GIVEAWAY: One pass to ALTitude Design Summit.

We are giving away a FREE pass to the astounding, amazing, awesome ALTitude Design Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, next week: January 18th–21st! The conference is now completely *sold out* so this may be the only way for you to attend!

This year we’re very proud to be a sponsor of this amazing event and will be camped out in the lounge all day Thursday. If you’re lucky enough to already be attending, please stop by, meet us and see our lovely stationery and art in person!

TO ENTER TO WIN: Please leave a comment with the name of your blog and your favorite design for sale on minted!! One winner will be chosen at random on Thursday at NOON PST. Good luck!

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Meet a Mintie: Linda & Harriett.

Happy week-of Christmas everyone! This monday morning, I bring you a fine treat: a Meet a Mintie with Liz from Linda & Harriett. Liz is a relatively new member of our community, but boy did she get into our holiday challenge, submitting several stunners!

First things, first! Who’s Linda and who’s Harriett?
My mom’s name was Linda & my middle name is Harriett, also the name of my great grandmother. When I was thinking of names for my business, my husband mentioned using these names because they’re pretty old-fashioned unique names & obviously mean a lot to me. As a result, I get called Linda a lot. But I never mind because it reminds me of my mom, who passed away when I was 17.

How did L&H get its start?
I started Linda & Harriett as a custom stamped invitation business. I made rubber stamps & used them for people’s invitations & personalized stationery. It was a lot of work & a lot of hand-work, but there’s something so gratifying about putting ink to paper for an immediate result – and one that changes depending on that moment of contact – the pressure of your hands, the ink saturation, the paper, the rotation of the stamp – it all adds up to something slightly different each time. It’s fun, and I’ve just gotten back into it again.

I’ve moved away from the custom work & now concentrate on a few key products that I really love from start to finish – namely, our calendars. I love creating them, selling them & giving them as gifts. I stand by them 100% and I’ll keep doing them as long as that’s the case. Cutting back on our line has also freed up time for other projects, like creating designs for Minted!

As you know, I’ve been purchasing your calendars for five years and counting now and am a HUGE fan. How do you go about designing it each year?
My process for our annual letterpress calendar, which I’ve been doing since 2008, starts in January of the prior year and is by far my favorite project. In my sketchbook, I list all 12 months & over several weeks, I take notes on what I want to do for each month. The summer months are usually the first to fill up with ideas. I’m a total sucker for sea life images – whales, crabs, sailfish, anchors, seagulls. I could do June, July and August twenty times over each year. But back to the process. So I take notes & sketch possible layouts in January. The next few months are spent sketching the images & month titles. The last part is deciding on colors. I tape Pantone swatches in my sketch book next to the months to make sure I’m not overusing or missing a color or duplicating colors in back to back months. This is the part that definitely takes me the longest. I hem & haw over colors so much that sometimes I spend most of the day deciding on a shade of blue. I’m not really that picky of a person, but when it comes to my colors, I’m crazy. We go to print by April and debut the calendar at the National Stationery Show in May.

Speaking of the National Stationery Show, that is where I met you! Natasha told me about Minted while I was still in the thick of custom work, so it didn’t feel like the right time since I was busy with my own clients & production schedule and couldn’t imagine taking on more. Cutting back on custom work over the past year freed up some time, and I submitted my first designs this May for the Holiday Card Challenge. Sometimes I feel like I work in a vacuum a bit, so getting immediate feedback in comments & then later in sales is particularly fun for me. And I have to admit, I do love a good challenge!

I loved meeting you for the first time–I am such a big calendar fan that I was quite starstruck. What is your favorite design for sale on minted now?

My favorite design of mine on Minted right now is my Handlettered Merry Christmas card. I ordered it as my company holiday card (non photo, citron green color — so cool!) and will use it as our family Christmas card, too, with a big photo of Griffin, my one year old son. I like that it’s simple enough to let the photo shine, but has personality in the loose lettering. It feels light-hearted – and to me, that seems like the perfect sentiment for the season.

