How Design Helped Michelle Taylor Move Through Grief — and Build a Business that Works for Her Family

Minted Artist interview

Minted artist Michelle Taylor at home in her studio in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Photo by Gina Zeidler

Written by Daryl Lindsey

Michelle Taylor discovered design — and entrepreneurship — by accident. An art class she never expected to love put her on the path to make a career out of art and design. “It was the first class that I truly loved. I knew then that I found my calling,” Taylor explained.

But the pursuit of that calling did not come without its trials, and years later, her accidental passion became the outlet that helped her wade through a dark time, providing inspiration and support as she navigated the grief of losing a child.

We sat down with Michelle to discuss how her relationship to design has changed over the years, how she’s grown as an entrepreneur, and how a Minted Design Challenge helped her feel inspired again after loss.

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Minted Artists in the Press November 2018

Congratulations to Minted artists who are featured on The TODAY Show, Buzzfeed, HGTV Magazine, Family Circle Magazine, and The Dallas Observer. Join the fun of spotting Minted artists in the press by uploading PR clips on your social media with the hashtag #mintiespotting.

Buzzfeed (October 31, 2018)
15 Of The Best Places To Order Holiday Cards” featuring “Lush Winter Foliage” Holiday Card by Hooray Creative, “Because Tacos” Holiday Card by Erin L. Wilson, “Doodle Snowflake” Ornament Card by Shiny Penny Studio, and “Christmas Trees” Holiday Card by Roopali.

The TODAY Show (November 8, 2018)
13 of Kathie Lee and Hoda’s Favorite Things for the Holiday Season” featuring “Simple Sentiment” Holiday Card by Annie Clark, “Color Bar” Holiday Card by Dozi, “Holiday Garden” All in One by Angela Marzuki, “Graphic Joy Vellum” Overlay by Kristie Kern, “Merry Christmas Sparkle Snow” Vellum Overlay by Alethea and Ruth, “Joyful Plaid” Holiday Card by Carrie ONeal, “Buffalo Check” All in One by Julie Murray, “Peppermint Cheer” Letterpress card by Lagniappe Paper, “Painted Holiday” Holiday Card by Kelly Schmidt, “Reindeer Patrol” Vellum Overlay by Laura Hankins, “A Very Merry” Holiday Card by Kbecca, “Simplicite” Holiday Card by Annie Clark, “Directional” Fabric by Kelsey Mcnatt, “Seeing Stars” Pinboard (Simple Starburst Fabric by Erica Krystek), and “Printemps” Pinboard (Minty Chevron fabric by Vanessa Rossi).
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Meet 2 Writers Behind Minted Greeting Cards

Minted has become known for its renowned international community of designers and fine artists, and we’re happy to welcome a new group of creatives to the mix: writers. Read on to learn about two of the many talented writers who initially joined the community in 2017 during the Better Together Minted Greeting Card Challenge.

Elke Mermis of Kansas City, Missouri

Elke Mermis is a full-time advertising agency writer producing lines of copy for big-name brands, but she’d never tried her hand at greeting card writing. Then, after ordering her wedding invitations from Minted, she discovered the Better Together Greeting Card Challenge. “I thought it would be a fun, creative exercise—and a good way to procrastinate during wedding planning!” she says.

Good thing she took her sweet time—her “Ugly Cry” card is a big hit. What was it like for Elke to see her card at a Target store in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri? Holding a real-life, tangible copy of something I helped create is always an amazing feeling,” she says. “Especially when you can tell your friends to go buy it, too!”

Minted “Ugly Cry” greeting card copy by Elke Mermis; design by Christie Kelly

MINTED: What’s your story in a nutshell?
ELKE MERMIS: I was born and raised in Kansas and left to go to school at Vassar College in upstate New York. Eventually I moved back to Kansas City, where I live in a century-old house with my husband and a very spoiled cat and dog.

How did you become a writer?
I’ve been writing ever since I was a little kid; and I made it “official” in college when I started reviewing concerts for music journalism outlets. Eventually I was hired as a Music Editor and parlayed that writing and editing experience into a career in advertising.

What’s your top tip for writing compelling greeting card copy?
Talk like real people talk. No one wants to give a card that doesn’t sound anything like what they’d say in real life!

