Hi Minties, What font are you? Try this test from Pentagram (password: character) to find out.
The application was researched by a team of 23 academics over seven years. The four key character questions yield 16 typefaces.
And does your font fit you? I am a Pistilli Roman, which surprised me at first because it’s a touch loud, but it’s really grown on me.
The cocktail hour had an old Hollywood glam theme, complete with a red carpet entrance.
Kelly Beall of Design Crush is on the right. She mentioned during the panel discussion on Design Theory that to keep a good work/life balance she chooses not to have internet at home, so she does all her blogging when she gets to work early. Given how incredible her blog is, perhaps not having the internet 24/7 can actually help you be more creative.
Throughout cocktails these lovely cigarette ladies passed out old school boxes–that’s right, whole boxes–of candy.
There she is: Dooce‘s infamous Heather Armstrong.
The killer keynote panel from left: Maxwell from Apartment Therapy, Jean from NotCot, Grace from Design*Sponge, and Heather, who announced her deal with HGTV that day. Maxwell said some particularly inspiring things that I will leave you with to start the week:
Remember WHY you started what you do. It comes through to the WHAT you do.
Jonathan Adler says the secret to success is panic! Panic can be a driving force when you have the responsibilities of running your own show.
I try to blog about me… Warts and all! What Oprah does that’s so amazing is she shares. She’s real.
Martha Stewart is OVER people! No more perfection, be real.
All photography: Brooke Dennis2 COMMENTS
When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite times of year was Valentine’s Day. Every year, I looked forward to sitting down in front of a stack of pink and red construction paper, safety scissors in one hand, Elmer’s glue in the other, my adolescent creativity positioned to unleash itself in the form of accordion hearts and puns. My classmates and I would spend an entire afternoon snipping, tracing, and folding. The result, in some shape or form, for each of my classmates: a meticulously personalized brown paper lunch bag, the perfect vessel for the sharing of Valentines, candy hearts, and lollipops.
With February 14 right around the corner, the Minted team is in a Valentine’s Day-frame of mind. Luckily, we have a freshly-debuted assortment of Valentines to feast our eyes on. There isn’t a piece of construction paper in sight, but when you see how refreshingly clever and adorable these cards are, you might agree that maybe that’s not a bad thing.
My Heart For You won over several team members, including Robert, one of our production designers. Expanding on his initial description of the design as giving him a “happy feeling,” he explained, “I like artwork that gives you a view of things with a childlike innocence. Very simple and good memories.” Allison, the Design Associate you may have seen in this video, agreed, saying that she loved the design for its warmth and sweetness.
Natasha holds Erin Rau’s New Baby especially close to her heart: “My friend used it for her new baby Morgan, and I got a real, live copy of it in my mailbox last night. My friend lives in Burlingame just like Erin, the card’s designer, and I think it’s so nice when people support local artists in their communities. It is such a classy card and the red heart really jumps from the most perfect beige color in the nicest, not overpowering way. My friend also chose a sleeping photo, which is always a great choice. The baby looks so happy and peaceful!”
Others adored Message from the Birds by Moglea. Alison (with one “l”), another designer at Minted, said, ” I love the ribbon and the pennants. The hand drawn elements and dreamy clouds really remind me of carefully crafting sweet cards in elementary school.”
Ellen, from our marketing team, had similarly school-minded thoughts and said Kate Sawyer’s Crayon Heart reminded her of when she and her classmates used to scribble notes to each other on their paper-bag-bound textbooks.
Prescilla, from our production team, snagged Let’s Chill by CBeeProject for her friends and family as soon as it launched. The “super cute!” factor of the card caught her eye, and the color scheme and illustrations sealed the deal.
Mariam, CEO and Founder of Minted, thought all of the designs were incredibly clever and adorable. She ended up picking You Amaze Me by . Design Lotus . for her son to take to school with him because she knew her son and his friends would love tracing their way through the maze.
Now it’s your turn. We’d love to hear which cards you love.5 COMMENTS
I’ve been out in Park City for the ALTitude Design Summit and for Sundance so I have great design and movies on the mind. I just happened across an incredible website that is in my mind a virtual goldmine of inspiration for font and composition ideas… not to mention a great resource for your Netflix queue.
