Meet a Mintie(s): Allison & Jessica of The Social Type

Okay, so I realize it’s a little past Friday, but a bad flu and a few other minor delays later, and here we are at Tuesday! To make up for the wait, we have double the fun because we have both Allison and Jessica of The Social Type with us today. Allison has been a long time customer service maven here at Minted. She specializes in all the fancy custom printing our brands offer. Jessica is Allison’s husband’s childhood friend and they’ve known each other for about six years now. Both Allison and Jessica have been long time community members, but starting in 2010 they decided to team up and enter together. It seemed right for the partnership to just keep on growing! They had been collaborating on custom projects for about a year and a half and will launch their greeting card line this summer.

Allison at left, Jessica at right

At age nine, you wanted to be?

Allison: A greeting card crafter, a spy, or a professional ballerina.

Jessica: Whitney Houston…or a fashion designer

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?

Allison: I’m still trying to figure it out! There are so many different professions that I would like to say I am skilled at.

Jessica: I had an internship at Martin Williams an ad agency in Minneapolis. I was interning on the account management side of the business and quickly realized it wasn’t the side I wanted to be on…the creative teams were having all the fun.

Do you have any formal design training?

Allison: I have a BFA in Graphic Design.

Jessica: I have my Bachelors in Advertising and Certificate in Art Direction.

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Judging a book by its cover

With the launch of a new challenge I thought it might be helpful to look around for some inspiration and as it turns out book covers have a lot to offer.

Covers is an entire website dedicated to the appreciation of book cover design. It’s produced by Fwis, a design firm based out of Brooklyn, NY and Portland, OR.

It feels like Over-caffeinated could have inspired this one!

The site’s authors point out the subtleness of the title treatment.

Using font to actually mimic what the text is describing.

We’ve seen silhouettes for a long time in card designs… this book does a great job of using them en masse.

The all-type book designs with a twist might be especially inspiring to our card designers. Here the author’s dead husband, about whom much of the book is about, is spelled out in the blue type.

Great type and simple illustrations combine for a showstopping result. We’re seeing lots more birds popping up in our designs lately.

With summer closer than you may realize, I’d love to see more shell motifs!

For our Here Comes Spring Birth Announcement Challenge, Book by its Cover, lets you sort by Children’s books.

Check out these cute animal illustrations:

Browsing the site, I also came across links to a few other covet-worthy books, including this one, Russian Textiles: Printed Cloth for the Bazaars of Central Asia, that could be a great source for pattern ideas.

And this one about typeface, A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles, vol. 1:

Reading the Past shows how art has been re-used on various book covers.


Do you have a favorite book cover?

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Kiss me, I’m a Mintie

As a company, a lot of mail comes our way, and it ranges from the quotidian (office supply catalogs) to the fun and surprising (anything from designers). We recently received the fun kind of mail from Alison and Jessie of Sweet Street Gals, who sent us a care package containing a few essential items for getting in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit. In a word: awesome.

Boutonniere Kit

St. Patrick's Day-ready

Not pictured: the deliciously minty oreos that came with the boutonnieres. Those were pretty much eaten up on the spot.

Thanks Sweet Street Gals!


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Friday flowers

Here’s to hoping that the rain dumping on us in mid-March will bring spring flowers just like May showers! Until then we have all of the beautiful floral illustrations recently created by our fabulous community of designers to tide use over.

Just this afternoon, we announced the winners from our Good Housekeeping Keep in Touch challenge. Kelli Hall’s poppies won her a first prize in the women’s personalized stationery category… isn’t it interesting to see a flower in reverse color like this?

Poppy Field by Kelli Hall

Gakemi’s stunning watercolor poppies look an awful lot like California’s state flower, don’t you think? I think that the flowers from both of these lovely ladies will make many a mother’s heart go a flutter come this Mother’s Day.

Chic Poppies by Gakemi Art+Design

Poppies do seem to be Minted’s signature flower. Cheree’s take on the poppy just launched in our selection of wedding invitations.

Preppy Poppy by Cheree Berry for Minted Select

The poppies on Bibliotheque have been a longtime favorite across multiple categories.