How is your letterpress work different than designing for minted’s flat printing?
Designing for flat printing is a bit different than letterpress. Letterpress printing gets more expensive with each color you add, so I typically use one or two colors, sometimes three and almost never four. And even though I can use more than three colors for flat printing, my designs for Minted have so far rarely exceeded two colors. I can’t help it:) I also think that when you’re using photos, it’s best to limit the number of colors in your design. Too much can be too much.

How does your new son Griffin fit into your work / life / balance?
When I was pregnant with Griffin over a year ago, I started anticipating work life with a baby. I realized pretty quickly that my time was about to turn to gold & I didn’t want to waste it. So with that in mind, I cut back on things in my business that I didn’t enjoy & didn’t have faith to grow. I cut back on a lot, actually. It was risky, but I am so happy I did because it’s allowed me a whole day off a week to hang out with Griffin and has given me more time for other projects, such as designing for Minted! So really, Griffin brought me to Minted:)

Isn't little Griffin's bum adorable on her Merry Merry giftag?

And we’re so glad he did!! Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season Liz!! Thank you for letting us get to know you a little better. Keep in touch with Liz over on her blog here.

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Head Over Heels | Wedding Collection Winners

The Head Over Heels challenge was our biggest wedding challenge of the year. There were a ton of amazing entries this time around and for good reason. Designers had the chance not only to win individual prizes, but also to launch their very own wedding collections on Minted. The first of the wedding collections was awarded to the designer with the most designs in the top 20, as voted by the Community. Two more wedding collection winners were selected by Minted’s editorial team based on performance in the Head Over Heels challenge as well as past design challenges.

The first collection award went to the very deserving Jennifer Wick. Of the eight Jennifer Wick designs selected to be sold on Minted, three made it into the top 20, coming in at second, sixth and thirteenth! To land this many designs in the top 20, out of 1,639 submissions, was quite the feat. Jen’s gorgeous florals and clever type treatments are the perfect addition to our wedding assortment and we’re so happy the voters agreed. Congratulations Jen!

We’re thrilled to announce that Rachel Simonsen of Alethea and Ruth is one of the two Minted editor’s picks for a collection win. We were in awe of Rachel’s modern yet elegant designs in this challenge and have been big fans of her work since “Banner and Branches” won first place in our Happily Ever After wedding challenge last year. We very much look forward to launching these fantastic designs for sale on Minted. Congratulations Rachel!

Kristen Smith was also chosen by Minted editors to receive the prize of launching her own wedding collection. Kristen is a powerhouse graphic designer, having been voted into the top 20 in the last eight design challenges. Her beautiful pattern work and clean typography style has really resonated with consumers and designers alike. Congratulations Kristen!

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Head Over Heels 11-20th Place Winners!

For many couples all over the world, it’s not just the holiday season, it’s engagement season. While romantic proposals are being planned for Christmas and New Years, Minted is gearing up for an incredible 2012 wedding season.

Having worked in the wedding industry for a while now, I can honestly say I have never seen a more stunning collection of wedding designs as the winners in the Head Over Heels challenge. Five years ago, it was quite rare to have couples ask for modern or playful designs.  Now, couples are moving away from traditional invites towards unique designs that fit their unique personalities. The members of the Minted Design Community clearly recognize this. Everyone here at Minted was blown away by the diversity in the 1,639 submissions we received in the Head Over Heels Wedding Invitation Challenge. I feel honored to present you with the first half of our top 20, as voted by the Community. Congratulations, Minties! These designs can already be purchased by sending a special request to service [at] minted.com.

11th Place: “Modern Label” by Kristen Smith

There are so many sweet accents in Kristen’s “Modern Label” that add to the perfectly balanced composition of the design. From the dots and stripes to the pattern background and modern type treatment, we’re in love with every detail.

