6 Tips for Creating Engaging Social Media Content

By Christina Loff

Have you decided which social media platforms are right for you and your artist brand?

Now comes the fun part—creating great content. The blogging and social media landscapes have changed quite a bit in recent years. Blogs were once the home of content. Today, the lines between blogs and social networks have blurred a bit as social networks have increasingly become home to content, albeit short-form content. Blogs still play an important role in hosting your longer-form content, but it’s more important than ever to invest time and energy into building your artist brand on sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.

Here are six tips for creating compelling social posts that will keep your followers hitting the “like” button and sharing your content with their friends.

Christine Joy shares beautifully composed behind-the-scenes social posts, and she uses search-friendly hashtags.

1. Understand and Connect With Your Audience

Knowing what makes your audience tick is perhaps the most important continual “research” you’ll do to inform your content-creation process. To understand your fans, follow some of the people who follow you, spend time looking at what they share and the other artists and brands they follow.

Another great way to learn about your audience is to pay attention to what they respond to. For example, if you post a photo of your latest painting in progress, and it gets more likes than anything else you’ve posted, that’s a good indication that your audience is hungry for behind-the-scenes work-in-progress shots, so give them what they want. Your followers are telling you what kind of content they love every time they like, share, and comment, so pay attention, and let those clues inform your content strategy.

Don’t be afraid to like and comment on your followers’ posts. Chances are, they’ll be flattered you took the time to check them out, too. You want to establish a genuine connection with your followers, which means you’re also paying attention to what they’re posting and you aren’t just there to grow your numbers.

Carly Reed includes a strong call to action in this timely Facebook post along with a well-styled photo.

2. Track Your Results and Set Goals

There are many tools available to help you understand your audience, track your results, and monitor engagement. Some of these tools are free, and there are many complex tools you can use for a monthly fee.

These tools are free and easy to use:

Hungry to learn more? There are also a number of blogs to keep you up to date on the ever-changing social media landscape; Social Media Examiner, Hubspot, Simply Measured, and Buffer are all solid resources worth reading.

It’s important to set goals around how often you will post, how many new followers you will try to gain each week or month, how much traffic you want to drive back to your Minted Artist Store or website, or how many clicks you’d like to see on the links you post. Bit.ly is a great free tool that helps you create shorter, unique URLs that are trackable so you can see how many people click on each link that you share.

@MogleaMeg Instagram fans loved the post about proprietor Meg Gleason’s daughter.

3. Showcase Your Original Aesthetic

Show the world who you really are. The content you post should reflect what’s unique and interesting about your artistic style. While it’s easy to take inspiration from other artists you follow on social media, remind yourself what sets you apart and focus on that. Your social media posts should feel like an authentic snapshot into your life, your work, and your inspiration. Lean more toward personal or editorial images, and shy away from anything that feels too much like an advertisement.

What content can you share that no one else would think to post? Do you live in the countryside surrounded by goats and horses? Share photos of your environment that will surprise and delight your audience. Are you a mom who doesn’t start designing until the kids are in bed? What does that look like? How many cups of coffee do you consume while creating? What rituals do you do to get inspired and motivated? Chances are, your processes are different from other artists, and your fans might get a kick out of learning that you need to listen to Barry Manilow to get into your painting groove.

Once you figure out what makes you uniquely you, it’s important to take great photos that will grab people’s attention. Read “10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store,” for advice that doubles for shooting your creative process and styled product shots for social media. And don’t be afraid to post differentiated variations of your content on your chosen social media platforms, to maximize mileage. You can also cross-post between networks (for example, linking to Instagram content from Facebook) to help your followers on one social network find you on another social network.

Social media is a visual medium—even Twitter has become visual. Studies have shown that tweets that include photos actually get up to 150% higher engagement than tweets that only include text or links. Show off who you really are with great photos and visuals, and experiment with the social platforms you share them on.
Minted Artist Patricia Vargas of Parima Studio has a beautiful Instagram aesthetic.
4. Be Consistent
We recommend creating a social media content plan or schedule. This can be as simple as deciding how often you will post and what you will share each day. For example, on Sundays, you could share a photo of the mess you made in your studio over the weekend, or you could ask your audience a question every Wednesday. For #tbt (Throwback Thursday), you could share a photo of your favorite painter or a vintage illustration that inspires your own work (Creative Commons on Flickr is a great resource). But don’t get so consistent that you get bored! Keep your schedule interesting, and don’t be afraid to mix things up when your posts feel stagnant.
The other essential element of consistency is posting regularly. Commit to how many times a week you will post on the social networks you’re active on, and stick to it. Opinions vary greatly about how often you should post on social; the best rule of thumb is to do what feels right for you, measure your results, and adjust accordingly. Buffer has a great infographic on how often they think people should post and why.


  • Pinterest: It’s good to spend at least an hour a day pinning and aim for 10 or more pins per day. Make sure that your pin descriptions include important keywords like colors and product categories, for example, “blue watercolor art print.” This will help Pinterest searchers find your pins. About half of your pins should be content other than your own—repin from other pinners or pin from content you find on other websites. Mix your products and content in with others so your boards are not overly self-promotional. To make your daily pinning easier, add the Pin It button to your own browser. If you want people to pin your artwork from your website, make sure to add a “pin it” button on your website for your visitors to use. Think of yourself as a curator on Pinterest and use this platform as another way to showcase your aesthetic.

  • Instagram: We recommend posting no more than two times a day, but posting just one solid photo once a day is totally acceptable on this platform. Instagram is about quality over quantity.

