Happy, Happy Birthday Card Challenge: No. 1 and Judge’s Picks

Without further ado, the First Place design on the Happy, Happy Birthday Card Challenge Countdown is The Womanly Type by Ann Gardner. You may recognize this design as the feminine half of Ann’s vintage-label-inspired “Type” series. The other half, appropriately called The Manly Type, placed 7th on this very countdown. For this First Place win, Ann will receive a $1,000 cash prize. Congratulations Ann!

The elegant combination of fonts are accentuated by delicate flourishes and bold graphics. The recipient’s name is set prominently in the design, making

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Happy, Happy Birthday Card Challenge: No. 10

We had so much fun blogging about the Top-25 rated designs of the Holiday Spectacular that we thought we’d do it again for the Happy, Happy Birthday Card Challenge, Minted’s first ever greeting card challenge. We’ll be announcing one winner each business day until we reach the First Place design. Let’s kick it off with our 10th Place winner of $100, “Birthday Bloom” by Lena Barakat.

In her very first Minted design challenge, Lena snatched the 10th place with an endearing birthday greeting card that tugs at heart strings. Her flower illustration is sweet without a trace of saccharine, and her message brings to mind the mothers, fathers, grandmas and grampas in our lives who are embody the spirit of aging gracefully. It’s pretty darn impressive to nail a top-10 win in your first-ever design challenge, and we couldn’t think of a better way to welcome  a designer to the community. Congratulations Lena!

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Giving to the neediest in our community

We really believe in giving back to our community and were honored to be able to donate the invitations to Hamilton Family Center‘s 25th Anniversary Celebration tomorrow night. Hamilton is the largest provider of shelter, eviction prevention assistance, and support services for homeless families in San Francisco. The event’s keynote is by the Academy of Art’s President Elisa Stephens and the Speaker of the House, the Honorable Nancy Pelosi will also be given an award.

We repurposed Dauphine's Leyton wedding invitation for Hamilton's event

The full Hamilton Suite on our pearlescent paper

We used a folded card to accommodate all of the prestigious Honorary Chairs and the many dedicated Committee members

Hamilton thanks Minted!

To learn more about Hamilton or to make a donation please visit their new website.

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Last pics from the NSS

I had a few additional pics from the National Stationery Show I thought those that weren’t able to go might enjoy…

The ladies walking the floor.

A cute Father’s Day card from Fugu Fugu Press. (By the way, Minted’s men’s personal stationery also makes a great Father’s Day gift!)

And if you have to say you’re sorry, isn’t this the sweetest way to do it? (Also from the talented Fugu folks.)

I loved these great greeting cards from Minted brand Twig & Fig over the bridge in Berkeley.

They are printed on this thick, wood-like paper that is very different!

Another really fun company I just loved discovering is Old Tom Foolery.

I really want to give this print to my Dad for Father’s Day–he had a stache until just a few years ago so it couldn’t be more perfect.

And this is a great witty holiday card to get you in the mood for our current Holiday Design Challenge–just nine (9!!!) days left to submit!

It is graduation season and this is a pretty funny thank you note. Minted’s personal stationery is a great gift for grads and we also have some kicking grad announcements, fyi.

And I can’t help but sharing this great birthday card.

Finally, I also got the chance to meet Liz  from Linda & Harriet. She makes the sweetest calendars that I’ve been sending as Christmas gifts for years. She also now has a permanent birthday calendar that I also love.

My last find was Rifle Paper Co. I love their hand painted graphics and calligraphy–it’s just so unusual.

And one final piece of eye candy to start this short week with… their stunning, hand carved recipe boxes.

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Every day is Mother’s Day… or should be!

For several weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, we sponsored a giveaway with The Juicebox. The Juicebox is is a free weekly email for moms who want to simplify their lives and get more done. It was founded by Carley Knobloch, a life coach for moms and productivity expert. The grand prize was a mint Green Kodak digital camera and Minted photo personal stationery.

To enter, moms answered a question a day with a photo posted on the Juicebox’s Facebook page. Questions ranged from a photo from life B.K. (Before Kids) to a messy moment that was so over the top you had to catch in on camera to your favorite picture of your mom. It was so fun to see the entries come in–it’s really an honor to get to share in these special moments–and it does really made you feel like every day should be Mother’s Day!

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Wedding bells are ringing: Minted’s crowd-sourced invitations are now launched!

Today it’s official! We are up and running… and away we go with over 140 flat printed wedding invitations mainly sourced from our design competitions.

In celebration of our launch we’re running an incredible promotion for the rest of the month: 15% Off All Minted Wedding Invitations and Stationery. Code: LAUNCH15

Some of our newest designs include:

Aquarelle by Sarah Lenger

Frolic by Design Lotus

Cross Your Heart by Unless Someone Like You

Classic Affair by Dish & Spoon

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A Minted Manifesto – Celebrating our First 2 Years

As Minted celebrates our progress since our launch in April 2008, I thought it would be a good time to answer a question that one of Minted’s community of designers posted in the Minted forum: “I would love to know how the company has evolved over the past two years.”

