Minted in Real Simple

Real Simple magazine’s November issue just landed and their great feature, The Hectic Holiday Handbook, calls Minted their favorite resource for personalized holiday cards!

There are just two (2!) days left in our early bird special: Use code EARLYSITE09 to save 15% off your “far-from-cookie-cutter” holiday greeting through Sunday. And remember you can always buy your Christmas photo cards this weekend and upload your photos at a later date.

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It’s all in the packaging

One great little perk about Minted’s cards and stationery that you may not know about is our stunning address labels. Our designers come up with clever, coordinating designs that really help an envelope stand out in a stack of junk mail and are sure to leave a lasting impression on the card recipient.

Mistletoe Wreath Holiday Photo Card Label

Karen Glenn's Mistletoe Wreath Holiday Photo Card Label

Gleauxs Candy Tree Holiday Photo Card Label

Gleaux's Candy Tree Holiday Photo Card Label

Alex Elkos Peace Love and Bop Holiday Photo Card Label

Alex Elko's Peace Love and Bop Holiday Photo Card Label

Sometimes, it’s hard to visualize what the label will look like once it’s stamped and addressed. Here’s the label for oscar+emma’s love is the air bridal shower invitation:

Handwritten address label

Handwritten address label

If you’re sending a large quantity of cards, printing your labels is definitely the way to go.

Printed sheet of address labels

Printed sheet of address labels

Here is marabou’s tied moving announcement in a sunny yellow. Doesn’t the card look so lovely with its matching label?

Matching card and printed address label

Matching card and printed address label

You can download an easy to use label printing template here.

Let this post be a gentle nudge to start updating your holiday card mailing list now. Come November, you’ll be so glad you did.

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Cool Mom Picks Judge’s Choice

It’s been a busy week at Minted! We just announced the winners of our Joyful Celebration challenge. Isn’t that candy-colored winners page gorgeous?

A huge round of applause for Leslie Hamer at Unless Someone Like You whose Nesting Family Baptism Invitation won both first place and the judge’s award.

The lovely gals over at Cool Mom Picks defended their choice by saying: “To say that it’s a challenge finding a baptism announcement that’s modern, elegant, and cheerful all at once would be an understatement. And yet Leslie’s announcement achieves all three in spades. We also love how accessible the card is – every recipient from the cool best friend to the conservative great Aunt will be delighted to hang this on the refrigerator for a good long time. Beautiful!”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Many thanks to Julie Marsh, Liz Gumbinner, and Kristen Chase over at Cool Mom Picks for their help getting the word out about this fun challenge.

Voting has now begun in the Real Simple Tenth Anniversary Challenge so make sure to cast your votes today… and look for a very exciting new challenge to launch very soon. Hint: it’s sure to be an extra exciting engagement.

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The devil is in the details

When designing anything involving text there are a million little decisions… I’ve noticed that about half of Minted designers cap the first letter of words and half of them don’t. Some designers like to cap entire words, while others never cap anything. Is not capping rebellious, counter-cultural, or is it just less stressful on your pinkie finger to not have to reach for the shift button all the time?

Some adore the “+” sign, while others are in love with the ampersand, and still others prefer the simple “and.” Some like “seven o’clock” whereas others simply write “7PM”.

The earliest writing had no capitalization, no spaces, and few punctuation marks. This worked for writing up business transactions, but ran into trouble when people began reading aloud. With stationery today, make sure to keep legibility in mind.

These little details are worth paying attention to because they are subtle clues to the recipient of the formality of the event at hand. For example, using unorthodox spelling (drinx for drinks, nite for night, pleez for please) is a way to signal that the event will be casual.

For designers, consistency in these details in a portfolio combines to establish a trademark aesthetic and brand identity. It also conveys a level of professionalism. Even the title of designs can go a long way. Minted designer Andrea of Float Paperie has named all of her designs float + “x”, so float + grazie or float + peace or float + starry, and this helps me recognize anything as hers from a mile away.

float + math

Float Paperie's clever float + math save the date card.

What other details do you notice or think about when drafting text for your cards?

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Two days and counting…

There are just two, count (2)! days left to submit a design in The Real Simple Tenth Year Celebration Challenge. As Minted’s design challenges go, this one is wide open. Keep in mind that we are open to any numerical-based designs. It doesn’t have to be the number ten: anything from 0 to 100 is fair game. We’re also fast-approaching the year 2010, so there are some excellent design possibilities there—a New Year’s party invitation, for example. A fun way to work in all the football in the fall air is a tenth high school or college reunion invitation or announcement. This is one challenge you won’t want to miss; there’s a likely rumor floating around that a line in Real Simple‘s November issue will be sending their readers to Minted to vote for their favorites. The issue lands in subscriber mailboxes this week.