  • Facebook: Because of Facebook’s algorithms for brands that have Facebook Pages, it’s a bit harder to get your content seen on this platform unless you boost your posts or pay for sponsored posts. You can also post from your personal account, but, depending on your privacy settings, your posts will only be seen by your Facebook friends. If you have a brand Page, we recommend posting about once per day on this platform.

  • Twitter: Tweets have a short lifespan (about 15 to 30 minutes), so chances are most of your followers won’t see your tweets unless they happen to be looking at Twitter the exact moment you tweet. For this reason, it’s OK to post more often on Twitter. As many as five to ten tweets a day is acceptable. But remember what works best on Twitter is being a part of conversations, so reply to other people’s tweets and retweet often.

Descriptive captions are one of the most important elements of Pinterest pins. To help fellow Pinterest users find your pins, use keywords such as product type descriptors and colors (example: “brown fall wedding invitation”). Shown here: Erika Firm’s Pinterest.

5. Be Timely

Acknowledging what’s going on in the world helps define your voice as an artist, and chances are, your followers will want to engage with you. Is there something relevant happening in the world that relates to what you do or what you know matters to your followers? For example, did a new museum open in your city, or is a big event happening? Share an article, photo, or thought about relevant current events.

@Minted shared this beautiful artwork by Kiana Mosely on the day the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. This is Minted’s top Instagram post of all time.

6. Give Something Back

It’s important to remember to not always talk about yourself on social media. What can you give your followers that will inform or entertain them? Sometimes this could be a contest or giveaway of one of your prints. It could also mean you regram the work of one of your super fans, they will appreciate that you took the time to notice their work and are helping to grow their audience, too. Do you have any great tips on how to take a great photo? Do you have easy recipes you can share around the holidays? Maybe you discovered an amazing new band—tell your followers.

People who are active on social media like being in the know, so give them something they can use and share with their own friends and followers. Maybe it’s a cool gif, or a link to a great story that will make them look informed. You could deliver your readers a shot of beauty in their day, and sometimes you can share information that they can’t find anywhere else. Be useful to your followers.

Betty Hatchett did a nice job tagging fellow artist Lindsey Megahed in this re-post in which both artists are featured.

Christina Loff is an Artist Relations Manager at Minted, focusing on outreach and onboarding. She relishes every opportunity to collaborate with creative people and brings 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 @tweetsweet.

This is the fourth article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, and sell their work. Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep for more.

What’s the Best Social Media Platform for You?
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store

Published October 13, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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What Are the Best Social Media Platforms for You?

By Meighan O’Toole

As the social media landscape changes and grows, so have the rules. It’s no longer necessarily true that you need a presence on every social network—especially if you’re a one-person show. The last thing you want to do is waste time on social media when you could be creating your art. Many artists will want to focus on two or three platforms rather than spreading themselves too thin.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest speak to different audiences, hold different appeals, and serve different purposes. What works on one network may or may not work on another. Here, we highlight some of the benefits of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, a handful of best practices for each, and share examples of Minted artists who excel on each platform.

Ask These Questions Before Diving In
The important first step is outlining your goals. This doesn’t need to be a labor-intensive process. Think of it as a road map to guide you in how to approach social media.

Do I want to:

  • drive traffic to my Minted Artist Store and personal website?
  • increase sales?
  • gain exposure?
  • build a larger online following?

Once you outline your goals, you’ll have a better idea of how to approach your social media strategy and how to use the platforms. For instance, if your main goals are to drive traffic and increase sales, focus your efforts on sharing content that includes links to your Artist Store and talk specifically about your products and the stories behind your brand. (We’ll cover social content and building an audience in upcoming Minted Holiday Playbook articles.)

Which Platforms Are Best for You?
The next step is to identify the best platforms for your business. I encourage small businesses that are just starting (or that have been posting to social media with no real results) to focus on one to three platforms. This allows you to maximize your effect and efforts.

Some artists succeed by focusing their attention on one platform. Minted artists Annie Bunker Mertlich and Stephanie Ryan take this approach with Instagram.

When deciding what platforms are best for you, consider these factors:

  • Where will your content perform best?
  • Which platform(s) do you enjoy and feel most comfortable using?
  • What is your schedule?
  • Look at your contemporary peers—how are they engaging their audiences?

I would never encourage someone to copy their professional peers, but it is important to pay attention to the platforms they’re using and how well they’re doing. Think about this first, then think about your content and what platforms feel like a good fit for you. Approach these platforms with curiosity as opposed to fear.

Social media strategy is a skill just like anything else you do within your business—the more you do it, the more you’ll grow. Also be sure to think about your schedule; it’s easy, for example, to get sucked into a four-hour time trap on Facebook; be realistic about the amount of time you can spend.

Everyone is on Facebook. Literally. Facebook is the most-used social media platform with 1.5 billion monthly users, and while it may not be growing in leaps and bounds anymore, its users are using it more frequently. You’re most likely to find your friends and family on Facebook, and they’re likely to support you.

Content types that perform best on Facebook are images, personal stories that resonate with your audience, and video. (For example, watercolor artist Naomi Ernest does a fantastic job including short, fun videos on her page.) Facebook is a great place to cultivate community through your friends, family, and really share your brand’s overall look and feel. While its algorithm can be a little tough to get your content into your follower’s News feed, it’s not impossible.

Keep your captions short; studies have shown that copy with less than 40 characters gets much higher engagement. When using images to promote your product, make sure to always drive traffic back to your Store by including a compelling call to action (directive copy and a link).