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J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons Chooses Her Favorite Minted Holiday Card, Featured in Catalog

There’s just one special prize from the Sending Good Cheer Holiday Challenge that we have yet to reveal and in this case we really did save the best for last! It’s the Judge’s Pick from Jenna Lyons, the Executive Creative Director and President of J.Crew, who was a judge in Minted’s holiday card challenge. By bringing unique, colorful, and eclectic style to millions of women, Jenna has become a design icon to our generation.

Jenna Lyons in her NYC office (see the Minted envelopes on her desk!).  Courtesy of Martine Fougeron.

Out of close to 2300 submissions, Jackmove’s “Etched” is Jenna’s pick for her favorite holiday card. Jenna said this about the winning holiday card: ” This design is cool and modern. I love the simplicity—it’s exactly what I want from a holiday photo card.” A huge congratulations goes out to Jackmove’s Jack Knoebber for this top honor. Not only does Jack receive the special prize, his design has been featured in “Jenna’s Top 20 Wish List” in J.Crew’s November catalogs as well as on their website. You can buy Etched exclusively here at Minted.

Here’s the card with a picture of Jenna and her brother at left (yes, we know it is unfair that some people are both talented and good-looking).

Jack was ecstatic about this win and the exposure that he will receive from the feature in J.Crew’s catalog and on the J.Crew site. “I was shocked for a while. I didn’t realize the impact and exactly what that meant at first,” says Jack. “Having Jenna pick my card is a huge honor, and I’m still somewhat in disbelief that mine was picked out of so many great designs.”

We decided to take this partnership one step further by teaming up with a charity that both Minted and J. Crew feel strongly about. This holiday season we will be donating 15% of gross profit from the sales of “Etched” to Teach For America. Teach For America’s mission is to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation’s most promising future leaders in this effort.  What could be more important to our country than improving educational opportunities for everyone?  I have a strong belief in this, as a product of an American public school (Chevy Chase Elementary School and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, in Maryland).

During Minted’s collaboration with J.Crew, I had the good fortune of taking a tour of J.Crew’s offices in New York. I admired how entrepreneurial the J.Crew culture is.  You can visibly see how the company is innovative, resourceful, and has a sense of adventure akin to a smaller company; it is no wonder that the company consistently produces design that influences and frankly blows away the assortment at other companies across the apparel industry.  Boards line the hallways filled with great fabrics and inspirations, much like the Minted offices.  One of the biggest mysteries: I am still trying to deconstruct how Jenna’s pinboard manages to combine lots of things and incredible chicness at the same time (you can see it in the picture above).  The J.Crew visit was one of the most fascinating corporate office visits I have ever had.

We’re thankful to J.Crew and to Jenna herself for taking the time to help bring the work of our great designers to homes around the world this holiday season! You can read more about the collaboration here. In the meantime, I’ll be looking forward to getting my J.Crew catalog – to see Jack’s design, but also to do some shopping for droolworthy gifts!

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The Twilight Wedding: Bella & Edward’s invites.

For those of us who are Twilight fans, the wait is finally over: Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I hits theaters this week. A few of us at Minted (OK, perhaps just me) are anticipating the wedding scene, where Bella and Edward promise themselves to each other forever.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Will Bella’s mom realize that Edward is a vampire? Will Jasper be able to hold himself back from snacking on the human wedding guests? What song will their first dance be to – Edward’s favorite, Debussy? Many questions will be answered. In honor of Twilight, we asked Minted design community members to have some fun submitting Twi-themed wedding invitations in our latest wedding invitation design challenge. Here are a few of the designs they came up with – you can vote to tell Minted to sell these designs by clicking here:

Would it be the elegant geometrical for time and all eternity by j. bartyn design?

Or perhaps after sunset by Kristen Smith? Dark, classic, yet with a touch of grunge?

