A New Year’s Day chat with Oscar+Emma

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.

Karly and Judd's invitation

Karly and Judd's invitation

Karly's program

Karly's program

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.

Karly's dining room

Karly's dining room

Karly's office

Karly's office

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.

The Farmers Daughter

The Farmer's Daughter

Winter Berries was also very regionally inspired because in winter here the only color you see are either berries or birds.

Winter Berries

Winter Berries

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! xoxoxo


Season’s Greetings

This year has been a whirlwind. We’ll hold off on the year-end recap for now, but 2009 was such a remarkable year, it’s worth pausing and saying thanks to all of our incredibly supportive and enthusiastic customers and designers around the world. Wishing you and your loved ones much rest and happiness in the new year.

Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year,

The Team at Minted

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It’s not too late!

If you’re like most of us and haven’t had a chance to come up for air amidst the craziness of the holiday season then you might not have gotten to checking Christmas cards off your to-do list. Not to worry: New Year photo cards are the perfect way around rapidly approaching Christmas and Hanukkah deadlines. And this way you can take your time addressing them and even writing personal notes. Here are a few of our favorites:

I like how this one really emphasizes the new year: 2010!

Elegant New Year by Annie Clarke

Elegant New Year by Annie Clarke

This is one of our most popular cards reworked with a New Year message.

float + peace New Year Photo Card

Float + Peace New Year Photo Card

You can even do a New Year’s Minibook card with photos from your holiday.

Annie Clarks Hip New Year Holiday Minibook

Annie Clark's Hip New Year Holiday Minibook

Or how about a Happy Winter card… you can send this one through February even!

winter berries by oscar+emma holiday minibook

Winter Berries by Oscar+Emma Holiday Minibook

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Busy Times!

As you can imagine, it’s been a busy December for Minted. We’re thrilled that so many people have taken notice of our great design and we’re seeing more and more Minted cards on other’s mantles.

Our recipe Minibook cards were featured in Food & Wine magazine as a fun gift idea.



The Early Show also showcased our Minibook cards featuring their anchors.





And, finally The San Francisco Chronicle, our hometown paper, included Minted in their holiday card trend story.

Didn’t they do such a cute job making our cards into a pretty wreath?!


Minted on the Early Show

The word is getting out! Minted’s personal stationery was featured this morning on the Early Show in a guide to holiday gifts for $50 and less. Amy Goodman, a senior editor at All You magazine, was very excited to share both our affordable gift price point and how we source our designs from an international community of designers. Early Show anchor Harry Smith commented on how nice it is to find a personal note amidst all of your bills and junk mail.

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Gobble Gobble

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all who celebrate!


The Team at Minted

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Skinny labels that make a big impression

If you haven’t gotten a hold of these labels yet, you’re in for a treat.

a fun little gift unto itself

Seriously convenient and irresistibly stylish

Our new skinny-wrap™ address labels merge functionality and elegance in a unique format that has everyone at Minted swooning.  I’m personally a sucker for anything that is both beautiful and functional, so I love how these labels convey information, while feeling unexpected, bold, and polished.

They’re versatile too. Use them to tie up goody bags or place one on the inside of your sketchbook or planner in case it’s ever misplaced. Pop one on your child’s calculator or ipod, or place one over your lunch box so your coworkers leave your sandwich alone. The options are endless.

How would you use your skinny-wrap™ label?


Stroller Traffic spots top holiday card trends

Stroller Traffic interviewed our CEO & Founder Mariam Naficy about the top holiday card trends we’re seeing here at Minted, where our holiday photo cards are even more popular than we could have ever anticipated!

A few of the other trends that Mariam mentioned didn’t make the final piece, but we thought you might be interested:

1. The folded-up-stuffed-inside-the-card holiday letter is SO OVER. Think instead of a chic reinvention of the holiday letter: We came up with a Yearline™ card that lets moms share the key highlights of their family’s year along a timeline with pictures and captions. This has really hit a chord with the moms who shop on our site – it is a chic version of the holiday letter.

2. A book as a card. Our brand new Minibook cards, are extremely popular. Our customers love to showcase each member of their family on a page with an update about what they’ve been up to this year—it’s a fresh take on the holiday newsletter. Our recipe Minibook holiday cards are also really catching on. They’re great because your card becomes a gift in itself. Families are including holiday cookie recipes or a favorite recipe from each family member or a favorite recipe from each season of the year.

