Kristen Smith Serves as Minted’s Community Ambassador

Minted artist Kristen Smith was at the top of the list of candidates for the first Minted ambassador, a pilot program we created to help artists connect with each other in their local regions of the world. Minted artists are constantly connecting with each other online, and routinely share with us how much they enjoy meeting and interacting with other community members in person. 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.

“Kristen is a passionate advocate for the Minted community, excellent at coming up with fun ideas, has good relationships with the creative community in Atlanta and has an infectious enthusiasm,” says Anthea Tjuanakis Cox, Minted’s Director of Artist Relations. “You can’t help but feel better after chatting with Kristen.”

Here, Kristen shares a few thoughts about the ambassador program.

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Minted Artists Pay It Forward

It takes a community to thrive as an independent artist.

To celebrate Minted’s extraordinary community spirit, we bring you Pay It Forward, our campaign to help Minted artists connect, collaborate, and succeed during the 2016 Holiday Stationery Design Challenge season. Because artists tell us that peer critique is one of the most valuable aspects of the Minted community, we’ve compiled these resources to help you give and receive quality feedback, stay inspired, and get the most out of the Minted challenge process. Stay tuned for updates.

Julep Features

Critiquing Advice
7 Ways to Master Art and Design Critiques (insights from Parsons School of Design faculty)
15 Questions to Inspire Quality Art Critiques
10 Tips for Critiquing Minted Art and Designs (insights from the community)

Thrive During the Holiday Challenge Season
5 Ways to Connect With the Minted Artist Community
6 Tips for Success in Minted Challenges
4 Mantras for Being Boss in Work and Life
How to Thrive During Minted’s Holiday Challenge Season

Creative Inspiration
7 Podcasts for Inspiring Your Creativity
Minted’s 20 First-Place Challenge Winners of 2015


Critique Awards

Chance to win a Minted feedback session

To recognize constructive feedback, we award critiquers in every Minted Design challenge.

Give fifteen or more constructive comments in the New Year’s Challenge by the time voting opens and you’ll be automatically entered in a random drawing to win a one-on-one feedback session with a Minted merchant of your choice! Remember, this is not a numbers game — quality feedback is much more valuable than quantity of feedback. Make sure to use the “Mark as Constructive” button to reward great feedback when you see it.This will be based on the Feedback leaderboard for each challenge, and we will combine results from the foil and non-foil version of each challenge.


Community Connections

Join our Facebook group
The Minted Community Facebook Group is open to all Minted artists who have submitted to at least one design challenge. Connect, share resources, and ask questions in this active global group. Learn how to join here.

Call in, meet up, get involved
The Minted team hosts weekly office hours, quarterly calls, meetups, and other community events. View and subscribe to our events calendar here. Are you interested in hosting a Minted meetup in your area? Fill out this form.

Join the Buddy Program
The Minted Buddy Program is an opportunity for you to make a deeper connection with one to two other artists. We pair people based on personality, experience, and category (art, stationery, etc.). Learn more here.


How the Minted Artist Community
Pays It Forward

Jennifer Postorino
Eight-time Minted Critique Award winner

“Taking time to critique designers is important to me, not only for their growth, but for mine as well. It keeps my current skills in check and allows me to continue learning as a designer. I’ve learned so much from so many designers. I honestly can’t believe where I am at today. Not only do I feel like I have gained some real friendships simply by reaching out to people, but my design skills have gotten so much better.”

Christian Bennin
from in “Ever Thought About Your Creative Turnoffs?” on Julep

“I get over creative blocks faster as I get critiques from other designers, and the creative briefs for each project really help me focus my thoughts. The story of my first Minted design challenge illustrates my point perfectly. The first competition I entered was the grad challenge. I was a bit over-eager and posted a quickly created design that hadn’t been thought through very well. Once I submitted my design, I saw how the critique process worked and got really inspired by it. I decided to sit down and really do this. I sketched and designed two versions of a new design and used the community polling feature to narrow down to the option that eventually won me my first award! It was a great eye-opener to me and example of how the process can work.”

Julie Green of Up Up Creative
from “Meet a Minted Artist” on Julep

“I once left a comment on one of Jen Wick’s designs with a few minor-detail suggestions about sizing this up, rotating that, and moving it all over or something like that, and she commented back to me privately that I’d make a good art director. Ever since her comment, I think I approach my work very differently. Having a designer who I like and admire point out this strength just changed me. It has added a whole new layer to my interaction with my own work, and it has helped me better understand what I like and don’t like about stuff out in the world. I think the work I’ve produced in the time since Jen’s comment is more confident, more purposeful, more polished, and more wholly mine.”

Susan Brown

“When I was a newbie and saw Karly Depew‘s save the date design ‘Timeless’ in the Jan 2012 challenge, I went to her page and asked her advice. She sent me an email where she presented my design in three different type styles and explained the importance of typography. So special.”


Published March 24, 2016 • Want to join the Minted Artist Community? Submit to a Challenge here.

