2016 New Year’s Card Challenge: Special Prize Winners

We’re happy to announce the Special Prize winners of the The 2016 Cheers to a New Year! New Year Photo Card Challenge! Each year, more customers choose to send a New Year’s card to their loved ones to spread the holiday cheer in a festive way. We asked the Minted community to create fresh designs in celebration of the 2017 New Year ahead.

New Year, New Look Award

For the most unconventional, unique design in the challenge that you wouldn’t find on any other site.
Fireworks Frame by Iron Range Artery

Multi-Photo Award

For the best design that showcases multiple photos.
Staggered by Sara Hicks Malone

“2017” Award

For the best way of displaying the numbers “2017”.
A Bold New Year by fatfatin

Home is Where the Heart is Award

For the best design that showcases a specific state or location and could be used as a holiday card and/or moving announcement.
State of the Year by Sarah Brown

Funniest Award

For the best clever, witty or funny card.
Same Resolutions by Amy Payne

Copywriter Award

For the card that uses clever wording to reinvent the typical New Year’s greeting (e.g. not “Cheers” or “Happy New Years”).
Sunshine by Olivia Raufman

Classic Elegance Award

For the most elegant, timeless New Year’s design that will appeal to more traditional customers.
Elegant New Year by Amy Payne

Dress Up Your Envelope Award

This award is for the most creative envelope design that adds something extra special to the card.
naturally by Shannon

Festive Full-Bleed Award

For the best full-bleed photo card.
Modern Cheers by Kimberly FitzSimons

New Beginnings Award

For the best design that celebrates what’s new and exciting in someone’s life – whether they’re newly married or have a new baby, home or pet.
All Is New by Oscar & Emma

Get in Shape Award

For the design that best showcases one of Minted’s die-cut shapes in an original way.
bloom by Elly

Curvilinear Award

For the best design that puts a name on a curvilinear path.
Branched Border by Kelly Schmidt

Newbie Award

For the best design from a first-time entrant.
Party Banner by Julee London

Congratulations, winners!


Meet a Minted Artist: Annie Mertlich of Wildfield Paper Co.

Casual, bohemian, whimsical, vintage, organic. Those are the five words that Annie Mertlich uses to describe her style of design. As for the words we’d use to describe Annie as a person, we’d say prolific, hard worker, and unstoppable creative energy. Annie is the visionary behind Wildfield Paper Co. and the woman who works around the clock to build her brand that’s become known for breathtaking watercolor florals.

When Annie entered and won her first Minted design challenge in 2013, she was simultaneously working a full-time job that sucked the creative life out of her. About four months after winning, she quit her day job on what she calls a “hope and a prayer,” in early 2014. Although she says she wasn’t sure if she’d succeed as a self-employed creative, she was very optimistic and determined to make Wildfield Paper Co. a reality. “I had no idea at the time how big of an impact those early Minted challenges would have on the success of my business,” Annie says. Fast-forward nearly three years later, and she’s a creative force to be reckoned with. Here, Annie shares more of her experience of building her passion into a successful career as an independent designer and entrepreneur.

A Very Merry Christmas” and “Peace on Earth in Watercolor” holiday cards by Annie Mertlich of Wildfield Paper Co.

Minted: How did you discover Minted?
Annie Mertlich: I remember being so unhappy at my job and desperately seeking a creative outlet. I worked at a company doing creative work, but the environment was so toxic that I really needed something creative that wasn’t for that company. I remember browsing Pinterest for some Christmas decorating inspiration, and I came across a beautifully designed card and I followed it through to Minted. I read all about how Minted’s Design Challenges work and joined right away. The first challenge I entered was the 2014 big holiday challenge!

Did you study art or design formally in school?
I did classic training with a composite major in painting, printmaking, and drawing from Southern Utah University, a little university in my hometown. It may be a smaller university, but the art program is highly acclaimed, and they really push you to discover your potential. It was a wonderful experience, and I wouldn’t change anything about it. With a composite major, we really had to take a lot of different classes to fulfill the credit requirements. I ended up learning so many unique artistic techniques that I likely wouldn’t have explored otherwise. I never anticipated liking watercolor, but I was required to take the class and I fell in love. Bonus: I met my husband at SUU.

