Top 10 Tips for Preparing a Design for Minted Foiling

Written by Emily Heaton, Olivia Goree, and Jocelyn Mock

Foil-pressing has been a specialty printing method for years, but is gaining in popularity. The traditional techniques haven’t changed much since the development of this printing method in the late 1800s. Heat, pressure, metal dies, and foil film are used to stamp an impression on paper after the digital elements are printed. Though the stamping process is slightly more automated than it used to be, operators still make manual adjustments to the press to create an even impression for every design. Depending on the size of the foil area, the pressure and temperature of the metal dies may vary across designs; however, a single pressure and temperature need to be applied to each individual design.

This foil-pressed Holiday Card, “Wonderfully Merry” by Annie Mertlich of Wildfield Paper Co. is a great example of a foil-pressed design that prints well. The lettering provides a solid area for foil adhesion while maintaining a hand-drawn feel.

In order to optimize your design for the unique process of foiling, here are the top 10 insider tips to keep in mind while designing foil-pressed designs for Minted:

1. Keep in mind that foil elements may shift up to 1/32’’ (or 0.03125”) in any direction due to the nature of the foil-pressing process.

2. Thin / small foil elements should have a stroke of at least 0.25 pt stroke to ensure proper foil adhesion to the paper.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... No comments

15 questions to prompt stationery design critiques on Minted

When asking for constructive criticism from Minted artists, there are varying schools of thought. Some artists prefer to ask broad questions, while other artists prefer to drill down to a specific point.

Longtime Minted artist Phrosné Ras shared her advice on generating critiques. “If you feel something is not working in your design, you should have some idea where the problem is,” says the artist known for hand-drawn elements. Same goes for providing feedback to others—aim to be the opposite of ambiguous. Thoughtful observations and pointed suggestions for improvement are more helpful than saying, “I don’t love it.”

This is an example of how Minted artist Melissa Casey asked for feedback on her submission to the What a Bright Time Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Quickfire Challenge in April 2018. She created a poll to share several versions of the design and asked the question, “My thought with this one was to make it more of an art piece and not so much of a card. I therefore blended the text into the design. Do you think it works or should I make the text more obvious?” Her approach generated a significant number of critiques from fellow Minted artists.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... No comments

The Minted Guide to Creating Original Work

Written by Kelly Hird

With a growing number of Minted Design Challenges, now’s a great time to think about fresh ways to find inspiration and create work that showcases your personal strengths. Consistently generating innovative ideas can be difficult, especially if you’re designing for multiple product categories. To help provide tips for creating new work and defining your style as an artist, we turned to the experts: Minted’s talented artist community. “Create” art print by Jennifer Morehead

Set Your Creative Direction
With a flurry of excitement with the opening of each new Minted Challenge, here are some of the ways that Minted artists have embarked on their creative processes.

  • Study the Special Prizes section of the Challenge PDF
    The Special Prizes section in each Challenge PDF provides insight into what types of designs our Merchandising team want to add to the assortment. Use the list of Special Prizes to brainstorm the types of designs that are likely to be successful in a challenge.
  • Consider your audience
    Minted artist Karly Depew of Oscar and Emma makes a list of all the design styles that she wants to submit to a challenge. “I think about the consumer and what would appeal to them. For example, I always try to submit something classic, something modern, something bold, and something vintage.” 
  • Inspiration is everywhere—go find it
    Every artist’s background and experiences give them a unique perspective. Understanding what inspires you on a personal level can help you create work that’s truly authentic. Artist Naomi Ernest finds inspiration by creating work that honors her family history and environment. “A passion for my local environment is always evident—the lakes, landscapes, and resources of my home state of Michigan provide constant connection and inspiration for colors, textures, and themes in my work,” she says. 

    Aspacia Kusulas collects objects, pieces of paper, and photos from inspiring places she’s visited to remind her of inspiring experiences. “My creativity is fueled by memories, travel, and everyday life,” says the Greek artist who lives in L.A., by way of Mexico.Some artists swear by creating a collection of ideas ahead of time, and drawing from them when the appropriate Minted challenge launches.Andi Pahl consults her journals for creative inspiration. “There’s always a surprising idea that I wrote down at some earlier point.”

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... 2   COMMENTS

One artist lives in Paris, the other in Omaha. And they’re like two peas in a pod

When Parisian artist Gwen Bedat made plans to travel with her husband from France to California in January, the first person she contacted was Holly Whitcomb, a fellow Minted artist who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. Although the two had never met face to face, Gwen and Holly have become close friends through Minted.

