Meet a Minted Artist: Gerrie Magnani of Chocomocacino

Gerrie Magnani’s life sounds like a dream. Having grown up in Indonesia, she now lives in Ravenna, a beautiful historical town in Italy, and strives to work no more than 20 to 30 hours a week as a freelance graphic designer. Going by the moniker Chocomocacino, Gerrie lives and loves creativity, food, and travel. She found her design footing as a teen, and after studying graphic design in San Francisco, took a hiatus to become a yogi in Bali. While on hiatus, she met her husband, an Italian bodybuilder, who took her back to his hometown.

Much as her life story so far is a winding journey, Gerrie views her design and art as a constant evolution. You can’t quite pinpoint her signature style in a few words, and that’s what she’s going for—for the moment. “I like things that either have elegance, uniqueness, modernity, and adorable/cutesy quality to it, so that’s where I’m directing my designs, too,” she says. “I haven’t found the right combination or balance between all of these. Maybe it’s because my work is so different.”

Minted: Why did you move to Bali after college?
Gerrie Magnani: I lived in Ubud for almost two years, to pursue my yoga life, both teaching and studying. I got a scholarship and studied my yoga teaching right before moving to Ubud, also in Bali (Canggu) with Australian Yoga school. I taught yoga mostly privately in villas and hotels for guests who came to Bali, and some retreats. I also attended yoga-related workshops like astrology and meditation. My husband was my neighbor in Ubud; he managed an online rental accommodation. As a bodybuilder, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, he’s completely the opposite of a yogi.

Before living in Bali, you attended Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and majored in graphic design. What was your first design job after graduating college?
I went back to Jakarta after school, and my first job for almost 10 years was as a wedding invitation designer—very much my dream job. I’ve always had a passion for paper and stationery, and I liked going to card stores to look at the illustration, lettering, and how cards are printed. Creating beautiful cards was really not a job for me; I had so much fun that it felt more like a hobby. I learned so much about printing processes—from laser cut to embossing, foil stamping, creating boxed invitations, and even printing with velvet texture. Dream world!

Amalfi – New York City” save the date card by Gerrie Magnani of Chocomocacino for Minted

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The Future is Bright Graduation Challenge Special Prize Winners

Announcing the Special Prize winners of The Future is Bright Graduation ChallengeWe were floored by the quality and breadth of designs submitted to this challenge. The graduation business is one of our fastest growing stationery categories, and 2017 graduates will be thrilled with the new assortment this year!

For the most design-forward, innovative graduation announcement or invitation that you would only find at Minted.
Photo Booth by Stacey Meacham

Runners-up: shaping the future by Guess What Design Studio, Grad Doodle by Katharine Watson, and Scribbled Spirit by The Carillos


For the best design that appeals to the male grad.
Virginia Beach by Little Words Design

Runners-up: Cornerwise by Jennifer PostorinoBold Statement by Kristie Kern, and Minimalist Frame by Jennifer Lew


For the design that best highlights the graduate’s name.
Just Fab by Paper and Parcel

Runners-up: sharp by Sara Hicks Malone, my name is by Phrosne Ras, and Grad Chart by Shirley Lin Schneider


For the best design featuring multiple photos.
Pride and Joy by Carrie ONeal

Runners-up: distinguished by Sara Hicks Malone, Classic Stack by Stacey Meacham, and Artifact by Jennifer Lew


For the best design that incorporates a creative way to share where the graduate is heading after graduation.
Destination University by Cheer Up Press

Runner-up: Destination College by Melissa Casey


For the best traditional and timeless design.
Stacked Class by Jennifer Wick

Runners-up: Stylish Celebration by Lauren Chism, Elegance by Jennifer Postorino, and Gracious Grad by Guess What Design Studio


For the best simple, modern design.
Double Grad Gallery by fatfatin

Runners-up: Commence by Lauren ChismAcknowledged by Michelle Taylor, and Simple Grad by Still and Mundane


For the most differentiated and unique full bleed photo design.
elegant grad by Erin Deegan

Runners-up: Yay for Graduate by Amy Payne, Our Grad by Chris Griffith, and Adventure Awaits! by Hooray Creative