How many hours per week do you usually work, and what does “work” mean for you?
I’m honestly too scared to keep track — it averages at about 12 hours per day. During my busy seasons, it’s usually closer to 17 hours a day. I’m running the full business, so work is really everything from painting to posting on Instagram, billing clients to ordering shipping and printing supplies, and filing taxes to responding to emails. I wear all the hats.

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Behind the Design: “Joyful” Wedding Invitation

Chicago-based Minted designer Carolann Belk Parran of Pink House Press shares her vision and the creative process behind her hand-lettered wedding invitation “Joyful.”

hand-lettered wedding invitation

What was the inspiration behind this design?
I was in the middle of planning my own wedding, so I thought about what words I would want my guests to associate with my wedding from the moment they opened their invitation. I knew I wanted to do something fun with typography, so I decided to give the word “joy” the most prominent and central role so that the happiness of the couple could really come through. 

Describe your creative process – from initial idea to end result.
Knowing that I wanted to do something typographic for this design, I first decided on the wording and which words to make most prominent. I sketched out the design making the words “joy” and “marriage” largest, and filled in the empty spaces with the floral filigree. To finalize the design, I scanned in the words and floral pieces that I wanted hand-lettered, and positioned complementary fonts for everything else.

What are some challenges you faced as you were designing?
I wanted my hand lettering to look clean and smooth because I was mixing it with fonts, and that’s always difficult when moving from pen and paper to digital. I used the help of my Wacom tablet to digitize this design, but just purchased an iPad Pro and am excited to play with that to make the digitization process easier in the future!

Describe the type of bride or wedding you imagined this design would complement?
I envisioned this invitation for a sweet Southern belle whose spirit exudes the title of this design, “Joyful.” And with such a long season for outdoor weddings in the South, the floral-inspired filigree would perfectly suit an outdoor celebration (like my own!).

What wedding trends do you love right now?
I love that more and more couples are breaking from tradition or are putting a new spin on an old tradition to make their day more personal. And now that guests tend to be more spread out and have to travel farther for weddings than in the past, I love adding in a little local flavor in the form of wedding favors, décor, welcome bags, or food and drinks!

hand-lettered wedding invitation

Tell us about your workspace.
I was excited to get my very own home office when I moved to the Chicago area last year! I now have lots of storage space for my printers and presses, and a large desk where I can spread out my pens, brushes, and tablets. But realistically I usually meander over to the couch to work by the TV.

How did you come to design for Minted?
I had heard about Minted through the grapevine and knew they held design challenges, so when I had a little spare time from my then-day job I decided to submit a little watercolor illustration I did on a Sunday afternoon. I always think the best worst thing to happen in my Minted experience was that this very first entry got picked, because it made me think that winning challenges would be easy (spoiler alert: it wasn’t!).

More from Pink House Press:
• “Joyful” wedding invitation
• “Evergreen Wishes” holiday card
• Carolann’s Instagram

More from Minted:
• Wedding Invitations
• Save the Date Cards
• Wedding Websites


4 Pinterest Tips to Help Your Content Drive Traffic + Sales

Pinterest is a platform of discovery. In 2016, the Pinterest community has grown to more than 150 million monthly users around the world who use the social media network to find over 75 billion ideas for them to save, to try, and to purchase. It’s the only social network that people go to save ads. To help you generate traffic and sales, we’ve put together four Pinterest content strategy tips to help you cut through the clutter and advertise your products.

1. Know Your Keywords & Popular Search Terms

To generate traffic and revenue, you must generate awareness of your product pins through proper keywords and pin descriptions. Think like an SEO strategist. Wait, what is SEO? Search Engine Marketing. It’s a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. Check out the Moz beginners guide to SEO here and get familiar.