Holly Whitcomb (left) flew from her home in Omaha, Nebraska, and Gwen Bedat flew from Paris to meet for the first time in San Francisco in January 2018. Gwen Bedat (right) thinks she’s likely to find a Minted artist just about anywhere in the world, which is almost—but not quite—true, considering the community stretches to 90 countries. “You only live once, so I figure I should try to meet Minted artists in every city or country I visit,” the Parisian designer says.

Gwen and Holly were connected through the Minted Buddy program in 2014, and began corresponding a few times a week via email and Facebook Messenger. Over time, they began messaging daily about everything from design to day jobs to family life. During Minted Challenges, they shared screenshots of their works in progress to spark feedback and critiques. “We’re always bouncing stuff back and forth,” Holly says. “But we’d never talked on the phone or face to face.”

Until now.

After communicating online for three and a half years, they finally met in the flesh in mid-January. Four months pregnant with her third child, Holly flew to San Francisco for three days to hang out with Gwen. What was it like to meet in person after years corresponding on the Internet? “It felt like seeing a familiar face in an unknown city,” Gwen said, after explaining that Holly met Gwen and her husband at their Airbnb in Haight-Ashbury. Jet lag and swollen feet aside, the two explored Fog City and hit up tourist attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, and Alcatraz. They also stopped by the Minted offices to meet employees and try their hand at watercoloring.

The Minted Buddy program strives to connect experienced Minted artists with newer artists, and when Holly signed up, she assumed she’d be matched with a more experienced artist. But as a longtime member of the community (she joined in 2010), Holly played the role of veteran to Gwen’s somewhat newbie status, considering she’d just joined a few months earlier in 2014.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... 1  COMMENT

2 Minted Artists Win Top Honors in 2017 LOUIE Awards

Written by Kelly Hird

We’re proud to announce that two Minted designs, “Party Sloth” by Melissa Egan and “Adagio” by Meg Gleason, were chosen as winners in the 2017 LOUIE Awards. One of the most esteemed awards ceremonies in the stationery world, the LOUIE Awards are hosted by the National Greeting Card Association and took place during the National Stationery Show in New York in May. Kelli Hall’s striking holiday photo card “Statement Joy” also made it to the final round, and all three designs were exhibited prominently in the trade show’s entrance at the Javits Center.

This year’s finalists in the 2017 LOUIE Awards on display at the entry to the Javits Center at the National Stationery Show.

While the three finalists weren’t able to attend this year’s annual award gala, Meg Gleason attended NSS and was thrilled to receive the good news. Her design, “Adagio,” features hand-painted backgrounds, with an original painting created for each colorway.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on 2 Minted Artists Win Top Honors in 2017 LOUIE Awards

Minted greeting cards, children’s apparel, and nursery decor make shining debut at NSS 2017

Photos by Charlie Juliet Photography

Greeting cards, children’s apparel, and nursery decor were Minted’s headlining acts at our National Stationery Show (NSS) booth this year. All three product categories made a shining debut at the paper goods tradeshow and were well-received by both independent and large national retailers. The new products were right at home alongside our new home décor textile patterns and Minted’s longtime claim to fame: custom cards and invitations, including our wedding suite.

After introducing Minted Wholesale at NSS 2016, the program continues to grow. Last year, we showed NSS attendees our custom invitation offerings along with a handful of limited edition art prints, home decor products such as pillows and table linens, and packaged stationery products. Now Minted Wholesale is even better than ever. Our new line of wholesale greeting cards are sourced from The Better Together Greeting Card Challenge, our first competition that shines an extra-bright spotlight on excellence in writing and design. Since last year, we’ve made our wholesale pricing more competitive and also made improvements in our customer service,” says Dan Garblik, Minted’s Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships. “We’re excited to grow this new and exciting side of our business.”

We showcased some of our new greeting cards against a copper wall, spotlighting a rotation of Minted artists. Here we show Stacey Meacham of Atlanta, Georgia; Shonda Rhimes, the TV producer extraordinaire who contributed copywriting to the first part of the Better Together Minted Greeting Card Challenge; and Carrie O’Neal of Fairfield, Ohio.

As Minted Wholesale has expanded, we’ve been careful to select retail partners who agree to support our artist-friendly terms. “We seek partners who are excited about the Minted artist community and want to help us tell our crowdsourcing story,” says Brady Wood, VP External Relations. “We’ve seen wonderful examples – with West Elm and Pottery Barn Kids, for example – of our retail partners telling stories about the artist behind the product.”

