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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Meet a Mintie: Emily Ranneby

Just in time for the long weekend, we’re lucky enough to have the talented Emily Ranneby on the line to chat with us all the way from Stockholm. Emily has been a part of our community since August of 2008 and is known for her elegant, understated designs that reflect her European environs.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I grew up in a very creative household. My mom was a bit of a Martha Stewart craft/cook/baker/sewer extraordinaire. So we were always making things. Creating things. But it wasn’t until I was in graduate school, a major in creative writing, that I decided to change my focus and concentrate on design.

Picture of Emily by

Picture of Emily by Lili Meng

Do you have any formal design training?
I am currently on maternity leave from my position as a design art director at GYRO:HSR, an international advertising communications agency. I also run a creative studio, Salt&Syrup, part time from my home office. In practical terms, I have a master’s degree in magazine design and communication, which has been supplemented with illustration classes. And I have been formally trained in letterpress printing and photopolymer platemaking at the San Francisco Center for the Book.

How would you describe your style?
Oh boy. I find it complicated to describe my style. Which probably stems from having different tastes that sort of walk all over each other. But there a few design standards that never go away. I like clean designs. I believe that design should not be overly complicated. So I have a tendency to simplify things. If I am working with photographs, I almost always recommend to a client to go black and white. I am nuts about black and white photography. You can take a mediocre photograph and make the most beautiful composition with it, simply by going black and white.

What is your normal workflow or process like?
I am a bit obsessive by nature. So once I have an idea in my head (or I have received a brief from a client), I can’t stop thinking about it. I work things out in my head. I scribble notes in a notebook. I do research on the subject/market. I get myself inspired any way I can. These days the process has had to adapt a little. After the birth of my son Oscar, five months ago, I steal an hour here and there. I still work a lot of things out in my head, but there is a bit of a backlog on actually executing the ideas. Playing patty-cake at least 801 times a day takes precedence.

How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
I am actually a supporter of many iterations. Seriously. I can stew over things for weeks. Like many designers, I am a bit of a perfectionist. But there is a completely different side of me that is unbelievably stubborn. And if I think I have hit the mark on the first try, I refuse to change things. Which is not always in the best interest of the project.

What tools, techniques, and mindsets do you find absolutely essential?
I am a bit different from other creatives I know. When I am starting a new project, I prefer absolute quiet.

What is your favorite thing to design?
Anything for the wee little ones. And I dream about working with food. Food styling. Food magazines. Food packaging.

Do you have a favorite font?
No. I go through phases. But I am quite taken with just about anything designed by Ale Paul. His work is gorgeous.

paul_adios_script

Inspired by designs of the 1940s, romantic Adios Script is one of Alejandro Paul's most elaborate and technically refined faces.

Favorite pen?
Anything inky and gooey. Those cheapy Bic pens in the states are fabulous. We can’t get those in Stockholm.

Favorite notebook?
Unlined.

Favorite design tool?
Is it too easy to say my Mac??

What was your wedding invitation like?
Our wedding stationery was quite simple. It can probably best be described as a modern day, black and white garden party of sorts. I modeled the illustration work after a wallpaper pattern that I had fallen in love with at the time. And everything was printed on Mohawk Superfine Eggshell. I have a bit of a love affair with that paper. It is so luscious.

ferm_bindweed

Picture by Fern Living

Did you send out a family Christmas card? If so, what was it like?
Just before the holidays we moved house. Our new apartment is a 1930s functionalistic design gem that we are renovating. So I wanted our holiday cards to compliment this. And while I didn’t have the time (or the energy!) this year to design a set of cards for myself, I got lucky. I found some gorgeous vintage inspired cards by Norwegian designers Darling Clementine.

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Picture by Darling Clementine

Picture by Darling Clementine

Picture by Darling Clementine

Tell us about one of your favorite cards offered for sale on Minted and how you came up with the design.
I am particular about Truck Parade, the children’s birthday party invitations. I was experimenting with patterns and repetition during that time. I hadn’t done so much pattern work before, and I found that it is really quite difficult. I admire designers who work with wallpaper and textile design.