Example CTAs include “See my newest prints: [your Store URL]” and “Shop now: [your Store URL].”

Hooray Creative on Facebook

When you receive a comment, be sure to respond, which shows fans there’s a real person behind your brand. Correspondence also alerts Facebook’s tricky algorithm that activity is happening, which in turn pushes your content up higher into others’ News feeds.

A great example of someone who demonstrates many of these tips is photographer Jessica Cardelucci. Jessica makes a point of sharing her ethereal photographs but also gives a well-rounded view of what her brand is about. She posts behind-the-scenes shots, her Minted products, her work being featured, and personal photos that reflect her brand’s mission. Jessica also really connects with her fans on her Page, making it a point to reply to and like every comment.

With over 400 million active users, this photo sharing app is perfect for artists and creatives. What sets Instagram apart from the other top social media platforms is that it offers the ability to tell your story in a unique way—primarily through images.

There are many ways to use Instagram, but the best place to start is to share your work. Aim to use natural light, and eschew Instagram’s filters as it tends to dampen the strength of one’s work. But do use Instagram’s editing tools—they’re powerful and in cases when natural light isn’t available, they can save an image and really brighten it up.

Aesthetic style is perhaps the most important thing to focus on with Instagram, so I recommend showcasing your best images. The aesthetic of Annie Bunker of WildField Paper Company’s Instagram is beautiful. She creates a lifestyle within her images, inviting followers to become engulfed.

Because Instagram is a never-ending feed of images, aim to post at least once a day or at the very least a handful of times a week. Respond to comments and follow accounts back that share your interests. Instagram is a huge community-based platform, and as an artist, it’s imperative to build and nurture that community. While hashtags feel a little spammy on Twitter and Facebook, hashtags work really well on Instagram because it’s the only way to search for new content. I recommend using one or two hashtags to describe your work.

Don’t be afraid to share images that go beyond your work. Share your studio space, things that inspire you, works in progress (using the popular hashtag #wip). Tell your story through pictures. Watercolor artist Stephanie Ryan not only shares her beautiful paintings of florals, but shares images of her paints and supplies and inspiration, such as crystals.

Instagram is an incredible ecosystem for artists and creatives, and I bet you’ll have fun being there.

A virtual bulletin board, Pinterest is a collection of millions of visuals. It’s a never-ending stream of images that you curate or “pin” to Boards that you create by theme or topic. Pinterest is about more than sharing your own content—it’s about creating a mood and a feeling. It can feel inspiring and a little overwhelming at first. But once you get the hang of it, it’s a great place to tell your brand’s story.

Over 63% of Pinterest’s users now use the platform to shop and be inspired instead of looking at magazines and catalogs. This is a great opportunity to share your Minted products, but also inspire your community. Jessica Cardelucci does a wonderful job embodying her brand through her Boards about the ocean, California, and her own photography.
Spend 10–15 minutes once or twice a day on Pinterest to share your own content, as well as content from people you follow and original content from the web. Your profile should spell out who you are, and what you pin, so people know immediately why they should follow you. Sign up for a business account, which includes analytics and information about who’s pinning what from your site, and what pins are performing well.


If you have a personal account, don’t fret; Pinterest allows conversion easily. Create Boards that speak to your brand, and that are easily searchable: utilize the Board Name, Description, and Categories, and be sure to choose a winning image that describes your Board perfectly.

What are the best social platforms for you? Share your thoughts in Comments below.

Meighan O’Toole is a digital strategist empowering creative businesses online through social media, content creation, and cultivating community. Connecting people to technology to help make their work and personal lives easier and more enjoyable is her passion. She lives and works in Boston. Follow her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

This is the third article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, sell their work. Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep: The next two articles will cover social media content and audience development.

Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store
Minted Artist Stores Merchandising Tools Tutorial Video
Minted Self-Launch Templates

Published October 8, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.


10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store

By Marlo Miyashiro

Now that you’ve got your Minted Artist Store up and running, it’s time to turn your attention to the presentation of your work by taking outstanding photos to fill your Store’s photo carousel, in addition to other branding materials such as social media and your personal website.

If you’ve tried to take photos in the past only to find limited success, you’re not alone. Product photography can be very challenging and requires a good amount of skill and practice to master.

Of course, the best thing to do is to work with a professional photographer. However, if you are unable to work with a professional right away, here are some DIY tips to help you easily improve your product photography using the camera you already own.

Get to Know Your Camera

Whether you are using a simple point-and-shoot, a fancy DSLR, or your phone camera, it’s worth the time to read your owner’s manual in an effort to get to know some specific settings on your camera that can help you improve your photos right away.

Carly Reed’s elegant black-and-white portrait

Carly Reed’s product photography on her @carlyreeddesigns Instagram

1. Exposure Value (EV +/-)

Adjusting the exposure value changes the camera’s shutter speed in very small increments. In essence, it slows down to brighten or speeds up to darken the image in your camera. When used correctly, this setting can lessen the time it takes to adjust the brightness in your photo editing program. So if you find that your photos are consistently too dark or too bright, exposure value is a setting that can help you create better-looking photos in your camera almost immediately.

Pro Tips: As a general rule of thumb, when shooting indoors, it’s best to avoid taking photos when sun is shining directly into your room. Also, cloudy days are a photographer’s best friend, as the lighting acts a natural diffuser. When photographing framed art, you might want to remove the glass in the frame to avoid catching glares.

2. White Balance

Different light sources project different colors that are almost imperceptible—until you take a photo. For example, household light bulbs shine a warm, yellow tone while fluorescent lights project a cool blue hue.

