The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

Don’t you love it when a planned, routine project turns a corner, changes form, and, ultimately, becomes more interesting? That’s the case with this story. What started as the January edition of our #ArtistAdvice series (featuring Minted artists sharing their advice about work and creativity), evolved into this: an e-conversation between Jessica Williams and Rebecca Turner. Both are longtime artists in the Minted community. Both work from home. Both said, “Hey, wait a minute, I have more to say about this than just my advice.” And both want to hear your thoughts, so we’ll get to that at the end.

So, here we go. This is the start of what we hope becomes an ongoing discussion with the Minted artist community about what it means to work from home—the pros and cons and all the insights in-between.

Rebecca Turner burns midnight oil in South Bend, Indiana.

Amy Schroeder: How long have you worked from home, and why?
I’ve worked from home for almost three years. I previously worked full time in visual merchandising for Johnston & Murphy, and my freelance work built up to a point where I wasn’t able to do both. It was a scary leap to make, but completely worth it.

Rebecca: I’ve been working exclusively from home since 2010 and the birth of my first child. Before then, I worked full time at various “designy” jobs and freelanced on the side.


6 Tips for Success in Minted Challenges

You’ve set up your artist profile and you’re ready to enter your first Minted Design Challenge. This is an exciting and scary time. Where do you start? How do you stand out? What are you supposed to do after you submit your design? We have answers.

1. Read the Challenge Kit Closely

Every challenge has a submission kit with prize information, details about the type of work we’re looking for, creative notes, templates, submission and file guidelines. “Read the challenge notes—all of them—and then use those to help guide your design decisions,” says Julie Green, who joined the Minted community in 2010 and has 116 wins under her belt.

Within challenge notes, Minted’s merchandising team provides clues about what they’re looking for, and the files team includes info about the things you can and can’t do from a technical standpoint. “The more attention you pay to the challenge notes, the better your chances are of getting an editor’s pick,” Julie says.

Minted artist Kamala Nahas agrees. “I know it’s not always exciting, but there’s lots of useful information in the challenge kit. It tells you everything from how to set up files for submission to the special prizes Minted will be awarding.”

Julie Green of Up Up Creative’s Paper Crane wedding invitation

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How to Create Repeating Patterns in Illustrator

By Liz Conley

5 Fabric Design Tips

1. Place design elements on the sides to create a natural rhythm to your repeating pattern.

2. When filling the fabric art board with a pattern, make sure there’s no stroke on the rectangle. Strokes will cause an error on the finished file.

3. Make sure the size of your pattern is divisible by 36 inches. All Minted fabrics repeat exactly at the 36-inch mark.

4. For designs with a white background, easily add a pop of color to your alternate colorways by layering your pattern over a colored background. Customers love having options—especially for home decor.

5. Think outside the Illustrator window. Some of Minted’s most popular fabrics started as painting or drawings that were scanned in to tweak inside Illustrator.

Liz Conley, a former Production Designer, now works as a Public Relations Designer for Minted. Originally trained as a fine art printer and bookbinder, she now helps the Production Team translate Minted artists’ visions into real products. She’s also a Minted community member with a passion for watercolors and learning to push Illustrator to its limits in new ways. Visit Liz’s Minted Artist Store, and follow Liz on Instagram @lizconley.

Published January 15, 2016 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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5 Tips for Refreshing Your Minted Artist Store in Q1

Ready to give your Minted Artist Store a seasonal refresh? To help you think through your merchandising strategy and the products to spotlight in your Store, we’ve compiled these five tips with the insights of Minted’s marketing and merchandising leaders.

Alexandra Dzhiganskaya updated her Store shortly after New Year’s, prioritizing her winning Valentine’s Day designs and spring floral art.

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6 Tips for Non-Custom Self-Launch Stickers and Labels

Self-launch non-custom stickers are the eighth product of Minted’s self-launch offering for Minted Artists with Stores. This release includes two products: stickers and labels. The only difference between the two is the paper they’re printed on—stickers are printed on an adhesive-backed paper; labels are printed on a coated paper with a slicker, waterproof surface.

Minted’s assortment of customizable stickers are recommended for use as envelope seals and for adding a special touch to stationery and more. Minted’s assortment of customizable labels are recommended for a number of uses, including a durable way to identify kids’ bottles, food containers, and sports equipment.

One of the most important things to keep in mind about self-launch, non-customizable stickers is that they cannot be personalized by customers. If you’re looking for ideas for the endless possibilities for stickers, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find valuable insights from an experienced Minted sticker designer along with Minted’s merchandising, marketing, and technical leaders.

Guapa” rounded stickers by Kelli Hall

1. Fill a gap

“Self-launch stickers have potential to be very popular with consumers,” says Erica Krystek, a prolific artist whose Minted Artist Store includes a range of stickers. When it comes to creating new products for your Store, we recommend creating your own strategy based on your strengths and interests in addition to filling a gap in the Minted assortment. What do you feel is missing from the Minted sticker and label assortment, and how can you create something unique?

