Abby picks her favorite design

Right on the heels of announcing our Seasonal Save the Date Challenge winners, we wanted to know just how Abby Larson of famed wedding blog Style Me Pretty arrived at her tough decision—which also happened to be the very same design chosen by our community. Coincidence? We think not.

minted: What is the most important thing about a save the date to you?
abby: A save the date is the first opportunity you have to give your guests a taste for what’s to come. It’s a chance to let your personalities shine through and your charm to take center stage. I love save the dates that are all about the couple, that speak to the kind of people they are, and the kind of event that they are going to host. It should be a sneak peek of what’s to come!

minted: Seeing so many save the dates as a full-time wedding blogger, what stands out to you?
abby: Well, I am sucker for anything engraved on dark paper or letterpressed on to the thickest cotton money can buy. But, that isn’t always the most practical. So, those that stand out to me are Save the Dates that make me smile. Save the dates that give me a little window into the couple’s personality. Of course, a couple that has style and chooses a chic design is even more exciting, but all in all, I think that Save the Dates are the best when they come from the heart.

minted: Do you think it’s imperative that a save the date coordinate with the themes and motifs of the wedding to come? And how important is seasonality to you?
abby: I think that it’s moderately important. I do like to see designs that fit in with the greater theme of your wedding as a whole. For example, I wouldn’t want to see a really traditional save the date for a more modern couple hosting their wedding in an art gallery. Or a really modern save the date for a couple having their affair in a rose garden. Think of it this way…the save the date is the first chance you get to surprise and wow your guests. It’s the first chance for your wedding brand to really come out. Take the opportunity and run with it!

minted: How did you narrow down your final picks? Was there anything that they all had in common?
abby: Style. I usually put style above anything else. Then, I narrowed it down to those with charm and personality. It was incredibly hard, as there are SO many good ones. But in the end, I just chose three that I couldn’t get out of my mind. Those that I always looked at more than once.

minted: What were your three favorites and why?
abby: Fall Carving by Amanda O’Rourke . It’s ALL charm. It’s completely adorable and easy to love.

Fracas by Sarah Lenger. It’s simply awesome. I have this thing for bright graphic patterns and this one satisfies my new obsession.

Fracas Save the Date Cards

Winter Flourish by Annie Clark. It’s the perfect combination of the two. It’s charming and lovely, while still being incredible graphic and eye catching. Plus, it reminds me a little bit of the line of wedding invitations that I designed, Abby Jean. Which just makes me happy.

winter-flourish

minted: How did you finally decide on your final choice?
abby: Well, it all came down to my own personal style. Style Me Pretty readers actually really loved Fall Carving, far and away the winner. But, at the end of the day, it all comes down to personal style and taste. It’s what I preach on Style Me Pretty and it’s the method that I used to narrow down my many save the date loves. Winter Flourish is SO me. That was the kicker!

minted: What do you like about the design?
abby: It’s romantic, it’s style-savvy, it’s timeless. It’s modern in color and composition and yet it’s traditional at the same time, using a classic calligraphy font. It’s perfection!

minted: Do you think it could be formulated into a full wedding suite?
abby: Abso-stinkin-lutely! It would be spectacular as a complete wedding suite and would be even more impressive as a letterpress design. Totally in love with this one.

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Minted on Style Me Pretty

Not sure if our talented designers have noticed, but Abby at Style Me Pretty featured several of her favorite designs in Minted’s Seasonal Save the Date Card challenge at and asked her readers for their opinion. She has exquisite taste – I love her choices, and it was interesting to see the comments her readers left. We’ll find out her top choice soon… can’t wait!

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Thoughts from our seasonal save the date couples

It’s always interesting to hear what the inspirations behind our competitions actually pick for their cards. Here are some real-time responses from our Style Me Pretty couples on what save the date cards they’re thinking about using for their upcoming nuptials.

Brittany: “We have loved watching the designs come in, some of them are GORGEOUS and all of them are fun!” My favorite is Green Butterfly by Pretty {much} Art.

I love the font, and the butterfly on the front…and I like that it is all one color. If I had to change one thing about it, I would hope that if it gets picked up to be sold by minted.com , that it could be possible to offer it in a variety of colors. Our wedding colors are in the purple family, and the original green color wouldn’t be my first choice.