Bibliotheque by Beth Perry Design

I see gray everywhere these days–it sure is the neutral color of the moment. The gray flowers in Laura Hankin’s Lemon Lace also got her to the Good Housekeeping top ten.

Lemon Lace by Laura Hankin

Check out the posies on Cheree Berry’s new wedding invites in gray of all colors!

Pocket Full of Posies by Cheree Berry for {Minted Select}

Dauphine’s new wedding invitation also comes in gray.

Blooming Garden by Dauphine Press for {Minted Select}

I love Wiley Valentine’s pink cherry blossoms paired with gray type.

Tracy Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine for {Minted Select}

Also in the flower branch category, Annie Clark’s Apple Blossoms makes use of a gray background.

Annie Clark's Apple Blossom Wedding Invitation

And more new branches… what about these Dogwood branches in a bright yellow?

Azaria by Dauphine Press for Minted Select

Azaria by Dauphine Press for Minted Select

And late last night, we launched some additional Baptism & Christening announcements.

Marabou’s bulbs are so fresh and modern and combine to form a brilliant pattern.

Bulb Baptism and Christening Invitation by Marabou

Oscar & Emma‘s little flowers are oh, so, sweet!

Petite Fleur by Oscar & Emma

Do you have any floral favorites on the site? And anyways, what’s your favorite flower? Is it represented on Minted yet?

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Meet a Mintie: Mandy Gordon

Thank goodness  it’s Friday. It’s been a good and productive week for Minted, but whew, after launching lots of wedding invitations, baby shower invitations, and baptism and christening announcements, we’re all looking forward to the weekend… and to get you on your way to happy hour we are lucky enough to have the lovely and talented Mandy Gordon with us. And in case this Q&A leaves you yearning for more Mandy, you can follow her on her blog here.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a graphic designer?
I always knew that I wanted a profession that involved art. When applying to college I finally decided on graphic design as a major because it still involved art (which was very familiar to me) and also involved technology which I found interesting.

Do you have any formal design training?
I have a BFA in graphic design from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The design program was great seeing that most of the faculty were also faculty at RISD as well.

How would you describe your style?
Whimsical, maybe?

What is your normal workflow or process like?


I usually do some inspirational investigation before diving into a project. It’s sort of like a designer’s warm up routine. I’ll visit some of my favorite design blogs and websites, get inspired and psyched up to get started. I’ll use tracing paper and a #2 pencil to do some sketching (tracing paper is great for creating variations of the same sketch). I also make a list of words that correlate to the subject matter of the design which helps sprout even more ideas. There is a great website called visualthesaurus.com that really helps your brain get cooking some ideas based on one simple word. Lastly, there is always caffeine involved. Gotta have my cup of joe!

How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
This definitely depends on the project, but in general 3’s a charm.

What tools, techniques, and mindsets do you find absolutely essential?
The mindset that I try to follow is, use your best effort and skill given the parameters. It’s always so easy to say “If only I had more time…” I think most designers/artist would agree that if they were given all the time in the world, it still wouldn’t be long enough to finish a project. That is the perfectionism in us.

What are the easiest and the most difficult aspects of the design process?
The easiest process is the designing part, the most difficult part is always looking back at certain finished projects thinking of ways it could have been improved.

You have such strong children’s designs. From ice cream to fire hydrants to guitars to lacey bibs, you always come up with interesting themes—where do you go for all those ideas?
Like I had mentioned earlier, I make word lists. These help me broaden my range of thinking towards a particular project. Children’s designs are my comfort zone and I love illustrating so it comes to me naturally.

I know you also do lots of fun toy and packaging designs—how is this similar or dissimilar from card design?

Mandy's holiday teaset design for Target

It’s similar in the way that I brainstorm and sketch, but different because there are elements in children’s package design that are otherwise challenging. There are a lot of regulations and rules that have to be followed such as age grade information, warnings and package structure. These issues all effect (and sometimes create barriers) to my design process.

Favorite color? Or favorite color right now?

I would normally say my favorite color is teal, however I’ve been starting to have feelings for grass green lately (that could be winter’s cabin fever dictating, I don’t know).

Favorite pen?
Out of all my fancy pens and pencils, I still always reach for a good ol’ #2 pencil.