Truck Parade Childrens Birthday Party Invitation

Truck Parade Children's Birthday Party Invitation

What was your favorite Minted design challenge and why?
Probably the first one. It was actually my husband that read an article about Minted and encouraged me to submit something. I was really hesitant. I didn’t anticipate anything to come out of it. But I think I won something like three editorial wins. It was a lovely surprise to be embraced by the Minted community so quickly. It was very, very flattering.

Modern Loop Thank You Cards

Modern Loop Thank You Cards

Classic Diamonds Thank You cards

How long have you lived in Stockholm and what brought you to Sweden? Where did you move from?
I have been in Stockholm for four and a half years. My husband is from northern Sweden. After living in the states for eight years, he was ready to go home (or at least move across the Atlantic). We moved from San Francisco.

How does living in Stockholm influence your design?
Scandinavia is very rich in design. And when you live in an environment where design is so highly valued, you start to think about design differently. I have been very fortunate to live and work here. The experience has been a lesson in understanding that great design is not only about beautiful compositions and pretty colors. Great design is understanding how to marry your designs with function. I’ve acquired a lot of discipline from working here.

What differences are there between how Americans and Europeans view both design and stationery in particular?
This is a bit of a complicated question, since it is so broad. For example, the United Kingdom is nuts about stationery. Their love affair with stationery equals, if not surpasses, that of Americans. Whereas, the same cannot be said of Scandinavia. But I think the interest in paper/stationery products is and has been growing steadily (albeit slowly). It is wonderful (and frustrating all at the same time) to be a part of the paper movement that is happening here.

What are the top five restaurants of places you would recommend a visitor check out?

I should preface this by saying both my husband and I are vegetarians, so we don’t eat traditional Swedish food. Nonetheless, the list should please both veggies and meat eaters alike.

1. Tabbouli Unbelievably tasty Lebanese food. The small plates (mezes) make for a festive atmosphere. These guys actually catered our wedding. Three locations in the city. Reservations are a must.

2. Master Anders A little American/French/Swedish bistro that is an absolute find. Good food. Good drink. And a genuine, cozy atmosphere complete with black and white tiles. Reservations are a must unless you want to just pop in for a drink at the bar like we often do (Ert. Did. Now we are responsible parents of a five month old.).

3. Indian Curry House Stockholm has more indian restaurants than you would care to count. But this quiet, unassuming hole in the wall serves some of the city’s best indian.
Teany tiny authentic Italian kitchen. What this place lacks in square footage, it more than makes up for in the dishes. Reservations are a must.

5. Hermans I was hesitant to put this place on here, as they serve strictly vegetarian. But it would be a shame to miss it (especially if you come during the summer). They not only have an outstanding all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet, but they have some of the best views over the water/city. During the summer, you can sit out in the garden, which is set over three different levels.

Where do you go for design inspiration?

Oh gosh. If I am to be honest, it really depends on what the project is. And what I need inspiration for. But if I just want to be inspired, then I turn to my running list of links to designers, illustrators and photographers that I admire. I pop into their sites to see what they have been working on. Or I browse my favorite blogs, which usually takes me somewhere completely unexpected. And sometimes I just do a bit of online creative window shopping. I also have a tendency to read back issues of design annuals.

Where do you like to shop? What are your favorite stores?
Anthropologie. Anthropologie. Anthroplogie. That store makes me swoon. I am a complete Etsy addict, as well.

What designers do you really admire?
Ooooh. There are a lot of fabulous, inspiring designers. Hands down Shinzi Katoh is someone I keep coming back to, again and again. There is no shortage of creativity in his work. Darling Clementine, from Norway, is doing some fabulous things with stationery. Blanca Gomez of Cosas Minimas is addictive. Right now, I am completely stuck on the print work of Camilla Lundsten. Her style is just so perfect in every way.

