Happy, Happy Birthday Card Challenge: No. 2

This breezy design, Fantastic Birthday, by b.wise papers takes home the 2nd Place prize of $500 on the Happy, Happy Birthday Challenge countdown. Congratulations Alston!

Alston channels retro inspiration and makes it feel fresh again. Let’s start with the “fan.”  It looks structurally accurate, yet it carries a sense of whimsy and lightness that makes it feel downright perky. The personalized banner of the cupcake flutters delicately in the fan’s breeze, and the graphic stripes of the cupcake wrapper gives this stand-by treat a decidedly modern and sophisticated upgrade. And then there is the color palette, which pairs mint green and coral in a way that feels easy and relevant. It takes a skilled and confident designer to pair these colors for such an unexpectedly refreshing effect, and this win is an affirmation that b.wise papers is a designer to watch.


Happy, Happy Birthday Card Challenge: No. 3

Celebrate an ultra-special day with an Ultra Official design by J.Bartyn Design, the 3rd Place winner of $250 on the Happy, Happy Birthday Card Countdown. Congratulations Cambria!

Look closely at any J. Bartyn-design and your eyes will slowly uncover the many layers of details and touches that Cambria builds into her designs. A delicate hatching of the “Please” to catch your gaze and hold it; a delicate, orange grid that offsets the type and adds a soft, modern elegance; a clever interior panel composed entirely of fonts. Cambria consistently submits designs that are deliberately conceived and flawlessly executed, and she shows us that perfection is really in the details.

Cambria has been a fantastic contributor to the design community since her first design challenge, the Breakout Wedding Challenge, and we are thrilled to congratulate her on yet another win.


Happy, Happy Birthday Card Challenge: No. 4

As I write this, I am imagining the many items squashed-stuffed-and-stashed in my too small closet that would fit perfectly in today’s winning design. Without naming names, I will confess to having received an Extra, Extra, Extra Large fleece with a corporate logo, a wonderfully soft but hard-to-match maroon boa, and several pairs of super-thick, furry, argyle socks with fake crystals glued onto the ankles (please keep in mind that I reside in SF, a decidedly socks-optional kind of place). We all have received one or many of these kinds of presents, which makes Many Happy Returns, the 4th Place winner of $100, totally amazing. Congratulations to Leslie of Unless Someone Like You! You know EXACTLY how we feel.

An Unless Someone Like You design can be spotted from a mile away. Leslie has a knack for creating light-hearted, cheeky, and slightly retro-feeling illustrations that are as evocative as they are fun (check out her stationery design Elliott! or her wedding invitation Destination for example). Her latest winner, Many Happy Returns, is no exception. It strikes a tone of familiarity and adds a sassy twist to make you laugh. Rather than roll your eyes at the gifts and the givers, this design is so good because it joins the giver and recipient in a joke with a wink and a smile.


Happy, Happy Birthday Card Challenge: No. 5

Is there anything as elegantly handsome, nostalgic and quirky as a well-tied bow tie? If you think no, definitely not, then you’ll love the 5th Place winner of $100. Congratulations to Ashley of Fine Day Press for her winning design, Tie One On!

Ashley originally hails from Savannah, Georgia and is now based in Brooklyn. It’s highly probably that a combination of the two locations have inspired the design’s spirited, patterned bow ties and whimsical color palette. This design manages to feel both distinguished and celebratory and would be a wonderful addition to a variety of special occasions — a birthday, anniversary, or even a graduation. So go ahead, tie one on.


Happy, Happy Birthday Card Challenge: No. 6

I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce today’s 6th place winner of $100 — Birthday Suit Dance Party by Melissa and AJ of We Hold Hands.

This is Melissa and AJ’s very first Minted design challenge (adding yet another newbie to the top 10!), and I already can’t get enough of their textures, typography, and cheeky spirit. A quick scan of their 4 design submissions reveals an illustrative style that is whimsical, tactile, and incredibly fun, and we are expecting to see big things come out of this Philadelphia-based design duo. Congrats guys, and welcome to Minted!


Happy, Happy Birthday Card Challenge: No. 7

The designer who created the No. 7 design on the Happy, Happy Birthday Card Challenge Countdown is quickly becoming a familiar name. Since entering in her first design challenge in February 2010, Ann Gardner has established a reputation as a versatile and talented illustrator with a penchant for creating handsome designs that encompass a broad range of styles – from bold and typographic to illustrative. Her design, The Manly Type, takes home the 7th Place prize of $100.

Ann referenced vintage cigar labels in the layout and typography of this design.  Keeping her potential customer in mind, Ann prominently incorporated the name of the recipient to make customization simple. The design’s discreet flourishes and message to “have some cake” add humor and whimsy, meanwhile maintaining the elegance of the overall design. Congrats Ann!


Cheers to women entrepreneurs everywhere!

Our very own CEO and founder Mariam Naficy has been honored as a 2010 Women’s Initiative Woman Entrepreneur of the Year! We are thrilled to congratulate her, along with the many other extremely talented women she’s been recognized alongside.

Here at Minted, we just could not agree more with the Woman Entrepreneur’s mission to help low-income women to start their own businesses and become self sufficient. We work very hard to empower and enable our female designers especially to reach their full potential. Way to go Mariam and all of the other fantastic women nominated! We hope you’re all doing something fun to celebrate this weekend.


Meet a Mintie: Bumble Ink

You may know Bumble from their, literally out of this world Faraway Destination Wedding Invitation… or one of their other fantastically edgy invitation designs.

Or maybe you know them from the awesome, and I repeat awesome, cartoons Gavin created about entering the wedding challenge and working with his wife:

There’s a dynamic trio behind this impressive San Mateo, California-based company. Gavin is the designer and Diana is the business guru, who doubles as a design consultant, and their adorable baby must be the inspiration!

Bumble Ink family photo, with Bumble baby


Happy, Happy Birthday Card Challenge: No. 8

Fresh off her win as the Best New Designer from the 2010 Holiday Spectacular, Robin Ott has made waves again with her 8th place win of $100 for “Love Story.”

This design taps into the retro romance of typewritten notes and feels understated and handsome, but still celebratory. Plus, this design is effortlessly versatile. It could be reworked in a variety of color ways, for a variety of recipients. Congratulations Robin!


Seattle Mintie Meet Up

I had the great pleasure of meeting Minties Nicki Brandt, Cori Sands, Maria Estigoy, and Brandy Brown (left to right below) at the very hip Bastille Cafe and Bar in Seattle (thanks Design*Sponge!).


Over several glasses of wine, housemade pate, and other treats, we managed to cover all relevant modern conversation topics, such as skinny jeans (consensus: guys shouldn’t wear them) to the best places for a hair cut in Seattle (Maria likes a place where there’s a DJ spinnin tunes), to Brandy’s recent press coverage in 425 Magazine.   Everyone loved their Design Lotus-designed T-shirts.  Go Amy!

It was incredibly inspiring to hear from Brandy about Minted’s effect on her career.  I’ve been a personal fan of her design for so long, so it was terrific to meet her in person.  We learned that  her crane logo was inspired by the birth of her daughter!

We received great feedback, suggestions, and questions from everyone.  Thank you so much for spending time with me – you all are a big inspiration for what we do at Minted.  Can’t wait to come back to Seattle to see you again.