If you’re looking for more precise merchandising advice, Minted CEO Mariam Naficy’s vision for self-launch non-custom stickers revolves around greater flexibility for gift-giving. She recommends creating gift tags with the “From:” and “To:” fields not filled in, allowing for everyone in a family to use the tags. “We’re considering promoting non-custom stickers in the Minted shopping cart as an easy, last-minute ‘add to cart’,” she says. “Kind of like chewing gum at the cash register.”

2. Take a seasonal approach

Mary-Kevin Stuart, Minted’s Senior Merchandising Manager of Baby and Kids products, recommends designing stickers for events and holidays. “Stickers could be used for holiday treats or favors,” she says. “For instance, a sticker that simply reads, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’.”

You may also want to create gift labels that are versatile enough to be used year-round, or create seasonal stickers (such as themes for spring, summer, fall, and winter) or holiday- and event-themed stickers, such as for birthdays, winter holidays, etc.

Rollin’” sticker by Erica Krystek

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How To: Make New Year’s Resolutions and Goals That Stick

When it comes to kicking off a new year of creative ambition, do you believe in New Year’s resolutions or goal-setting? That’s the question we asked Stacey Meacham and Raven Erebus, Minted artists who, as it turns out, advocate for setting attainable goals. Read their strategies here.

Stacey Meacham
Atlanta, Georgia
Stacey’s Minted Artist Store

I’m a list maker, so I am all about setting goals. I tend to set goals throughout the year, though, and am not a fan of one-time New Year’s resolutions. I feel like big, grand gestures can fall flat, so I like to set quarterly goals, which range in size. I like to set small, attainable goals and big-picture goals, and I try not to freak out if I don’t hit all of them. I just kind of add them to the top of a new list and start to chip away at that. Setting goals and thinking of new ways to generate business helps me focus. Making lists helps me prioritize which goals are most important at any given time. For example, I’ve had one goal on my list for some time now and haven’t even scratched the surface of making it a reality, but I’m fine with that. That day will come. For now I am happy to have other goals that were on my radar for some time ticked off. It’s such a feeling of accomplishment to cross off a list item. It shows that you are making progress—and I am all for progress.

I think it’s important to be realistic with your goals early on. That’s not to say don’t dream big, but if you need to take a workshop or class to hone your skills, be real with that expectation and make that one of your goals. I realize things take time. Overnight success is not the norm, so setting goals is a good way to work toward something bigger without setting yourself up for failure. Especially if you have mini-milestones along the way. Pat yourself on the back and recognize your little successes as well as your big ones.

Looking Sharp” save the date card by Stacey Meacham

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Q&A: What’s Your Advice for Collaborating With Someone?

Ever thought about working in collaboration with another artist or designer? For some artists, working solo-style is best for them, while others choose to collaborate for short sprints or long-term projects. Many Minted artists also say they benefit from the collaborative nature of critiquing each other’s work during the Design Challenge process. For this edition of #ArtistAdvice, we asked full-time design duos Baumbirdy and Rose Lindo and her husband to share their best advice for creative collaboration.

Sarah Baumgardner and Carolyn Doogan


Our best advice for working in a collaboration with someone is to have good communication from the very beginning. Honest communication is best. Sounds simple, but it can be really hard in the beginning not to take things personally, especially when dealing with something so personal as art.

It’s easy to say, “I like this color palette,” “That looks nice,” or “What do you want for lunch?,” but the true progress comes from “real” critiques. Being able to openly give and take advice and criticism is essential in creating trust and open-mindedness between one another. Being able to recognize and talk about one’s strengths and weaknesses are essential to creating an efficient design process.

Floral Peace” holiday card by Baumbirdy


Minted artist finds inspiration despite health challenges

Kailyn Glassmacher, who is deaf, is one of 10 people in the world who has a rare muscular dystrophy-like syndrome. She recently won her first Minted design challenge, and we were blown away with her response to our question: What was most inspiring about 2015? Read her story here.

This was both a difficult and inspirational year for me.

I was born profoundly deaf with a rare form of muscular dystrophy-like syndrome. I am in a wheelchair full time and communicate using American Sign Language. My syndrome was only recently identified, and I am only one of 10 people in the world who has this disease—I am the oldest and only girl to have it.

Although it has been difficult, I haven’t let it stop me. I graduated from Gallaudet University with bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Graphic Design. I now work as a freelance graphic designer and continue to search for a full-time job that matches my artistic style.

In 2015, I was hospitalized twice for significant periods of time. I joined the Minted community between hospital stays to share my work and improve my art skills. Joining Minted kept me focused on my art and allowed me to forget about my illness. It helped me to develop a passion for stationery design that I didn’t know I had. I began working on the designs for my older sister’s wedding, which came out looking great! I am so proud of them. The wedding was wonderful, and I was well enough to fulfill my duties as maid of honor.

Although this was a tough year with my health, it was also a surprisingly wonderful and inspiring time in my career as an artist.

