Brianne Larsen carves her own fluid path toward a life in design

Written by Jenny Griffin

Flashback to 2012. Brianne Schipman was going to school by day at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska, and working at a local pizza place on nights and weekends. The day after she graduated with an associate’s degree in Visual Publications, she married her college sweetheart Caleb Larsen, then an ROTC cadet at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Busy week. Brianne wasn’t sure what was coming next, or how to use her newly minted degree. She thought she might be able to land a full-time job in graphic design, but that didn’t happen.

Flash forward to 2018. Brianne Larsen is happily moving 442 miles east on I-80 from Cheyenne, Wyoming. She’s heading back home to Lincoln, Nebraska, with Caleb, their extroverted daughter Sylvee Ruth, age 17 months, and their photogenic Italian greyhound Indigo, age 3. Adding to the excitement is the impending arrival of a new baby to their growing family. A whole new chapter is soon to begin.

Brianne Larsen Minted card designs, clockwise from top center: “Tall Love,” “Elegant Angles,” “Simply Abstract,” and “The Highest.”

A whole lot of cool stuff happened in between those years, including Brianne finding her designing rhythm with Minted and the realization of her capacity to carve out a designing life for herself independent of location, well suited to the peripatetic nature of the Air Force family lifestyle. Brianne and Caleb began married life in Lincoln while Caleb finished up his two remaining years at UNL. A five-month stint in Lompoc, California, for Caleb’s Air Force training came next, followed by four years in Cheyenne. Caleb is currently a captain in the Air Force, but is transitioning out of military life into a civilian computer programming job. He’s considering joining the Reserves in Omaha, an hour or so from Lincoln.

Brianne’s fluid, flexible trajectory was launched, ironically, by not getting a full-time graphic design gig. Instead, she landed a part-time photography job with a local clothing boutique. This turned out to be a surprise boon, as her part-time hours allowed her to embark on a path as an independent artist with Minted. She submitted her first design to a Minted Stationery Gifts Challenge in July 2012 after first hearing about Minted through a friend. “Looking back, I’m so thankful I didn’t get a full-time job,” Brianne says. “I really believe everything happens for a reason.” Underscoring her retrospection and her embrace of her path is her faith. “My faith is really important to me and shapes every part of my life, including my love for art,” Brianne says.

Success didn’t come instantly; it took nine months for Brianne to get a design pick. Her work developed as she continued to submit designs. She’s now secured 74 awards through her Minted Store: Peony Papeterie. We asked Brianne some questions about being part of an Air Force family, her creative approach, and what might surprise people about her.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on Brianne Larsen carves her own fluid path toward a life in design

2018 Holiday Photo Card Challenge: Top 21-40 Winners

Written by Easter Kim and Amy Schroeder

Way back in March, we kicked off the What a Bright Time Non-Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Challenge, our 11th annual Holiday Photo Card Challenge. We know how challenging it is to break out the inspirational cocoa and candy canes on the eve of springtime, but the Minted artist community was not only up for the task — they pushed and shoved boundaries of holiday card design. We set out seeking fresh, unique designs that serve Minted’s diverse customer base, and Minted artists exceeded our hopes by creating an array of styles, ranging from traditional and reinvented classics to Millennial minimalism.

Today we’re excited to begin counting down the top winners, as determined by voters, for this esteemed Minted Design Challenge, one of our biggest competitions of the year. This year, our international artist community submitted a combined total of 6,868 designs, and our customers and community of voters generated approximately 2.5 million votes.

Please help us congratulate all of these artists for their remarkable work!

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on 2018 Holiday Photo Card Challenge: Top 21-40 Winners

2018 Religious Photo Card Challenge: Top 10 Winners

Written by Emily Heaton and Jessica Schwartz

We’re excited to continue the countdown with the Top 10 winners from the Good Tidings Religious Photo Card Challenge! The religious card challenge often attracts illustrative and whimsical designs. From innovative and modern to timeless and classic, we loved seeing the various forms of religious expression while looking through the Top 10. With all the wonderful winning designs from this year’s challenge, how will customers be able to choose which card to send to their loved ones?

