*This is a paid post from an APW Sponsor*
Screen shot from a Minted video promoting their designers
Minted is one of my favorite places to buy paper goods. There, I said it. I’m not currently in the market for wedding invitations (though luckily, lots of you are), but New Year’s cards are one of my important traditions, and I use Minted every single year. Their save the dates, invitations, cards, and baby announcements are impeccably curated (and lots of the save the dates and holiday cards let you use pictures, which I love). But they also happen to be a San Francisco company who’s very involved in the creative community here—and I like supporting local small businesses.
But with Minted, it goes a step further. All of Minted’s designs are created exclusively for Minted by their community of independent designers. Just like APW, Minted is a community that’s built around valuing independent artists. One of their team recently explained to me how their process works. Every time I buy a holiday card, or you buy a wedding invitation, an email is sent directly to the designer that created it, telling them a little about who you are, and letting them know that a (generous) portion of the profit of the sale will be added to their next check. This lets designers do work they love, without worrying about doing all the marketing and printing themselves. Beyond that, Minted’s prices are great. For invitations, they’ve recently expanded their offerings to include letterpress (high five!), but also offer you the options of their luxurious Signature Paper, 100% Recycled Matte Paper, Luxe Museum Board (triple the thickness of their Signature Paper), or gorgeous Pearlescent Paper.
Today, in true APW style, I’m thrilled to get to highlight two Minted designers. Maddie and I interviewed Laura Condouris and Trista Sydloski-Tesch, and we are delighted to share a little bit of their stories.
During a reception, my favorite moment is dancing to old R& B or hip-hop, and, even better, watching the older family members dance.
My artistic philosophy is, in a word, honesty. Being yourself, being playful and not taking yourself too seriously, honing your individual style and not riding the coattails of others, or mindlessly following trends
As a calligrapher, I do most of my work at my dining room table, since it’s the only place where there’s enough space to spread out the dozens of envelopes that need to dry before they get stacked up together. Though I definitely feel more at peace and “together” when it’s not total chaos, there are often little half-finished bits and bobs piled everywhere at the end of the day.
I try to imagine a look or a color scheme a couple might be going for—something that’s a bit different than what’s already out there. Once I get what might be a strong idea, I’ll start with a few sketches for the layout, and get out my pens or paintbrushes to work on something to scan or reproduce in Illustrator.
I think 20s/prohibition-era style is going to be huge this year after the release of the new film version of The Great Gatsby. So maybe I’ll do something art deco-inspired?
I really like my invitation Mantilla Spanish Lace, because I’m so into hand-drawn patterns. I wanted to do an invitation that incorporated lace, but that wasn’t too “girly” and was more modern. I was inspired by the beautiful edging on the mantilla veil that I wore in my own wedding.
I honestly think Minted customers have very good taste. Coming to Minted allows them to find and support an artist whose style fits their own.
I’m a full-time calligrapher and designer, but I’ve recently started doing stand-up comedy, which is incredibly nerve-racking. Being totally dependent on the audience’s reaction is completely terrifying, but it’s also exhilarating when you get a big laugh!
My philosophy is to create beautiful and original work that’s inspired by the past, but modern in its sensibilities and is a bit edgy. I like to create things that are unexpected, a bit rock and roll, and a bit like, “I do it because I can.” I love flourishes, being dramatic, and telling a story with my work.
It’s usually over the top, involves things that are handcrafted and handmade, always has texture in some way, and has an edge. My thing as a designer is my work is definitely feminine but has a hardness to it.
I’m conflicted in aesthetics as a designer. Here are some examples of my varied interests: my favorite shows are Sons of Anarchy and Sailor Moon. I was a metal head in high school that also happened to be a varsity cheerleader. If I could look a certain way every day I would wear a full lace gown à la Jane Austen but be completely covered in tattoos like Kat Von D. I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of a beautiful but hardcore woman, and I think the duality of tough and soft, feminine and masculine shows in my design work.
I’m inspired by something, be it a film, a piece of art, a song, etc., and I just go for it (no clients, no limitations). I push myself to use materials differently than expected or be packaged in an unusual way. This is how I’ve experimented with invitation designs that look like Ouija boards on balsa wood, silkscreened on Nori (seaweed) paper, and even put tiny invites into hollow eggs.
I have sketches everywhere, piles of inspiration and bits and scraps I’ve picked up from my travels and trips to the antique store. Old Bible lithography prints hang on my wall along with my vast collection of silkscreened gig posters, most which have skulls on them. I also love old Opera libretti’s, and sheet music artwork from various estate sales covers my walls .
Even bigger than my huge computer screen is my huge desk my husband picked up off the side of the street a few years ago. The thing has to weigh at least a hundred pounds, but it easily holds all my paper samples and art supplies and is big enough for me to spread ALL of my work out easily on it. It’s quite the beast of a desk.
I’ve been wanting to offer a complete DIY invitation package that includes detailed instructions for selecting paper, printing, cutting out, stamping, and assembling. For example, say I had a design that includes a handcrafted paper flower. That package would include a sample of a completed one and instructions on how to do it, as well as everything else that would go into assembling this completed design package.
My favorite thing I’ve ever designed is my Ouija board invite. I designed it years ago during my thesis on invitation design in college, but it’s printed on balsa wood and the envelope flap is cut to look like a planchette. It definitely makes a statement.
Ultimately I chose to work with Minted because I really respected the quality and uniqueness of the work coming out from the designers in the community and how beautifully curated the work is. Everything those ladies (and select dudes) are cranking out are pieces that I myself would be proud to have grace my own parties!
I’m really lucky I don’t have to compromise my aesthetics to make a living—that’s something that all graphic designers and artists dream of. I’m grateful that my clients appreciate my work for what it is, but also trust me to tell their story through my lens.
Go peruse all of Minted’s beautifully curated collection of wedding invitations (not to mention save the dates, shower invites, baby announcements, holiday cards, and you name it). I could lose most of a day in there.