 2012, Bethan landed a job in retail. “I worked for a few different companies but most recently L’Occitane, helping to manage one of their boutiques. It’s a great company with lovely products, but I was keen to do something more creative again,” she says.

Examples of Bethan Lumb’s work while studying Embroidery (aka “fine arts and textiles”) at Manchester School of Art, and briefly at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Bergen, Norway.

With that “keen” thought in mind, she coincidentally discovered Minted in 2014, and even with a lack of knowledge about design programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Bethan dove head-first into entering Minted’s competitions, learning as she went along. After achieving 98 wins with Minted—and with a growing creative itch needing to be scratched—Bethan decided to go back to school in 2016—this time to design school. She registered for classes at Shillington, a graphic design college with campuses around the globe.

I’ve always enjoyed being creative, but feel like I only really started to understand design properly after going back to college,” she explains. “I love that design consists of so much more than making things look nice; it challenges you to think creatively to solve problems, consider the end user, and learn from your mistakes.”

Long story short, after graduating from design school in 2017, Bethan is now following her dream of working full time as an agency graphic designer by day in Manchester, and moonlighting as a designer for Minted by night.

Here, she shares more about her story and what she’s learning along the way.

Of all her Minted designs, Bethan’s “Watercolour Stripe” wedding invitation is the most meaningful to her because she originally designed it for her sister’s wedding. “The feeling of knowing that someone has chosen this invitation for their special day never gets old,” Bethan says.

How did you discover Minted?
I honestly can’t remember where I discovered Minted—I think through a design blog. I remember seeing the design challenges and thinking, “This would be a great way to learn to use Adobe software.” I remember my first pick was in the Holiday cards, and I was so slow in Illustrator, the file prep took days! But seeing my card for sale on minted.com, and seeing people choose it as their holiday card amongst so many amazing designs was worth all the hours of work.

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