Sweet Tooth Holiday Recipe Minibook by Oscar+Emma

Sweet Tooth Holiday Recipe Minibook by Oscar+Emma

3. Creative address labels, for big and small kids. Why not make your envelope as stylish as what’s inside? Why do address labels always have to look so boring? To meet the demand for fun address labels, we just launched our skinny-wrap™ address labels, including adorable ones for children. They give your card a fully coordinated look and are a great way to distinguish your holiday card in a sea of other cards, as well as make sure it’s not mistaken for junk mail. They also make for adorable stocking stuffers. We also offer white, kraft, and silver envelopes and our customers love them. They make the labels really pop and add to the recipient’s experience.

Our return address skinny wrap labels

Our return address skinny wrap labels

4. Happy New Year Cards. Instead of opting for the generic Happy Holidays wording, lots of families are instead choosing a Happy New Year message. It’s fun, festive and avoids the political correctness issue entirely. It also lets you leisurely address your cards and maybe even add a personal note after the Christmas rush. Our Hip New Year card is one of our top ten best sellers and it’s only November!

Annie Clarks Hip New Year Holiday Photo Card

Annie Clark's Hip New Year Holiday Photo Card

5. Sans Serif Fonts. Big, bold, simple text is very hot. Modern Love and Float + Peace are selling very well.

Modern Love Holiday Photo Card by Oscar+Emma

Modern Love Holiday Photo Card by Oscar+Emma

float+peace holiday non-photo card by Float Paperie

float+peace Holiday Non-Photo Card by Float Paperie

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Checking in with Cheree Berry

Our whole office is still oohing and ahhing over Cheree Berry’s wedding, which was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings last summer. Today, Martha Stewart Weddings website wrote about her precious lollipop stands.

We proudly sell Cheree Berry Paper’s covet-worthy personal stationery on our site.

Cheree Berry Blooming Border Personalized Stationery

Cheree Berry Blooming Border - Duplex Personalized Stationery

We were fortunate enough to steal a few moments of this gorgeous design maven’s time to find out how she comes up with such happy, whimsical, and inspiring designs.

How did you get your start?
I was at Kate Spade working in the design department, which is fabulous because no matter your position you get to work on a variety of projects and I got to work on the Kate Spade and Crane’s wedding albums. While I was doing that I was simultaneously designing invites for friends and friends of friends. I was so excited when people saw their designs that I wanted to do this full-time. In January 2006, I decided to move back to my home state Missouri and start my own stationery business.

Cheree's photo wall

Some of Cheree's work

How would you describe Cheree Berry Paper?
We design things that we really love and we try to execute them in a smart and funny way. When someone opens a Cheree Berry envelope, we want it to put a huge smile on their face—we’ll look for that laugh aloud moment and not necessarily even because it’s a funny card, but just because what they found was unexpected. If we could have a little person pop out of the envelope, we would try for that next!

Cheree Berry's Champagne Save the Date

Cheree Berry's Champagne Save the Date

So you really want to re-invent the wheel?
Exactly. We’re not going to just throw starfish all over the invite because we want to fill the beach category. Nothing against starfish, but we would try to invent a new theme for a destination, beach-style wedding.

What do you like best about designing wedding invitations?
With personalized stationery it’s very limited; a favorite color or motif is all you can showcase. An invitation suite lets us tell the love story, the season they’re being married, if they’re wearing their grandmother’s dress… we try to think about what little hook will make their invitation different from the next bride out there. Brides always want to do something that their best friend didn’t do so they really keep us on our toes.

What current wedding invitation trends are you noticing?
Lots of clients actually reference the J. Crew catalog—they’re actually the ones setting the trends in color palettes. We’re seeing a lot more of a charcoal gray—it softens black ink up a bit. We’ve also noticed that even brides who have formal weddings aren’t afraid of color and very few brides have just one color anymore. We’re doing a lot of coral and yellow. Grey and chartreuse have also been really popular.

Monotones are great for a bride that wants depth in her color palette but doesn’t want lots of hues, so we might do a dark pink, red, orange and keep all the colors in the same warm family. We see a lot of that.