(Not to worry, Brittany—all of our cards are always fully customizable and can be made in any color under the sun. All you have to do is get in touch with one of our customer associates by emailing service@minted.com or calling 1-888-828-MINT / 1-415-466-2090 )

Victoria: Our top choices were: Fields by Kerry Doyle. fields Save the Date Cards

Organic typography by Rachael Schendel. Organic Typography Save the Date Save the Date Cards

Penguins by Potts Design. a href=

Boardwalk Stencil by Alex Elko Design.

Victoria: We agreed on all of these.  The main colors for our wedding are black and white so it is hard to find a save the date in those colors that isn’t too serious/harsh.  We actually like the idea of a total departure from the wedding colors for the save the dates. Seasonality wasn’t super important to us but we liked the subtle play on winter some of the designers came up with like the Penguins and the smitten save the date by sweet street gals.
smitten Save the Date Cards

Nicole: Baroque Save the Dates by Amy Fontes Graphic Design.

Baroque Save the Date Cards

We both like the detailed designs and texture that she included. We also really liked Falling Leaves by Pottsdesign.Under a Canopy of Falling Leaves Save the Date Cards

I thought the artistry is excellent. I would actually prefer something a little more light colored. I also like Simply Save the Date by lehan, but haven’t asked Thomas about it yet… But once again the understated detail, artistry and light colors really caught my eye.

Hannah: MY personal favorite pick for our wedding is the Blossom Save the Date by Kerry Doyle.

blossom Save the Date Cards

Our colors are (as of now) black & white with spring green accents, and I absolutely love the contrast of the bright green against the bright white. I also love the fonts she chose, I think they are perfect for our level of formality and our personalities!

My fiance disagrees! He thinks it’s way too floral and feminine for his tastes. 🙁  Our runner-up (that we can both agree on) is the English Garden by Push Papers.

Although I also love the Flourishing by Susan Schneider. Flourishing Save the Date Cards

(Hannah, you can always pick a super girly invite for  your shower! We can easily make any of these save the dates into bridal shower invitations.)

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Minted Launches Personal Stationery Design Challenge With Celebrity Interior Designers

Minted Launches Personal Stationery Design Challenge With Celebrity Interior Designers. Minted recruits three of the country’s most renowned interior designers­ Martha Angus, Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, and Jay Jeffers ­ as inspiration for and judges in their first-ever personalized stationery design challenge.

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Minted at the National Stationery Show

Oscar + Emma and Lucky Paperie
Karly Depew of Oscar + Emma and Melanie Carter of Lucky Paperie

Phew, I”m back from walking miles up and down the aisles at the National Stationery Show in New York and wanted to share pictures from the trip.  It was exciting to see our friends from Elum, Dauphine Press, Wiley Valentine, The Happy Envelope, Mr. Boddington’s Studio, Egg Press, Paper + Cup, and more showing fabulous new letterpress wedding invitations and letterpress stationery.

Oscar + Emma and Kelli Hall
Karly Depew and Kelli Hall

One of the most exciting parts of the trip was gathering our community of designers together.  After seeing each other as small thumbnail photos on the Minted website for so long (and me as a profile cameo, it was pointed out by Amy Fontes – OK, I’ll change it), it was an unforgettable experience to meet everyone in 3D.  My impression was that new friendships were made and designers were helping each other navigate the show – the supportiveness we all see online came through in person as well.  Thank you to all the designers who attended our cocktail party at Bottino’s and took the time to give Annie and me great suggestions.

– Mariam

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Minted Thank You Cards Get Noticed at Elizabeth Anne Designs

Modern Dots Thank You Cards by Oscar + Emma

Rachel over at Elizabeth Anne Designs writes about our Thank You cards printed on 88 lb. Strathmore Fine Writing paper and our great customer service. She ordered Modern Dots by Oscar + Emma, and by the sound of it was very pleased, “Minted was very easy to order from! It’s great because you can personalize your notes to say anything you would like, from a basic “Thank You” (like mine), or something more elaborate with your names and a date, or even a favorite quote. You can play around with it online and see what the design and wording will look like before you place your order, and after you order you’ll receive an email “proof” showing exactly what they will look like. After I approved the proof, it was only about a week until I received my cards in the mail!”

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Jody Wody at Minted HQ

We were lucky enough to have one of Minted’s newer designers come visit us today and give us her feedback. You may know her as Jody Wody, a local San Francisco designer whose sophisticated designs have already caught the eye of our customers. Here is her winning design from our Pre-Wedding Party Challenge:

Dinner Party Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
Dinner Party Rehearsal Dinner Invitations

We love to hear from our designers, so if any of you out there have something you want to tell us, please feel free to drop us a line, comment in the forum, or comment here on our blog.