Put your hands together for the Top 10!

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on 2018 Religious Photo Card Challenge: Top 10 Winners

2018 Religious Photo Card Challenge: Top 11-20 Winners

Written by Kelly Hird and Olivia Goree

It’s finally time! We’re thrilled to announce the 11-20th place winners of the Good Tidings Religious Photo Card Challenge. In this challenge, we looked for fresh, unique designs showcasing words of faith and spirituality. From traditional motifs to modern and minimalist interpretations, artists dazzled us with a stunning array of innovative designs. We’re delighted to present the first winning holiday designs of the season!

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on 2018 Religious Photo Card Challenge: Top 11-20 Winners

Fashion. Bass Playing. World Travel. Kelly Schmidt Weaves an Adventurous Path to Career Independence.

Written by Jenny Griffin

When Minted artist Kelly Schmidt was a kid, she painted murals on all four walls of her bedroom. One year she painted another big mural in the kitchen for her mom for Mother’s Day, inspired by artwork she’d seen in a design magazine. All this creativity was highly encouraged by her Canadian parents who even gave artistic license to Kelly’s and her sister Karen’s friends. While most of her friends lived in homes with white walls, Kelly’s house had a special wall where not only she, but all of her friends were welcome to draw freely. Talk about setting the stage for a life in design.

Kelly would grow up to become a graphic designer at both an animation studio and a special effects studio; a creative director at a renowned fashion, makeup, and esthetics school; an aspiring potter; and an amateur bass player in a band with the Attorney General of British Columbia. Along the way she married a museum educator who curates exhibits for the Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia and for the expanding Canadian coffee and tea cafe, Kafka’s. When she’s not busy making art, looking at art, or talking about art, she and husband Michael Schwartz are out exploring the scenic wilderness surrounding Vancouver. Whew!

Oh, and as of March 2018, she’s struck out on her own as an independent graphic artist, thanks in large part to what she discovered was possible with Minted. She’s having a good run and just recently won the Best File Prep Award at Camp Minted in Las Vegas.

We talked to Kelly about her work, her endless interest in trying new things, and the influences along the way.

“Clean and Modern” wedding invitation by Kelly Schmidt

Minted: You had some really influential teachers in high school. How did they help you?
Kelly Schmidt: I was planning to study interior design after high school, but my art teacher gave me some key direction. He had looked through my art projects and had discussed them with the graphic design and photography teacher. What they noticed was that a lot of my collage work revolved around communicating a message. They encouraged me to pursue graphic design instead. That meant dropping the drafting class I’d signed up for and switching directions to graphic design and photography. I loved it. If I could have dropped all my other courses and spent all my time in the photography studio or on the school’s ancient Apple computer, I would have been so happy. I didn’t even know graphic design existed until it was introduced to me.

After high school I got a scholarship to attend the Graphics and Visual Design program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. In college, I fell in love with typography and the marriage between communication and design, the way color and letterforms can shape the feel and mood of a pieceThe program switched from a three-year to a four-year granting program after I completed my third year. I could have returned, but instead traveled for a year in Australia. I’ve always been very driven and goal-oriented, and this was the first time in my life where I was cut loose of all schedules and plans and could really be in the moment. It was incredibly valuable.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on Fashion. Bass Playing. World Travel. Kelly Schmidt Weaves an Adventurous Path to Career Independence.

8 Top Takeaways from Camp Minted 2018

With more than two dozen workshops and panels on topics ranging from personal branding to watercolor florals, Camp Minted 2018 was a flurry of all things creative. Though it’s hard to capture every a-ha! moment and key takeaway, here are eight that stand out in the minds of Minted artists who attended the three-day conference in Las Vegas.

Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy and Hiroki Asai at Camp Minted 2018

1. “Do you.” — Jesi Haack of Slaack Productions

During the Defining and Developing Your Unique Personal Brand panel, speaker Jesi Haack of SLAACK Productions summarized her top advice in two words: “Do you.”