For the design that best showcases a graduate’s school colors and can be easily customized to suit various school colors.
impactful by lena barakat

Runners-up: Simply Tagged by Cait Trainor, Classic Graduate by Owl and Toad, and Grad Stripe by Rebecca Durflinger


For the best design showcasing a graduate through the years.
The Years Fly By by Amy Payne

Runners-up: Always Proud by Susan Brown and Tiles by Shari Margolin


For the best design that puts the graduate’s name or other customizable text on a curvilinear path.
Cum Laude by Kimberly Morgan

Runners-up: retro by Poi Velasco and Golden Graduation by Itsy Belle Studio


For the best design from a designer winning for the first time.
Graduate Knock Out by Megan Roe

Congratulations to the winners!

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2016 Wedding Invitation Challenge Special Prize Winners

We’re excited to announce the Special Prize winners of our Wedding Bells are Ringing: 2016 Wedding Invitation Challenge! This was our largest and most competitive Wedding Challenge of the year with over 2,800 submissions. We were absolutely delighted by your beautiful invitation designs; we know that engaged couples and wedding guests will be too. Congratulations to the winners!

For the most creative and innovative take on a wedding invitation.
Rainbow Roll by Katharine Watson

Runners-up: love is strong by Aspacia Kusulas, Artful Oneness by Moglea, and Happy Day by Angela Marzuki


For the design that best lays the groundwork for a sophisticated, classic wedding.
Classic monogram by Stacey Meacham

Runners-up: We Do. by Eric Clegg and Subtly Sweet by Kimberly FitzSimons


For the best gender-neutral design that will appeal to both men and women.
Elan by Griffinbell Paper Co.

Runners-up: Painted Leaf by Katharine Watson and Astor by carly reed walker


For the best non-floral wedding invitation.
Josephine by kelli hall

Runners-up: Mod Lines by Alethea and Ruth, Brushed Stripes by Everett Paper Goods, and Stable by Roxy


For the best design with a simple, edited, and clean aesthetic.
Scattered Diamonds by Nikkol Christiansen

Runners-up: The Minimalist by Kelly Schmidt and over and over by Lea Delaveris


For the best design for a destination wedding.
Palm by Kaydi Bishop

Runner-up: Stellar by Elly


For the design that best showcases one of Minted’s unique die-cut shapes in an original way.
Arched Wedding by Jennifer Wick

Runner-up: Adorned Ampersand by Jennifer Postorino


For the best design that puts the couples’ names or other customizable text on a curvilinear path.
Rustic Love by GeekInk Design

Runner-up: Wonderland by Laura Hankins


For the best design from a first-time winner.
Art Deco Frame by Caitlin Mac

Runner-up: Wedding Stamp by Kasia Labocki


The following Special Prizes will be announced at a later date: End-to-End Award, Stamp Award, Perfect Match Award, and Font Award.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Erica Krystek

Triathlon magazine creative director. Former competitive tennis player. Journalism major. Mom and wife. These are a handful of the words we can use to describe Erica Krystek, who like many of her fellow community members, enters Minted challenges by night. With more than 200 Minted awards to her name, Erica’s work spans from exuberant holiday cards to humorous baby and kids designs, and a little bit of customizable art for good measure. If you look a little closer at Erica’s work on her Minted Artist Store, you’ll likely find yourself smirking at her usage of clever puns: “Let’s Taco ‘Bout How Awesome You Are” and “You’re Tool Cool” among them. It goes without saying that she’s not only a talented designer, but she’s also got a way with words.

Here the San Diego artist talks about her “plannerly” creative process, how she’s evolved as a Minted artist, and how quality mommy time and a good work-life balance makes her heart happy.

Sleepy Fox” baby shower invitation by Erica Krystek

Minted: Did you study art or design formally in school?
Erica Krystek: I grew up in San Diego and, other than college, have lived here my whole life. I did not formally study graphic design, and instead received a B.S. in journalism at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2002. My intention was to be an editor or writer; however, my senior year while working as an editor at Cal Poly’s daily newspaper, I realized I enjoyed the design aspect of journalism more than the editorial side. At the time, the paper was a very low-budget operation, and as an editor, you were also tasked with designing your editorial section. So I quickly taught myself Quark and found that I kind of had a knack for it. After I graduated, I was fortunate to get a wonderful job working for a firefighting magazine, where I honed my design skills, eventually working my way up the ladder to Art Director.

