Minted Artists Connect at National Stationery Show 2016

Just as Minted has come a long way since the company’s humble beginnings in 2007, NSS has evolved to become more than merely the country’s largest paper-goods trade show. It’s also an annual meeting place for the Minted community to connect, share ideas, and get inspired for the year ahead. Here’s a photo recap of the whirlwind that is NSS—from the vendor floor at Javits Center to the community cocktail party, CMYK Artist brunch, and the conversations in between.

Lower left: Mary-Kevin Stuart, Minted’s Senior Merchandise Manager, Baby + Kids, talks with NSS attendees about Minted Wholesale.
All Photos by Sara Wight

We showcased a sampling of Minted Home products for the first time at the 70th NSS.

Alicia Schultz of Vine and Thistle designed the lettering of this year’s brand statement for the Minted NSS booth.

NSS attendees were excited to take home this postcard map of New York’s High Line, designed by Minted Artist Jordan Sondler.

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Community Connections

community connections

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
Seattle
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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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.

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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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Expert Tips for Self-Launching Minted Home Decor

Minted’s Self-launch Home Decor is an industry game-changer. When Minted artists self-launch one fabric design to their Artist Store, they will automatically be able to sell eight products using that fabric: fabric by the yard, pillows, curtains, drum lampshades, chandelier lampshades, placemats, napkins, and table runners.

“Watercolor Dots” Home Decor by Erin Niehenke

If you recently opened your Minted Artist Store and want to learn about the self-launch process, read these FAQs. Download self-launch templates here.

Kirby Lee Smith, a Minted artist who works by day as a home decor and fabric designer for a leading fashion designer—and who formerly created home decor for Target—shares these seven insights about the intricate details and the bigger picture of home decor design.

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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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