Behind the Design: “Abstract Union” Wedding Invitation

Minted designer Simona Cavallaro, who lives and works in San Jose, Calif., takes us through the creative process for her modern, brushstroke-patterned “Abstract Union” wedding invitation.

What was the inspiration behind this wedding invitation?
I love combining contrasting trends together in interesting ways. Here I wanted to create something that felt chic and sophisticated with a fresh and unexpected look. I think the result is classic with a twist.

Describe the couple that might choose this invitation for their wedding.
This design is for the couple that wants elegance but with an unexpected twist. Maybe the wedding venue is an old urban loft instead of a ballroom. Or the couple opted to use succulents instead of flowers at the event. I want my design to set the tone and hint to guests that there will be something special at the wedding.

What wedding trends do you love right now?
I feel like weddings are becoming less about tradition and more about what makes a couple unique. Personal touches are apparent all throughout the details of the ceremony and reception which makes weddings feel more bespoke, no matter the budget. I guess I would call this “the anything goes trend.” And I love it!

Abstract Union modern wedding invitation from Minted

Describe your design process, from initial idea to end result.
Here is my typical process: A fantastic idea pops into my head while I’m driving, sleeping, showering, or doing something else that prevents me from writing it down. I repeat the idea in my head until it no longer makes sense, then I forget it altogether. I finally get to my workspace, clear my mind, relax, and start playing with paint on a blank canvas. Usually I’ll get a totally unexpected result that will naturally spark a new—even better—idea. And I just go with it.

In this case, it was the combination of rough brushstrokes and organic dots that really spoke to me. Once I finish painting, I scan and start working with the art on my computer by pairing it with typography. I really believe that type can make or break my designs, so I probably spend way more time setting type than any other part of my design process. The final thing I do is get feedback to make sure I’m not completely off with what I’m trying to achieve.

What were some challenges you faced while designing this invitation?
The most challenging thing with this design, and probably most of my others, was narrowing down the color options. I love playing with color and being limiting to only six different palettes is really hard! But I tried my best to choose a broad range that will appeal to different couples.

Abstract Union modern wedding invitation from Minted

Tell us about your workspace.
I like to say that I have a mobile or traveling workspace. I have a designated space set up for working, but most of the time I find myself getting more work done if I’m open to moving around. Sometimes a coffee shop can be the most productive place in the world, other times my dinner table might become my painting studio. The couch, the floor, my patio, even a picnic table at a park have all been my workspaces at some point. The more open I am about how I work, the more opportunities I make for my creativity to build.

How did you start designing for Minted?
I was at a point in my life when I needed to nourish my creativity or I would burst. Minted allowed me to do just that. I was able to create and design based on my inspirations and talents, join an amazing network of designers, make new friends, and literally infuse my life with the creative fuel it was craving.

More from Simona Cavallaro:
Simona’s Minted Store
• Simona’s Website
Simona’s Instagram

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

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Baby Shower Invitation Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Announcing the special prizes for our Great Expectations Baby Shower Invitation Challenge! Friends and family of expectant parents come to Minted seeking a baby shower invitation that not only sets the stage for this event, but is also special enough to serve as a cherished keepsake for the parents-to-be. We turned to you, our talented community, to shower us with the most unique baby shower invitation designs in the world! We were blown away with what you dreamed up for this challenge. Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!

For the most design-forward, innovative baby shower invitation
Fresh Feathers by Simona Cavallaro

Runners-up: Agave Bebe by Marabou Design | Nesting by Anne Holmquist
Bohemian Babe by Lorent and Leif

For the best design specifically created for one of the Minted’s unique shapes
Welcome to the World by Laura Bolter Design

Runners-up: Up Up and Away by Baumbirdy | Baby’s Breath by Susan Moyal

For the best design that celebrates both parents-to-be
Good Sport by Shari Margolin

Runners-up: Brewing baby love by heythird | Baby Brews & BBQ by Sarah Brown

For the best design for an alternative to a traditional baby shower
Cool Little Reveal by Ashley Hegarty

Runners-up: Miles Apart by Sarah Brown | Box Reveal by Leah Bisch
Modern Sip & See by Hooray Creative

Click through for more special prize winners


Community Connections

community connections


we love our community.

Being a part of the Minted community is not all about the competition and money. It’s about helping you grow and thrive. It’s about paying it forward and helping others succeed. It’s about building meaningful relationships with other talented artists. It’s about friendships nearby and connections around the world.

get involved.