Even the films “Ends” have a lot to teach us!
I had the great pleasure of meeting up with Minted designer Brandy Brown and her adorable family over the holidays while visiting my family in Seattle. We met for coffee. Brandy has just recently starting drinking coffee and so she got a hazelnut, vanilla, mocha, which she could barely finish. (I, of course, had no trouble with my extra large latte.) It’s clear from just one meeting that this girl has no shortage of energy! We went on a power walk through Lincoln Park down to the gorgeous water, where we met up with her husband and daughter.
Have you always lived in Washington? Yes. I attended a small high school in a even smaller town.
Did you go to art school? After high school I studied a little graphic design and art history at the Art Institute of Seattle. I dropped out after a year and a half to enjoy some traveling in Europe. After returning home I landed a great job in downtown Seattle at a modeling agency.
How did you get started in graphic design?
One night I came across a Minted ad and it mentioned something about a design challenge. I was immediately curious and thus entered my first competition. This month marks the one year anniversary of the beginning of my dream career. I have Minted to thank for creating such an amazing platform for independent designers.
How did you pick the name Marabou?
The Marabou Stork is a large wading bird in the stork family. I chose it as homage to my daughter, Ava. She is a never ending source of inspiration. Since becoming a mother my philosophy has been that… clean design & little people go hand & hand. Ava loves all things girly–like mother, like daughter! When I am designing for the opposite sex, I tap into my husband’s aesthetic, which is very minimal, modern, and crisp.
You are obviously a very passionate person… what are you in love with right now?
I love raw oysters. I’ve had the Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix CD on replay since June.
I love cats, but own two fish. I’m very particular about wrapping paper & have a soft spot for doilies.
One of the things that makes Minted great is that our community of designers live all over the world and so many of our designers are really inspired by the communities and geography in which they live. Consistent with the sweeping national locavore movement, we’re seeing some of our customers trying to support their communities by choosing cards designed by local designers. Brandy says she loves living in Seattle where “you’re constantly surrounded by beauty. I find lots of inspiration in nature. I’m privileged to live in the Pacific Northwest, where we enjoy all the seasons–from the cold, dark days of winter to the vibrant colors of Fall.”
I asked Brandy to share with us her top five things to do in Seattle just in case any of you are headed Northwest in the New Year.
1. Ferry ride to Orcas Island
2. Walks along Lincoln Park
3. Shopping at Moxie Papergoods & Gifts
4. Amtrak Train ride to Portland, OR (weekend getaway)
5. Dining at Barolo
Since Brandy had such fun Seattle recommendations and because she has an adorable little girl, I thought I’d also ask her for her favorite, well-designed baby products.
3. Binth Baby Book
4. Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Baby Diapers & Canus Li’l Goat Milk Baby Wipes
5. Esthex Naomi Fuchsia Doll
6. Wheely Bug, bumble bee
7. Mary Had A Little Amp, by Various Artists (audio CD)
8. Wooden Doll Pram in Natural from Haba Toys
9. Birds Of A Feather Mobile
*Marabou’s #1 beverage for expectant mother’s (besides H2O)… Dry Soda! It keeps you entertained during the holidays and it’s refreshing during the summer months.
Finally, I’m fairly certain that with all of your energy and enthusiasm for life you must have a New Year’s resolution?
To learn to do my own taxes and to teach myself the language of love, French!
If you’re having trouble getting inspired for the current Keep in Touch Good Housekeeping Challenge, check out the new website Letterheady. It’s a curated collection of famous and not so famous people’s letterhead.
Not surprisingly, Albert Einstein kept it super simple:
Walt Disney Studio’s was quite lively:
Elivis’s is pretty comical:
Nat King Cole makes nice use of contrasting fonts:
And this not so famous one is really sweet:
And if you haven’t already check out Letterheady’s sister site Letters of Note. It just might help you get started writing the perfect Valentine! By, the way lots of Minted Valentine photo cards are now for sale! Beat the rush–order today! xoxoxo1 COMMENT
The winners of our Real Simple 10th Year Celebration Challenge have finally been announced! It certainly took us a bit of time to announce the winners, but these excellent party invitations were worth the wait. Our community had so much fun dreaming up ways for Real Simple to announce their upcoming tenth anniversary.