Kanina and Mascot. Two characters from Camilla Lundsten's sweet collection.

Kanina and Mascot. Two characters from Camilla Lundsten's sweet collection

katoh_lettersets

Lettersets by Shinzi Katoh, picture found on http://johnboerckel.wordpress.com/2009/05

What advice would you give a new designer?
Try to find inspiration in the most unlikely places. Vintage bed sheets. Wallpaper scraps. Children’s books. Food packaging. But on a more practical level, there is something to be said for taking the time to understand production. Particularly designing for different print methods. It is an absolute essential building block that I see so many young designers just sort of gloss over.

Thanks Emily! Have a lovely long weekend. And a very Happy Valentine’s Day to all. xoxoxo

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What font are you?

Hi Minties, What font are you? Try this test from Pentagram (password: character) to find out.

The application was researched by a team of 23 academics over seven years. The four key character questions yield 16 typefaces.

And does your font fit you? I am a Pistilli Roman, which surprised me at first because it’s a touch loud, but it’s really grown on me.


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Meet a Mintie: Emily Potts

To celebrate the weekend ahead we’ve decided to try to make our designer Q&A’s a Friday tradition, so be sure to check back every Friday for more interviews with our insanely talented designers. This week, we’re lucky enough to have Minted designer Emily Potts of Potts Design on hand to get us through the afternoon slump. Emily has been a part of our community for exactly a year and has consistently submitted extremely strong designs. She is known for her idea driven designs and for her delicate illustrations. I just loved seeing how the drawings that Emily emailed over turn into her lovely cards.  Enjoy!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
It’s kind of funny, I’ve always loved the arts—drawing and painting especially, but I never worked on a computer growing up, so I didn’t think graphic design was for me. I went to college my freshman year thinking I would either be a veterinarian or do something with art. It didn’t take me long to realize that I should go with what comes easiest to me, and that’s not chemistry, it’s drawing. So, I fell into design because I wanted to do something creative but with the potential of earning a living.

Do you have any formal design training?
I have a BFA in graphic design from UMass Dartmouth. Great school and great teachers—I’m forever indebted.

How would you describe your style?
I would say that I’m a pretty clean, type-driven designer. I love a project that uses nothing more than type, color and composition.

Desk Calendar Save the Date by Pottsdesign

Desk Calendar Save the Date by Pottsdesign

Your illustrations are so delicate and lovely—how do you go about creating them?
Thanks! 🙂 I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a little kid, and somewhere, maybe around middle school I learned about pen and ink illustration. I’ve been hooked ever since. Pretty much everything I do starts with putting pencil to paper. I start with a quick initial sketch for composition mainly, then I develop a full scale drawing in pencil including shading, tone and detail. From there, I trace the outline of the drawing and transfer it onto bristol board. I use a crow quill pen with india ink to produce the final illustration, referring to the pencil drawing for guidance.

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What is your normal workflow or process like?
One idea always flows into another on the page, and it’s so much faster than trying things on the computer. Once I’ve exhausted my brain of all the concepts, which typically includes some absolutely ridiculous ideas, (but hey, design should always be fun), I take the two or three I like best and translate them on the computer, making any necessary modifications along the way. I work alone from my home, so another thing I like to do is get an honest critique from another designer, or a friend. Their feedback is always super helpful and typically improves the piece I’m working on.

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Gift Wrapped by Pottsdesign

Gift Wrapped by Pottsdesign

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Polka Dot Bridal Shower Invitations by Pottsdesign

Polka Dot Bridal Shower Invitations by Pottsdesign

How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
I tend to stick pretty close to my initial concepts, and not fuss too much. If I spend too long on something, it tends to get over-designed, then it needs to be pulled back. I pretty much always give things a “one nighter”, meaning, when I look at the design the next day, first thing in the morning after my coffee—I can usually see things that needs tweaking, then it’s christened as done, or ready for the client to review.