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An Interview with Wiley Valentine

Following on such great response from our interview with Kelli Hall, I decided to get in touch with one of Minted’s first brand and community designers Wiley Valentine. Emily Owen and Rachelle Schwartz, both graphic design professionals steeped in the throes of agency life, finally decided to take their creative future into their own hands and started up their own design house. Wiley Valentine, their stationery brand inspired by their grandmothers, has leveraged the letterpress with a distinctly modern mood, giving forth to paper remixes that redefine traditional.

Michelle Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine
Michelle Wedding Invitations

minted: I love the back-story on the WV name. How much of their aesthetic is reflected in your work? What do you think your grandmothers would say about WV?
WV: My grandmother, Norma Jean, is still with us, and she is absolutely thrilled! She loves to watch us grow as a company and see what we do next. It’s really fun that I get to share it with her. In terms of their influence I think it comes more in their overall artistry and creativity. Although our love for all things vintage can definitely relate back to them I suppose. We also launched a line of cards last year featuring paintings that Mary Wiley had done in her teens! I think she would have been thrilled to see that!

minted: In an increasingly digital world, why is paper important?
WV: It’s such an important form of communication. With all the texting, emailing twittering etc…going on, paper has become all that more special. It makes such an impression when someone receives a beautifully printed wedding invitation or hand written thank you note on gorgeous personalized stationery.

minted: Do you tweet? I’m sure minted fans will start following you.
WV: I have not gone over to the dark side just yet… ie. twitter. Although I feel it’s only a matter of time! 🙂

Metropolitan Muse Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine
Metropolitan Muse Wedding Invitations

minted: Recent advancements in letterpress have opened up the creative possibilities for designers. How does the world of digital design and its tools affect your analog design work?
WV: The ability to create custom artwork and then have plates made has given us endless possibilities with the letterpress medium. It’s so fun to see what we create on the computer, translated into a hand letterpressed piece!

minted: What’s the printing process like, are you moving plates around and mixing and matching on the fly? Or is it a more calculated process?
WV: The plate process is more exact. We create the artwork, than we have photo-polymer plates made (the eco-choice of plates). One is made for each color and printed one color at a time.

Carolyn Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine
Carolyn Wedding Invitations

minted: The WV design wedding collection is richly intricate and heavy with organic floral motifs. Where do you get your wonderful patterns?
WV: We are largely inspired by vintage books, wallpapers, advertisements, and old magazines. We love blending the vintage inspired look with modern applications.

minted: Where do you find your material, the library, garage sales, archives?
WV: We can find inspiration in anything from old books that used to belong to Emily’s grandmother, to old print ads that we found at flea markets, etc. There is really no rule, our inspiration comes from everywhere! I even like to look at my inspiration book http://www.wileyvalentine.com/blog/2008/11/17/inspiration-books/ before designing a collection. I get tons of ideas from my magazine clippings.

minted: What are the rules for what makes it “in” to the collection?
WV: There aren’t really any rules. We try and make a collection touch upon different design aesthetics so there is something for a varying type of design tastes. Something simple and modern, something decorative and over the top, and something in between.

Matzinger Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine
Matzinger Wedding Invitations

minted: Despite the ornate patterns, the WV collection remains very modern. How do you strike a balance between the traditional and the modern?
WV: I think it’s a blend of color, typography, and overall layout that creates the modern edge. Also using a vintage looking floral as a pattern, for example, is a way of using a vintage inspired image in a modern way.

minted: What are your favorite colors for this season and favorite typefaces? (I know this is like asking you the meaning of life, perhaps your top threes, you can list by Pantone if you like for colors :D)
WV: We are completely obsessed with champagne (8003) and what we have dubbed Buttercup (134). We are also loving Aubergine (8802). In terms of fonts we like to use a mix of calligraphy inspired fonts next to more minimal modern fonts for the contrast. I also love hand-written inspired fonts.

Yolanda Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine
Yolanda Wedding Invitations

minted: As a collaborative design project with only two votes, how do you come to consensus on making design decisions?
WV: Many times we just start designing and it becomes clear to us right away if it’s working or not. However we also love to toss around ideas with our great staff at the office. It’s great to get feedback from our staff, especially if it’s not from a designer but from our office manager for example. She gives us more of the consumer opinion which is very important to consider when designing.

minted: How many iterations does it typically take for a design to reach its final state?
WV: In terms of how many rounds does it take to come to a final design, it really varies. There are those designs that come instantly and they are so obviously right, and then there are others that have more of an evolution process that could be 4 or 5 different iterations before we come to a final design.