Favorite notebook?
Although I have many sketchbooks, I always reach for my tracing paper. It allows me to sketch over sketches.

Tell us about one of your favorite cards offered for sale on Minted and how you came up with the design.
My favorite is “Home Tweet Home”. It originally started off as a Christmas pattern that I was working on and I soon altered the design and colors to fit a general pattern theme. It’s very folk art and gives me that warm and cozy feeling.

Mandy's Home Tweet Home

What was your favorite Minted design challenge and why?
I definitely loved the Valentine’s Challenge! I really loved creating illustrations geared towards children.

Lil' Tweets by Mandy Gordon

What are the places in Newubryport that you would recommend a visitor check out?

Oldies Marketplace is a great little antiques mall. I find so many inspiring things there from furniture to vintage concert posters. Chameleon is a great little shop full of a plethora of art and design. They sell everything from handmade jewelry to trendy little kitchen magnets. It’s a great place to buy handmade treasures from local artisans. Lastly you have to visit Plum Island. It’s part of Newburyport and is the essence of coastal New England life.

Where do you go for design inspiration?
Portsmouth, NH has some great little shops in town that always get the ideas flowing. Boston is also a great place to go for inspiration. New York City is by far the best. ABC Carpet & Home on 888 & 881 broadway is my favorite. I just love the mix of textures! I also look towards music to create inspiration in my designs and illustrations. My top musical picks are Imogen Heap (British), St Vincent (American) & Sia (Australian).

Where do you like to shop? What are your favorite stores?
I love antique and thrift shops. I guess I’m always on the hunt for something rare and inspiring. I found some 60s vintage wrapping paper with sensational children’s illustrations for a quarter and it was still in it’s original packaging! It’s now posted on my corkboard of inspiration along side an owl plate from Chameleon.

What are your favorite online design sites and blogs?
Printandpattern.blogspot, orangeyoulucky.blogspot (Helen Dardik – illustrative genius), thedieline.com, frenchpaper.com (brilliant papers and printing treatments!) I have a few french paper company prints framed in my home. (see pic)

What designers do you really admire?
I am in love with the illustrative styles of Helen Dardik, Tad Carpenter and Kate Sutton. Helen Dardik has a very distinct illustrative style and fabulous color palettes. Tad Carpenter creates wonderful little character illustrations but also has a great sense of composition. I just adore the line quality in Kate Sutton’s work!

Helen Dardik's High Hopes design

Tad Carpenter's St Vincent poster

Kate Sutton's very cool logo

Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Usually tropical places. This year is Puerto Rico in April, I can’t wait to take photos of Old San Juan!

What can’t you travel without?
My camera, it’s my back-up visual memory!

Do you have any hobbies of note?
I do some sewing. I make small little plush critters. Recently I purchased a woodburning tool and hope to create some unique art with that. I’ve also bought all the supplies I need to paint some kokeshi dolls. So much to do, so little time!

What can’t you live without?
Electricity – just recently lost it due to a severe wind storm here. I was helpless. I need it to power all my technology.

Biggest self indulgence?
Buying blind box items, like Dunnies figures (with designers like Tad Carpenter & Amanda Visell). It’s silly, but I always like the surprise of not knowing what I’m getting!

What was the last book you read?
Read? I’m a designer, I look at the pictures. ha!

What piece of art would you most like to own?
A few years ago I got to see the The Hallucinogenic Toreador by Salvador Dali at the MET. It was stunning! It was much larger a painting than I had originally thought.

Dali's The Hallucinogenic Toreador

What advice would you give a new designer?
Always ask questions, you’re never too experienced to learn.

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Vote for Minted in the Trendys

Seven of the designs we entered were selected for the Trendys, the first annual stationery competition sponsored by Stationery Trends, a publication of Great American Publishing. Please take a minute to register and vote for the work of your favorite Minted designers . They’ll love you for it!

Genevieve Birth Announcement by Sarah Lenger, Baby

T-Rex by the Social Type, Baby

Bellaphant by Kelli Hall, Baby

Penguins Save the Date by Potts Design, Bridal

Winter Flourish Wedding Invitation by Annie Clark, Bridal

Sweet Summer Wedding Invitation by Oscar + Emma, Bridal

Float + Taking Off by Float Paperie, Green

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Even more wedding invites live!