Once that’s out of the way, align your Pinterest profile, boards, and pin descriptions with the popular search terms under the umbrella of your products or services. If you align with the key terms, your pins will also show up in related or recommended pins. Not sure how to find keywords related to your product? Try the Pinterest search bar as a starting point. Type in a keyword and see popular associated searches.

Not only will you be found on Pinterest, you’ll also be found via the major search engines, like Google.

Additionally, artists who have their own professional website with ecommerce capabilities should consider adding Product Pins. Product Pins update keyword text directly from your website, which makes it easier for Pinners to find information about things you sell by including color, style, pricing, and availability. Alongside increasing searchability, Product Pins also enjoy more prominence on Pinterest feeds by offering eye-catching branding icons and bolded text.


2016 Holiday Gifting Challenge: Special Prize Winners

We’re excited to announce the Special Prize winners of the The 2016 Wrap It Up Holiday Quickfire Gifting Challenge! Throughout the year, Minted customers look for unique gifts for their loved ones for a variety of gifting occasions. Calendars, notebooks, day planners, and address books are the perfect presents for recipients of all ages or even as a treat for oneself. We can’t wait to see these gifts in the hands of our customers!

Out of the Box Award

For the freshest, most original design you wouldn’t find anywhere other than Minted.
Rainbow Geode by Alexzandra Fajardo

Perfect Picture Award

For the best design that incorporates 1+ photographs.
Botanica by Laura Hankins

Gentleman Award

For the most unique design that would appeal to a man in your life.
Starboard by Susan Brown

VIP Award

For the most creative design tailored to an important gift recipient (i.e., father, mother, grandmother, grandfather, best friend, teacher, daughter, son, etc.).
Old School by Sara Berrenson

Location Award

For the design that is evocative of a general location (i.e., beach, mountains, etc.) or specific place (think iconic landmarks or states).
Charleston Doors by Jenny Batt

Hobby Award

 For the most unique design customized for the hobbyist in your life (i.e., the chef, gardener, music lover, traveler, sports fiend, etc.).
Travel Essentials by Rio Grange

Minimalist Award

 For the most striking clean, modern, minimalist design.
Elegance by Kaydi Bishop

Inspiring Typography & Quote Award

For the design that incorporates the most interesting typography and/or inspiring quote.
mountains by Sweetgrass Paper Company

Forever Young Award

For the best design suited for younger kids (ages 5-10).
nutty nutcrackers by Tonia Dee

Let’s Hear it For the Boy Award

For the best design for a school-aged boy (ages 5-18).
BEAST! by jomolo

Corporate Award

For the most unique design that would work well as a corporate gift.
Painterly Plaid by Sarah Brown

Curvilinear Award

For the best design that puts a name on a curvilinear path.
Outside the Lines by JeAnna Casper

Newbie Award

For the best design from a first-time entrant.
Modern Holiday Trees by Angela Rekucki


Congratulations, winners!

Published November 28, 2016

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2016 Holiday Letterpress Challenge: Special Prizes

We’re excited to announce the Special Prize winners of the Hot off the Press Letterpress Holiday Photo Card Challenge! In this Challenge, we looked to our talented Minted artist community to come up with highly original designs that spread holiday cheer and love and allow our customers to express their own unique personal style.

Make an Impression Award

 For the best design featuring chunky text or design elements that show off letterpress best – bold text or thick lines or design elements.
classroom plaid by Annie Montgomery

Faux Full Bleed Award

This award is for the design that best gives the impression of a full bleed photo (even though it’s not).
Bright Starburst by Ling Wang

Visionary Award

For the most unconventional, unique design in the challenge that you couldn’t find on any other site. This design exemplifies the kind of design risk-taking Minted is looking for.
Abstract Outlines by Katie Zimpel

Not Your Grandmother’s Letterpress Award

Design that incorporates edgy design elements, bold colors, or other designs that are not typically seen in letterpress.
Birch Band by Baumbirdy

Holiday Elegance Award

Design that says “holidays” in a fresh yet classic way.
Sprig of Pine by Erin Deegan