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What tools, techniques, and mindsets do you find absolutely essential?
For me, staying visually inspired is key. That can be tough—you get into a grind because you are so busy, and you start producing new versions of the same thing, and it becomes boring. One trip to the city, a museum, or a great coffee shop can really get you thinking creatively again. And again, sketching and drawing—essential.

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The evolution of Emilys Falling Leaves save the date

Falling Leaves Save the Date by Pottsdesign

Although your effortless designs make it look easy, what’s the most difficult aspect of the design process?
For me, it’s the “great concept”. The concept that’s more than just making something look “pretty or cool.” Having a concept with significant meaning can be hard to come up with, but reaps the most reward. It doesn’t always happen though- I wish it did!

What advice would you give a new designer?
Be true to your aesthetic and sense of style—and pay attention to your typography, it can make or break a great design. Also, always be able to have an explainable reason for designing something the way you have—never make a stylistic decision without purpose. I learned that in school, and it’s never let me down. Being able to explain why you decided to do something, whether the client agrees or not shows that you are not “just making things look nice”.

Do you have a favorite font?
Ugh—that’s too tough. Like asking to name your favorite child, it can’t be done!

Favorite notebook?
I go through sketchbooks pretty quickly, and I’m not picky on those. Whatever I can get my hands on!

What about a favorite pen—is that a little easier question!?
Absolutely, Pigma Micron pens: .05, .03, and .01. Pretty much all my sketching is done with one of these pens.

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Cupcake Baby Shower Invitation by Pottsdesign

Cupcake Baby Shower Invitation by Pottsdesign

What is one of your favorite Minted cards for sale?
That’s tough, because designers tend to be a little critical of themselves! But, if I had to pick one, I would say I like the penguins save the date. I’m a romantic, and I love the fact that penguins keep their partners for life, so I thought they would make a great symbol for a couple about to get married. The illustration is simple and sweet, and the typography is clean and classic.

Penguins Save the Date Card by Pottsdesign

Penguins Save the Date Card by Pottsdesign

What was your favorite Minted design challenge?
I loved the holiday card challenge!

Why?
Because there are a million holiday cards out there, and coming up with something new original is so challenging! Not only that, the idea of designing something that someone would use to send love and warm wishes to their loved ones it pretty awesome. An honor almost—so, that was my favorite.

What are the places in Rhode Island that you would recommend a visitor check out?
Anyone visiting should go and see Newport. They should spend a day at the beach, get lunch at Flo’s Clam Shack, walk the Cliff Walk, eat dinner at Mama Luisa’s and watch the sunset behind the Newport Bridge. Then, they should go to Providence and spend some time walking around the East Side, seeing amazing old houses that have been restored. Also stop on Hope Street at Seven Stars Bakery, and order a ginger biscuit and a latte. You won’t regret it.

Where do you go for design inspiration?
A trip to Boston or New York always seems to get my creativity flowing again. Seeing things outside your normal surroundings is great. I also love bookstores, there is so much design (good and bad!) packed into such a small place, plus you can enjoy a latte while being inspired!

What designers do you really admire?
I’m a big fan of Michael Bierut of Pentagram in NY. The new identity he and his group designed for Saks Fifth Avenue is so brilliant and exquisitely executed, ugh, I love it! Also his posters for Yale School of Architecture, using black and white and type are really inspiring as well. I heard him speak at the HOW conference in Boston in 2008 and was hooked. I’m also a huge fan of Paula Scher, of Pentagram as well—her typography is just amazing, in fact her whole body of work is pretty awe inspiring.

Pentagramss work for Saks

Pentagrams's work for Saks

One of Beiruts posters for the Yale School of Architecture

One of Beirut's posters for the Yale School of Architecture

From Paula Schers book Make it Bigger

From Paula Scher's book "Make it Bigger"

Finally, did you have a New Year’s resolution?
I have two this year actually—donate blood on a regular basis, and become a big sister.