With the launch of {Minted Select}, there are even more wedding invitations to choose from!

Minted is the first retailer to offer exclusive, original, flat-printed designs from a carefully chosen handful of established brands, like Cheree Berry Paper, Dauphine Press, and Wiley Valentine. Together our Minted Select brands have decades of wedding suite design experience and have been featured in the full gamut of bridal publications.

Any new favorites among these?

Scallop Wedding Invitations by Cheree Berry Paper

Scallop Wedding Invitations by Cheree Berry Paper

Grace Wedding Invitation by Wiley Valentine

Grace Wedding Invitations by Wiley Valentine

Flore Wedding Invitations by Dauphine Press

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Just lauched: Minted Wedding Invites!

Our regular Friday Meet a Mintie feature was held up by a crazy wind storm assailing New Hampshire–think state of emergency wiping out power and internet–but look for it next week… it’s going to be a good one! But we do have something just as exciting to hold you over until then… the launch of our first batch of Minted Love at First Serif wedding invitations. (Not to worry if you don’t see your chosen design here, we’re already hard at work getting the second and final batch up.) I think you’ll agree that they look absolutely incredible!! And they’re just in time for spring brides.

Garden of Joy by SimpleTe Design

Garden of Joy by SimpleTe Design

And congrats to Erin Rau on her new name! I like it a lot.

Eternity Wedding Invitations by Milkmaid Press

Eternity Wedding Invitations by Milkmaid Press

Lovely Knot by Paper Dahlia

Lovely Knot by Paper Dahlia

Tuileries by Beth Perry Design

Tuileries by Beth Perry Design

Sweet Summer by Oscar+Emma

Sweet Summer by Oscar+Emma

Goldshine by Lisa Samartino

Goldshine by Lisa Samartino

True Love by Andrea Snaza

True Love by Andrea Snaza

Story book by Jody Wody

Story book by Jody Wody

I can’t resist posting a few images of how fabulous the full assortment shots are:

Lemon Drop by Oscar+Emma

Lemon Drop by Oscar+Emma

Sunkissed by Sarah Lenger

Sunkissed by Sarah Lenger

East Coast Country Charm by Lisa Samartino

East Coast Country Charm by Lisa Samartino

Float + Starry by Float Paperie

Float + Starry by Float Paperie

Oh my goodness! Seriously to die for, don’t you think? I just adore the backers. So many good designs… I want to post each and every single one of them! But I won’t so you can go check them out for yourself!

Oftentimes we ask our staff what their favorite design is, but this time I want to ask you regardless if you’re married, single, or engaged: if you were getting married this coming year, of all of our invites currently for sale, which would you choose and why?


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Meet a Mintie: Annie Clark

Annie Clark was a Minted designer before she was a Minted employee and she’s always very helpfully reminding us of the community’s perspective. Besides being an incredibly talented designer, Annie is also a type fiend and paper lover.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I’ll give my dad the credit for this one. In sixth grade we had to write future autobiographies – where we would be in 10, 20, 30 years etc. I always knew I wanted to have some career involving art, so when I was asked my dad what I would be, he said I would be a graphic designer, and it just sort of stuck.

workspace_1

Do you have any formal design training?
I went to San Francisco State University and studied Industrial Arts with a concentration in graphic design. After graduating I worked at a small design firm in San Francisco, and when the Holidays came around I got assigned the task of designing several corporate holiday cards. I quickly found out that designing stationery was much more enjoyable than laying out annual reports (especially those with no budget or creative flair), so about a year later I took a job at a local San Francisco paper store designing wedding invitations.

How would you describe your style?
Hmmmm, that’s tough because I think I’m still trying to define and develop my design aesthetic . My Sweet Sixteen design is the best example of what I want my style to be, a little bit retro, a bit modern, and strong/deliberate use of type.

Sweet Sixteen

Sweet Sixteen

Your designs are so elegant and they make such good use of typography, are they as effortless as they seem?
Why thank you! For me the easiest part is the concept. I can pretty quickly sketch out an idea. But the devil is in the details and that’s where I spend days pouring over the right color palette, font choice and placement.

