Last call holiday card judge’s picks.

We are continually stunned by the incredible talent in our design community and by how many great designs are entered in each challenge — the last call holiday card challenge was no exception. We asked our guest judges for their favorites and, like us, they had a hard time picking a favorite.

Rachel Levin, senior travel editor at Sunset magazine, has never sent a Christmas card — but she’s excited to do so for the very first time this year with her new daughter front and center. She says she “leaned towards more general, less Christmasy” designs when making her selection.

Rachel: These are my top two. Even though I think you only want one; it was a tough call — so many fun ones!

cocoa Holiday Photo Cards
cocoa Holiday Photo Cards

retro greeting Holiday Photo Cards
retro greeting Holiday Photo Cards

Lindsay Bierman, Editor-in-Chief at Coastal Living.

Lindsay: This was tough — so many great choices and beautiful graphics. I went back and forth, but if I had to choose just one I’d say the space needle would be my top pick. Since the challenge was to refer to a city or region, I love how the card can be recycled for use as an architectural tree ornament!

Seattle Space Needle Ornament   Holiday Photo Cards
Seattle Space Needle Ornament Holiday Photo Cards

Tied for second, I really like the “bright holidays ahead” (although no place mentioned) and the “santa cruz basics” card. I liked the integration of type, graphics, and photo on the bright holidays, and adored the surfboard motif on santa cruz. Both are really bright and cheerful graphics that don’t overshadow the photo. I’d personally send the surfboard, but the conversion to an ornament gave Seattle the slight advantage.

Bright Holidays Ahead Holiday Photo Cards
Bright Holidays Ahead Holiday Photo Cards

santa cruz basics Holiday Photo Cards
santa cruz basics Holiday Photo Cards

I can’t wait to see what your visitors choose!

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What the foodies want in their paper goods.

We asked leading food magazine editors to be special judges in our recent holiday party invitations challenge. Here is what they picked. Congratulations to the Minted design community again for coming up with fantastic designs for this challenge.

Emily Kaiser, Associate Food Editor, Food & Wine

Here’s my favorite:
Light Bright Party Invitations
Light Bright Party Invitations

by escargot studio

It jumped right out at me from the page displaying all 140 entries; I particularly loved the light strings, it was quite a feat the way they were both elegant and playful at the same time. I also loved how the warm gray background allowed the information about the party to look clear and, well, inviting. The choice of fonts also helped make the invitation clear and easy to read.

Close runners up:

Snowy Bloom Party Invitations
Similarly enjoyed the fun design and clean presentation.

This Little Light Party Invitations
I loved the color and the candles; the way the candles floated on the page, there seemed to be a surreptitious allusion to the Adams Family.

Bird on a Branch Party Invitations
I was drawn to the robin on the branch and the play on red and green.

Francis Lam, Contributing Editor Gourmet
I’m so glad you got such an enthusiastic response, and with so many wonderful entries. It wasn’t easy to choose from many designs I really liked, but here we go. I have a pick and a few runners up.

My pick:

oh, joy Party Invitations
oh, joy Party Invitations

by Stacey Day

I love the colors here, using the traditional Christmas combination but in a muted, restrained way. But even more, I love the subtle contrast and harmony. The green circles are a happy mess, set and anchored by the graceful strokes of the “Oh Joy” before them – the invitation speaks of a party both elegant and playful. I’d want to go to this party, dressing up neatly for it, knowing that we’ll all be a little sloppier by the end.

Runners up:

Holiday Elephant by Erin Rau

This is a really lovely way to express winter; the rich blue and rough-edged white space suggest sky and snow, but the roundness of the elephant suggests softness, plushness. It’s a really appealing invitation. It gives a real sense of warmth. The text fonts don’t work for me super well, though – I find them a little busy and heavy in relation to the simple curves of the elephant and the simplicity of the rest of the design.

Decorative Ornaments by Lauren Mummé

Really beautiful; I love the warm colors and the “Tis the Season” font. It’s deliciously retro, like a card I might have found in my
mother’s attic.

Up Up and Away by Milkmaid Press

I have to confess that my favorite part of this card is also, to me, the most inexplicable. What does a hot air balloon have to do with this party? It’s not really clear from the rest of the card. Still, that graphic is gorgeous with its fine lines and textures, a quality echoed lightly in the elegant fonts below. I keep wanting to stare at the balloon, but the weight of the word “Celebrate” keeps drawing my eye to itself, a nice trick that makes the balloon really feel like it keeps floating away from me.

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Interior designers weigh in on their favorites.