And we’ll send you on your way to a lovely weekend with one of Emily’s favorite quotes:


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“You know you’re addicted to Minted when…”

The other day, I kicked off my morning with a steaming cup of coffee and a leisurely browse through the Minted design forums. For the uninitiated, the forums are pretty bare bones message boards with all sorts of design-y discussions about what fonts to use in upcoming design challenges, stories of how stationery entrepreneurs got their start, and ideas for upcoming design challenges. For the initiated — that is, the designers who participate in Minted Design Challenges and have grown to become fans and friends of Minted and each other — the forums have evolved into a sounding board for ideas, inspirations, constructive feedback, and wry confessions. This fact hit home especially hard when I stumbled across a touchingly sweet and hilarious forum discussion, started by mom and designer extraordinaire Nam Bourassa, also known as Gakemi Art + Design. Designers, we <3 you. And Nam, a big thanks for starting this discussion and graciously allowing us to re-post it here:

Minted design moms, you know you’re addicted to Minted when…

1. During the challenge, you check the critique design page every hour to see what designers have submitted.

2. You spend hours looking through design magazines, bookstores, the library and the internet for ideas.

3. You can’t wait to get your kids to sleep, and when you finally get the chance, you will design ’til dawn.

4. You get so excited when you get an e-mail from Minted notifying you that “a new comment has been left for you.”

5. The house is a mess, with toys everywhere and dirty dishes.

6. You breastfeed your infant while working on your laptop/computer.

7. The TV and DVD Player are your best friends.

8. An hour before the hubby gets home from work, you quickly jump up to do dishes, prep dinner, tidy up the toys, vacuum and do laundry — just to make it look like you’ve been slaving away all day instead of creating designs for Minted.

9. When the design submission period is over, you make last minute changes right before it goes into voting.

10. Your blood pressure rises when the scores go public.

11. When the winners and Editor’s picks are announced, and designs that you think are not so great get picked, you wonder “Why? How? What???” and go through Minted withdrawal.

12. When you do get picked, you dread giving Minted the originals because you have spent hours editing the design until it’s perfect.

13. You’re back to the same routine until the next challenge is launched.

Design Moms and non-moms alike — please feel free to add to the list. You can see the original discussion and check out the forums here.

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Altitude Design Conference

While I was out at Sundance last week, I attend the Altitude Design Summit to meet bloggers and spread the word about Minted. Here are some pics of the fabulous conference–by far and away the best conference I have ever attended. Everything ran like clockwork, the speakers were all top-notch, and everything was so pretty!
Photo: From Design Crush by ~Dezz~.

The cocktail hour had an old Hollywood glam theme, complete with a red carpet entrance.

Kelly Beall of Design Crush is on the right. She mentioned during the panel discussion on Design Theory that to keep a good work/life balance she chooses not to have internet at home, so she does all her blogging when she gets to work early. Given how incredible her blog is, perhaps not having the internet 24/7 can actually help you be more creative.

The adorable Gabrielle of DesignMom, who put on the conference is on the right. Maternity wear doesn’t get much more adorable than hers, does it?

Im in the center.

Sheila Bernus Dowd of MOMocrats, Lookiloos, and ZiaolinMama, and SVMoms fame is to my left.

Throughout cocktails these lovely cigarette ladies passed out old school boxes–that’s right, whole boxes–of candy.

Oh Joy

Erin from Design for Mankind, Joy from Oh Joy, and Jaime from Design Milk dressing up with the props in the super fun photo booth.

Jen, of GreenWeddingShoes and her super cool hubby Jason. From time to time, they even style shoots of themselves … check it out!

That’s Vane of Brooklyn Bride (center) and Kathryn of Snippet & Ink (right).

Miss Bonney

THere she is

There she is: Dooce‘s infamous Heather Armstrong.

Killer keynote panel

The killer keynote panel from left: Maxwell from Apartment Therapy, Jean from NotCot, Grace from Design*Sponge, and Heather, who announced her deal with HGTV that day. Maxwell said some particularly inspiring things that I will leave you with to start the week:

Remember WHY you started what you do. It comes through to the WHAT you do.