Adrianna Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine
Adrianna Wedding Invitations

minted: How do you pick what gets sold on your site?
WV: We usually design a collection, then Emily and I review it as a whole. We immediately trim it down and finalize what designs are the strongest. Then we show it to our trusty Wiley Valentine staff to get a broader perspective. We often create items that are inspired by some of our most popular designs as well.

minted:
I love the WV blog, you both cover so many cool places and sites. How do you find all this great stuff?
WV: A lot of places are just places we have here locally. I love to share these wonderful places with people that may not be in this area. We also have a lot of relationships with wedding coordinators and photographers that are kind enough to share some of their work, which is where the real weddings come from largely. But overall I find myself being inspired constantly and it’s just a way to document that on a daily basis!

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Type Crimes

I recently convinced Annie Clark to let us in on her secrets to great typography. As one of our most popular designers, her insights are not be missed by all of you budding typophiles.

Type Crimes! by Annie Clark

The first project for my college typography class was to design a poster strictly using type that responded to a pithy fortune cookie fortune, “Chance will lead to thrilling prospects.” How easy will this be, I thought to myself, I will use the type to construct playing cards into a poker hand — perfect! Enthusiastic and wide-eyed, I transformed R’s and Q’s into an ace of spades, spaced letters far apart to create the cards delicate boarder. “I am a typographic genius,” I thought to myself, I can’t wait for tomorrow’s critique.

I proudly pinned my design to the board for critique, admiring it from a distance. You couldn’t tell it was abc’s and ampersands that made those cards, what typographic genius! Then came the critique.

I waited with delight as he came to my design. “This is an example what not to do,” stabbed my professor as he started his criticism, “type is much more expressive on its own, it doesn’t need to be manipulated into shapes, and I won’t bother getting into the type crimes going on here.” Type crimes?! I thought this was type genius! Later that day in class he passed around a list:

MOST WANTED TYPE CRIMES

1. Horizontal & Vertical Scaling
When the proportions of the letter have been digitally distorted in order to create wider or narrower letters. If you want a font to look condensed try Helvetica Condensed.
spacing

2. Pseduo Italics, Bolds, and Small Caps
A type family can be faked by slanting, or inflating or shrinnking letters. Not all type faces are created equally, a good font should have at least a bold and italic.

  • Italics: The wide, ungainly forms of these skewed letter look forced and unnatural.
  • Bold: Padded around the edges, these letter feel blunt and dull.
  • Small Caps: These shrunken version of full size caps are puny and starved.

pseudo

3.Too Much Space
Digital typefaces are designed with spacing between the letters carefully thought out, too much kerning does not make your type look light and airy, it makes it awkward and hard to read. The same goes for leading, the space between lines of text, mind the gap and don’t get carried away.
too much space

4. Negative tracking
Make the shoe fit, not the foot. Don’t use negative tracking to save space.
negative tracking

5. Stacking type
Roman letters are designed to sit side by side, not on top of one another. Uppercase letterforms create more stable stacks than lowercase ones and centering the column can help visually even-out the differences in width. Stacks of lower case letters are especially awkward because the ascenders and descenders make the vertical spacing appear uneven and the varied width of characters make the stack look precarious.
stacking

Needless to say, it was a steep fall from my genius, and certainly prevented me from being a repeat offender. Sticking to the to basic foundations will not only prevent you from violating the laws of type, it will make your designs more legible, more stable, and better composed.

List compiled by Professor Steve Jones, with help from Ellen Lupton’s Thinking with Type.

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Minted in San Francisco Magazine

san-francisco-magazine

There are some people who really understand the creative community behind Minted, and Natasha Sarkisian, the Managing Editor of San Francisco Magazine, is one of those.  Here’s an excerpt from a feature written on Minted in the May issue:

“Minted’s designers run the gamut from industry stalwarts, like Wiley Valentine and Petaluma-based Dauphine Press, to stay-at-home moms.  Like the photography community on Flickr, Minted also offers plenty of room for comments, so designers gain valuable feedback from their peers.”

I can’t find the article posted online, so you’ll have to buy the magazine on the stands!

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