There are many ways you can get plugged into our community. Here are five easy ways to get connected:

1. Join our Facebook group.
Our community Facebook group is open to all Minted artists (artists who have submitted to at least one Minted challenge). This is a place where our artists can connect with one another online, share resources, ask questions, etc. Learn how to join here.

2. Participate in Minted calls and events.
The Minted team hosts weekly office hours, quarterly calls, and other events for our community. View and subscribe to our events calendar here.

3. Attend or host a meetup.
Meetups are in-person gatherings with Minted artists in the same region. The Minted team hosts meetups in various locations based on a variety of factors such as concentration of artists, our founder and CEO Mariam Naficy’s travel, other Minted events, etc. Be sure to update your address in your designer profile to receive invites for our meetups!

We can’t get to every location, so we encourage our artists to host their own meetups! If you’d like to host a meetup for Minted artists in your area, please fill out this form.

We are currently planning our 2017 calendar of upcoming Meetups . Please reach out with suggested locations!

4. Attend or host a meetup.

Here are some examples of our 2016 Meetups:

  • Chicago Meetup (Hosted by Minted Artist Pooja Pittie) – Read about the meetup here
  • Atlanta Meetup (Hosted by Minted Ambassador Kristen Smith) – Read about the meetup here!
  • Detroit Meetup (Hosted by Minted Artist Lisa Assenmacher) – Read about the meetup here!
  • Paris Meetup (Hosted by Minted Artist Annie Montgomery) – Read about the meetup here
  • New York City Cocktail Party (during the National Stationery Show) – Read about the event here
  • San Francisco Minted Local Opening Party – Read about the event here
  • San Francisco Meetup (during the Holiday Winner’s Trip) – Read about the even here
  • Austin Meetup (Hosted by Minted) – Read about the event here
  • London Meetup (Hosted by Minted CEO and Founder Mariam Naficy) – Read about the event here
  • Seattle Meetup (Hosted by Minted CEO and Founder Mariam Naficy) – Read about the event here!

5. Become a Minted Ambassador.
Minted Ambassador is a pilot program we created to help artists connect with each other in their local regions of the world. Our first Minted Ambassador is Kristen Smith. As the Minted Artist Ambassador, Kristen volunteers to organize a number of events for existing community members and prospectives in and around her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Sign up for Atlanta events here.

We’re hoping to expand this program to other regions. More details to come.

check out the fun.

Take a look at our past community events on social media. Make sure to use our hashtags #mintedmeetup, #mintedartists or #mintedartist when you post a picture at a Minted event!

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Q&A: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Living fully in the moment helps spawn creativity, but a little reflection every now and again also prepares us for a bright future. Which is why we asked Minted artists Amy Lighthall and Kim Dietrich Elam to answer the question, “What advice would you give to your younger self?” These two artists have come a long way since their beginnings as artists — Kim actually started her working life as an engineer.

Amy Lighthall
Amy’s Minted Artist Store

Trust that things will work out the way they should and at the right time. And, have patience in my art business.

This is a really tricky question for me to answer because I think all my experiences, both good and bad, have influenced me and my art business along the way. I have learned so much from creating, selling, and marketing my art over the years, and I’m still learning new things daily.

Magic Stones” limited edition print by Amy Lighthall

When I started my business, I remember getting discouraged by how much time and effort I put into my work compared to the sales I was getting. There were so many artists and art online. I would question how I could make a living from my art. In the second year of my business, in 2013, I decided to make my word for the year be “trust.” This single word had such a big impact on my outlook and was a constant reminder for me to trust that where I was in my art and business was where I was supposed to be.

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Drawing & Sketching Art Challenge: Special Prize Winners

We’re excited to announce the special prize winners from our first-ever drawing-focused art challenge! We were inspired by some of the beautiful sketches and drawings we’ve seen submitted to recent challenges, and we wanted to have more represented in the Minted collection. From Da Vinci and Van Gogh to contemporary artist David Hockney, drawings have played an integral part in their art processes. Armenian American painter Arshile Gorky said, “Drawing is the basis of art. A bad painter cannot draw. But one who draws well can always paint.” Congratulations to all the winners from our Drawing & Sketching Art Challenge!

Figure & Gesture Award
For the most beautiful figurative or gestural drawing
Drawing 369 – Standing Man by Derek Overfield

Intaglio Award
For the best piece created using one of the
printmaking techniques in the Intaglio family
North Carolina by Adelina Simenova

Relief Printing Award
For the best piece created using one of the printmaking
techniques in this family – woodcut, linocut, etc
New York Bridge by Viktoria Eperjesi

Click through for more special prize winners

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Meet a Minted Artist: Betty Hatchett

The Minted artist community consists of more than a handful of observant, thoughtful artists, and Betty Hatchett is definitely one of them. As she shares on her Minted Artist Store, the Cincinnati artist says she feels “more human when I make things, more aware of how strange and wonderful it is to be alive, more grateful.”