Do you have a favorite font right now?
I’ve had a pretty intense love affair with Hellenic Wide and Archer for a while now. Although Archer seems to be popping up everywhere these days, the San Francisco Chronicle’s redesign, Wells Fargo, so it might be time to find something new.

Favorite color right now?
Mustard yellow! Closely followed by a warm robbin’s egg blue, and tomato.

Favorite pen?

I love Koh-I-Noor Nexus Studio pens– I’ve always have at least 3 in the bottom of my purse. Being left-handed I’m always looking for pens that don’t smear so easily, so if you have any suggestions…..

Favorite notebook?
You can’t go wrong with a classic moleskine.

Tell us about one of your favorite cards offered for sale on Minted and how you came up with the design.

Hip New Year came from a result of creating something I’d like to send to myself, a “designer’s design”. I was…and still am a bit obsessed with Hellenic Wide so I knew I had use it in this design. I though overlaying the in-line type was a great way to show transition from the past to the new year and created such a great graphic image.

Hip New Year

Hip New Year

What are the places in San Francisco that you would recommend a visitor check out?
I have an unofficial “Annie Clark’s Eating and Walking Tour of San Francisco”. It’s best spread out over a couple of days, but some highlights include, coffee and donuts at Four Barrel, croque monsieur at Tartine, a stop at the Kung Fu Taco Truck (an office favorite), dinner at Farina, and salted caramel ice cream with a bit of hot fudge from Bi-Rite Creamery.

workspace_2

Where do you like to shop?
If I could outfit myself everyday from Anthropologie I would. I would also be penniless, cute, but penniless. For clothing I like Behind the Post Office (the only reason I got to the Haight) and the Candy Store. And for random designy things Rare Device and Park Life.

How does living in San Francisco more generally influence your design?
It’s so competitive! Throw a stone and you’ll probably hit at least 5 graphic designers, not to mention the stellar design firms, like Chen Design Associates, Hatch, Landor… the list goes on and on. But with that comes great inspiration. There’s always lots of open houses and gallery events to ignite a creative spark.

What are your favorite online design sites and blogs?
So many! Dooce and Design*Sponge are perennial favorites of mine. I can spend hours trolling ffffound.com for design inspiration. Daily reads also include OhJoy, ForMe-ForYou, and a decent handful of wedding blogs.

What designers do you really admire?
I adore the brand that Kate Spade has created. Every detail from the website, clothes, to stationery is just spot on. I want to live in that world. I think Jessica Hische is amazing. I love typography, and when I discovered her work it was love at first sight.

Jessica Hisches amazing Daily Drop Cap project

Jessica Hische's amazing Daily Drop Cap project

Do you have any hobbies (besides design) of note?
Eating, walking around, eating some more.

What advice would you give a new designer?
Type, type, and more type! It can easily make or break a design. I cannot stress enough how important having a solid understanding of typography is. Also understanding the medium you’re working in. Always think about the end product, really light colors and delicate details may be perfect for letterpress, but don’t translate well in the world of flat printing.

And, finally, what do you love most about working for Minted?
I love helping emerging designers. I think Minted is very lucky to host such an amazing community of talented designers and its a joy to work at a place that helps promote independent artists.

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What Mrs. are you?

Have you checked out Mrs. Lilien yet? She does fabulous composites of beautifully designed items.

Are you Mrs. Do Good? Or maybe you’re Mrs. White Hot? I suppose, from time to time, we all wish we were a Mrs. of Leisure. Or if you’re based in our nation’s capital, you’ve faux shore recently been caught up in snow flurries. Or maybe you’re a Mrs. Kitchen gourmande. I’ve always been a bit bookish, so my personal favorite: a Literary Mrs.

The Pictorial Webster--What a great design inspiration resource!

Bonjour Mon Coussin ABC pillow

A gift for a typography lover? Bonjour Mon Coussin's ABC pillow

Penguin Classics new gorgeous covers

The covers of the new Penguin Classics are just stunning

What Mrs. catches your eye and why?


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