If you find that the colors in your photos aren’t as true as you’d like, you might want to try adjusting your camera’s white balance setting. This setting allows you to change what your camera sees as pure white by choosing a preset white balance range that matches the ambient light around the things you are photographing. If your camera allows for a custom white balance, give that a try. You’ll be surprised at the difference it can make in the overall tone of your photos.

3. Camera Timer

If your photos are very blurry, there is likely too much movement of your camera when you are pressing the shutter button. A very easy way to minimize movement is to use a tripod, focus in on your work, and then set your camera’s shot timer to take the photo a couple of seconds after you push the shutter button. Crystal-clear images every time!

4. Macro Focus Mode

Auto focus mode is usually fine for most photography. However, if you are taking close-up photos of your products to show detail, you’ll want to learn how to set your camera’s macro focus mode (or use a macro lens for your DSLR). Look for the little flower icon on your camera or macro mode in the settings menu. Your camera can now focus in on the smallest details and your photos will seem to pop right off of the page.

5. Composition 

Experimenting with composition is very important when it comes to improving your photos and creating interesting images that your potential customers will want to learn more about.

Kristy Kapturowski of Hooray Creative did a great job composing this shot by using visual elements and props to express her personal brand. Annie Clark, a Minted artist and the company’s Associate Creative Director, recommends keeping propping minimal, so as not to overwhelm the product.

6. Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is to imagine your camera’s visual field divided into a grid, much like tic-tac-toe. If you place your main focal points in the intersections of the lines, you’ll create visual tension and interest within the image. This commonly used composition technique is why many cameras have a view screen grid option in the menu settings. Try placing your work at an angle, putting the focal point in the lower right or left intersection, or in the center but very low in the frame. It may be a bit uncomfortable to place items off-center at first, but when you step back you’ll certainly see a positive difference.

Amy Moen’s creative-process shot is a good example of using the rule of thirds.

7. Fill the Frame

Bringing your viewer up close and personal with your items emphasizes the fine details of your product. Using the macro-mode tip, focus in closely and fill the frame while keeping a keen eye on your composition. If you get close enough and hold steady, you might be able to catch the grain of the paper or the depth of your print—everything that shows the great quality of your work. This type of close-up photography is something that can be a bit difficult to master, but give it a try and see if this type of photography enhances your presentation.

8. Choosing Backgrounds

Beware of distracting textures and props. Oftentimes simple is better—especially if your Store’s branding supports it. Pay attention to the details to ensure the most interesting part of your item is the focal point and not the surrounding area. Experiment with letting your background elements fall outside of the edges of your photo to de-emphasize them so your piece is always the star of the photo.

Pro Tips: When shooting stationery overhead, place thicker pieces of paper beneath your stationery (they should be smaller so they don’t show). This approach will add a bit of a shadow and create more depth.

Minted photographer and stylist Olivia Kanaley recommends shooting products against interesting surfaces and backgrounds that help define your brand. In the above photo, Amy Moen does a great job of displaying her Minted artwork in a decorative setting.

9. Using Blanks

Make the most of styled product photography by using “blanks,” as shown below. For art, set up a scene with picture frames holding white paper or foam core, and for stationery, photograph plain white cards.

Then in post-production, insert the digital images of your work, making sure to set the artwork layer in Photoshop to multiply to preserve the shadows on the white cards and prints. Voila! You’ve got a interchangeable slate for featuring your products on your Store carousel as well as social media and your personal website.

For Minted Home products, we recommend photographing the actual products instead of using blank pillows and curtains.

10. Finding Photo Inspiration

As you’re browsing around, watch for photos that catch your eye. Think objectively about the photographs you find and determine what made you pay attention to them. Strive to create photos for your Artist Store that clearly represents your overall brand and you’ll find that your customers will appreciate the clarity of your presentation.

As with learning any skill, it will take time to learn how to take great photos of your work. However, if you take these tips one step at a time and give yourself lots of practice, you’ll soon have the photos you need to make your store the best it can be!

Marlo Miyashiro is an artist, teacher, mentor, and arts business consultant based in Seattle, Washington. She teaches arts business workshops and small object photography classes at conferences such as Craftcation Conference in Ventura, California, and School House Craft in Seattle, and helps emerging artists start, run, and grow their creative businesses at Creative Arts Consulting. Connect with Marlo M. on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest @imakecutestuff.

This is the second article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, sell their work. The next article will be published on in the Community>Resources section of Julep on October 8.

Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
Minted Artist Stores Merchandising Tools Tutorial Video
Minted Self-Launch Templates

Published October 6, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.


How to Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays

By Amy Schroeder

Now that you can curate your Minted Artist Store using Merchandising Tools to shape the look and feel of your artist brand, developing a merchandising plan is one of the first priorities to help you prepare for the Minted.com 2015 holiday sales season.

First Things First: Organize Your Tabs

If you already have a great number of holiday card designs and other holiday-themed products in your Store, we recommend organizing them into a “Holiday” section, and moving that section tab to the far left, just after your Home section (learn how in this FAQ). If you have a large assortment of products that make for great gifts, you may want to create a separate section tab called “Holiday Gifts.”

lulu and isabelle’s Minted Artist Store

Merchandising Your Featured Products and Sections

Merchandising varies for every Minted artist, and we recommend identifying a manageable number of key products that you want to promote most. Your Featured Products could be a combination of your top-selling products (or top-voted new products) and particularly unique designs that make a statement about you as an artist.