Oh Come All Ye Faithful Award

Most striking religious holiday card design.
Hallelujah! by Olivia Goree

Cheers Award

Most original New Year’s card design.
cheerful snowflakes by Everett Paper Goods

Multi Photo Award

Most unique design that showcases multiple photos in an original way.
LEDA by Melanie Kosuge

Holiday Birth Announcement Award

Best letterpressed birth announcement design that someone would also send as a holiday card.
Grecian Crown by Annie Montgomery

Newly Married Award

Best holiday design that celebrates a newlywed couple.
Floral Frame by Erin Deegan

Published November 25, 2016

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2016 Holiday Party Invitations: Special Prizes

It’s time to eat, drink & be merry! Minted customers are planning fun, festive affairs and we looked to our talented community to bring fresh, unique custom party invitation designs to the table. We’re excited to share the Special Prize winners of The 2016 Eat, Drink, & Be Merry Holiday Party Invitation Quickfire Challenge!

Out of the Box Award

Most unique holiday party invitation you wouldn’t find on other sites.
Wreath of Plenty by Haley Mistler

Bold Award

Boldly designed holiday party invitation that communicates a modern spirit through unique colors and modern, even edgy design.
Overlay by Genna Cowsert

Down to Business Award

Best invitation for a corporate/business holiday party.
Grandiose by Jennifer Lew

Modern Elegance Award

Best design that is traditional and elegant but still fresh.
Winter Evergreen Soiree by Kate Ahn

Home for the Holidays Award

Best invitation that celebrates a housewarming party for a new home.
Our Holiday Housewarming by Rebekah Disch

Make me Laugh Award

Funniest party invitation.
Let’s Get Basted by 24th and Dune

Auld Lang Syne Award

Best New Year’s party invitation.
New year jazz party by Ana de Sousa

Traditional Colors Award

Best design that uses traditional holiday colors like red and green.
Decking the Halls by Kelly Nasuta

Give Thanks Award

For the best Thanksgiving Party invitation.
Classy Turkey by Dana Beckwith

Spooktacular Award

Best Halloween Party invitation.
haunted house by Morgan Kendall

Love is in the Air Award

Best design for a Valentine’s Day party award.
Party Hearty by Baumbirdy

Engagement Award

Best design which doubles as an engagement party invitation.
be married by Owl and Toad

Newbie Award

Best design from a first-time entrant.
Mr. Cat’s Ugly Sweater by Lissabeth Anglin

Published November 23, 2016

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A Day in the Life of Minted Artist Carly Reed Walker

Written By Carly Reed Walker
Portraits By Courtney Bowles Photography

6 AM: I’m somewhat of an early riser, rarely sleeping after 6 in the morning. It works well for me, because I find those early morning hours are my most calm, quiet, and productive. I try to start each morning with yoga. Usually that means practicing in my living room, but I just started a prenatal yoga class that I love — I’m 20 weeks along! I’ll have breakfast and coffee with my rescue pup, Buster, and husband, if he’s home (he has an irregular work schedule as a locomotive engineer). Buster is an adorable little beagle mix that we adopted from a great organization called the Richmond Animal League, where I volunteer regularly. I also spend a little time on Instagram before I get to work for the day, but don’t we all?

Gala” is my favorite holiday card I’ve created for Minted. I love how modern and editorial it is.

8 AM: I like to sit down at my desk between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. to get organized, which is somewhat of a challenge for me. I have an amazing office/studio in our house. It’s a dream to get to work and create there every day. When we purchased our home in Richmond, Virginia, last year, my very generous husband agreed to give me the largest room in the house for work. It doubles as an office and meeting space for clients. I’ll start things off by going through emails and making a to-do list for the day, which tends to be a little scattered. From there, I get to work designing whatever is on said to-do list. My workload is balanced between wedding stationery clients, branding projects, and other stationery/design work like Minted. It’s a challenge for me to focus on several different projects, so I take frequent breaks away from the computer to snack or take Buster for a walk through our neighborhood.

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Spaces & Places Art Challenge: Special Prizes

We’re excited to announce the Special Prize winners of our Spaces & Places Art Challenge! In this Challenge, we looked for artwork and photography that was inspired by a location. We were in awe of the diverse perspectives and unique interpretations of locations represented in the submissions.