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7 Podcasts For Inspiring Your Creativity

What inspires your best creative work—audio stimulation or the sound of silence? Some artists need absolute quiet; others, not so much. Jennifer Wick, a prolific artist with 283 Minted Design Challenge wins to her name, says she is unable to work in silence, so she fills the void with good music and talks. “I remember getting my first walkman in sixth grade and raiding my older sister’s mixed tapes, finding a whole new world of music that put me in such an inspired mood,” the Pennsylvania artist says. “From then on, I’ve always worked with music or the news in the background.”

Especially during Minted’s busy holiday stationery design challenge season each spring, Jennifer’s working ritual includes several podcasts per week, in addition to Pandora, HGTV, and the Food Network. If you’re looking for recommendations for podcasts to help stimulate creativity, you’ve come to the right place. With so, so many great podcasts to choose from, we’re limiting our list to seven, but we’d love to hear your ideas—share them in Comments below.

Podcasts About Art, Design, and Creativity

The Jealous Curator: Art for Your Ear

Danielle Krysa is the blogger behind The Jealous Curator, the author of Creative Block, and the host of Art for Your Ear, the podcast featuring “inside-scoop stories from the artsiest people” she knows. Minted artist Kelly Schmidt likes Art for Your Ear for its tips and tricks about artists’ technical aspects, creative process, and materials. “Danielle talks to artists about challenges they face and how they found success,” Kelly says. “There are common themes about artists who are parents, as well as comments about insecurities as artists, which I’m guessing many of us relate to.”

Kelly suggests listening to the episode featuring fellow Minted artist Jaime Derringer (“Design Milk by Day & Sketchbooks by Night”), and to inspire holiday spirit, Kelly likes “The Best Gift Ever,” in which 12 artists talk about the best gift they’ve ever received. She also loves: Xochi Solis: “Paper Nerds Unite“; Kiana Mosley “Late One Night“; and Maryann Moodie: “Textiles Treasures, and a New Tribe.”


The work of textile artist Maryanne Moodie

Design Matters

Design Matters is the world’s first podcast about design and an inquiry into the broader world of creative culture through wide-ranging conversations with designers, artists, curators, musicians, and other leaders of contemporary thought. Host Debbie Millman has interviewed more than 250 design luminaries and cultural commentators, including Massimo Vignelli, Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Pink, Barbara Kruger, and Seth Godin.

Creative Commoners

Creative Commoners explores a particular topic about the creative process, with each host bringing their own flavor and experience to the mix, and plenty of witty and tangential banter to keep things fun. Jennifer Wick recommends “Episode 140: How the Creative Mind Works” (skip to 15:35), in which the speakers talk about their creative processes and the mind exercises they do to help get ideas flowing. “For me, I’ll do whatever it takes to put myself in the holiday mindset,” Jennifer says.

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How to Photograph Your 2-D Art

Written by Marlo Miyashiro

You’ve spent hours, days, weeks—perhaps even months—on your latest masterpiece, and now it’s ready for its close-up. We’re here with tips to help you take high-quality photographs of your 2-D artwork in preparation for digital production. Before we begin, we want to emphasize that it’s always best and worth the expense to work with a professional photographer to capture images of your work for fine art prints and other applications. However, if hiring a pro is out of reach or you want to learn a new skill, we encourage you to give these tips a try.

Choose Your Background

The ideal background is a flat-white or neutral color wall with minimal texture. If you don’t have a naked wall, designate an area that you can clear of furniture and other items that might reflect unwanted colors into your photos.

Set Up Your Artwork

The best way to set up your artwork is to hang it on the wall at eye level or vertically on an easel. This will allow you to take accurate distance measurements from the floor to the center of your piece and match that distance to your camera lens in order to make your photo as distortion-free as possible. If you can’t hang art from a wall, you can prop your work up against the wall, taking note of the angle of the face of your piece so you can match that as well.

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4 Mantras for Being Boss in Work and Life

By Kathleen Shannon

Whether you’re a full-time creative entrepreneur paying the bills by doing what you love or hustling to build your dream job on the side, you have to get in the right mindset to really be boss in work and life. Because the truth is this: Blending work and life—doing what you love for a living—isn’t always easy. At times it can be downright scary, hard, and lonely. And getting in the right mindset can be tricky when you feel like a fraud (surely we’re not the only ones who feel like we’re faking it sometimes, right?) or close down shop and crawl under a rock. We use mantras, phrases, or affirmations we repeat to ourselves over and over again, to literally carve out neural pathways in our brains that keep us positive and productive. We’d like to share four of our favorites with you.

Don’t Quit Your Day Dream” limited edition print by Matthew Taylor Wilson

1. “I Chose This”

When we interviewed Lisa Congdon and her wife Clay Walsh on our Being Boss podcast, the full-time artist told us she gets through the roller-coaster ups and downs that come with self-employment by remembering that she chose her path. She reminds herself with every pressing deadline that she chose to live the life of an artist. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in your own daily grind that you forget you’re living the dream—and if you’re not, you get to make different choices.