Erica’s dog Sherman likes to stick his nose into Erica’s work.

What’s it like to work as the Creative Director of LAVA magazine?
I grew up heavily involved in many sports and received an athletic scholarship to college, so working for any sports-oriented publication piqued my interest. When I had the opportunity to work as the Creative Director for LAVA, it seemed like a perfect fit. LAVA is a newsstand, coffee-table-style triathlon magazine, published nine times a year. Our content caters to more serious and seasoned triathletes, versus beginners, and takes its name from the lava landscape of Kona, Hawaii, where the Ironman World Championship (the premier event for most triathletes) has been held each year since the early ’80s. We have a very small operation of eight people, so I do the majority of the design work for print and web as well as create our marketing materials and direct our cover shoots.

Erica Krystek is the Creative Director of LAVA Magazine.

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Jessica Hische’s Guest Judge Pick!

Back in October, we invited Jessica Hische to be the Guest Judge for our biggest Wedding Challenge of the year, the Wedding Bells are Ringing: 2016 Wedding Invitation Challenge. Jessica Hische is a lettering artist, illustrator, author, and self-described “avid internetter” working in San Francisco and Brooklyn. Jessica has become as well known for her side projects as she has for her client work. She’s created several educational micro-sites including Mom This is How Twitter Works, Should I Work for Free? and Don’t Fear the Internet

Out of 2,848 submissions, Jessica selected Beloved by Design Lotus! When asked specifically why she chose this design, Jessica said, “It was incredibly hard to choose a winner because there were so many outstanding submissions this year, but I kept coming back to this design. I love how it combines classic elegant components (the use of gold engraving illustrations and beautiful clean typefaces) in a modern asymmetrical layout. It almost feels like the design could double as a high-end wine label. I think it’s really difficult to design in a way that feels understated and elegant but not minimalistic. I could see this design working for a wide range of weddings—from a big elaborate affair in a gilded ballroom to a small outdoor ceremony in an overgrown garden.” Congratulations Design Lotus!

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Win a Trip to Haiti with Every Mother Counts

Minted is thrilled to launch the Every Mother Counts Prize for 2017. Read below for more information on how to enter.

THE CAUSE
Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere. EMC is Minted’s charitable partner. Learn more about this amazing organization and how it helps women around the world here.

THE PRIZE
Two Minted artists will be selected to join Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy and Every Mother Counts Founder Christy Turlington Burns with members of their teams on a trip to Haiti in early 2018. On the trip, the winning artists will meet with one of Every Mother Counts’ grantees and experience first-hand the work that they are doing to provide skilled and compassionate care to Haitian mothers throughout their pregnancies.

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Joy Cho’s Lucky in Love Save the Date Pick

Back in August, we announced that Joy Cho would be the Guest Judge for our Lucky in Love Save the Date Challenge. Joy Cho is the founder and creative director of Oh Joy!, a lifestyle brand that includes a product line at Target, lifestyle videos, and a daily blog. She has also authored three books and has consulted for hundreds of creative businesses around the world.

Joy selected The Adventure Begins by Kelly Schmidt. When asked why she chose this design, Joy said, “I love The Adventure Begins because it is truly a representation of the new chapter of life that marriage brings—adventures together, both big and small. Visually, I love how the typography is beautiful yet simple. It allows the photo to be the focus while also making it easy to find a photo that fits with the placement of the typography. I love everything about it!” Congratulations, Kelly!

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Meet a Minted Artist: Jessie Steury

Scroll through Jessie Steury’s Minted Artist Store, and you can see that she is a prolific illustrator. Since joining Minted in 2011, she’s built a strong reputation for her signature style of perky, colorful illustrations of animals, maps, trucks, and more. Hers is the kind of art that transforms a child’s room into a gallery of rainbow-colored wonders. Jessie’s illustration style is a mix of modern and vintage influences, a direct reflection of the things she loves in real life. “I love clean modern spaces, but I also like to spend my spare time searching thrift stores for silly old knick-knacks,” she says.