Lavender is enjoying a comeback; Whereas a couple years ago it was a deep, reddish purple, now people are going more for a softer purple. We get a lot of green because you are always going to have green at some level with the greenery in the flowers and with all the outdoor weddings. But the wedding trend with color is still very much driven by the bridesmaid colors; if you have six girls standing up front wearing an orange dress you can’t escape the color.

Cheree Berry Devon Wedding Invitation

Cheree Berry Devon Wedding Invitation

What about fonts… any go-to favorites?
We love Bonn. We love the more extended sans serif fonts. We love shaded fonts. As a stationery designer, fonts are one of those things where every so often we have to pull-back and take a look at using the same fonts. When we notice that other people are using a font, it’s probably time to think of finding a new one. So many people love Burgess, but what I specifically love about it is all the different capitalizing options that come with the font so you can make it look more like your own.

Any advice to new designers on fonts?
On wedding invitations with limited text I love small caps. In programs or items with a lot of copy, like a welcome itinerary for example, the eye tends to be do better at reading when you cap normally, i.e. what is grammatically correct.

Any hot wedding fonts?
Brides have gotten savvier in the last four years; They say we like the fonts with the feet or we don’t like the feet. When we type-set an invite, we now send them two to three font options and they have usually have a really strong opinion.

We do love scripts. Most of our invites, unless our client tells us not to, have some sort of script. We love just that hint of script even for our modern or even more masculine invitations. It feels very romantic and appropriate for wedding stationery, even if it’s just the ‘and’ in-between their names. After all, “and” is really a symbol of two people joining together in a marriage.

Where does all of this creative genius take place?

We just took over the whole floor of our building so we now have 1800 square feet and it’s an old, old building. We have five rooms, but they are all open by pocket doors to one another. We leave them open so we can bounce ideas off of each other. There isn’t a lot of privacy, but the open environment allows for great group thinking. We all work in the main first three rooms and we leave the back two open for meetings and for inventory, storing supplies, and all the nitty gritty—like handwork and ribbon binding.

Where do you meet with clients?

We have a great red table from Design Within Reach in our meeting room. A lot of our work tends to be on a white or cream base and we wanted the invites to pop off the table, although we can put butcher paper over it if it competes with their palette. There’s this happy face bowl of laughs in the middle of the table with cut-out “Ha’s” that our customers sometimes use to write notes on.

A light-hearted bowl of "Ha's"

Neat or messy?
I hate to say it but I am completely unorganized. I am the type of person who knows where everything is, but not in the conventional way.

PDA or paper calendar?
I have an iPhone, but I don’t put my appointments in it. I use a Kate Spade calendar. I am just obsessed with it. I love the process that goes into their calendar.

Kate Spades calender

Kate Spade's 2010 calender

Are you a big card writer?
I have always had a huge stationery drawer and when I lived in New York I spent the better half of my life in Kate’s Paperie. My mother taught me the etiquette that you should always write a thank you note on paper. I think it is great to have lived in an era where growing up you didn’t have the option to e-mail and it is interesting how hard it would be as a parent now to instill that message in your children.

What’s your favorite pen for writing all those cards?
I like the UniBall Deluxe Micro pen. I buy them by the dozen. I am also the pen stealer in the office— whenever I go to someone’s desk in the office, I take their pen. One of my designers has a hidden pen stash and I’m not even allowed to know where it is!

Ink color?
Definitely Black.

Notebook of choice?
I’m a big fan of Rhodia orange notebooks and I prefer the grid paper – I like having the little cells. I write better with them and they’re great for doodling or sketching ideas. They help guide me.

Cherees favorite note pads

We adored looking through your recent wedding . I was wondering where someone with such good taste registers?
I didn’t register for anything out of the ordinary. I got the Vietri Incanto White China for my every day dinner wear. I love the pottery look and its ruffled, scalloped edge. The pottery is painted white, but it’s slightly worn when you buy it. It’s is beautiful. We didn’t do china we just did that. When we have dinner parties, we just pull out our serving trays. I always think that Anthropologie or Johnathan Adler should do a registry. I am obviously a huge fan of John Darien—I love his decoupage plates. Oh and I love thisisauto.com’s great mix of products.

Vietri Incanto White China

What are you doing for your holiday card this year?
I’m a non-traditional card sender. This year we did a Halloween card—I love when people have an unexpected holiday—there can be another time of the year to make a different impression. I love that New Year’s cards are a very big trend right now.

Cheree Berry Escort Cards

Cheree Berry Escort Cards