In this interview, Betty reflects on a number of those strange and wonderful things, including new motherhood, taking creative risks, and the art of lingering.

Portraits of Betty Hatchett by Julianna Boehm

You recently had your first baby—what is parenthood like for you?
Our son was born in October 2015, and life has been a magical blur ever since. I feel so grateful for the chance to watch his personality emerge, to see my love for him grow evermore specific as I get to know him, and to witness my husband’s devotion to him and to me on a whole new level. My heart feels more raw, stronger, and more vulnerable all at once. Being entrusted with his little life has been clarifying—I want to see him live heart-connected, with empathy and confidence and in pursuit of his calling. With that often on my mind, I’m seeing more and more opportunities to live from my own heart and different obstacles I’ve entertained that derail me from that path.

Parenthood so far has been both an unspeakable joy and incredible challenge. If I wasn’t so sleep-deprived, I’d wax poetic about this.

You live in Ohio, but there are elements of Florida in your work. Are you originally from Florida?
You can often find glimpses of the palette, wilderness, or kitsch of Florida’s gulf coast in my work, where I first fell in love with art making and the sun-kissed, gypsy Floridian artists I met at my neighborhood community center’s outdoor art fairs. I was enchanted as a child walking through booth after booth filled with snowy egrets, great blue herons, and gentle manatees, all the while serenaded by wafting Jimmy Buffett songs.

Float” limited edition art print by Betty Hatchett


Meet a Minted Artist: Whitney Deal

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: designer and photographer Whitney Deal, who lives and works in Wilkesboro, NC.

Whitney Deal interned at Martha Stewart Living magazine and studied fashion design at Parsons before moving into photography. Here, the multidisciplinary artist and maker shares a peek at her creative life in rural Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Meet a Minted Artist: Whitney Deal

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
Years of making and experimenting. I started out as a graphic designer, moved into photography, took a few years to learn the craft of garment design, and now my creative life is a mash of all those things. My husband and I ran a successful photography business for several years until we had children. We opted for a less transient lifestyle after that, so now I’m solo, blending my passions of photography, sewing, painting, quilting, and simply making all together, with a touch of freelance design on the side. Most recently, my second daughter had heart surgery as a newborn in 2014 which has led me to pursue an interest in medicine. My life and work is a blend of past experiences and a range of interests, and that’s the way I like it.

Did you study photography formally in school?
I have two undergraduate degrees, one in graphic design, the other fashion design. I started a grad program in photography but skipped out after a year because it wasn’t the right time for me.

Where do you currently reside?
A small town in western North Carolina where I was raised. I’ve had the opportunity to live in different types of places (Savannah, NYC, Raleigh) but now that I have a young family, the slow pace and familiarity—you just can’t beat that.

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
Along with all of my creative endeavors, I also stay home with my two young daughters, so most days are structured around them. I maintain an Etsy shop with PDF sewing patterns, so I’m often found sewing up new designs or managing that store. I paint to relax, so when I have a few minutes to myself, you can find me with my watercolors. And of course my photography, which on a typical day means snapping memories of my girls.

Please tell us about your studio space.
I keep my sewing machine out, a table to spread out on, and a pin-up board beside me. And light, lots of light.

What are some of your own “rules” for living + working?
I get pretty excited and energized by productivity and it has taken me a long time to understand that unfortunately I can’t add more hours into a day; so learning to accept that sometimes you just have to surrender to the day and start again tomorrow is a rule I try to live by when balancing life and work.

What objects have been most significant to you lately?
It’s always been a sewing machine and my camera.

What is your creative process like?
I typically start with an idea and then it’s GO time. When the juices are flowing, I’m making. I have to remind myself to slow down and reflect.

When did you take up photography?
After college I interned with Martha Stewart Living magazine in the art department. I enjoyed what I did with that department but I was most intrigued with the photo shoots and what the photographer was doing. As soon as I finished up that internship, I bought a camera and took a few photography classes at a local art center.

What are your favorite subject matters?
I’ve always had a thing for still life. Give me a bowl of fruit on a table any day!

Do you primarily shoot digitally or with film?
Now I shoot digitally, mostly because of the expense of film, but every now and again I’ll pull out the film cameras and take it slow.

