Meet a Mintie: Sweet Street Gals

Today we have the real treat of meeting not just one, but two lovely Minted ladies: the Sweet Street Gals. They’ve been a part of the Minted community for two full years now and they’ve contributed a great deal of wonderful work. We know you are just as excited as we were to learn more about Alison and Jessie and how they work so obviously well together.

At age nine, what did you both want to be?
Alison: A veterinarian. I have always loved animals. Now I have a yellow lab, Riley. He is my baby (and quite the artist himself!). Here is one of his “paw paintings”.

Jessie: A pilot.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
Alison:
I always knew I wanted to do something creative as a career. As a child, I loved painting, drawing, craft projects and homemade creations. But it really wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I got more serious about design. I had a very inspiring art teacher that really helped me develop as a designer.
Jessie: I saw my friend Arielle between classes in college and she was carrying a portfolio of paintings and I had a big stack of English books. I told her I wanted to draw and design all day, so I tagged along to a recruiting session of the visual communications program.

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Meet a Mintie: Bumble Ink

You may know Bumble from their, literally out of this world Faraway Destination Wedding Invitation… or one of their other fantastically edgy invitation designs.

Or maybe you know them from the awesome, and I repeat awesome, cartoons Gavin created about entering the wedding challenge and working with his wife:


There’s a dynamic trio behind this impressive San Mateo, California-based company. Gavin is the designer and Diana is the business guru, who doubles as a design consultant, and their adorable baby must be the inspiration!

Bumble Ink family photo, with Bumble baby

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Meet a Mintie: Paper Plains

Paper Plains aka Sarah Lenger designs with the daring, self-assured hand of someone who embraces a diversity of inspirations and isn’t afraid of a good challenge. At her best, she captures different moods with each design and appeals to a variety of tastes and occasions. She was most recently featured on this blog as the winner of the best religious design prize in the Holiday Spectacular Challenge, and as you can see from her winning design, she really knows how to work the “wow” factor. Let’s get to know Sarah a little bit better in this week’s Meet a Mintie.

Paper Plains aka Sarah Lenger

How did your design career begin?

I originally went to college wanting to study photography. I found out about the graphic design program and decided

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Meet a Mintie: Sydney Newsom

Our Meet a Mintie today hails from Alabama and is known for her Southern charm, wonderfully sarcastic sense of humor and the lightness she injects into forum conversations, as well as her design style, which ranges from whimsical to preppy.  It’s no surprise then that Sydney has been overwhelmingly nominated by her fellow designers as our next Minted Mentor, a role she’ll share with Design Lotus. This is our way of giving Sydney a cyber-high five to recognize her leadership, friendliness, and overall awesomeness.  Congratulations Sydney!

How did your design career begin?

I began the job I have now as the marketing coordinator for an architecture and engineering firm (given to me with a giant leap of faith that my creativity would teach me everything I needed to know

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Meet a Mintie: Leslie Hamer


We couldn’t be happier to have Leslie Hamer of Unless Someone Like You with us this afternoon. The catchy name of her design company comes from the Lorax, one of her favorite books that she still can’t read without crying. We think her genius, imagination, and wit rivals even Dr. Seuss so the name could not be more fitting.

At age nine, you wanted to be?
Definitely a scientist. Maybe an astronaut. As a child I was encouraged academically and musically, but drawing or painting wasn’t a part of my life until college. I still love science, and long geeky conversations.

How would you describe your style?
This is tough question! Like many designers I find it difficult to “see” my own work. I try to keep things simple and clean. I like negative space, strong typography.

What is your normal workflow or process like?
Ideas come from everywhere. Sometimes I sketch, sometimes I walk around and photograph things, sometimes I dive right into Illustrator. I work quickly and try not to over think anything.

How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
As many as it takes! Each design is different. Some I rework to no end. Some just appear complete. I imagine it’s the same a writing a song, or composing music. Sometimes my ideas are clear and things just fall into place.

What tools, techniques, and mindsets do you find absolutely essential?
My Cintiq is indispensable. I couldn’t work without it, I cant imagine how I ever did! When I remember drawing with a plain wacom I still cringe a bit.

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Minted Meet Up: Charleston

So sometimes, even with the best intentions it takes me ages to get pictures off my camera and onto the blog… I am dying for a camera that automatically downloads your pics wirelessly. BUT, I did so enjoy meeting Kelli Hall that I have to share these pics from our Charleston Meet Up with you.

We met at Baked, which not only has delicious, incredible, yummy treats, but also has a perfectly executed interior.

Baked in Charleston

Kelli was just absolutely the sweetest and her hair really is as long and gorgeous as it appears on her Minted profile pic.

Natasha (left) and the beautiful Kelli Hall (right)

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Meet a Mintie: Jody Wody

Minted designer and part-time Minted contract employee Jody Wody is buckets of fun. She is a joy to be around and her work is always exciting–we love, love, love seeing something new and different and Jody always delivers!

At age nine, you wanted to be?
A gymnast, an illustrator for Disney (I used to practice by pausing my “Little Mermaid” VHS to draw the characters), and a “camera-man” for a sitcom (I thought that sounded very exciting).