We were over the moon when three internationally renowned interior designers signed on to guest judge our Inspired Personalized Stationery Challenge. Their involvement really jump-started our community and inspired hundreds of stunning designs. After giving us their final picks, we picked their brain about how they arrived at their tough decision.

minted: In general, what do you look for in personal correspondence cards?

jay jeffers: I want something that reflects my personality. I send many handwritten notes to friends, colleagues, and clients because I feel its a more personal gesture and gives you the opportunity to create something beautiful.

martha angus: A piece of personal stationery should really be a portrait of the person sending it out. It’s asking a lot; you have to get the whole person down onto one tiny piece of paper.

orlando diaz-azcuy: I want the recipient to be able to identify the sender even before reading.

minted: How did you arrive at your final decision?

jay jeffers: Monogram by SunnyJuly – is elegant, modern, and versatile – I feel I could send it to a friend or a business colleague.
Mongram Personal Stationery
Monogram Personal Stationery

martha angus: I have a fine art background so those designs really resonated with me. The final decision was agonizing! It was really difficult to widdle it down past my top ten. In the end I picked what I love: bright and colorful. Candy Buttons by Cayce Cobb reminded me of Damien Hirst–I used to have one of his paintings hanging behind my desk.
Candy Buttons Personal Stationery
Candy Buttons Personal Stationery

orlando diaz-azcuy: typehead full stop by six other press looks like it identifies with me and my name and represents my attitude of minimal and sensual.
typehead full stop Personal Stationery
typehead full stop Personal Stationery

minted: What were your other close favorites?

jay jeffers:
I really liked Simplicity by Amanda Larsen and Jacquard by Vinyl. They’re all elegant and simple, and feel balanced to me. Each is also very individual.

martha angus: There were WAY too many wonderful designs to choose from and it amazed and it overwhelmed me! There is a staggering amount of talent that Minted draws in. It was such a treat to be on the other side of the design process. Thank you SO MUCH for all this genius sent my way!!

Loved Paper Dahlia‘s nob hill.

Loved stacked type for Orlando by annie clark but I realize my name wouldn’t look as good as his does.

I’m also crazy about Gabriela Cartin‘s orange frame.

Marabou‘s posy personal was great.

KRUSHgraphic‘s from martha is fab.

Katie, who works in our office and has a graphic design degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, loved navy rings by jessica jenkins.

talk bubbles by Jody Wody was divine.

orlando diaz-azcuy:
Unity Personal Stationery by R Studio and Mod Flowers Personal Stationery by Amy Fontes Graphic Design were my other favorites.

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Design Trends: Hand Drawn

First off, let me say that I absolutely adore hand drawn elements in design. Much to the chagrin of my family I made them stop every three buildings on a trip to France to take pictures of hand painted signs.

Look at that! Art is all around you! Don’t you see how beautiful the curve in that “S” is??!?!

With my love for all things handmade, it’s been wonderful to see our amazingly talented Minted community incorporating hand drawn elements into their work.

Carved Tree by pottsdesign
carved tree Save the Date Cards

Emily Potts of pottsdesign beautifully married a rustic illustration of a tree with clean, classic typography. And all the variable elements that our customers can change right down to the initial carved into the tree are a font — which makes the designers at Minted very happy.

Line Blur by Lili Meng
Line Blur Personal Stationery

Who knew scribbles could feel so modern? Lili Meng’s stationery design is colorful, energetic, unique and hand drawn!

Dry Petals by Gleaux
Dry Petals Personal Stationery

Erika of Gleaux certainly has a knack for layering modern graphics with hand drawn illustration and Dry Petals is a perfect example. Overlaying organic line art brings depth and warmth to her design.

Foggy Holiday by Kimberly Schwede
Foggy Holiday Holiday Photo Cards

Our Last Call Holiday Challenge has just begun we’re already amazed by what our design community is creating. It’s hard not be charmed by Kimberly’s whimsical illustrations of San Francisco. By eschewing clip art Kimberly’s hand drawn elements give this design personality and a truly unique flair all its own.

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Abby picks her favorite design

Right on the heels of announcing our Seasonal Save the Date Challenge winners, we wanted to know just how Abby Larson of famed wedding blog Style Me Pretty arrived at her tough decision—which also happened to be the very same design chosen by our community. Coincidence? We think not.

minted: What is the most important thing about a save the date to you?
abby: A save the date is the first opportunity you have to give your guests a taste for what’s to come. It’s a chance to let your personalities shine through and your charm to take center stage. I love save the dates that are all about the couple, that speak to the kind of people they are, and the kind of event that they are going to host. It should be a sneak peek of what’s to come!

minted: Seeing so many save the dates as a full-time wedding blogger, what stands out to you?
abby: Well, I am sucker for anything engraved on dark paper or letterpressed on to the thickest cotton money can buy. But, that isn’t always the most practical. So, those that stand out to me are Save the Dates that make me smile. Save the dates that give me a little window into the couple’s personality. Of course, a couple that has style and chooses a chic design is even more exciting, but all in all, I think that Save the Dates are the best when they come from the heart.

minted: Do you think it’s imperative that a save the date coordinate with the themes and motifs of the wedding to come? And how important is seasonality to you?
abby: I think that it’s moderately important. I do like to see designs that fit in with the greater theme of your wedding as a whole. For example, I wouldn’t want to see a really traditional save the date for a more modern couple hosting their wedding in an art gallery. Or a really modern save the date for a couple having their affair in a rose garden. Think of it this way…the save the date is the first chance you get to surprise and wow your guests. It’s the first chance for your wedding brand to really come out. Take the opportunity and run with it!

minted: How did you narrow down your final picks? Was there anything that they all had in common?
abby: Style. I usually put style above anything else. Then, I narrowed it down to those with charm and personality. It was incredibly hard, as there are SO many good ones. But in the end, I just chose three that I couldn’t get out of my mind. Those that I always looked at more than once.

minted: What were your three favorites and why?
abby: Fall Carving by Amanda O’Rourke . It’s ALL charm. It’s completely adorable and easy to love.