Meet a Minted Artist: Whitney Deal

Click through to read more about Minted artist Whitney Deal and her work

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Chicago Artists Create Collages at Self-Organized Meetup

“I have glitter glue on the front of my jacket, so I’ll carry a little bit of the meetup forever with me,” joked Melissa Egan, a Chicago artist who goes by Pistols on Minted. On a rainy Sunday afternoon on April 10, she and four fellow Chicago area Minted artists got together to create collages at One Strange Bird in Wicker Park.

Pooja Pittie, a new community member and recent first-time winner of the Minted x West Elm Round 4 Art Challenge, organized the event. “For a Minted newbie like me, it was incredible to meet other artists,” she said. “Our interaction in the community is usually online, so it was really nice to meet in person and get a glimpse of everyone’s artistic process as we worked through the collage board.”

Here’s a recap of the event. If you’re interested in organizing a Minted Artist Meetup in your area, please fill out this form.

Let the collaging begin! Clockwise from top: Pooja Pittie, Lindsay Megahed, Johanna Phillips Huuva, and Melissa Egan of Pistols.

Before we dove into creating our own collages, the teacher at One Strange Bird shared these samples of collages made by other artists.


How to Thrive During Minted’s Holiday Challenge Season

We’ve heard from Minted artists that some of you are a little stressed right now, because we’re in the thick of Minted’s annual holiday design challenge season. To provide insights about staying cool, calm, and creatively collected, the best sources of advice often come from leaders in the community. Here, Minted artists Amy Ehmann of Design Lotus and Lea Delaveris answer this question: What’s your best advice for avoiding burnout and staying motivated, especially during the holiday design challenge season?

Amy Ehmann
Denver, Colorado
Design Lotus Minted Artist Store

Pray before I work. I once read an interview where Megan Gonzalez of Mae Mae & Co. said this is her motto: “People Before Paper. Prayer Before Productivity.” It stuck with me. So I try to pray before each workday that I would do my very best to honor God with my work and time.

Participate in community. I’ve been participating in the Minted holiday challenges since 2008. There were years when I was very heavily involved in community and years where I was not. I’ve found that I do better the years when I am involved and active in the community. I think the process is much more enjoyable and the real-time feedback is invaluable. It’s like having a team of design experts eager to help you grow and improve.

Try something new. It’s easy to get bored if you’re doing the same thing over and over again. I’m a creature of habit, and many of you probably see my work as nothing groundbreaking. For me, “new” may be using a new font, trying a new technique, or learning a new software. I am trying really hard to stick to my brand and style, and that is new for me…

Keep my eye on the prize. I try my very best to block out time for the Minted holiday challenge each year. This is my bread and butter, so I need to give it as much undivided attention as I can, without neglecting my family too much. I am blessed to have a husband who is incredibly supportive and not only helps pick up my slack, but reminds me to keep focused.

Perfect Harmony” foil-pressed wedding invitation by Design Lotus

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Birth Announcements Challenge: Special Prize Winners

New parents come to Minted in search for a birth announcement that is just as unique and special as their newborn baby. We looked to you, our talented Minted community, to deliver the most creative and fresh designs our customers have ever seen! We looked for a wide range of styles, from traditional and classic to modern and contemporary. We were blown away with the submissions we received in this challenge. Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!

We’re thrilled to share the guest judge for this challenge, Jacqui Saldana from Baby Boy Bakery, selected Susan Brown’s And More design for our Guest Judge Award.

For the most design-forward, innovative birth announcement 
that you would only find at Minted
Gilded Baby by Petra Kern

Runners-up: Pretty Pinwheels by Kristie Kern | meadows by Jennifer Wick
Party Time by Fig and Cotton Paperie

For the best design featuring multiple photos
Refreshing Gallery by Carolyn MacLaren

Runners-up: Nonpareil by Sarah Brown | Heart by peony papeterie
Measures of Love by Hooray Creative

For the best classic design that will appeal to more traditional parents
Petite Elephant by toast & laurel

Runners-up: Classic Name by Stacey Meacham | Classic Monogram by Fig and Cotton Paperie
Delicate by Jessica Williams

For the most differentiated and unique full bleed photo design
Baby Stats by Christina Novak

Runners-up: Intersect by Lauren Chism | softly brushed by Angela Marzuki
hello little love by Frooted Design

For the best design announcing twins or multiples
double delight by Cheer Up Press

Runners-up: Instant Family by 24th and Dune | Simple Sophistication by Jessica Williams
Plus by Olivia Raufman

Click through for more special prize winners

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