Funny thing is that Jessie never planned a career in illustration. “I’ve always loved drawing, but never thought I could actually do it for a living,” says the Indiana artist and mom of three. “This is where I owe another big thanks to Minted. Entering all these design challenges have really helped me grow and find my own style.”

In this interview, Jessie talks about her original career plan, life as a “farmer’s wife,” and how she developed her successful path on Minted.

Animal World Map” by Jessie Steury

Minted: Did you study art or design formally in school?
Jessie Steury: I did! I attended the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, with a focus on graphic design. It was such a great experience — both the formal education and what I learned while living in the city.

Animals of the World” fabric by Jessie Steury

Illustration comprises a lot of your work now. What were your “original” career plans?
Graphic design was the original plan. It seemed like a more realistic career choice — something I could do and get a job anywhere, even in an Indiana small town. I worked for a marketing company in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on projects like RV brochures and outdoor furniture catalogs. It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t a good fit for me. Looking back, I realize that before I left for college, I had no idea that the Internet would allow me to work with companies all over the country.

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life now, as a Minted artist?
I’m happy to say there is no “typical” day, although, they are all probably pretty similar. It’s a mix of normal mom duties and designing on my computer. I really do enjoy the flexibility of working for myself. I don’t force myself to sit at a desk for a certain amount of time every day, and I probably never will. If I sit down to work and I’m not feeling it, I do something else — just until that creativity comes back. Usually a few minutes of housework, and I’ll quickly feel like getting back to designing.

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Save the Date Challenges: Special Prize Winners

Announcing the Special Prizes for our Lucky in Love Save the Date Challenge and our We Belong Together Photo + Letterpress Save the Date Challenge. Your beautiful designs are sure to inspire soon-to-weds for a day filled with matrimonial bliss. Congratulations to all the winners!

We Belong Together Photo + Letterpress Save the Date Challenge

For the best design featuring chunky text or design elements that show off letterpress best
DESPINA by Melanie Kosuge

Runners-up: Candy Striped by Shirley Lin Schneider, Impressed by AK Graphicsaccentuated by Kimberly Chow,


For the most unique, original take on a Letterpress + Photo Save the Date that we’ve ever seen
Written by Annie Montgomery

Runner-up: sparrows in flight by Morgan Kendall


For a design that incorporates edgy design elements, bold colors, or other designs that are not typically seen in letterpress
Love Lines by Belia Simm

Runner-up: Modernist by Amber Barkley


For the design that best gives the impression of a full bleed photo (even though it’s not)
Refined by Sarah Brown


For the design that best lays the groundwork for a sophisticated, classic wedding
sacher by chocomocacino

Runner-up: Timelesss by Sarah Brown


For the best design that puts the couples’ names or other customizable text on a curvilinear path
Sea you there by Gwen Bedat

Runner-up: Modern Romance by Nicole Barreto


Lucky in Love Save the Date Challenge

For the most daring, innovative take on a Save the Date that we’ve ever seen
wash of color by Karidy Walker

Runners-up: modern angles by Rebecca DurflingerCrossed Brushstrokes by Everett Paper Goods


For the best humorous or clever design that just makes you smile
In Tandem by Laura Moyer

Runners-up: Chemistry Love by Coco and Ellie Design


For the best design featuring non-floral, yet organic elements of the earth
Coastal Lines by Grace Kreinbrink

Runners-up: Mod Palm by Fig and CottonMarbled by Pine and Lark


For the most inventive and unique copy that shows an alternative way to say “Save the Date”
Definitely by Jennifer Lew

Runners-up: Cake (and a Wedding) by Up Up CreativeToss the Dice by Little Words DesignForever We Do by Ana SharpeSimply Best by Jessica Williams


For the best gender-neutral design that will appeal to both men and women
Stacked Banner by Amy Kross

Runners-up: Watercolor Edged Border by BaumbirdyModern Rusticism by Jessica OgdenSimply bliss by Seven Swans


For the best design featuring multiple photos
maybe im amazed by Bella Carta Boutique

Runners-up: Sleek & Chic by jomoloLove Square by Michelle Taylor


For the best Save the Date that doubles as a holiday card
Winter Day by Michelle Taylor

