Meet a Minted Artist: Susan Asbill

When we asked Minted artist Susan Asbill to describe a typical day in the life, she explained that as a working mother with two small children, the real constant in her life is chaos. “As a type A personality, this has been hard for me to accept, but I’ve found that no amount of planning will keep things from going awry,” the Dallas designer says. “For now I’m just settling into the chaos with these two little humans and soaking up all the mess and magic while it lasts.”

That perfect combination of life’s beautiful mess and magic shows in her Minted work, a bold, colorful collection of designs that celebrates life’s major moments. After asking Susan about her goals, how’s she’s developed her career, and what she does for fun, we’ve learned that she’s a hard-working Texan with a heartwarming sense of humor, and she’s committed to the Minted artist community.

Minted: Did you study art or design formally in school?
Susan Asbill: I’ve had my heart set on an art-related career as far back as I can remember. As a child I drifted in and out of other activities, but art was my constant. In high school, I was taking so many art classes that I was short on regular credits needed for graduation—oops. I had to make these up in summer school and correspondence classes. I got my bachelor of fine arts in design from the University of Texas at Austin. I initially spent two years in studio art before moving into their design program. It was a difficult transition at first. I was used to the looser world of fine art, and it took me a while to get my footing. I had wonderful teachers who kept me challenged—and sometimes overwhelmed—throughout the program. I’m grateful for that push today. They also kept the class size small, and our group really bonded through the years. We stay in touch to this day. The bonds I’ve made in the Minted community remind me of those early designer friendships.

What was your first design-related job?
My first design job was as an art director at a small agency in Dallas. They had a lot of home goods clients: surfacing and tile companies, gourmet ranges, roofing, etc. Since then I’ve worked 10 different jobs, both at agencies and also as an in-house designer. Working with such a wide variety of clients has been interesting, and I’ve been able to bounce between different brand styles, everything from Dom Pérignon to the WWE. It’s been a wild ride.

Do you think 10 jobs is a lot, or not necessarily?
Ten jobs may sound like a lot, but it’s common in marketing and advertising. There is always employee turnover when agencies win and lose accounts. I’ve also moved around to learn new skills, like switching to an interactive agency at one point to learn web design. My most recent job change was to focus more on my family.

Pegasus” children’s custom art by Susan Asbill for Minted

How many hours per week do you usually work? And what does “work” mean for you?
Currently I work three days a week in TGI Fridays’ corporate office, primarily designing their menus. The other two days I work at home on freelance clients, Minted, volunteer work, and of course the toughest and most rewarding gig of all, being a mother.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Gerrie Magnani of Chocomocacino

Gerrie Magnani’s life sounds like a dream. Having grown up in Indonesia, she now lives in Ravenna, a beautiful historical town in Italy, and strives to work no more than 20 to 30 hours a week as a freelance graphic designer. Going by the moniker Chocomocacino, Gerrie lives and loves creativity, food, and travel. She found her design footing as a teen, and after studying graphic design in San Francisco, took a hiatus to become a yogi in Bali. While on hiatus, she met her husband, an Italian bodybuilder, who took her back to his hometown.

Much as her life story so far is a winding journey, Gerrie views her design and art as a constant evolution. You can’t quite pinpoint her signature style in a few words, and that’s what she’s going for—for the moment. “I like things that either have elegance, uniqueness, modernity, and adorable/cutesy quality to it, so that’s where I’m directing my designs, too,” she says. “I haven’t found the right combination or balance between all of these. Maybe it’s because my work is so different.”

Minted: Why did you move to Bali after college?
Gerrie Magnani: I lived in Ubud for almost two years, to pursue my yoga life, both teaching and studying. I got a scholarship and studied my yoga teaching right before moving to Ubud, also in Bali (Canggu) with Australian Yoga school. I taught yoga mostly privately in villas and hotels for guests who came to Bali, and some retreats. I also attended yoga-related workshops like astrology and meditation. My husband was my neighbor in Ubud; he managed an online rental accommodation. As a bodybuilder, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, he’s completely the opposite of a yogi.

Before living in Bali, you attended Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and majored in graphic design. What was your first design job after graduating college?
I went back to Jakarta after school, and my first job for almost 10 years was as a wedding invitation designer—very much my dream job. I’ve always had a passion for paper and stationery, and I liked going to card stores to look at the illustration, lettering, and how cards are printed. Creating beautiful cards was really not a job for me; I had so much fun that it felt more like a hobby. I learned so much about printing processes—from laser cut to embossing, foil stamping, creating boxed invitations, and even printing with velvet texture. Dream world!

Amalfi – New York City” save the date card by Gerrie Magnani of Chocomocacino for Minted

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The Future is Bright Graduation Challenge Special Prize Winners

Announcing the Special Prize winners of The Future is Bright Graduation ChallengeWe were floored by the quality and breadth of designs submitted to this challenge. The graduation business is one of our fastest growing stationery categories, and 2017 graduates will be thrilled with the new assortment this year!