Jonathan Adler says the secret to success is panic! Panic can be a driving force when you have the responsibilities of running your own show.

I try to blog about me… Warts and all! What Oprah does that’s so amazing is she shares. She’s real.

Martha Stewart is OVER people! No more perfection, be real.

All photography: Brooke Dennis

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Valentine’s Day picks

When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite times of year was Valentine’s Day. Every year, I looked forward to sitting down in front of a stack of pink and red construction paper, safety scissors in one hand, Elmer’s glue in the other, my adolescent creativity positioned to unleash itself in the form of accordion hearts and puns. My classmates and I would spend an entire afternoon snipping, tracing, and folding. The result, in some shape or form, for each of my classmates: a meticulously personalized brown paper lunch bag, the perfect vessel for the sharing of Valentines, candy hearts, and lollipops.

With February 14 right around the corner, the Minted team is in a Valentine’s Day-frame of mind. Luckily, we have a freshly-debuted assortment of Valentines to feast our eyes on. There isn’t a piece of construction paper in sight, but when you see how refreshingly clever and adorable these cards are, you might agree that maybe that’s not a bad thing.

My Heart For You by Vickie C

My Heart For You by Vickie C

My Heart For You won over several team members, including Robert, one of our production designers. Expanding on his initial description of the design as giving him a “happy feeling,” he explained,  “I like artwork that gives you a view of things with a childlike innocence. Very simple and good memories.” Allison, the Design Associate you may have seen in this video, agreed, saying that she loved the design for its warmth and sweetness.

Natasha holds Erin Rau’s New Baby especially close to her heart: “My friend used it for her new baby Morgan, and I got a real, live copy of it in my mailbox last night. My friend lives in Burlingame just like Erin, the card’s designer, and I think it’s so nice when people support local artists in their communities.  It is such a classy card and the red heart really jumps from the most perfect beige color in the nicest, not overpowering way. My friend also chose a sleeping photo, which is always a great choice. The baby looks so happy and peaceful!”

New Baby by Erin Rau

New Baby by Erin Rau

Others adored Message from the Birds by Moglea. Alison (with one “l”), another designer at Minted, said, ” I love the ribbon and the pennants. The hand drawn elements and dreamy clouds really remind me of carefully crafting sweet cards in elementary school.”

Message from the Birds by Moglea

Message from the Birds by Moglea

Ellen, from our marketing team, had similarly school-minded thoughts and said Kate Sawyer’s Crayon Heart reminded her of when she and her classmates used to scribble notes to each other on their paper-bag-bound textbooks.

Crayon Heart by Kate Sawyer

Crayon Heart by Kate Sawyer

Prescilla, from our production team, snagged Let’s Chill by CBeeProject for her friends and family as soon as it launched. The “super cute!” factor of the card caught her eye, and the color scheme and illustrations sealed the deal.

Let's Chill by CBeeProject

Let's Chill by CBeeProject

Mariam, CEO and Founder of Minted, thought all of the designs were incredibly clever and adorable. She ended up picking You Amaze Me by .  Design Lotus .  for her son to take to school with him because she knew her son and his friends would love tracing their way through the maze.

You Amaze Me by . Design Lotus .

You Amaze Me by . Design Lotus .

Now it’s your turn. We’d love to hear which cards you love.

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Movies

I’ve been out in Park City for the ALTitude Design Summit and for Sundance so I have great design and movies on the mind. I just happened across an incredible website that is in my mind a virtual goldmine of inspiration for font and composition ideas… not to mention a great resource for your Netflix queue.

Even the films “Ends” have a lot to teach us!


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Meeting up with Marabou’s Brandy Brown

I had the great pleasure of meeting up with Minted designer Brandy Brown and her adorable family over the holidays while visiting my family in Seattle. We met for coffee. Brandy has just recently starting drinking coffee and so she got a hazelnut, vanilla, mocha, which she could barely finish. (I, of course, had no trouble with my extra large latte.) It’s clear from just one meeting that this girl has no shortage of energy! We went on a power walk through Lincoln Park down to the gorgeous water, where we met up with her husband and daughter.

