Family Photo Tips from Two Ellie.

Could this card be any lovelier? I think not! Here at Minted we think a great card begins with great design and ends with a sharp photo. Chica Design’s Be Merry design is so fresh! I love seeing a little bit of orange and blueberry in a holiday card. Paula, of Two Ellie, and Kellen, of Kellen Jacob Photography, are clearly two very hip parents with absolutely stunning children. I love how Dad is looking at son and Mom is looking at us like, ‘yep, this is my crazy gang!!’

Blogger extrordinaire Paula shared some tips from their family shoot on how to take a great family photo.

1) Dress in what you are comfortable in. You can wear complementing outfits without being too matchy matchy.
2) Keep it simple…especially when using a self timer like we did for the first image. If you try too hard it will show, and not necessarily in a good way.
3) Be yourself. Again this goes back to dressing in what you would normally wear and stay away from too many trends unless that is who you really are. People want to see the real you.
4) Have fun!!! So many people put too much pressure on having to get that perfect shot, but in the long run you will see the stress of it all on your faces. The in between moments are always our favorites anyways.
5) Using a self timer can be hard even for a photographer like my Mr. so asking a friend to help can be a life saver. It also gave us the chance to do something that comes completely natural to us…walking as a family.

Apparently, Paula and Kellen had such a hard time picking a card they chose to do two! (This is so something I would do.) Their other choice was Love, Peace & Joy by 175DesignStudio.

To add to Paula’s tips… I have a few of my own, just from looking at these great pics!

1) Accessories count! In a big way. Don’t you think the Panama hat and pom-pom scarf Mom and Dad are sporting add a lot of interest? And have you ever seen cuter little girl boots!?!

2) Contrary to what you may remember from your childhood family portraits in matching white button-downs and khakis, a little pattern is a good thing! The striped shirt really pops!

3) Action shots, like walking above, are not the enemy. They can work wonders in loosening everyone up and making the photo appear more natural.

4) Even if you’re at the boardwalk, you probably don’t want to include the ferris wheel in the shot, i.e. the simplest backgrounds… a grove of trees or a cement wall… are usually the best.

5) Finally, don’t crop too closely as you take the picture and you don’t have to center the shot–especially with the full-bleed cards featured above, you’ll actually want to leave some room for text to one side.

If you haven’t already, make sure to get out there and take your family picture this weekend! We have a friend in from out of town that I have already drafted to take ours.

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Calendars launch!!!

Very exciting news today around Minted parts… we are officially expanded outside of the stationery realm into a new vertical with the photo calendar.

Antico Noe by Carrie Eckert

The idea for the calendar originated from the fact that most drug store-type calendars are wonderful in that they showcase your family’s pictures, but are horrible to look at. We were never sure where to even hang them… the closet or a hidden corner seemed to be where they gravitated to. We wanted to elevate the calendar to the level of fine art and make it something that was a reflection of your personal style and aesthetic. And we’re pretty confident we’ve done just that with today’s launch.

Chic Poppies by Gakemi Art + Design

The designers we commissioned to participate in the calendar project reflect a sampling of designers who have contributed to the community in significant ways. We are always looking for ways to reward designers who participate consistently and at a high level and as you can tell from the results, this new format certainly got them all excited! The commissions originated from existing designs crowd-sourced through our usual challenge process. We chose designs that have been really popular or that from experience. we expect will sell well.

Boulders by Oscar + Emma

This is only the first phase of this year’ calendar launch; expect many more designs to launch soon! I can’t think of a better holiday gift than a Minted calendar!

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Coming of Age: No. 1

The moment we’ve all be waiting for… so sorry for the unexpected delay… the first prize in our first ever Coming of Age design challenge goes to: 16 in the City by The Social Type.
What teen wouldn’t love a fresh and even sweet take on the beloved TV series? There is something just so enchanting about a city skyline! Aren’t the little antennas on several of their buildings adorable? And I love the little stars in the sky, which coordinate so well with the little stars on either side of  ‘sixteen.’ The Social Type has taken the idea of a badge and blown it up and then overlaid it over an illustration… the party details support above and below for a very nice combined look. I also really love the chevron in the ribbon banner and the triple edging in the badge’s rick-racked edge–they’re traditionally girlie details with a modern edge! The Social Type has packed a ton of little details into this design, but manged to pull it all together very elegantly. Very impressive work ladies–channeling your inner sixteen-year-old is not easy! And congratulations on your gold medal!!!

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Coming of Age: No. 2

And the silver medal goes to… Ann Gardner for C’est Mangnifique!

It’s lovely. It’s imaginative. It’s inspired. It’s foreign. It’s slightly mysterious. It really is magnifique! The font choice is spot on and the outline of the city is fabulous, as is the heart and arrow. Thank you for the enlightened start to the week Ann!

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InStyle’s ‘Best of the Web’ Feature.

We were just thrilled to open up the latest InStyle and find Minted inside! I am always working hard to pitch editors to spread the word about our great community of indie designers.

By the way, how beautiful is Rachel McAdams?! She looks stunning in their feature.

The whole idea for the package was genius–they did a massive round-up of the best places to shop online. So helpful right before the holidays.

I must say, I also thought the whole package was beautiful–such great layouts! Love their choice of fonts and how they tied it all together with their little mouse cursive.

And a close-up:


The editors featured Marabou‘s Tree Design.

And Andres Montaño‘s Shabby She.

What great publicity for these talented designers!!

Another awesome part of the package was a handy sheet listing out all the websites for you to tear out and set next to your laptop the next time you’re surfing the web or maybe need a distraction at work!