I started Minted in 2007 when my daughter was 3 months old, with the desire to bring the best in design on paper to consumers.  I had taken my daughter to the stationery store with me to order holiday cards and the process ended up taking several hours by the time the designs were chosen, priced, and purchased.  Minted could make ordering beautiful paper more convenient.  At first, Minted only sold only letterpressed invitations from gorgeous brands such as Dauphine, Oblation, Wiley Valentine, and Elum.  At the same time, though, I was excited about Threadless, the online business that held T-shirt design competitions.  I felt that they had the best T-shirt selection I’d ever seen, and this came from allowing a community of users to provide their opinions.  I had also observed over the years that some talented people, including the artists in my own family, had a hard time getting their designs to market.  Minted could provide open competitions where designers could have fun, express their creative vision, gain exposure, and have the chance to sell their stationery designs; consumers would have the chance to tell us what they wanted to buy, and together we could use the Internet to create as pure a meritocracy as was possible.  (Here is where I will admit to you that a) I am somewhat rebellious, b) I enjoy up-ending industries, and c) I have a personal, emotional attachment to level playing fields and the American dream.)

So we started our own crowd-sourcing experiment.  Our first design challenge was held in April 2008 and was a save-the-date card challenge with 66 entries.  We were pretty surprised by the high quality of the designs submitted.  Here’s the very first design challenge winner, “Bird Lover’s” save-the-date cards by The Happy Envelope.  The design received a score of 3.64 out of 5.

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DC Minted Meetup

I had the great pleasure of meeting Amanda Larsen, Amy Ehmann and her business partner Tina Furjanic (Design Lotus), Sharise Williams, and Allston Wise at Darlington House in Washington, DC last night.  After getting over the excitement and slight strangeness of seeing each other in person for the first time after only communicating digitally for almost 2 years, we took over the Circle Bar, distributed Minted printed gifts, and got down to the business at hand – talking about how  much we love design and stationery and how to make Minted better (with a fair amount of mommy talk thrown in for good measure – every single one of us were moms). 

First, to answer the question many of you are thinking –  Does Amy Ehmann have as much energy as I think she does?  The answer is “Yes!!”  Amy is one of the most positive, dynamic people I’ve met – very charming, persuasive, articulate, and has her mind totally in the right place, which is how to help people and things get better.  No wonder she has had such a big impact on Minted’s community.

Talking with these designers was like drinking from a fire hose of incredible ideas.  We received some good hard feedback, like ‘don’t request a design on Friday and ask for it on Monday’.  Sorry about that, everyone, we’re not going to make that mistake again.  We received great feedback on new UI experience ideas: 1) allow me to sign up for a notification when new designs are submitted to the challenge by other designers, so that I can check them out, 2) provide an option to show/hide the designer so that I am not biased when voting, 3) allow consumers to create profile pages so that you can differentiate between bona fide customers’ comments versus friends and family comments.  We got a good sense of what new products people would like to work more on.

Overall, this was a transformative experience for me, as I understood more the impact Minted is having – for example, that interaction on Minted is leading to actual, real friendships in the offline world where designers are calling each other up on the phone or meeting up in person.  This goes even beyond what I hoped for when creating Minted, which was to support the professional development and discovery of talented independent designers, and create a meritocracy where what matters is one’s talent and hard work.

But more on that later in my next post… it is late here in DC (2:08am) and I will sum this experience up by saying that I am feeling incredibly privileged to be working with the Minted community of designers.

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Judging a book by its cover

With the launch of a new challenge I thought it might be helpful to look around for some inspiration and as it turns out book covers have a lot to offer.

Covers is an entire website dedicated to the appreciation of book cover design. It’s produced by Fwis, a design firm based out of Brooklyn, NY and Portland, OR.

It feels like Over-caffeinated could have inspired this one!

The site’s authors point out the subtleness of the title treatment.

Using font to actually mimic what the text is describing.

We’ve seen silhouettes for a long time in card designs… this book does a great job of using them en masse.

The all-type book designs with a twist might be especially inspiring to our card designers. Here the author’s dead husband, about whom much of the book is about, is spelled out in the blue type.

Great type and simple illustrations combine for a showstopping result. We’re seeing lots more birds popping up in our designs lately.

With summer closer than you may realize, I’d love to see more shell motifs!

For our Here Comes Spring Birth Announcement Challenge, Book by its Cover, lets you sort by Children’s books.

Check out these cute animal illustrations:

Browsing the site, I also came across links to a few other covet-worthy books, including this one, Russian Textiles: Printed Cloth for the Bazaars of Central Asia, that could be a great source for pattern ideas.

And this one about typeface, A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles, vol. 1:

Reading the Past shows how art has been re-used on various book covers.


Do you have a favorite book cover?

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