Urban Photography Award

For the best piece of photography inspired by an urban place.
Empire State by Kaitlin Rebesco

Point of View Award

For the most unique interpretation or viewpoint of an iconic place or building.
Sydney Rising by Maja Cunningham

Vintage Edition Award

For the best antique or vintage inspired photograph.
montreal Cafe by kerri dougherty

Diptych Award

For the art that showcases the characters that make up a community.
Palm i and Palm ii by Annie Montgomery

People Make the Place Award

For the art that showcases the characters that make up a community.
Ponte del Ciolo by Sandro Portaluri

Pastoral Award

For the best piece inspired by a rustic scene.
House in the Woods by Ekaterina Romanova

La Grande Fête Award

For the best piece inspired by a festive location or scene.
Sky Coasters by Stephanie Sherman

Behind the Piece Award

For the piece that has the most interesting story.
Silver and Gold by Stephanie Sherman

“This painting is based on a photo I took from the ferry crossing between Seattle and my home on Bainbridge Island. Gray can be overwhelming here in the winter months but I’ve come to appreciate the many shades of gray found in the Pacific Northwest as seen in the green, gold, lavender and blue tones in this piece.” – Kelly Johnston

Winning Shot Award

For the best piece inspired by your favorite sports oriented location.
Santa Barbara Skate i by Kamala Nahas

Tropic of Cancer Award

For the best bright piece inspired by a tropical place.
Looking Far West by sue prue

By Land or By Sea Award

For the best piece that depicts travel from one place to another.
Cite by Emily Coey

Published on November 11, 2016

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2016 Non-Photo & Corporate Holiday Cards: Special Prizes

Announcing the Special Prize winners of our No Business Like Snow Business Holiday Non-Photo and Corporate Card Challenge (non-foil and foil). We announced the top-voted winners and Editors’ Picks for these Challenges back in September, and we’re thrilled to share the Special Prizes winners with you now.

Outside the Box Award

For the most innovative non-photo or corporate holiday card that you wouldn’t find on other sites.
Season’s Best by Shannon

Oh Come All Ye Faithful Award

Best religious Christmas card.
Reyes Magos by Belia Simm

Merry Gentlemen Award

Best simple (but still interesting!) masculine design using neutral colors (think blue, black, gray, brown).
Snowfall by Baumbirdy

Home is Where the Heart Is Award

Best design that showcases a specific state or location and could be used as a holiday card and/or moving announcement.
Greetings From by Rebecca Turner

Holly Jolly Award

Funniest card that just makes you laugh.
Obligatory Christmas Card by Christine Taylor

What a Year! Award

Best reinvents the “annual letter” in which families share major milestones from their year.
 12 Awesome Days by merry mack creative

Gratitude Award

Card that best communicates gratitude.
Leaf + Berries by Three Kisses Studio

Company Logo Award

For the best design that incorporates a company logo.
Floral Letters with Cardinals by Four Wet Feet Studio

New Year Cheer Award

Best New Years design and greeting.
Radiant by Aspacia Kusulas

Most Wonderful Type Award

Design that introduces the best font that we purchase and add to the Minted Font List.
Abstract Merry Bright Fir Trees by erika firm

Deck the Halls Award

Best showcases one of Minted’s die-cut shapes.
Holiday Swirl by Julie Murray

Silver Bells Award

Most elegant design that appeals to more traditional customers while still being fresh.
Love, Peace, Prosperity by Susan Moyal

Curvilinear Award

Best design that puts customers’ names or other personalizable details on a curvilinear path.
Snowglobe Terrarium by JeAnna Casper

Copywriter Award

Clever wording to reinvent typical holiday greetings (like “Happy Holidays”, “Merry Christmas”, and “Happy New Year”).
Happy Hibernation by Eve Schultz

Go Tell it Award

Best design incorporating stats & data from the year in a fun way.
Noisette by chocomocacino

Published November 10, 2016


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