If you don’t have any Design Challenge–winning holiday cards, you may want to self-launch non-custom cards. (Learn more about self-launch products in Minted Designer FAQs, and remember that all self-launch products are non-customizable by customers.) If you have dozens of holiday-themed designs and cards or a series of giftable products, position your best eight products at the very top of your Holiday section.

To help you create your merchandising plan for the holiday shopping season, Minted’s merchandising leaders share their insights and predictions for the 2015 holiday season.

Radiant Joy” Foil-Pressed Holiday Cards by Olivia Raufman

Hot in Holiday Cards: Traditional Reds and Nontraditional Greetings

Get ready to show your cards. The prime sales season for holiday cards begins the last week of October and starts to peak the week of Black Friday (November 27) and Cyber Monday (November 30), followed by a decline in mid-December, says Rose Shattuck, General Manager of Minted Stationery.

Recommended Holiday Cards to Spotlight in Minted Artist Stores

  • Custom is king. Customizable (challenge-winning) holiday cards will be in highest demand. Customers want to upload their own photo, family name, annual letter, and more. You should also feel free to self-launch and promote non-customizable non-photo holiday cards with genericized greetings for the customer who wants something simple and beautiful without spending any time on customization.

  • Red-y for the holidays. We find that many Minted customers gravitate toward holiday cards with red hues. That is, unless they’re shopping for Hanukkah cards or corporate holiday cards, in which case blues or neutrals are better.

  • Spice up the season’s greetings. Customers love holiday cards featuring unique messages, so we recommend featuring original takes on the standard “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas.”

  • Just about all styles are equal. No one holiday card style sells better than another. “Minted customers enjoy the full range of styles from traditional/classic, to whimsical, to modern, and edgy,” Rose says.

fa la la la” holiday photo cards by baumbirdy

Minted’s Top 6 Most Giftable Holiday Products

  1. Minted Art and Custom Art. “Art in which customers upload their own photos is an extremely popular gift during the holiday season,” says Ashley Ganz, Director of Merchandising for Holiday and Gifts. (Download the self-launch art print template here.)

  2. Personal stationery—especially foil-pressed. “Foil is always a top seller, so if you have a foil-pressed design in your Store, we recommend featuring it at the top,” Ashley says. (Download self-launch stationery templates here.)

  3. Wrapping paper (custom and non-custom) and gift tags (Download the self-launch wrapping paper template here and self-launch minicards template here.)

  4. 2016 calendars

  5. Notebooks, Day Planners, and Address Books. (Download the self-launch notebook template here.)

  6. Wedding products. “Don’t forget about wedding,” Ashley says. “The holiday season is the most popular time of year to get engaged, and Google searches for ‘save the dates’ spike the first week of December.” If you have a number of weddings products, you may want to position wedding products up high in your Home section or create a Weddings section.

Evergreen Wrapping Paper” by Oscar & Emma

This is the first article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, sell their work. The next article will be published on in the Community>Resources section of Julep on October 6.

Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
Minted Artist Stores Merchandising Tools Tutorial Video
Minted Self-Launch Templates
The Essential Checklist for Minted Artist Stores


Published October 1, 2015

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Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores 2015

We designed the Holiday Playbook to teach artists how to better market, sell, and merchandise their work during the winter holiday season, but the advice can be applied for other seasons as well. The following is a list of educational articles featuring advice from Minted leaders, external experts, and top talent in the Minted community.

Tips & Advice on Julep

More Resources for Building Your Minted Artist Store

Stay tuned for examples of stellar Stores, such as Carrie O’Neal’s Minted Artist Store.

What is a Minted Artist Store?

We’re glad you asked. Artist Stores are relatively new to Minted.com, the design marketplace connecting consumers with the world’s best artists to create something one of a kind.

All artists who win a Minted Design Challenge automatically win a Store.

The benefits of Minted Artist Stores:

  • Focus on what you love—we’ll take care of the rest. Use Minted’s world-class manufacturing and fulfillment platform to produce your art, stationery, and home decor creations.

  • In addition to your Challenge-winning products, you can self-launch non-custom products to your Store, and we handle the printing, framing, shipping, etc.

  • Build a branded presence on Minted to showcase your work and promote your personalized URL via your social media and other marketing materials.

  • When you win Challenges, your winning product will be displayed in the main Minted assortment and your name will be linked to your new Store. Your Store will automatically contain your winning products and you can also self-launch as many other products as you like. Note that your self-launch products will not appear in the main Minted assortment.

Learn more about Minted Artist Stores and self-launching products, including art prints, stationery, fabric, and notebooks.


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Who is your biggest creative influence?

Friends, family, strangers, enemies, teachers, other artists. There are so many people who inspire artists—and sometimes without consciously realizing it. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, we asked Minted artists Naomi Ernest, Melissa Egan of pistols, and Alexandra Dzh to tell us who inspires them most.

Naomi Ernest
Ann Arbor, Michigan

My main sources of inspiration begin with my family. Growing up, my parents were both artists-on-the-side. By example, they instilled in me the idea that art is an everyday part of life. These days, my five kids are daily reminders of the importance of the creative process; their blithe, uninhibited approach is evident every time I watch them.

Recently I’ve also been reconnecting to my family history, creating work as homage to my copper mining ancestors and their life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And, of course, 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.

Drift” by Naomi Ernest

December – Turquoise” by Naomi Ernest

Melissa Egan of Pistols
Portland, Oregon

One of my biggest creative influences is my husband, John. He’s a brilliant painter, curator, and craftsman who makes everything from furniture to movie props. He’s taught me so much about the importance of taking your time to make something right, paying attention to details, and staying true to your personal aesthetic instead of only following trends.