We were deeply honored to have Real Simple’s design department, headed by Janet Froelich, their esteemed Creative Director, serve as the guest judge for this challenge. Janet is pretty much as big as it gets in the design world. (Before Real Simple, she was the longtime Creative Director of the The New York Times Magazine.) Janet and her team chose Uplifting Achievement by Lauren-Dawn McBurney for their Judge’s Prize.
What Real Simple loved about it: We chose the Uplifting Achievement Party entry because it communicates a clever, unexpected concept in a clean and clear way. The invitation could be used for business-related milestones, for sure, but it could also be used for more personal milestones—for example, a 10th anniversary party for that couple who is not all about hearts and flowers.
One of Real Simple’s runner-ups was also an Editor’s Pick:
What Real Simple loved about it: It’s clean and simple, yet still visually interesting. The numbers themselves are the art.
First prize (as voted by our wonderful community):
What Minted loved about it: Typography has certainly never looked so tasty! In fact, it looks so delicious it made our design associate Kim want to eat it. (Not surprisingly, it was her favorite design. ) It could easily be used as baby shower invitations or girls birthday party invitations… actually, come to think of it, we know a lot of grown women who adore cupcakes more than any child ever could!
What Minted loved about it: Numbers on their own are just so beautiful and here their perfect placement creates a work of art. Renee of R Studio‘s work never looks overworked or forced.
Tied for third:
What Minted loved about it: It’s so cool how the text combines to form a cake illustration. And we love the lines on the bias through the candle.
Tied for third:
What Minted loved about it: This is just classic design perfectly executed and could be used for anything and everything!
A favorite in the Top Ten:
What Minted Loved About It: Natasha thinks this is so sweet and romantic. She thinks the text is laid out masterfully and likes how it references the stars. It’s not easy to combine that many types of font in such a small area.
A favorite Editor’s Pick:
What Minted loved about it: Annie Clark, whose love for hand lettering is no secret, was instantly smitten by this entry. She’s personally begging these ladies to create a whole alphabet. Katherine Cheng loved how unexpectedly delicate and modern this design feels. The aluminum background is very elegant, while the touches of bright tangerine give the design a hip, energizing touch.
A favorite Editor’s Pick:
What Minted loved about it: Such a fresh, fun and modern design! Annie loves that each speech bubble can be customizable – just imagine how much fun our creative customers will having thinking of ways to fill them.
A favorite Editor’s Pick:
What Minted loved about it: Jody can’t stop staring at the “10” . The illustration would look great used as a recurring motif for all sorts of party decorations, and maybe even a screen-printed over-sized poster!
We know lots of you lovebirds made plans to tie the knot over this past holiday season, as one in five engagements happens between Christmas and New Year’s. And why not? It is such a festive and cozy time of year!
And so the excitement begins… date setting, dress shopping, and our personal favorite: invites!!! A few of our new wedding invitations are already generating quite a buzz, including a full page of editorial in InStyle Weddings:
And a great highlight in Brides.com’s feature on Affordable Wedding Invitations.
We rang up Karly Depew of Oscar+Emma to ask her about her great success in the Minted community during 2009. She has racked up award after award and currently has a whopping 82 designs for sale on the site. We eagerly await all that she will come up with in 2010!
How did you get your start?
I loved drawing and coloring when I was little. I loved Martha Stewart magazine when I was way too young to even understand them – my mom was a huge magazine person. I think a lot of my bringing up was just very visual.
Did you study graphic design in school?
I took art classes my whole life, but for some reason when I went to college (Ohio Wesleyan University) I decided that art was not the way I was going to go. I picked zoology, but half-way through college I realized I didn’t enjoy chemistry, so I started studying photography and ended up majoring in fine arts with a concentration in photography.
Is your photography background helpful in graphic design?
It helps most with composition and in knowing how to move things around to balance out the design.