Fracas by Sarah Lenger. It’s simply awesome. I have this thing for bright graphic patterns and this one satisfies my new obsession.

Fracas Save the Date Cards

Winter Flourish by Annie Clark. It’s the perfect combination of the two. It’s charming and lovely, while still being incredible graphic and eye catching. Plus, it reminds me a little bit of the line of wedding invitations that I designed, Abby Jean. Which just makes me happy.

winter-flourish

minted: How did you finally decide on your final choice?
abby: Well, it all came down to my own personal style. Style Me Pretty readers actually really loved Fall Carving, far and away the winner. But, at the end of the day, it all comes down to personal style and taste. It’s what I preach on Style Me Pretty and it’s the method that I used to narrow down my many save the date loves. Winter Flourish is SO me. That was the kicker!

minted: What do you like about the design?
abby: It’s romantic, it’s style-savvy, it’s timeless. It’s modern in color and composition and yet it’s traditional at the same time, using a classic calligraphy font. It’s perfection!

minted: Do you think it could be formulated into a full wedding suite?
abby: Abso-stinkin-lutely! It would be spectacular as a complete wedding suite and would be even more impressive as a letterpress design. Totally in love with this one.

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Minted on Style Me Pretty

Not sure if our talented designers have noticed, but Abby at Style Me Pretty featured several of her favorite designs in Minted’s Seasonal Save the Date Card challenge at and asked her readers for their opinion. She has exquisite taste – I love her choices, and it was interesting to see the comments her readers left. We’ll find out her top choice soon… can’t wait!

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Thoughts from our seasonal save the date couples

It’s always interesting to hear what the inspirations behind our competitions actually pick for their cards. Here are some real-time responses from our Style Me Pretty couples on what save the date cards they’re thinking about using for their upcoming nuptials.

Brittany: “We have loved watching the designs come in, some of them are GORGEOUS and all of them are fun!” My favorite is Green Butterfly by Pretty {much} Art.

I love the font, and the butterfly on the front…and I like that it is all one color. If I had to change one thing about it, I would hope that if it gets picked up to be sold by minted.com , that it could be possible to offer it in a variety of colors. Our wedding colors are in the purple family, and the original green color wouldn’t be my first choice.

(Not to worry, Brittany—all of our cards are always fully customizable and can be made in any color under the sun. All you have to do is get in touch with one of our customer associates by emailing service@minted.com or calling 1-888-828-MINT / 1-415-466-2090 )

Victoria: Our top choices were: Fields by Kerry Doyle. fields Save the Date Cards

Organic typography by Rachael Schendel. Organic Typography Save the Date Save the Date Cards

Penguins by Potts Design. a href=

Boardwalk Stencil by Alex Elko Design.

Victoria: We agreed on all of these.  The main colors for our wedding are black and white so it is hard to find a save the date in those colors that isn’t too serious/harsh.  We actually like the idea of a total departure from the wedding colors for the save the dates. Seasonality wasn’t super important to us but we liked the subtle play on winter some of the designers came up with like the Penguins and the smitten save the date by sweet street gals.
smitten Save the Date Cards

Nicole: Baroque Save the Dates by Amy Fontes Graphic Design.

Baroque Save the Date Cards

We both like the detailed designs and texture that she included. We also really liked Falling Leaves by Pottsdesign.Under a Canopy of Falling Leaves Save the Date Cards

I thought the artistry is excellent. I would actually prefer something a little more light colored. I also like Simply Save the Date by lehan, but haven’t asked Thomas about it yet… But once again the understated detail, artistry and light colors really caught my eye.

Hannah: MY personal favorite pick for our wedding is the Blossom Save the Date by Kerry Doyle.

blossom Save the Date Cards

Our colors are (as of now) black & white with spring green accents, and I absolutely love the contrast of the bright green against the bright white. I also love the fonts she chose, I think they are perfect for our level of formality and our personalities!

My fiance disagrees! He thinks it’s way too floral and feminine for his tastes. 🙁  Our runner-up (that we can both agree on) is the English Garden by Push Papers.

Although I also love the Flourishing by Susan Schneider. Flourishing Save the Date Cards

(Hannah, you can always pick a super girly invite for  your shower! We can easily make any of these save the dates into bridal shower invitations.)

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Minted Launches Personal Stationery Design Challenge With Celebrity Interior Designers

Minted Launches Personal Stationery Design Challenge With Celebrity Interior Designers. Minted recruits three of the country’s most renowned interior designers­ Martha Angus, Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, and Jay Jeffers ­ as inspiration for and judges in their first-ever personalized stationery design challenge.

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