Gilded Trees” by pistols

Dipped Feathers” by pistols

Alexandra Dzh
Vienna, Austria

There are a lot of people who inspire me, but one of the biggest creative influences is Austrian illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger. In my opinion, the charm of her illustrations lies in her delicate watercolor style, the diversity and strength of her colors, her great perception for detail. Lisbeth’s delightful and lyrical pictures always serve me as powerful source of inspiration.

Flowers Everywhere” by Alexandra Dzh

Bouquet” by Alexandra Dzh

Who is your biggest creative influence? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

Need a quick creative pick-me-up? Read Minted artists’ solutions here.

Published September 28, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Top 10 Tips for Curating Your Minted Artist Store

There’s an art to curation, and it’s about more than merely placing art and designs where they look best.

When it comes to successfully organizing an online storefront, one of the most important things you can do is put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Ask yourself, “What are consumers looking for?” “How can I make a good first impression?” and “What’s the best way for me to position my product offerings?”

Minted Artist Store Merchandising Tools allow artists to fully curate their Minted Artist Stores. You can spotlight Featured Products, create custom sections, and mix and match products by changing the order in which they’re displayed.

If you’re ready for curation advice and strategy, you’ve come to the right place. For technical instructions on using Merchandising Tools, read our “How can I curate my Store?” FAQ and watch this instructional video.

1. Identify Your Goals
Defining your goals will help you develop a business and marketing strategy—and asking yourself questions is a good way to get your thoughts on paper (or, on screen). For example, do you want to position your top-selling products front and center? Would you like consumers to view your Christmas and Hannukah products during the holiday shopping season? Do you want to rebrand yourself with a new creative direction via your self-launch products? Or perhaps you’d like to draw attention to your latest Minted Design Challenge–winning designs?

Whatever your goals are, we recommend writing them down. Keep your objectives at the forefront of your mind as you’re curating your Store—they’ll help inform your decisions for all of our following advice.

2. Focus on Featured Products
Think of Featured Products as your premium real estate—it’s one of the first things consumers will see when they visit your Store Home. Positioned up top, Featured Products are the first row of four products, within a carousel of up to 12 products.

When it comes to curating your Featured Products, keep your goals and business strategy in mind. You can change the assortment for the appropriate season or promote products that complement each other stylistically—it’s up to you.

Rachel Nanfelt of Alethea and Ruth thinks of the Featured Products section as a sort of mini collection. “There are so many possibilities—a seasonal collection, a specific product collection, a type of art technique,” she says.

“Featured Products” is merely the default language. You may rename the Featured Products title to describe the contents—for example, “My Top Sellers,” “Holiday Gift Ideas,” or in the case of Alethea and Ruth’s Store shown above (at publishing time), “painterly brush strokes.” Keep in mind that the “Featured Products” title must be less than 35 characters, so short and compelling is the name of the game.

The mission of the description located just below your Featured Products title is to provide additional context for the title. “I’ve been doing a lot of painted work lately, so my description highlights a group of pieces that feature brush strokes and painted textures,” Rachel says.

We recommend describing why you’ve chosen to feature these products in your descriptions, and include a maximum of one to two product type keywords where possible. For example:

My photography art collection is inspired by the natural beauty of Mendocino’s beaches and the surrounding redwoods.

3. Keep Your Language Simple
We always encourage creativity at Minted, but we also recommend being simple and straightforward when it comes to communication. Put yourself in the shopper’s shoes as you’re writing language in your “About Yourself” carousel as well as your Featured Products and category titles and descriptions.

When naming your self-launch products, use descriptive and short product names. Minted will then append the product name with the product kind. For example “Coastal Breeze” becomes “Coastal Breeze Photography Art.” Keep in mind that you cannot change the name of your product after it launches.

4. Create Visual Interest
As an artist, you specialize in creating visual interest—it’s the essence of your work, right? The same approach applies for curating your Store. Although your individual creations are super important, so too is the look of your products as a group.

As you’re creating Featured Products and positioning the placement of Other Products, take a step back to look at the products side-by-side. Think about how your colors, styles, and product types complement each other to create an overall look and feel.

What are your visual goals? Are you aiming to show variety? Do you want to create a cohesive look, or do you want a particular product to pop?

5. Curate for the Season
As you’re curating your Store and positioning your work in Featured Products, Other Products, and your various Sections (you can create up to 10 active Sections), optimize for the season. For example, feature Halloween designs and autumn colors in the fall, and winter holidays and themes in November and December.

You can also hide off-season designs when they’re not optimal—for example, Christmas or Hanukkah cards in July.

6. Self-Launch Products
One of the best ways to direct the creative vision of your Store is to self-launch products. If you’re new to Minted and haven’t won a number of design challenges, self-launching products is a great way to increase your product offerings. For that matter, you can also self-launch your non-winning submissions to Design Challenges.

We welcome you to self-launch art, stationery, notebooks, fabric, wrapping paper, and more. Like all Minted products, we take care of manufacturing, order fulfillment, customer service, and shipping. Read our Designer FAQs for more details.

7. Keep Your “Shelves” Fully Stocked
Artist Stores are similar to physical boutiques—they’re most inviting and appealing when their shelves are full. Remember this as you’re creating sections for your various products. We recommend stocking at least four or five products to warrant a section; any less than that appears a bit empty.

If you have only one or two products of a particular category, wait to create a section for them when you have more items to round things out. For example, in Alethea and Ruth’s “holiday” section, she includes a combination of Stationery and Art.