For the most design-forward, innovative graduation announcement or invitation that you would only find at Minted.
Photo Booth by Stacey Meacham

Runners-up: shaping the future by Guess What Design Studio, Grad Doodle by Katharine Watson, and Scribbled Spirit by The Carillos

For the best design that appeals to the male grad.
Virginia Beach by Little Words Design

Runners-up: Cornerwise by Jennifer PostorinoBold Statement by Kristie Kern, and Minimalist Frame by Jennifer Lew

For the design that best highlights the graduate’s name.
Just Fab by Paper and Parcel

Runners-up: sharp by Sara Hicks Malone, my name is by Phrosne Ras, and Grad Chart by Shirley Lin Schneider

For the best design featuring multiple photos.
Pride and Joy by Carrie ONeal

Runners-up: distinguished by Sara Hicks Malone, Classic Stack by Stacey Meacham, and Artifact by Jennifer Lew

For the best design that incorporates a creative way to share where the graduate is heading after graduation.
Destination University by Cheer Up Press

Runner-up: Destination College by Melissa Casey

For the best traditional and timeless design.
Stacked Class by Jennifer Wick

Runners-up: Stylish Celebration by Lauren Chism, Elegance by Jennifer Postorino, and Gracious Grad by Guess What Design Studio

For the best simple, modern design.
Double Grad Gallery by fatfatin

Runners-up: Commence by Lauren ChismAcknowledged by Michelle Taylor, and Simple Grad by Still and Mundane

For the most differentiated and unique full bleed photo design.
elegant grad by Erin Deegan

Runners-up: Yay for Graduate by Amy Payne, Our Grad by Chris Griffith, and Adventure Awaits! by Hooray Creative

For the design that best showcases a graduate’s school colors and can be easily customized to suit various school colors.
impactful by lena barakat

Runners-up: Simply Tagged by Cait Trainor, Classic Graduate by Owl and Toad, and Grad Stripe by Rebecca Durflinger

For the best design showcasing a graduate through the years.
The Years Fly By by Amy Payne

Runners-up: Always Proud by Susan Brown and Tiles by Shari Margolin

For the best design that puts the graduate’s name or other customizable text on a curvilinear path.
Cum Laude by Kimberly Morgan

Runners-up: retro by Poi Velasco and Golden Graduation by Itsy Belle Studio

For the best design from a designer winning for the first time.
Graduate Knock Out by Megan Roe

Congratulations to the winners!

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2016 Wedding Invitation Challenge Special Prize Winners

We’re excited to announce the Special Prize winners of our Wedding Bells are Ringing: 2016 Wedding Invitation Challenge! This was our largest and most competitive Wedding Challenge of the year with over 2,800 submissions. We were absolutely delighted by your beautiful invitation designs; we know that engaged couples and wedding guests will be too. Congratulations to the winners!

For the most creative and innovative take on a wedding invitation.
Rainbow Roll by Katharine Watson

Runners-up: love is strong by Aspacia Kusulas, Artful Oneness by Moglea, and Happy Day by Angela Marzuki

For the design that best lays the groundwork for a sophisticated, classic wedding.
Classic monogram by Stacey Meacham

Runners-up: We Do. by Eric Clegg and Subtly Sweet by Kimberly FitzSimons

For the best gender-neutral design that will appeal to both men and women.
Elan by Griffinbell Paper Co.

Runners-up: Painted Leaf by Katharine Watson and Astor by carly reed walker

For the best non-floral wedding invitation.
Josephine by kelli hall

Runners-up: Mod Lines by Alethea and Ruth, Brushed Stripes by Everett Paper Goods, and Stable by Roxy

For the best design with a simple, edited, and clean aesthetic.
Scattered Diamonds by Nikkol Christiansen

Runners-up: The Minimalist by Kelly Schmidt and over and over by Lea Delaveris

For the best design for a destination wedding.
Palm by Kaydi Bishop

Runner-up: Stellar by Elly

For the design that best showcases one of Minted’s unique die-cut shapes in an original way.
Arched Wedding by Jennifer Wick

Runner-up: Adorned Ampersand by Jennifer Postorino

For the best design that puts the couples’ names or other customizable text on a curvilinear path.
Rustic Love by GeekInk Design

Runner-up: Wonderland by Laura Hankins

For the best design from a first-time winner.
Art Deco Frame by Caitlin Mac

Runner-up: Wedding Stamp by Kasia Labocki

The following Special Prizes will be announced at a later date: End-to-End Award, Stamp Award, Perfect Match Award, and Font Award.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Erica Krystek

Triathlon magazine creative director. Former competitive tennis player. Journalism major. Mom and wife. These are a handful of the words we can use to describe Erica Krystek, who like many of her fellow community members, enters Minted challenges by night. With more than 200 Minted awards to her name, Erica’s work spans from exuberant holiday cards to humorous baby and kids designs, and a little bit of customizable art for good measure. If you look a little closer at Erica’s work on her Minted Artist Store, you’ll likely find yourself smirking at her usage of clever puns: “Let’s Taco ‘Bout How Awesome You Are” and “You’re Tool Cool” among them. It goes without saying that she’s not only a talented designer, but she’s also got a way with words.