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Minted x Target Send More Letters Greeting Card Challenge: Special Prizes

Announcing the special prize winners of our Minted x Target Send More Letters Greeting Card Challenge! For this challenge, we were looking for fresh and unique greeting card designs for a broad range of everyday categories (adult birthday, new baby, thank you cards, and more). Let’s hear it for all of our winners!

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Minted’s Top 7 Tips for Writing Compelling Greeting Cards

The art attracts and the verse sells. That saying in the greeting cards biz definitely rings true—shoppers are initially hooked by compelling design, but it’s oftentimes the copywriting that seals the deal. By combining high-quality writing with Minted’s signature design-forward aesthetic, we believe sky’s the limit for innovating the greeting card market.

Keeping in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to successful copywriting, here are seven of Minted’s top tips for crafting fresh, original copy.

1. Keep it brief

Save the lengthy novels for, well, your novel. In today’s attention-deficit world, many people appreciate cards that quickly get to the point. In fact, we recommend a max word count of 30 for greeting cards.

2. Pack a punchline

Humor appeals to a large segment of shoppers. I mean, who doesn’t like to laugh? Funny copy is just about always popular, and interior punchlines can help win over the customer. Don’t be afraid to use humor in unexpected places — even on a sympathy card.

“Again and Again” Minted x Target Greeting Card copy by Hannah Wilson; design by Up Up Creative

“Birthday Tacos” copy and design by Olivia Herrick

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Minted x Target Let’s Eat Cake! Children’s Birthday Card Challenge: Special Prizes

Announcing the special prize winners of our Minted x Target Let’s Eat Cake! Children’s Birthday Card Challenge! We dedicated this challenge to children’s birthday, sourcing new card designs for children that are both festive and fun. Congratulations to all the winners!

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What is truly unique? Sound advice for ensuring your work is original

“Something to Say” Minted art print by Sara Hicks Malone

Written by Kelly Hird

In an age of constant exposure to art and design, inspiration is everywhere. Experimenting with new styles and techniques is a great way to keep your designs fresh, but it’s important to distinguish between inspiration and imitation. Whether you’re a writer, designer, or photographer, you’ve likely had questions about copyright at some point. In addition to being respectful of others’ work, it’s important to understand originality and copyright guidelines to avoid legal issues. Although we’re unable to provide personal legal advice, this article will give you a brief overview to help empower you to do your own investigating moving forward.

Since Minted holds the exclusive license to challenge-winning Fine Art work, and the rights to all submissions during the 90-day Trial Period, we protect your work on your behalf. Minted is all about surfacing fresh, unique artwork, and the creativity and innovation within our artist community is what makes Minted great. We have utmost respect for creative integrity and take issues of copyright and infringement very seriously. If you ever see an artist’s work being used improperly, please use the Designs to Flag for Review form to let us know so that we can take appropriate action.

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What a Bright Time Non-Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Challenge : Special Prizes

Announcing the special prize winners of our 2018 What a Bright Time Non-Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Challenge! Each Minted customer wants a design that will make their holiday photo and message come to life in a unique way. We looked for a wide array of design styles, ranging from the traditional and reinvented classics to Millennial minimalism. Congratulations to our Special Prize winners!


Modern Minimalist Award
For the best design that embodies a restrained design aesthetic — simple and clean, and
allows the photo to stand out.

the edit by Design Lotus

Runners-up: Inked Joy by Lori Wemple, Minimalist Peace and Joy by Kelly Schmidt, and
Sweet Signature by Chryssi Tsoupanarias


Out of the Box Award
For the most design-forward, innovative holiday card that you would only find at Minted.

torn paper by Robin Ott

Runners-up: Snowy Day by Paper Sun Studio and polaroid by Design Lotus


The More the Merrier Award
For the best design that showcases multiple photos – customers have a difficult time
choosing just one!

Holiday Mood Board by Kristen Smith

Runners-up: Merry Dip Dye by Hooray Creative, Merry and Bold by Anna Elder, and
Holiday Boughs by Robert and Stella


Say It With Non-Script Award
For the best single-photo design that uses a non-script font.

 Spread Peace by Jessica Maslyn

Runners-up: inspire by Carrie ONeal, Time for Peace by Carrie ONeal, and
Minimal Monogram by Ekko Studio


Gifts of Plenty Award
For the best design incorporating 6+ photos.