Brandy's husband and daughter at the beach

Brandy's husband and daughter at the beach

Have you always lived in Washington? Yes. I attended a small high school in a even smaller town.

Did you go to art school? After high school I studied a little graphic design and art history at the Art Institute of Seattle. I dropped out after a year and a half to enjoy some traveling in Europe. After returning home I landed a great job in downtown Seattle at a modeling agency.

Not surprisingly, Brandy is a former model.

Not surprisingly, Brandy is a former model

How did you get started in graphic design?
One night I came across a Minted ad and it mentioned something about a design challenge. I was immediately curious and thus entered my first competition. This month marks the one year anniversary of the beginning of my dream career. I have Minted to thank for creating such an amazing platform for independent designers.

How did you pick the name Marabou?

The Marabou Stork is a large wading bird in the stork family. I chose it as homage to my daughter, Ava. She is a never ending source of inspiration. Since becoming a mother my philosophy has been that… clean design & little people go hand & hand. Ava loves all things girly–like mother, like daughter! When I am designing for the opposite sex, I tap into my husband’s aesthetic, which is very minimal, modern, and crisp.

Brandy's daughter Ava at 12 months

Brandy's daughter Ava at 12 months

Marabous girly Brolly Valentines Day Card

Marabou's girly Brolly Valentine's Day Card

You are obviously a very passionate person… what are you in love with right now?
I love raw oysters. I’ve had the Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix CD on replay since June.
I love cats, but own two fish. I’m very particular about wrapping paper & have a soft spot for doilies.

Brandy's office

Brandy's office

A peak into Brandy's home

A close-up of a very cool chair print

Where the magic happens

Where the magic happens

One of the things that makes Minted great is that our community of designers live all over the world and so many of our designers are really inspired by the communities and geography in which they live. Consistent with the sweeping national locavore movement, we’re seeing some of our customers trying to support their communities by choosing cards designed by local designers. Brandy says she loves living in Seattle where “you’re constantly surrounded by beauty. I find lots of inspiration in nature. I’m privileged to live in the Pacific Northwest, where we enjoy all the seasons–from the cold, dark days of winter to the vibrant colors of Fall.”

I asked Brandy to share with us her top five things to do in Seattle just in case any of you are headed Northwest in the New Year.

1. Ferry ride to Orcas Island

A view from the Orcas Ferry

A view from the Orcas Ferry

2. Walks along Lincoln Park
3. Shopping at Moxie Papergoods & Gifts
4. Amtrak Train ride to Portland, OR (weekend getaway)
5. Dining at Barolo

Barolo in Seattle

Barolo in Seattle

Since Brandy had such fun Seattle recommendations and because she has an adorable little girl, I thought I’d also ask her for her favorite, well-designed baby products.

Ava's playroom

Ava's playroom

1. David Netto’s moderne Crib

2. Boon’s Flair highchair

3. Binth Baby Book
4. Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Baby Diapers & Canus Li’l Goat Milk Baby Wipes
5. Esthex Naomi Fuchsia Doll

6. Wheely Bug, bumble bee
7. Mary Had A Little Amp, by Various Artists (audio CD)

8. Wooden Doll Pram in Natural from Haba Toys

9. Birds Of A Feather Mobile

Brandy's home office

The mobile is above the mirror on the left. Also, note Brandy's beloved wrapping paper.

10. Personalized Stork Marquee on canvas

*Marabou’s #1 beverage for expectant mother’s (besides H2O)… Dry Soda! It keeps you entertained during the holidays and it’s refreshing during the summer months.

Finally, I’m fairly certain that with all of your energy and enthusiasm for life you must have a New Year’s resolution?

To learn to do my own taxes and to teach myself the language of love, French!


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