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Martha Stewart Weddings captures Minted perfectly


Shira Savada, the Real Weddings Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings, writes about everything that makes Minted great in her Printed by Minted post in Darcy Miller’s The Brides Guide today. She talks about our speedy customization abilities, our three paper options, our incredible group of international designers, our exciting design challenges, our gorgeous calligraphy… she just gets us.  And of the 122 beautiful save the date designs currently available on Minted she picked Andrea Snaza‘s intricate Save the Date to showcase the great work our design associates do every day.

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The Real Simple Reader Etiquette Poll

7,000 of Real Simple‘s readers voted in their October issue’s Etiquette Poll, which did a great job of getting at the fact that, like everything in life, etiquette evolves over time. We find sticky social situations really stressful, so these findings were extremely reassuring. Lots of the questions involved stationery and invitations. And some of the results were relevant to our current celebration design challenge with Real Simple, as well as other recent challenges. Here are a few of our favorite, stationery-related, emerging-social norms (linked to corresponding Minted products):

If You Receive a Birth Announcement, Do You Have to Send a Gift?
No, only if you’re good friends with the couple: 73.9%
Yes, every time: 21%
Never: 5.1%

Do You Always Have to Bring a Hostess Gift When You’re Invited to Someone’s House for Dinner?
Of course: 49.7%
No, just follow up with a thank-you note: 33%
Only if it’s a fancy dinner: 17.3%

If You’re Invited to a Birthday Dinner With a Large Group, Do You Expect the Organizer to Pick Up the Check?
The whole group should split the bill: 78.6%
He or she should, of course: 21.4%

Your Significant Other Is Left Off a Wedding Invitation. What Do You Do?
Bring it up directly with the bride: 46.6%
Say nothing and attend the wedding solo: 44.3%
Return the RSVP with your significant other’s name written in: 9.2%

Do You Need to Write a Thank-you Note if You Opened the Gift in Front of the Giver?
Of course. Every gift deserves a note: 59.7% **We couldn’t agree more!**
No. A heartfelt “Thank you” in person is fine: 36.2%
It depends on how nice the gift is: 4.0%

How Should You Seat Guests at a Dinner Party?
Let them pick their own seats: 54.6%
Boy, girl, boy, girl: 28.8%
No married couples together: 16.6%

Bottom line: In all of the above situations, you can never go wrong with a hand-written note… and luckily Minted has some great new personalized stationery.

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Real Simple and the Number 10

We’re thrilled to launch our newest design challenge, which celebrates Real Simple magazine’s 10th-year anniversary with a design challenge theme around the number “10”. The magazine will be marking its 10th year of delighting readers in April 2010. Real Simple‘s art department, led by Janet Froelich, will be judging our challenge.  Increasing a quantity by “an order of magnitude” most often means multiplying the quantity by ten.  It feels to us at Minted that this challenge is an order of magnitude more exciting than others!  To inspire our design challenge around ten-year celebrations, we’d love to hear about your favorite cultural references to the number 10, or ten-year stories of any kind.

10

Here’s one from me to start this off.  Marc Benioff, the Founder and CEO of Salesforce.com, is quoted in “The Facebook Era” as saying that “in the technology industry, people overestimate what can be accomplished in one year and underestimate what can be accomplished in one decade”.  10 years ago, my business partner Varsha and I bought the URL www.eve.com from a very savvy mother who negotiated hard with us before parting with it.  At the time, she was using the URL to host a website for her 7-year old daughter, named Eve.  During the discussion, she put me on the phone to negotiate the sale with her daughter.  (Needless to say, that was the toughest negotiation I’ve ever had, since back then I had no experience negotiating with children, a condition that my 5-year old son has now cured me of.)  Eve ultimately got cash, stock in Eve.com, an honorary board seat, a trip to Disneyland, educational software, a computer, and lots of press interviews.  Eve.com was founded, sold cosmetics online, and was ultimately sold.  Though Varsha and I were told a few times by venture capitalists that “women don’t buy things online” (no, I am not kidding), the cosmetics business has thrived and become a big business online along with a lot of other things people didn’t think would ever be sold successfully online.  And just a few weeks ago, now 17-year old Eve reached out and contacted me through Facebook – a reminder to me of how much, both people and technology, can change in one decade.

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