Family Christmas Tree by Playground Prints

Runners-up: editorial by Jennifer Wick, minimal nameplate by Kate Ahn, and
panpepato by chocomocacino


Though It’s Been Said Award
Customers often fall in love with a designjust because of its unique copy. This is for the card that uses clever wording to reinvent typical holiday greetings.

Our Life by Itsy Belle Studio

Runners-up: Because Tacos by Erin L. Wilson, snow much fun by Susan Asbill, and
Almost Nice by Itsy Belle Studio


Classic with a Twist Award
For the best design that embodies a fresh twist on a timeless aesthetic that would appeal to the customer seeking elegance.

Classic Trim by Amy Kross

Runners-up: Jolliest by Toast & Laurel, Two-tone frame by Stacey Meacham, and
Minimal Initial by Carrie ONeal


Holly Jolly Award
Some of our best holiday cards are humorous or witty. This award is for the funniest card that
just makes you laugh.

Holiday Antlers by Baumbirdy

Runners-up: Nice list by Lea Delaveris, Reindeer Patrol by Laura Hankins, and
Santa’s Pet by Pixel and Hank


Merrily Matching Award
Minted tends to promote more heavily those cards which have unique matching Minted Envelope designs for their holidays cards. This award is for the most creative envelope styling.

Festive Flocking by Erin McManness

Runners-up: Filter fun by Creo Study, Sideline by Lehan Veenker, Modern Joy by Oscar and Emma


Festival of Lights Award
For the best design that celebrates Hanukkah.

Shine by Susan Moyal

Runners-up: Watercolor Hanukkah by Yao Cheng Design, Scripted Hanukkah by Laura Bolter Design, and Shalom Hanukkah by Ana de Sousa


Santa Baby Award
Many new parents use their holiday card to announce the birth of a baby. This is for the best design that doubles as a birth announcement.

asymmetrical frame by Summer Winkelman

Runners-up:  Most Wonderful Time by Susan Moyal, Joyous intro by Creo Study, and
Up All Night by Erin L. Wilson


Sand and Snow Award
Many customers feature photos taken during family trips throughout the year. This award is for the most creative design and greeting intended to showcase a customer’s photo(s) from a
family vacation.

Vacay Fav by Debb W

Runners-up: From snow boots to swimsuits by Lea Delaveris, How We Holiday by Leah Bisch, A Very Mele Kalikimaka by Elsa Duncan


Happy Howlidays Award
For the best pet-themed holiday card.

Deck the Yard by Kayla King

Runners-up: Barking Fun by Stephanie Given, Furry Christmas by Eric Clegg, and
Paws-atively Happy Howliday by Hooray Creative


Married and Merry Award
Couples often send their first holiday card the year they get married. This award is for the best design for newlyweds.

A Little Married by Sarah Guse Brown

Runners-up: Simply Bright by Roxy Cervantes, No Additional Mistletoe by Amy Payne, and Peaceful Chalk by Becky Nimoy


Newbie Award
For the best design from a designer winning for the first time.

Desert Holiday by Emily Lynne


Runners-up: The Definition of Merry by Emmeline Bramble and Bold Merry + Bright by Elsa Duncan


Published November 2, 2018

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Award-Winning Minted Artists Share 3 Tips for Making a Good Illustrator File Great

Written by Kelly Schmidt, Sarah Baumgardner, and Carolyn Doogan

After announcing that Kelly Schmidt won the first Minted File Prep Award during Minted’s 10th Anniversary Awards at Camp Minted 2018, a number of fellow Minted artists wanted to know: What exactly makes a good file great?

Thanks for asking, BTW. Kelly and File Prep Award nominees Sarah Baumgardner and Carolyn Doogan of Baumbirdy were happy to share their top file prep tips for customizable stationery and art products, using Adobe Illustrator. The twist? We asked them to mention tips that weren’t already surfaced in the Top 10 File Prep Tips for Minted Artists post (psst psst: another good resource).

Here are Kelly and Baumbirdy’s top tips for making Minted files great. Armed with these best practices, you’ll be better prepared to submit organized files that allow Minted’s Production Team to launch products to the site as quickly as possible.  —Minted Artist Relations Team

The Best File Prep Award was one of 11 accolades that we announced at Camp Minted 2018. Click to read more in “Minted’s 10th Anniversary Community Awards Recognize Artist Leadership.”