We totally get that sometimes it’s hard to figure out what your one-of-a-kind style is, but for a number of Camp Minted attendees, the message clicked. Minted artist Janelle Wourms said one of her top takeaways was in rethinking trends. “Find your own unique perspective if you’re going to follow a trend,” she said.

Before Camp Minted, Minted artist Linda Poole said she focused on getting picks in Minted Design Challenges. “In actuality, I just love design. In the future, I plan on developing my individual style rather than trying to unlock the Minted pick code,” she said.

During the Small Brands That Get It Right session with Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy and Hiroki Asai, Former VP of Global Marketing Communications and Executive Creative Director at Apple, Mariam encouraged artists to let passion drive creativity. She tied that sentiment into the fact that many Minted customers shop with us because they’re seeking uniqueness. “Knowing this makes me feel like sharing my truth is easier—it’s wanted,” said Minted fine artist Mary Gaspar. “I feel more secure following my design instincts. In other words, be your weird self and own it. Learn as much as you can and always be curious.”

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on 8 Top Takeaways from Camp Minted 2018

Minted’s 10th Anniversary Community Awards recognize artist leadership

On Camp Minted 2018’s culminating evening in Las Vegas, we hosted an awards ceremony to recognize exceptional artists for embodying important community values and pushing the boundaries of art and design.

Thank you so much to everyone who cast their votes and nominations for fellow Minted artists’ embodying important community values.

 

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... 1  COMMENT

Nearly 200 artists lit a ‘collective fire’ at Camp Minted

Photos by Stephanie Rapp (Kelly Hird and Easter Kim contributed to this story)

Minted artists from Buenos Aires to Paris were abuzz with excitement, inspired energy, and hugs galore as they arrived at Camp Minted in Las Vegas for three days of rejuvenation, creative inspiration, community connections—and even a bit of relaxation.

As the largest gathering for Minted artists to date, nearly 200 Minted artists traveled from around the world to attend the retreat at the JW Marriott Resort and Spa, August 6–8. With a series of art and design workshops, insightful panels, a community awards ceremony—including a gleefully tearful surprise—many attendees viewed Camp Minted as an action-packed way to celebrate Minted’s 10-year anniversary.

For many Minted artists who have developed tight-knit relationships with fellow community members via Minted’s online platform, Camp Minted was the first time they met in person. “The energy was palpable upon arrival—so many faces from around the globe, some familiar but most new, all vibrant,” says Minted artist Marcia Biasiello. “Sitting in sessions and sharing meals with so many focused and inspiring creatives lit a collective fire.”

Chicago Minted artist Mary Gaspar echoed a similar sentiment, saying that meeting artists who have the same hopes, dreams, and fears as her makes her feel “not so alone.” “It feels like we’re part of this niche time in history where being an artist is no longer defined as ‘struggling’ or ‘isolating,’ but rather, ‘entrepreneurial’ and ‘connecting’,” she says.

Lauren Rogoff, a New York painter known for her pet portraits in Minted’s Commissioned Original Art program, experienced an a-ha! moment that helped her realize that Minted values everyone in the community. While talking with another artist, she mentioned that she felt like “a bit of a fraud” attending the retreat, because she’d won just a handful of Minted Challenges. “I have no experience with graphic design, and only do fine art,” Lauren continued to explain. “Then, the other artist mentioned that she also felt like a fraud, because she only did graphic design, and another artist piped in that she felt the same because her focus was lettering! As artists, we’re alone with our doubts so often that being surrounded by genuine support really boosted my confidence and made me feel like I belonged.” 