8. Promote Your Specialized Links
Once you’ve created a section, you can create your own marketing campaigns and direct fans to your specialized URL. This is not an actual URL, but to give you an idea, the format would look something like: minted.com/store/artistname/number/whateveryouwant

For example, if you have a “holiday” section, you could promote the products via social media, an e-newsletter, or your personal website or blog.

9. Get a Second (or Third) Opinion
Invite someone who represents your “target market” to test-drive your Store and provide feedback.

10. Experiment and Make Changes
Together we’re just getting started with the new Store design and merchandising tools. And together, we’ll learn about what works well and what doesn’t. As part of the learning process, we recommend experimentation and refreshing your Store sections, Featured Products, and Other Products to see what works best for you.

Rachel says she considers her initial Store creation just the beginning and will likely change her approach often, especially in the featured product section. “I can’t wait to do a Holiday feature section with wrapping paper and gift tags,” she says. “I think it can be a good place to feature some of the smaller coordinating pieces that are for sale but not always in the forefront, like thank-you cards or stickers. I also might use it as a place to feature my newest work for sale on the site—there are so many possibilities.”

What are your thoughts, questions, and advice for curating a Minted Artist Store? Share your feedback in Comments below.

Designer FAQs: How can I merchandise my Store?
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand” featuring advice from artist Melanie Severin
The Essential Checklist for Minted Artist Stores

Ready to grow to the next level? Once you’ve won a Minted Design Challenge, you’re invited to create your own branded Store. Artist Stores allow you to use Minted’s world-class manufacturing and fulfillment platform to run your business. You can self-launch non-custom products to your Store, and we handle the printing, shipping, and customer service. Learn more here.

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

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When you need a quick creative pick-me-up, what do you do?

Creative funks happen to the best of us, but overcoming them oftentimes inspires a whole new direction. Here, Minted artists Joni Tyrrell, Andi Pahl, and Jennifer Postorino share their most reliable creative pick-me-ups.

Joni Tyrrell with her son, Kingston

Joni Tyrrell
North Liberty, Iowa

Take a break! It’s so easy as a creative business owner to get caught up in working all the time and forgetting to find balance between work and family life. I’m just starting to figure out a balance, and I find that when I turn to the two most important people in my life—my husband and son—that downtime can really trigger a creative thought or idea and I can come back to “work” feeling refreshed and excited about new things.

Joni with her dog, Maverick (“A female with a boy name,” she says.)

Pining for Pineapple by Joni Tyrrell

Andi Pahl
Columbus, Ohio

Music—from show tunes to ’80s pop to Jenny Lewis and everything in between—is a great creative pick-me-up. I also enjoy taking ballet classes, so whether it’s an hour-long class or a short plié relevé combination in my living room to get the blood pumping, working out can be very helpful.

One of my favorite creative pick-me-ups is coffee and collaborating with a creative friend, like Alaina from Cheer Up Press. Since inspiration seems to hit me at the most random times, I keep several journals. When I’m at a total loss for ideas, I consult one of my journals for creative inspiration. There’s always a surprising idea that I wrote down at some earlier point and forgot about later. When all else fails, I just start painting or sketching without any prior plan or expectations.

I’m Frond Of You No. 2” by Andi Pahl

Reflections Watercolor by Andi Pahl

Jenny Postorino and her daughter, Quinn. Photo by Ashley Mauro Photography

Jennifer Postorino
Dayton, Ohio

It’s pretty simple for me. I just walk away from whatever I am doing and see what’s going on in the world around me. I’ll run to grab an iced coffee from Starbucks or a sweet treat from our local bakery—I’m a total sucker for iced sugar cookies and cupcakes! Lately I’ve been hitting the gym for a butt-kicking crossfit session every day (which is my newest obsession, or necessity, based on my love of cookies).

But, honestly, most of the time I find myself just hanging out with my two kiddos, being a typical mom. The things that come out of their little mouths crack me up, and I find inspiration in them every day. It could be anything from hearing my 3-year-old sing Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” in the car at the top of her lungs to playing outside and listening to my son ramble on about how he thinks he has a huge head while shooting hoops. Oddly enough, it’s in those little moments when creativity strikes, and I feel recharged again and ready to work.

Glimmer” by Jennifer Postorino

Bundle of Joy” by Jennifer Postorino

What do you do when you need a quick creative pick-me-up? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe.

How does education—formal and informal—shape your creative work? Read about Minted artists’ experiences here.

Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

Published September 14, 2015


How Has Education Inspired Your Creativity?

Back-to-school season has got us thinking about how education inspires creativity. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, Minted artists Taleen Bedikian, Lori James, and Kaydi Bishop think back to their college days.

Taleen Bedikian
Torrance, California

“I love being surrounded by creative thinkers and even non-creatives who question the whole. When I was first majoring in Fine Art, my professor opened my eyes to the idea of gestalt, reminding me to step back and really look at what I am seeing. It’s the whole that we see that really moves us. Having learned this, I like to test myself when tackling projects, which usually means tilting my head, squinting, or backing up to assure that my work feels good as a whole. It’s just something that has stuck with me through the years, and I like to think it helps.”

Lounge-1” by TRB Design

There’s Always Hope” by TRB Design

Lori James of guess what?
Honolulu, Hawaii

“At Honolulu Community College, I had a very inspiring professor named Harrison ‘Bud’ Brooks who really spurred my passion for design. He stressed the importance of knowing the basics and instilled an ethic of discipline and hard work. He challenged us to seek out good design and analyze the underlying elements—composition, layout, typography, etc.—to understand what made it successful. He also taught us never to be complacent, but to continue to learn and grow and evolve as artists. Mr. Brooks definitely had a huge impact on who I am as a designer, and I’m so thankful to have had him as a mentor.”