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15 Minted Artists to Follow on Instagram

How did we narrow this list to 15? With Minted artists around the world creating beautiful Instagrams, it wasn’t easy, but we considered three things: compelling content, a cohesive look, and posting on the regular. This is just the tip of the creative iceberg—we want to hear your recommendations for other Minted artists to follow on Instagram. Share your suggestions in comments at the end of this article.

Patricia Varga
@parimastudio
Patricia’s Minted Artist Store
The abstract acrylic and new media artist shares the brushstrokes of her process
and takes you inside her Oxnard, California, studio.

Being bold #dscolor #bright #colorful #designinspo

A photo posted by parimastudio (@parimastudio) on

 


Annie Bunker Mertlich
@WildFieldPaperCo
Annie’s Minted Artist Store
Get a look up close at the artist and calligrapher’s elegant, nature-inspired work.

Packing orders all day! Love these kind of days!

A photo posted by Annie Bunker Mertlich (@wildfieldpaperco) on

 


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Top 10 File Prep Tips for Minted Artists

By Olivia Goree

If you’ve won a Minted Challenge, congratulations! While you’re still basking in winner’s glow, you’ll receive a file request email from files@minted.com. We understand that there are a lot of elements to keep track of when setting up your customizable art and stationery files. Here’s a list of what we consider the Top 10 File Preparation Tips to help you clean up your files and get your designs launched as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

1. Use Provided Template Layers

The layers in your provided Minted templates are not only there to help us with our production process, but also to help you organize your artwork. These layers mimic how a customer is able to customize your design on our site, so placing elements in the correct layers is very important. The foil layer, for example, is placed on top, as this is the last piece printed on top of all other digital elements.

For more information on how to utilize these layers, read the File Prep Instructions PDF included in your request email or check out the Templates & Layers FAQ.

2. Tackle Tricky Text Boxes

When formatting text boxes, it’s important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Text in each text box should consist of the same font and character settings in order to work in our customizer. For example, in “Safari Party Animals” by Snow and Ivy, you’ll notice that each text treatment is separated out in the design file, which allows a customer to change text in each area while keeping the same styling. Important reminder: Avoid using glyphs in any editable text, if possible.

To learn more about setting up text in your files, see our Text Settings FAQ Page.

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Q and A: Ever Thought About Your Creative Turnoffs?

For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, we’re taking a bit of a departure from our usual process of spotlighting artists’ sources of inspiration. Today we’re talking about inspiration killers. Minted artists Elliot Whalen and Christian Bennin share both sides of the coin—what does and doesn’t inspire them—so, really, this is a “double issue” edition.

Elliot Whalen
San Francisco
Elliot’s Minted Artist Store

I prefer not to dwell on things that drain my inspiration, but while we’re on the subject, I can list a few. To start, I’m not saying I’m Superman, but I do take up all my vitality from the sun, absorbing its energies and converting them to creative inspiration. I love natural light and fresh air. In fact, I just assumed a one-minute power pose in the morning sun to write this feature.

IceSCREAM” custom art print by WHALEN

In a similar vein, cramped and cluttered spaces make me claustrophobic. Not literally, but in a creative sense. I get cabin fever easily. Growing up in Southern California near the beach, I spent a lot of time outside, which became a major inspiration in my art. I drew waves, surfboard designs, and beach landscapes in my school notebooks. And a few years ago I moved to San Francisco, which has the perfect blend of bustling city, creativity, and all the outdoor adventures you could want just 20 minutes away.

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How to Build Your Creative Brand on Instagram

The current social media landscape exists in an attention-deficit economy. Since the advent of social media networking, the one-time novice user has matured into a seasoned consumer, fine-tuning their preferences according to only the most pertinent themes relevant to their universe. Nowadays, brands (and artists) looking to capture attention must also fine-tune their messaging with their own unique creative spin, topped with promotional tactics that support the social ecosystem.

How do you, as an artist and small-business owner, keep up? Simply put, the more perspective and visual cohesion you create through your social channels, the more value you’ll provide for your community, and the more you’ll succeed in marketing your brand.

Here are three steps to setting up a successful Instagram strategy…

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Artists Say Work-Life Balance is Possible – With Boundaries

We often hear Minted artists talk about the concept of work-life balance—and how to be better at it. When we looked up “work-life” balance in the dictionary, the definition is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).

And so, I guess the larger question is: Is work-life balance possible? After talking with Minted artists Dave Douglass and Lena Barakat—both of whom are busy parents of three and who work from home—our answer is possibly maybe. It’s likely less about striking some sort of perfection and more about living life based on your own definition of balance and happiness. And, just want to add that Lena graciously wrote her answer during her 40th week of pregnancy.

Dave Douglass
Madison, Wisconsin
dave-douglass.com

As a freelance designer with three young children, balancing work and life can be a real challenge. I’ve found that dividing my attention and trying to “multitask,” as they say, leaves my work unfocused and everyone in tears—including me. Setting aside blocks of dedicated time where I am either 100% Dad or 100% designer is the only way I can be the best at both. With the help of my incredible wife (currently a full-time PhD student), we are both able to strike a balance.

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