When did you start designing stationery?
As soon as I was getting married, which is a common story, I know. I was living in Boston at the time and I wanted letter pressed invites, but I didn’t know how to go about getting it done. I went into Paper Source and talked with a designer to see if I could really do all of the design work and have them just print them for me. They agreed and when I showed them the work I had done, they basically said this new position was opening up they wanted me to interview for it. At the time I did everything in Microsoft Word and had no idea how to work in InDesign. I had a few interviews, put a portfolio together overnight, and ended up getting the job.
That’s one way to interview for a job!
The only issue was this was two weeks before our wedding. I went to meet my husband for lunch to tell him I got the job and he had this weird look on his face—it turns out he was getting transferred to Ohio, near where I grew up, the day I had accepted a job in Boston. So, we lived apart for the first 10 months of our marriage and tried to see each other whenever we could, but eventually the monetary cost of traveling back and forth added up and I decided it was time for me to move back to be with my husband. I didn’t want to work for anyone else and I felt I had learned enough at Paper Source to start my own business so I decided to launch Oscar & Emma.
What did your wedding invitation end up looking like?
I wanted it to be something that I had never seen before and like everything I design I wanted it to be whimsical. I did a wood veneer backing on all of the invitations and rsvp cards and then to personalize it as much as possible we got rid of the inner envelope concept and instead did a linen wrap around the entire thing. I printed each person’s name on a tag which we tied around the linen. It was pretty complex with lots of textural elements. I didn’t want the invite to look exactly like the rsvp so we carried different graphic elements throughout the piece.
A lot of the rsvp cards entered in our Love at First Serif Wedding Invitation Challenge departed from the main invitation–we all thought that was really great.
How did you come up with the name Oscar + Emma?
I usually try to avoid this question because I’m scared people are going to think I’m obsessed with my cats… but I obviously love my cats, so I decided their names were a good combination of elegant and sweet together. I didn’t want it to be obvious and I wanted it to be unique enough that it would come up right away if someone Googled it.
What designers do you look up to?
I look at Eric Kass all the time. His stuff is awesome—a great modern/vintage combination.
What blogs do you read regularly?
100 layer cake, design sponge, oh joy, Lab Partners–I like their illustrations. I’m a very eclectic person, so I’m all over the place!
What’s your workspace like?
I have a very open space that is kind of my office / living room, that moves into my dining room, where I often hold meetings with clients. I have all these windows around me and I have the windows or shutters open so I can be outside but be working inside at the same time.
Do you have a favorite pen?
I have a pen that I absolutely love – it’s an A G Spalding and Brothers with a walnut wood barrel. It’s my favorite pen ever.
I use moleskin notebooks a lot.
Are you noticing any font trends right now?
Burgess is still the script of choice, but another script I’m seeing a lot more of is Compendium. It’s really on the rise.
What colors can we expect to see more of in 2010?
Locally I have had a lot of requests for green and florals always have a lot of green in them. Gold is making a comeback. Warm colors, like plums, are definitely popular right now. Speaking of purple, I’m also seeing lots of lavender.
How has living in Ohio influenced your work?
The Farmer’s Daughter from the most recent wedding challenge is the design that has probably most stemmed from Ohio. It actually came from the idea that had my husband and I not gotten married in South Carolina, we would have gotten married here on my parent’s farm – or if I ever renewed my vows it would be there. I wanted to come up with a sophisticated take on my childhood growing up on a farm.
Winter Berries was also very regionally inspired because in winter here the only color you see are either berries or birds.
Finally, what advice would you give a new designer?
One of the most important things is to really understand printing methods because how you design is a lot about how you’re printing. It’s important to be open to inspiration from anything and everything. I would advise trying to stay away from the trends. And learn how to really work with typography – I think it is always the single factor that makes or breaks a design.
Any suggestions on where to look for typography help?
I always look through Communication Arts books and a lot of vintage stuff to see how things work together. The labels on old bottles, for example, can really teach you a lot about typography.
Karly, thank you so much for your time and great contributions to Minted this year! And a very happy New Year to everyone in the Minted community! xoxoxo12 COMMENTS