Jody Wody’s Luna captures the night setting in a highly romantic way.  The inky blue somehow conjures an era gone by:

I could also see dark romance by Heather W. being a likely possibility. Aren’t those polka dots against the spooky streaked sky an awesome combination?

Love immortal by Erin Pescetto seems just about right in so many ways… a love immortal, set in a castle, dancing in the dark. The square design works well here, too.

And then there’s Sink Your Teeth Into It by Kristin D, which is anything but subtle!

Again, not so subtle, but this is not your normal wedding! Blood Thirsty by Angela Chih.

Old Parchment by Elaine Stephenson really captures the show’s historic vibe.

Era gone by Pixelpackinmama Design also has a historic vibe, but is a lot more mainstream.

Solstice by Alex Elko really nails dark yet feminine.

I love how Elaine Stephenson has bound for eternity set at twilight in a cemetery.

Also in the black, white and red vein, Jacqueline Dziadosz’s True Love.

The font in delightfully dark by Moe and Me is just that–delightfully dark!

Shari Margolin’s love eternal is a much different take. It does seem like red, black, and white is the color palette most people think Bella will be working with!

Roses are a nice addition in Krista Eitsert’s Twilight Nuptials.

And some spiderwebs from Katherine Jakubowski in vampire bat wedding!

And we’ll conclude with Paper Dahlia’s use of black, white and great typography in her eternal love.

I loved seeing all of your creativity on the Twilight front! A big personal thank you to all of our talented designers who participated.  Now I am off to buy my tickets for Friday night…

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Your Cards On Us: Five Minted $200 Holiday Card Giveaways

Help us share this video with your friends… tweet a link to this blog post and leave a comment below to tell us that you tweeted, by 11:59pm Pacific Time on Saturday night, October 29, 2011.  We’ll select 5 winners to win $200 holiday card giveaways, and we’ll notify you by 6am Pacific on Sunday, October 30, in time to do your shopping for holiday cards this weekend!

What truly original holiday cards do, when no one’s looking…

(Update on 10/30 – Hi everyone, Thank you so much for your very kind comments about Minted.  We just couldn’t pick 5 so we picked 7 winners!  Congrats to the winners, who have been notified: @alinecate, Amie, @moglea_studio, MollyT, @NatCalAtkinson, @bornboutique, @sparkledawne.  Winners will be receiving their individual codes on Monday morning by email.  Stay tuned for more holiday fun on the Minted blog!)

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The Dance of the Minted Holiday Cards

This holiday season has been full of interesting creative projects at Minted. One that I have enjoyed most is our new stop motion video, “Dance of the Minted Holiday Cards.”

I have wanted for a while to make a video that captures the creativity and spirit of Minted’s employees and design community, and was interested in exploring stop-motion video.  Plus, I have a strong passion for music and want to explore how to integrate it into our brand.  My friend and creative collaborator Suzanne Shade describes how the video’s concept evolved:

“We wanted a few videos for the holidays and talked about different ways to show off Minted. This video originally started off as a stop motion ‘description’ of the card formats and suites. After seeing some early roughs, we realized that our filmmakers, Matt and Julie from Tiger in a Jar, could bring more of their talents to the piece. We asked them to make it something they’d do for themselves, and the result was this fun story about the secret lives of the cards on Christmas Eve. I think the fun part was seeing how collaborating could bring a new twist on the spirit of Minted.”

Hope you enjoy this, and let me know what you think!  All of the holiday cards featured in the video are buyable here.  Our 10% off promotion ends on Monday, so be sure to take advantage of this before it ends.

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How to Order Your 25 Free Mommy Cards and Business Cards.

We’re giving you an offer that you can’t resist. Get 25 free business cards or mommy cards with our giveaway promotion! You can choose from any of our business card and mommy card designs. Customize, customize, and customize to make it all your own. Just to make things even easier, here is a step by step guide to getting your free cards:

Step 1. Choose your design. (This is arguably the hardest part.)

mommy cards and business cards

Step 1: Choose your business or mommy card design.

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