Runner-up: merry and almost married by Sara Hicks Malone


For the foil design that best lays the groundwork for a sophisticated, classic wedding
Have and Hold by Kimberly FitzSimons

Runners-up: Winter Foil by Susan Brown, Simply Striking by Stacey Meacham


For the Save the Date design which uses bold typography
Numerals by Up Up Creative

Runners-up: the big classic by Sara Hicks Malone, Bold & Gold by Meg Chalmers


For the design that best showcases one of Minted’s unique die-cut shapes in an original way
poised by Sara Hicks Malone


For the best design that puts the couples’ names or other customizable text on a curvilinear path
Wildflower by Lehan Veenker

Runner-up: Fall Foliage by Lorent and Leif


For the best design from a first-time winner
Autumn Gold by Olivia Faye Design

Runner-up: Modern Landscape by seulghi


Collection Awards
The following 20 designs will each receive a guaranteed full wedding invitation suite collection, including a matching Wedding Invitation, Day Of pieces (wedding program, menu, place card, table number, favor tag (for non-foil), and favor sticker (for non-foil)).

Watercolor Edged Border by Baumbirdydistressed tile by Carolyn NicksOrnate by Nazia HyderElegant Monogram by Simona Cavallaro

Wildflower Floral by Katharine Watson, This Love by Eric CleggGemstones by Lori Wemplefloral vignette by Kristen Smith

wash of color by Karidy WalkerGilded Crest by Kelly Schmidt, Mod Palm by Fig and CottonCoastal Lines by Grace Kreinbrink

Marble Matrimony by AK GraphicsSweet Leaves by Ana de SousaGeo Chic by Hooray CreativeTropical Hibiscus by Smudge Design

Orange Blossoms by Susan MoyalParadise by GeekInk Designboho glam by Carolyn NicksOmbre by roxy

 

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For Minted, customer service is an Oscar-worthy performance

“Sir, I’m literally sitting on a bench with a gun on my lap. I’m calling you from a military phone in Iraq — regarding envelopes.”

That’s a slice of what an American soldier, a Minted customer, described to Donald Antoine, Minted’s customer service supervisor, in 2014. The calm-voiced soldier called Minted on behalf of his fiancée, who had ordered save the date cards for their forthcoming wedding ceremony back home in the States. They needed their return address corrected on their envelopes — and they needed it yesterday.

Enter Donald to the rescue. “Rest assured we’ll do everything we can,” Donald said to the soon-to-be husband. Donald corrected the address, reprocessed the order, and shipped the envelopes to the bride-to-be the same day. Three months later, Donald received an email from the Mrs., thanking Minted for its service.

Donald Antoine heads up Minted’s customer service team. Minted Customer Service not only benefits customers, but also our community of independent artists who produce the products you see on Minted. The Customer Service team helps “close the deal” with customers and retain them as loyal shoppers. By providing this service, we free up time for our community of artists to focus on their creative work and spend less time on administrative work.

This is just one of the stories Donald shared when we asked him to recall some of the most memorable customers he’s met on the job. Donald and his team of associates serve customers around the world, many of whom are celebrating life’s most memorable moments — weddings, births, graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries. “It’s amazing the people you come across,” Donald says, gleefully.

Donald retells a number of stories from the front lines of customer service with vigor, but one is particularly close to his heart. In 2014, Donald “hit it off right away” with a customer who was also a nearly-wed — this time, a Golden Girl who needed help with the process of ordering her wedding invitations online. She loved the elegance of many of Minted’s designs and knew she wanted crisp black text — but was searching for something a little more simplistic. Like a trio in harmony, Donald, the customer, and her fiancée talked on the phone for nearly four hours, throughout the course of a day. Donald helped to personalize the couple’s invitation design and message, and the more they talked, the more they got to know each other. Donald got choked up when he learned the customer’s first name — which is the same as his sister’s middle name. “My sister passed away in 2012, and we were very close. Then when we realized the couple’s wedding date was the same day as my sister’s passing, they started crying,” Donald says. “We established a wonderful relationship, and they invited me to their wedding.” Although he wasn’t able to attend, he’ll never forget the experience.

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