Just as Minted has come a long way since Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy started the company in 2008, so too has our presence at NSS. In the early days, Minted products were exclusive to minted.com. Now with Minted Wholesale and the opening of Minted’s San Francisco retail store, Minted’s footprint extends to brick and mortar and beyond. “It’s truly exciting to see the progression — I think Minted is definitely steering to the right market that will generate more exposure and revenue,” says Nam Bourassa, a Canadian Minted artist who joined the community in December 2008. As one of the early designers to enter Minted’s Design Challenges, she represents a thriving community of independent artists who create the designs for the many products that Minted produces and sells.

Nam says she’s a fan of Minted Wholesale because the program allows artists to see their designs in additional commercial markets. “It certainly gives bragging rights to recognize a product that was designed by you,” she says. “The wholesale products are high-quality with fabulous design styles.”

As part of the tradition that’s developed over the years at NSS, we hosted a cocktail party for Minted artists who traveled from around the U.S. and beyond, in addition to a breakfast meeting for some of our top-performing artists in the CMYK program. Enjoy the gallery of photos.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on Minted greeting cards, children’s apparel, and nursery decor make shining debut at NSS 2017

9 Tips for Recent Grads Seeking Creative Careers

When we asked Minted artists to share their advice for recent college graduates aiming for a creative or artistic career, we received a range of insights. Here you’ll find common themes and differing opinions alike — in other words, there is no one-size, fits-all approach. 

“Palm Reader” notebook by Baumbirdy

Be open but also tenacious
Carol Fazio of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

There are so many facets to the design industry, but there are also many candidates vying for the same positions. Be open to possibilities in other areas. I’ve designed everything from trade-show environments to wine labels. Create a good LinkedIn profile, a clean portfolio site that’s easy to navigate, and strong branding for yourself. Join the AIGA or other organizations where you can meet other creatives and find leads — networking is still a great way to find work!

Keep your skill set up to date and make yourself available to freelance for temp agencies that often recruit temp-to-hire designers, which means you have to become a good business person too. Most of all, do not design in a vacuum. Get out to galleries, museums, local First Fridays, or even design-forward boutiques and see what’s on-trend. Subscribe to industry publications like Print, How, Communication Arts, and Ad Age to stay on top of what’s hot in design. The more marketable you are, the more work you will get. And stay positive. There is a lot of feast or famine in this business.

Believe in yourself and your passion
Belia Simm of Fishkill, New York

This is a very competitive and subjective career where you need to showcase your skill set and passion as best as possible. One key step to achieve this is building your portfolio, preferably an online version or website, making sure to pick your best six to 10 pieces. It can include pieces that you’ve produced during internships, school projects, commission work, or personal projects. This will be the base of your career and the door to many opportunities to come.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on 9 Tips for Recent Grads Seeking Creative Careers

6 Tips to Inspire Originality in Your Minted Designs

Written by Kim Dietrich Elam

“Freshness of aspect, design, or style” is one of the ways Merriam Webster defines “originality.”

In late 2010, I received a Minted holiday card designed by Kelli Hall, and was so impressed with the originality of the design and the quality of the paper and printing, that I entered my first Minted Design Challenge a couple months later. Designers and design connoisseurs alike are drawn to “the freshest designs on paper” at Minted, which are created by its community of independent artists around the world.

The great thing about originality is that each of us has it—we all possess a different combination of educational, professional, and life experiences that lend a fresh aspect to the creation or choosing of a design or art piece. Because my degree and experience is in civil engineering—rather than in a traditional art- or design-related field—I tend to avoid complex illustration and, instead, boil a design idea down to its simplest execution, which has resulted in a minimal design style.

If each of us is true to ourselves and our own unique talents, the diversity of the Minted community is what makes Minted and its designs special. Here are six tips offering sources of inspiration to help designers bring their own style and originality to Minted Design challenges.

1. Make lists and brainstorm words and ideas related to the category in which you are working.

Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko offers wonderfully creative brainstorming techniques. One chapter is dedicated to SCAMPER, a checklist of nine idea-generating techniques (“M” and “R” each represent two techniques). I used “C”—“combine with something else”—when I created my “Ripped” digital holiday party invitation, which combines a cocktail party with a gift exchange, resulting in the “ripped” double entendre.

Rippedholiday party online invitation by Kim Dietrich Elam

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... 1  COMMENT

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.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... 1  COMMENT

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.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... 5   COMMENTS