1. Complete your first colorway before starting other colorways

Baumbirdy: Double- and triple-check that all design, type, foil, and photos are in their appropriate layers and that text spacing, leading, kerning, and sizing all look good—and save. Then, give yourself some space from the first colorway. Walk away from it for a bit, come back and give it a fresh look to see if you are happy with everything added to the design. Make sure all your ducks are in row in the first colorway, which will save many frustrating hours in going back and making changes to, sometimes, six colorways!

Kelly Schmidt: Each file in each colorway must be exactly the same—as in, the order of the elements in each layer from front to back, the details in each file, etc. I learned this the hard way after using Minted’s Custom Self-Launch tool in 2016, and having issues with my files where one colorway would look wrong. I often noticed mistakes after I’d finished my various colorways; I would go back to fix the errors in each individual file, and inadvertently made edits that were causing glitches, such as the items on the background layer were no longer in the same order because I brought something to the front, or sent something to the back in one file only. I now make sure that any updates are changed exactly the same way, in all of my files, with hopes that this creates clean files for the Minted files team, that are easy to launch. 

I recommend using the Recolor tool mentioned in Tip #3 in the Top 10 File Prep Tips for Minted Artists post—it’s amazing and saves so much time.

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Blow Out the Candles Kids’ Birthday Party Invitation Challenge : Special Prizes

Announcing the special prize winners of our Blow Out the Candles Kids’ Birthday Party Invitation Challenge! Each year, parents come to Minted to find the perfect invitation to celebrate another year in their child’s life. We invited our talented Minted community of artists to design fresh, fun and unique invitations that set the tone for a memorable party and become a keepsake for the parent and child to enjoy for years to come. Congratulations to our Special Prize winners!


Out of the Box Award
For the most design-forward, innovative kids’ birthday party invitation that you would
only find at Minted
.

Dress for a mess by Baumbirdy

Runners-up: Bounce into a birthday by Heather Francisco, Puppy Pizza Party by Stephanie Given, and Shero Party by Baumbirdy


Originality Award
For the best design that incorporates an original handdrawn illustration or hand lettering.

Birthday Experiment by Shiny Penny Studio

Runners-up: jungle party by Cass Loh, Unicorn dreams by Jennifer Wick, and
sssomeone’s birthday by Kiersten Garner


Birthday Boy Award
For the best design for a boy.

Dino Friends by Alethea and Ruth

Runners-up: Sun Sand and Surf by Maggie Maeve, Roswell by Gwen Bedat, and volcano blast by Karidy Walker


Perfect Picture Award
This award is for the best party invite featuring one or more photos of the birthday boy or girl.

Calling All Princesses by Half Pint Studio

Runners-up: Typography Clouds by Simona Cavallaro, Simply One by Joanne Williams, and
yippee for three! by Susan Asbill


Great Shape Award
This award is for the best design specifically created for one of the unique shapes Minted offers.

circus party by Anupama

Runners-up: Hop on Over II by Hallie Fischer and Shimmering Princess by Rebecca Durflinger


Fantastic Foil Award
For the best design with elements that would truly shine in foil.

whimsical balloon by Phrosne Ras

Runners-up: Sweet unicorn by Anne Holmquist, She’s A Wild One by Susan Moyal, and
Princess Carriage by Paper Sun Studio


First Fete Award
For the best party invitation for a 1 year old girl or boy.

Wild One! by Christie Garcia

Runners-up: freshly cut flowers by Jennifer Wick, Big one by Ana de Sousa, and
Big Confetti 1 by fatfatin


Changing Seasons Award
This award is for the best design that celebrates a fall or winter birthday.

playful ice rink by Karidy Walker

Runners-up: ONEderland by Anne Holmquist and Pumpkin Party by Michelle Shanaman


Curvilinear Award
For the best design that puts the name or other customizable text on a curvilinear path.

at the park by elena diaz

Runners-up: bears marching band by Faith Dorn, Handy Man by Ink and Letter Designs, and
Hot Air Balloon Birthday by Noonday Design


Newbie Award
For the best design from a designer winning for the first time.

Surfer’s Dream Beach Bash by Maggie Maeve


Critique Award
For providing helpful critique to other artists in the challenge.

Congratulations Jan Shepherd!


Published October 26, 2018

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