Shortly after Camp Minted, attendees began reflecting on and posting their feedback on the Community Facebook Group and Instagram (hashtag #campminted2018). One such artist is Eric Beckett of GeekInk Design, longtime community leader from Redlands, California. My fellow Minties… I have been trying to write something that could adequately describe the way I feel. But nothing has ever sounded like enough. And I think it’s because nothing has existed that’s quite as unique as this community. A community where our biggest competitors are also our best friends. How CAN you thank a community and a company for completely changing your life? How do you tell a person you’ve never met in real life that a comment they left you 7 years ago made you the designer you are today? How do you thank a CEO for creating a company that has become your family? What words could possibly describe the love you feel when a friend wins Designer of the Year? Or how happy you are for someone who was so terrified to teach a class, but ended up teaching the best class. There will never be enough words that could possibly express the love I have in my heart for each and every one of you. I am so grateful and honored to be a part of this community, and these past 3 days I will forever hold in my heart.”

While we’re still coming down from the creative high of Camp Minted, we hope you’ll enjoy a handful of the highlights …

Day 1: August 6, 2018

Row 1 from top left: The Camp Minted mainstage; the Minted Artist Relations team (from left: Emily Heaton, Kelly Hird, and Amy Schroeder) welcome Minted artist Nam Bourassa of Coco and Ellie to the conference. Row 2 from left: Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy, SVP of Artists and Partnerships Brady Wood, and Director of Artist Relations Easter Kim welcome attendees during lunch; Alaina Cherup of Cheerup Press plays the Minted Artist Scavenger Hunt; Row 3 from left: Maria Murphy of Lulaloo and Jackie Mangiolino have a good laugh; Erin Wilson and Jackie Crawford.

Top photo: Minted artist Amy Carroll takes a snap of Dana Beckwith, Lisa Samartino, and Shelby Johnson  of Saltwater Designs. Bottom row from left: Susan Asbill, Stacey Meacham, Karidy Walker, and Heather Francisco; Mariam Naficy kicks off Camp Minted sessions by introducing keynote speaker Hiroki Asai.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... 4   COMMENTS

Minted Artists in the Press August 2018

Congratulations to Minted artists who are featured in The Knot, HGTV Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, Buzzfeed.com, and Eva Chen’s InstagramJoin the fun of spotting Minted artists in the press by uploading PR clips on your social media with the hashtag #mintiespotting.

The Knot Magazine (Fall 2018), “Style & Planning: Forest Green” featuring the “Painted Canvas” menu by Robin Ott


Seventeen magazine (September 2018), “Back To School Awards” featuring “Nice Work” art print by Heather Francisco


MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on Minted Artists in the Press August 2018

Art and design run through Minted artist Christine Taylor’s veins

Written by Jenny Griffin

Christine Taylor reads a story to her daughter, Isla, at home in Hagerstown, Indiana.

Minted artist Christine Taylor grew up in small town Indiana surrounded by artistic people. “As a kid, I remember my mom was always doing something creative,” says Christine. Her mother delighted in arts and crafts and calligraphy, always ready to help Christine and her younger sister Jessie make homemade Valentine cards, personalized greeting cards, and clever Halloween costumes. That early exposure to the pleasures of design stuck. Both Christine and her sister would grow up to become graphic designers.

The creative impulse spilled down and across generations with an array of artists on both sides of Christine’s family. A maternal great grandmother and great aunt shared their love of painting and the arts with Christine’s mother and her sisters. Various family members are engaged in music, writing, architecture, photography, and filmmaking. Art and creativity flow freely through this big family.

“Oh Baby!” baby shower invitation and “Let’s Party” by Christine Taylor

As a child, Christine loved holding and thumbing through the pages of picture books, novels, and magazines. She still does. “I loved to touch the pages, and to admire the colors, typography and layouts.” She relished the comforting smell of the paper, the residual scent of the ink, and the tangible sense of promise contained within. In high school, Christine scored a job working at her local public library. “I loved dealing with all the books, especially when new shipments would come in and I could flip through the books and delight in the cover designs and illustrations before they hit the shelves.”

Those early influences fueled a slowly developing desire to learn her craft. Years spent paging through publications (always wondering why things were placed where they were), admiring book and album covers, and scanning store aisles for just the right greeting card made her recognize design could be something even more. “I realized I wanted to create and package things that would communicate to other people,” Christine explains.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on Art and design run through Minted artist Christine Taylor’s veins