American Sign Language Love” Valentine’s Day Greeting Card by Kailyn Glassmacher

We’re honored that Kailyn has joined Minted’s global community of independent artists and designers, and we hope to see more of her designs in our assortment of holiday cardslimited-edition art, and home decor.

What was most inspiring about 2015 for you? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe.

Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?
Has anything ever scared you so much it’s inspired you?
How does food inspire your creativity?
Who’s your biggest creative influence?

Published December 10, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.


The EveryGirl leads Makers Night with Chicago artists

What do you get when you combine artists, bloggers, and a DIY project? Minted Makers Night, a celebration of Minted’s independent artist community, talented writers, and crafty cheer.

On December 2, Minted and The EveryGirl co-hosted the third Makers Night at Interior Define, a modern custom sofa company, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. While noshing on hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, everyone worked on the featured project: a wood serving tray covered with fabric designed by Chicago area Minted artists. Bloggers from The Golden Girl Blog, The Sweet Season, Michaela Noelle, and more participated as well.

Artist Angela Marzuki said the best part of the evening was catching up with other members of the Minted community. “There is so much time spent online critiquing each other’s work, cheering one another on, discussing common goals, and sharing both the successes and failures,” she said. “It really does feel like you already know one another, like getting together with a bunch of really great friends.”

Chicago Minted artist duo Baumbirdy designed the event invitation, “Floral Peace.”

Minted artists and Chicago bloggers connected over their shared interest in beautiful design.

This Minted table runner, “Simple Sprig,” was designed by Chicago artist Erin Deegan.


10 Art Prints to Get You into the Holiday Spirit

Written by Christina Loff

This week we’ve rounded up original self-launched art prints from Minted’s talented community of artists.

Eric Beckett of Geekink Designs is inspired by vintage art and typography, and this holiday-themed art print showcases his inspiration and talent. We love how the intricate lines, holly leaves, and snowflakes playfully dance around the cheerful phrase. “Eat, Drink, and be Merry Colorful” is also available in foil.

Lyna Ti’s delicate hand-lettered “Hope Wreath” looks just right on a mantle this season. Pull this beautiful piece out for the holiday and leave it up all year long. She can stand alone or be paired with with her matching “Faith Wreath.”

We love this rock n’ roll take on Christmas by Jessie Steury. What a great print to hang in a child’s room to get into the holiday spirit (and maybe remind him or her to be more nice than naughty!) Check out all of Jessie’s holiday designs right here.

Another beautiful holiday-inspired hand-lettered piece to add to your collection. This one is from Heather Buchma and is a lovely way to celebrate Christmas. Get it for yourself or gift it to friends, family, or teachers.

This print sums up pretty much all we ever want for the holidays. Katie Craig’s “Good Words” print is a great reminder to focus on the positive when things get stressful this season. Another piece to hang over the mantle and leave up all year long.
Kamala Nahas describes “Insomnia” as depicting the feeling of being farther away from things than you actually are. We think it also captures that wistful feeling of winter, which is often a time of deep reflection before the new year begins. Kamala has recently self-launched a dozen journals featuring her evocative photos, check them all out right here—they make perfect stocking stuffers.
Leslie Le Coq’s piece Open Window perfectly showcases the mood of winter. This photo manages to be warm and inviting despite the blizzard it’s capturing. Be sure to check out all of Leslie’s stunning photographs in her Artist Store.

Melinda Denison took this photo on a perfect, snowy afternoon in Bavaria. We love how she captured so much in one shot, from the snow laden village to the snow-capped alps. “Snowy Village in Bavaria” is a lovely way to celebrate the beauty of winter.

Bring the outdoors inside with Catherine Hubert’s intricate Snowflake Series. Pictured here is “Snowflake No. 3.” Catherine is interested in the intersection where art and design meet and particularly fascinated by radial symmetry. She designed this series to be displayed individually or in multiples as a grid.

If you’re looking for something brighter, Kanika Mathur’s “December Fruits” is a cheerful addition to any home. This art print is part of a series of seasonal fruits created using pastels and crayons. It’s a perfect addition to any kitchen or dining room. It also makes a great host or hostess gift for the holidays. Check out the entire series of seasonal fruits in her Store.

Christina Loff is an Artist Relations Manager at Minted, focusing on outreach and onboarding. She relishes every opportunity to collaborate with creative people and bring communities together around original products and ideas. She’s been lucky enough to work with the talented and innovative teams at ReadyMade magazine (RIP), Creativebug, Hello!Lucky, and Chronicle Books, where she worked as a publicist and marketer for six years, developing and promoting their lifestyle and craft category. Christina has also written for various websites and magazines including CraftStylish and SFist. Follow Christina on Instagram and Twitter @tweetsweet.

6 Festive Minted Self-Launch Holiday Cards
6 of Our Favorite Self-launch Gift Tags & Wrapping Paper”
Minted Self-Launch Templates
Minted Artist Stores Merchandising Tools Tutorial Video
How to Merchandise Your Minted Artist Store for the Holidays

Published November 24, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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