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
It was a sporadic and incremental process! My mom is a painter and sculptor, so she always had neat-o art supplies for me to play around with. When I was in elementary school, I got hold of her old Letraset transfers from the ’70s, I would incorporate the rub-on type and office-themed clipart into my drawings. Maybe that was my first foray into graphic design? I remember in eighth grade I designed the cover for our school’s literary magazine, which may have planted the seed for publication design, and in high school I wrote for the school newspaper, which allowed me to do layout and editorial illustrations as well.

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Meet a Mintie: Gakemi Art + Design

Nam of Gakemi Art + Design broke out onto the Minted scene in December 2008, and has since then, been a steady presence in design challenges and the forum, offering her fellow designers constructive feedback and warm wishes. We’ve long been admirers of her too-cute-for words children’s designs and delicate, pretty flower illustrations and thought it’d be fun to reach out, and take a peak into the life of one of our designers in the great white north (hi, Canada!).

Nam and Gabriel

How did you get your start in graphic design?

When I was in grade 3, I remember drawing people, flowers and objects from encyclopedias. I was always interested in art, and people who knew me, knew me for my art. Growing up, our family didn’t have much and asking my parents for things like art supplies was unheard of so I drew and doodled on any surface, covering the inside covers of books and pages in those encyclopedias. I took visual arts throughout high school and sold my first two drawings: a picture of goats and one of a house – all for $200.  Not bad when you consider it paid for all the paper and pencils I needed for art classes. I didn’t really consider design as a career until I returned to college and graduated from architectural technology which gave me tremendous exposure to AutoCAD, 3-D Viz and Photoshop. From there I taught myself Illustrator with the hope of grasping typography and creating my own fonts.

I’m curious to know about how you taught yourself Illustrator and how you have developed your typography skills.

The first time I used Illustrator was to convert architectural floor plans from AutoCAD into marketing materials in Illustrator and InDesign.  Most of the learning was through reading user guides as I go, and practicing through trial and error.  Soon after discovering the Minted Design Challenges, I taught myself by reading website illustrator tutorials, Adobe Creative Suite WOW books and watching video tutorials.  When I’m confident with the skills, one of my goals is to design my own fonts.  Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the time to create them, but when I do, I would love to use it for the Minted Design Challenges.

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Meet a Mintie: Design Lotus

With her trademark smile and effervescent energy, creativity, and passion, this designer is known by many. Some people call her Design Lotus, while others refer to her as the mayor of the Minted forum who coined the term “Minties.” We simply know her as Amy, the rock star designer and mom of three who has shown over and over again that she is a force to be reckoned with. Fair warning: As if it weren’t enough that she is tirelessly enthusiastic, generous with her knowledge and opinions, and always hilarious, her kids are really, really adorable. Keep reading to see for yourself.

Amy + Gavin

Everyone who encounters your energy and spirit must wonder: How on earth do you juggle three children and a bustling design career?

Bustling design career?  Are you talking to me?  Distractions are my life right now and Minted is my joyous outlet.  When everyone is finally fed, clothed, and happy… it’s mommy’s time to “play!”  It’s usually not until after the kids are fast asleep that I am REALLY able to think and/or brainstorm.

"Melonball" from the Be Mine Valentine Challenge

"Chef's Notes" from the Keep In Touch Good Housekeeping Challenge

How did you get your start in graphic design?

I stumbled into it while I was working as a training/event coordinator. I took some initiative to create some name badges, table tents, and signage for several training events. They were a hit with the client, and hence, launched my career in the design field.  I discovered Lynda Weinman’s H.O.T. books, which were fantastic, and I’ve been hooked on her training material ever since.  In fact, I have learned every software I know through lynda.com.

Where did the name “design lotus” come from?

The lotus flower has many layers and petals as do my design aesthetics. Also lotus tattoos are meant to represent life, new beginnings and the possibility of people growing to change into something of beauty. I would like to believe I can do the same for my clients through design – by taking something from a murky/chaotic start and transforming it into something to celebrate.

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Meet a Mintie: Andrea Snaza

It’s hard to believe that its been 2 years since Minted launched its first design challenge. As a company and as a design community, we have grown a whole lot, but one thing (or shall I say person) has always stayed constant, and that’s Andrea Snaza. She participated in our very first competition, a Save The Date Challenge that received just 66 submissions, and has been an active contributor since.  She has a nice, restrained style and a knack for type composition, though what really sets her apart is her enthusiasm and friendliness. A quick survey of a few staff members produced the same response – Andrea always has friendly, helpful feedback for other designers, and she’s been a real joy to watch grow and evolve as a designer.

Andrea Snaza

How did you get your start in graphic design?

I’ve loved art and creating since I was little but there was this one day in my high school advanced biology class when I decided that I was going to be an art major. I didn’t really have any idea about a career in design at the time, but within a year of college I had declared graphic design as my concentration and dove in to communication design, typography, color studies and art and design histories. At this point I was thrilled that things were beginning to make sense – and I was realizing the meaning and substance behind the stacks of magazines, shopping bags, greeting cards and various other printed materials I had collected from a young age – silly behaviors that I like to justify now as links to the graphic or communication design field.

My love for stationery design definitely developed more with these contests! I’ve always loved stationery but randomly entered the first contest 2 years ago – and needless to say I have been hooked since. I‘m not afraid to admit that I’ve learned so much, it’s funny to look back on early designs now. I didn’t know a thing about stationery design then, but I have developed some great dreams for my future and goals towards a career in this particular area of design.

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