Petit Monsieur” by guess what?

Snow Time Like the Holidays” by guess what?

Kaydi Bishop
San Francisco

“With a background in interior design and architecture, I find myself inevitably inspired by everything from the uncommon moulding detail to ancient tile patterns. In college, I had the opportunity to study in Florence, Italy, consequently studying many of these details first hand. After college, I was fortunate to travel throughout Asia and the Mid East for my job. Everywhere I turned, I found myself photographing inspiring patterns, materials, color combinations, etc. The education I receive from traveling continues to serve as my main source of inspiration to this day.”

Brushed Casablanca” pillow by Kaydi Bishop

The Half Shell” by Kaydi Bishop

How has—or does—learning and education inspire your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe.

#WhatInspiresMe is published every other Monday. This is the fourth edition; read the third edition here.

Published August 31, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.


Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand

One of the coolest aspects of personal branding is that it’s entirely up to you. “Artist branding is a very personal thing and should be a true reflection of you as an artist, which really is a reflection of yourself,” says Melanie Severin, a Minted artist from Alberta, Canada.

The digital world (and even traditional sources) is your oyster when it comes to sharing and experimenting with your brand identity. Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr in addition to business cards and event promo materials are great channels for telling your story and connecting with a local or global audience.

If you have a Minted Artist Store, you have a number of ways to curate your persona—via your product assortment, cover image, and the “About Yourself” bio and carousel of up to five 1420 pixel x 640 pixel photographs.

Before you dive into updating your Artist Store and other marketing content, consider our advice for developing your brand identity.

1. Define Your Brand
If you had to describe the meaning and style of your work in a handful of words and visuals, what comes to mind? Think about these words and visual references as you’re developing copy and photos that best represent you.

Like many artists, Melanie says she’s constantly evolving and growing, but a mix of sophistication and whimsy is the consistent theme in her work. Part of Melanie’s brand includes her personal life—her rural home-based studio, being a mom of three young children (who raise chickens!). “And the fact that I live in Canada and am heavily inspired by nature,” she says.

Melanie’s artistic style varies widely in terms of the different media, color palettes, and disciplines she works in, so it doesn’t make sense for her to show only a limited palette or style in her branding imagery. “But for some, that works very well, and in fact I’ve seen some absolutely stunning Instagram feeds built on a very limited palette or style,” she says.

2. Get the Lighting Just Right
“Great lighting is everything,” Melanie says, and we couldn’t agree more. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to overspend on lighting equipment.

Perhaps you want your photos to be shot primarily indoors with natural light, or maybe a cloudy outdoor setting perfectly captures your mood and style. Like we said—it’s up to you! Read our DIY photography tips in “10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store.”

3. Shoot For the Appropriate Format
The 1420 pixel x 640 pixel dimensions of the Minted Store “About Yourself” photo carousel are long and lean—the opposite of, say, Instagram’s square photos. When planning and styling your photographs, take a step back and leave space to crop in a way that will look best in the long landscape format.

4. Focus on Quality Over Quantity
If you don’t have five great images for your About You Carousel, don’t upload five images. In other words, focus on quality over quantity. Because photography reflects consumers’ impressions of your work, Melanie says, “definitely don’t feature any photos that are poor quality, grainy, or out of focus.”

If you’re taking your own photos, we recommend investing in or borrowing a decent camera. You could also do a “trade” with another Minted artist or photographer—you take his or her portraits in exchange for him or her taking your portraits.

Melanie takes most of her own brand photographs, but a fellow Minted artist, Ardell McLennan, also has taken some of the photos in Melanie’s Minted carousel and Instagram feed. “I recommend working with a photographer occasionally for portraits,” she says. “It’s pretty difficult to get good photos of yourself, in your workspace, and in the process of creating.”

5. Mix It Up
What’s unique about you as an artist? Convey your personality and what makes you stand out with a variety of shots. “Consider what it is about your style and process that might be really interesting and different from others and think of creative ways to capture that in a photograph,” Melanie says.

For the Minted Store About You carousel, we recommend artists show at least one portrait in their creative environment or places that represent their “artist brand,” in addition to at least one photo that depicts their creative process, and styled product shots.

6. Tell Your Story
“People want to know what inspires you, what your typical workday is like, how and where you create. All of these things become part of your ‘brand,’ in addition to the overall style of the products you create,” Melanie says.

Social media and the Artist Store photo carousel are great ways to share not only beautiful styled images of your products, but also your day-to-day adventures. Melanie’s biggest goal is to “be herself” and give followers and customers a glimpse into her life and inspirations—and sometimes that’s portrayed with a sense of humor.

“One of my absolute favorite photos in my Instagram feed is of our daughter when she came into my studio dressed as Darth Vader,” Melanie says. “It was a priceless moment that embodies what it’s like for creatives who work from home with children. Sharing these real-life moments with your followers helps connect you with them and makes your work that much more meaningful.”

7. Write in First-Person Voice
Let the world know it’s you behind your messaging by writing in first-person voice. For example, in your About You bio on your Minted Store, you could write something like, “I’ve traveled and surfed the world over, and my work reflects my adventures.”

Curious about Minted Stores? Artists who win Minted Design Challenges are invited to open their own store. Read more in our FAQs.

About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.


Published August 28, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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