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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7 Ways to Master Art and Design Critiques

“Critiques are an extremely important part of the artistic process,” says Nathan Bond, a New York artist and Parsons School of Design faculty member with more than 20 years of critiquing experience. And because Minted artists say that peer critique is one of the most valuable aspects of the Minted community, we encourage artists to communicate with the community during the submission phase and critique period of Minted challenges.

One of the critical elements of successful critiquing is an environment of respect, trust, and honesty, says Nathan, and thanks to a global community of artists, Minted has built a supportive framework. To better understand the art of creative criticism, we’ve compiled the following expert advice on both giving and receiving criticism.

The Grand Canyon” by Elena Kulikova

1. Empathy Is the Best Policy

Before sharing a critique, Lara McCormick, Head of Design Education at CreativeLive, recommends putting yourself in the artist’s shoes to understand his or her experience and perspective.

“Empathy is known to increase prosocial, helping behaviors,” she says. “Are they just starting their career? New to this medium? Or maybe the artist is colorblind? From a different cultural background? All these things inform our work.”

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5 Ways to Connect With the Minted Artist Community

One of the things that makes Minted such a valuable place for artists is our strong and supportive community. There are many benefits of being part of Minted, but we’ve heard over and over from artists that the friends they make and the advice they receive within the community brings them lifelong connections and pushes them to improve their craft.

“Generosity is the word that sums up the most special thing about the Minted community,” says Laura Bolter, who’s been designing with Minted since 2011. “The artists and designers freely share their resources, support, and most importantly their feedback with each other—their competitors.”

If you’re new to Minted and wondering how to become part of this amazing group, we’ve gathered some tips so you can jump right in and start making meaningful connections.

See Me Go Wee Wee!” wall art print by Maja Cunningham

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How Minted Artists Find Inspiration in Faraway Places

We’re far from the first to hype the benefits of stepping out of the your comfort zone. Whether it’s shaking up the status quo with a slightly different routine, taking a hike just a few miles away, or traveling to the other side of the world, new places and new experiences do wonders for creative inspiration.

For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, when we asked Minted artists Susan Brown and Ana Sharpe how travel inspires their creativity, they sung the graces of their recent vacations.

Susan Brown
The Wisconsinite finds inspiration in Florida every winter

My husband and I spend January and February each year living in a pink house on the Florida Emerald Coast. To say that the vibrant Florida colors provide inspiration is almost an understatement. The sun is so bright and clear that it makes me, a Northerner obsessed with black and navy blue, fall in love with pastels— shutters, furniture, art, clothing, even pastel cars all look chic and sophisticated in this friendly climate. Primary colors are equally compelling: true, pure, saturated, happy.

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Jessica Hische’s 7 Truths for Creative Success

If there was ever a person who embodies the philosophy of learning (and succeeding) by doing, it’s probably Jessica Hische. The renowned graphic designer is a doer to the max. The self-employed artist got an early start working for Louise Fili Ltd., designs for clients ranging from Tiffany & Co. to Target, and recently published her first book, the aptly titled In Progress.

On January 28, Minted CEO Mariam Naficy hosted a fireside chat at Minted’s San Francisco office, asking a number of questions provided by Minted’s global community of artists. Here, we highlight some of Jessica’s insights for creative success. Watch the video of the fireside chat with Jessica here.

Minted CEO Mariam Naficy (left) hosted a fireside chat with Jessica Hische on January 28, 2016.

1. Present Life as Truth

Now that Jessica has an established career, she’s able to negotiate her terms with clients—moreso than as a rookie designer. “But it has to do more with your confidence,” she said.

Jessica explained that some creatives are compelled to enter into negotiations apologetically, instead of just putting reality on the table. “Parents need to present their lives as a truth,” she said. “Don’t think of your life as an inconvenience for your client. They have to understand the realities. Everybody has their thing, and I think we whitewash our humanness. We should be honest and say, for instance, If I get less than eight hours of sleep, I’m a wreck.”

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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?
Jessica:
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.

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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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