Thank you InStyle for including us!

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Coming of Age: No. 3

Miss Jody is up twice in a row with Modern Tradition.

This watercolor-like cloudscape is simply breathtaking!

Quoting from Waui Design‘s comments, because I simply couldn’t say it any better myself:

“wow jody… i’m speechless. this must’ve been how ken felt when he met barbie. it just takes my breath away. i loooove that background! it’s so soft and relaxing. the type, colors, and layout are a perfect match to go with it. this design would work great for almost every other category as well. can you say repurpose?”

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Coming of Age: Judge’s picks

We were thrilled to have three blockbuster guest judges in our Coming of Age Challenge.

Mary Kate Steinmiller is the Fashion Market Editor for Teen Vogue magazine. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, she has contributed to Teen Vogue for 6 years.

Mary Kate picked Lovely Play Bill by Epitome by Renner Design for her $200 judge’s prize.

Mary Kate says:

“I love the retro poster feel of this design. Girls today are obsessed with celebrity culture…and judging from shows like MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16”, they want to feel like celebrities too. I think this invitation resembles the genuine NYC fashion/music event invites I receive on a daily basis. I think it will make girls feel like its a VIP party, a REAL event. The mix of fonts is super cool and I think teens will be drawn to the fact that it also resembles old school music posters. Its a fantastic design, and I’d love it for one of my parties. I think parents will accept that it has the feel of a real party invite, but also that retro groove. It doesn’t look like some club event, but still has that “real” party allure. I also like that it includes a website for the party…very cool and elevates the event.”

Marcy Blum is a conceptualist, event planner, entertaining expert and author. Marcy crafts every event with her own distinctive brand of unpretentious elegance, and an almost-preternatural ability to visualize space. And she has planned many young adult parties in her long career. Marcy’s impressive portfolio includes the weddings of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, Salman Rushdie and Padma Lakshmi, Billy Joel and Katie Lee, and Samantha Bryant and Colin Hanks.

Marcy chose Bright Rays by Angela Vivona.

Marcy says:

“Bright Rays is whimsical and the ice cream colors and hip design are used with a light touch so the whole invitation looks on trend, but not obnoxiously so. My clients would love that this invitation is tasteful and while not super simple is not obnoxiously extravagant for the occasion.”

Lisa Gaché is the foremost etiquette, manners and life skills expert for children from a parenting perspective. The Los Angeles Times named her company, Beverly Hills Manners, the etiquette school to “teach kids to be polite.” This educational and entertainment company, founded in 2006, is recognized for its new school approach to etiquette and manners.

Lisa chose Tweet Sixteen by Jana Volfova for her top honors.

Lisa says:

“Social media is extremely popular with this demographic and I feel the teens would respond favorably to this type of fun invitation that uses a play on words with something totally relatable.  The design is simple.  The color scheme with the background in orange is very hip and fun.  I like how the majority of the invitation is filled with a color with only a slight border of white as background.”

Our lovely judges also picked a few runner ups–they really struggled to pick just one from all our great entries!

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Coming of Age: No. 5

We’ve had some really nice sweet sixteen and confirmation invitations in our countdown, but this is our first Bat Mitzvah invitation and Fete by Annie Clark just couldn’t be more perfect for this category debut.
I love how elegant this design is and certainly, orange and magenta and gray just look incredible together! I think this would appeal to mother and daughter alike.

We’ve heard Annie talk about typography again and again here on the blog, but it’s certainly a message that bears repeating. Here, Compendium and Mrs. Eaves work exceptionally well together. Compendium is certainly the star, while the Mrs. plays a supporting role. In particular, I think the ‘E’ and lower case ‘z’ look incredible.

A little history for fun on Compendium, courtesy of Veer.com:

  • It’s from Alejandro Paul, the same designer who created Burques, and is in fact it’s sequel. Although Alejandro  actually considers it Compendium to be Burques’s prequel, which makes sense because it is a bit lighter, slightly less ornamental and generally more grounded.
    • “Though Compendium has a naturally more normalized, Spencerian flow, its elegance, expressiveness, movement and precision are no less adventurous than Burgues. Nearing 700 glyphs, its character set contains plenty of variation in each letter, and many ornaments for letter beginnings, endings, and some that can even serve to envelope entire words with swashy calligraphic wonder.”
  • Alejandro Paul is one of the founders of the Sudtipos project, the first Argentinean type foundry collective. He taught graphic design and typography at the Universidad de Buenos Aires from 1996 until 2004 and has worked as an art director in prestigious Argentina-based studios.
  • Surprisingly, the font is only a few years old!
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Holiday card and calendar photo shoot.

We were so lucky to get to work with two very talented ladies on our holiday ad photo shoot: Jordan Ferney from Oh Happy Day, a blog about parties and pretty things, and Suzanne Shade, the creative force behind The Beholder, a cool marketplace for artists. I think you’ll agree that the results were absolutely fabulous.


Our CEO & Founder Mariam Naficy, who also manages Minted’s overall brand positioning, was thrilled to bring on Suzanne Shade as the lead stylist for the entire campaign. “It was important to me that the holiday ad campaign communicate both our beautiful designs and that we source them from a community,” says Naficy. “I interviewed several talented creative directors in San Francisco and chose Suzanne Shade, as she intuitively understood my vision for the Minted brand like no one else.”

Mariam was also extremely excited to focus our whole new ad campaign around the ‘inspiration board’ trend. “What I love about Suzanne’s concept,” says Mariam, “is that practically every woman in the US now not only understands the inspiration board, but probably has one of her own–or if she doesn’t have a physical board, she has one running in her head!”

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