Here the San Diego artist talks about her “plannerly” creative process, how she’s evolved as a Minted artist, and how quality mommy time and a good work-life balance makes her heart happy.

Sleepy Fox” baby shower invitation by Erica Krystek

Minted: Did you study art or design formally in school?
Erica Krystek: I grew up in San Diego and, other than college, have lived here my whole life. I did not formally study graphic design, and instead received a B.S. in journalism at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2002. My intention was to be an editor or writer; however, my senior year while working as an editor at Cal Poly’s daily newspaper, I realized I enjoyed the design aspect of journalism more than the editorial side. At the time, the paper was a very low-budget operation, and as an editor, you were also tasked with designing your editorial section. So I quickly taught myself Quark and found that I kind of had a knack for it. After I graduated, I was fortunate to get a wonderful job working for a firefighting magazine, where I honed my design skills, eventually working my way up the ladder to Art Director.

Erica’s dog Sherman likes to stick his nose into Erica’s work.

What’s it like to work as the Creative Director of LAVA magazine?
I grew up heavily involved in many sports and received an athletic scholarship to college, so working for any sports-oriented publication piqued my interest. When I had the opportunity to work as the Creative Director for LAVA, it seemed like a perfect fit. LAVA is a newsstand, coffee-table-style triathlon magazine, published nine times a year. Our content caters to more serious and seasoned triathletes, versus beginners, and takes its name from the lava landscape of Kona, Hawaii, where the Ironman World Championship (the premier event for most triathletes) has been held each year since the early ’80s. We have a very small operation of eight people, so I do the majority of the design work for print and web as well as create our marketing materials and direct our cover shoots.

Erica Krystek is the Creative Director of LAVA Magazine.

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DIY: Last-Minute Printable Heart Glasses

Written by Sharon Garofalow of  Cupcakes and Cutlery

Need a fun, last-minute craft to do with your kids today? I’ve got the perfect, easy activity for you! Just download and print the template for these adorable heart-shaped paper glasses!! They’re the perfect accent to your Valentine’s Day festivities!

Easy last minute Valentine's Day craft for you and the kids.
Printable heart shaped glasses for kids on Valentine's Day.

Click through for step by step instructions

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DIY: Galentine’s Day Party Invitations

Written by Kathleen Ballos of Snowdrop & Co

Are you having friends over for Galentine’s Day this year? These simple DIY rosé party invitations are the perfect start to a relaxing night in with the girls. Plus, they go perfectly with Minted’s Rosé S’il Vous Plait print! Happy Galentine’s Day!

Galentine's Day Invitations | JulepGalentine's Day Invitations | Julep

Click through for step-by-step instructions … 

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DIY: Heart-Stamped Tote Bag

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

Give me a plain white tote bag + paint + a potato and I am a happy crafter! This Valentine’s Day I made this heart-stamped tote for my daughter. And to make the stamp, I used—get this!—a potato. If you haven’t made a potato stamp before, you have to give it a try, it’s so easy. And I love the look of ombre, so I stamped my hearts in varying shades, ranging from soft pink to cherry red. This is the perfect little gift for your sweet one this February 14.

DIY Heart Stamped Tote Bag
DIY Heart Stamped Tote Bag

Click through for the step-by-step instructions …

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Jessica Hische’s Guest Judge Pick!

Back in October, we invited Jessica Hische to be the Guest Judge for our biggest Wedding Challenge of the year, the Wedding Bells are Ringing: 2016 Wedding Invitation Challenge. Jessica Hische is a lettering artist, illustrator, author, and self-described “avid internetter” working in San Francisco and Brooklyn. Jessica has become as well known for her side projects as she has for her client work. She’s created several educational micro-sites including Mom This is How Twitter Works, Should I Work for Free? and Don’t Fear the Internet

Out of 2,848 submissions, Jessica selected Beloved by Design Lotus! When asked specifically why she chose this design, Jessica said, “It was incredibly hard to choose a winner because there were so many outstanding submissions this year, but I kept coming back to this design. I love how it combines classic elegant components (the use of gold engraving illustrations and beautiful clean typefaces) in a modern asymmetrical layout. It almost feels like the design could double as a high-end wine label. I think it’s really difficult to design in a way that feels understated and elegant but not minimalistic. I could see this design working for a wide range of weddings—from a big elaborate affair in a gilded ballroom to a small outdoor ceremony in an overgrown garden.” Congratulations Design Lotus!

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DIY: Cactus Valentine’s Day Temporary Tattoos

Written by Kersey Campbell from And We Play

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and to help you out, I made these fun valentine tattoos complete with a cute pun (because what is Valentine’s Day without a funny quip, am I right?). Let’s make some tattoos!

Let’s get started with supplies

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