How to safely package framed and unframed original art

Bubble-wrapping framed original art.

Bubble-wrapping unframed original art.

To ensure the highest quality of transforming Minted artists’ original works into large-format limited edition art prints, we’re thrilled to partner with Scale Up Art. Scale Up Art is a renowned San Francisco company that works with some of the world’s biggest names in art and photography to enlarge original works. With more than 12 years experience, the company’s founders, JP Jespersen and Dylan Ozanich, have mastered museum-quality artwork capture.  

About the scanning process: Scale Up Art uses a proprietary Gigapixel Artwork Scanning System to digitize artworks up to sizes larger than 3 gigabytes. Scale Up Art produces the most color-accurate and highest-resolution artwork reproductions available.

The importance of careful packaging

We cannot stress enough the importance of carefully packaging your original artwork before shipping. Even with the most trusted delivery partners, it’s difficult to control factors such as weather and shifting during transit. Keep in mind that the corners of your shipping box are most susceptible to damage. To help prevent damage and wear and tear, we worked with Scale Up Art to assemble these tips and the following step-by-step packaging process.

Top 5 “don’ts” for packaging art

1. Don’t ship wet art.
Make sure your painting or artworkis completely dry before shipping, and don’t add a protective varnish. If you’ve already varnished your artwork before you read this article, wait a few days beyond the recommended drying time before shipping. If you ship the art before it’s completely dry, you risk the varnish sticking to packing materials, and it’s nearly impossible to repair the damage.

2. Don’t use cardboard as a protective barrier on the face of your artwork.
Cardboard is not acid-free and could damage your artwork. Instead of cardboard, we recommend placing acid-free archival paper or glassine on top of the painting in addition to placing the artwork inside a clear plastic bag, which you could order from clearbags.com or purchase at your local art store.

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Sandra Picco attributes success to creative risk-taking, the Minted community, and evolving with the Digital Age

With a graphic design degree from Montclair State University in hand, Sandra Picco ignited her career on the production side of things and spent many hours in press rooms before actually focusing on design. She even walked the famous halls of Vogue magazine, working as a production manager for a spell. “It was humbling but also made me question every fashion choice I ever made,” the New Jersey Minted designer says with a smirk.

Sandra Picco works on her Minted designs at home in Barnegat, New Jersey, a small shore town located on the Barnegat inlet off the coast of New Jersey. “My husband and I just built our home here and moved in about six months ago,” she says. “The best thing about this area of New Jersey is that we can be at the beach in minutes or get in the car and be in New York City or Philadelphia in under two hours.” Portraits by Born Rival Cinema.

In addition to those humbling moments, Sandra attributes much of what she learned in her early production days to her refined skills as a designer and typographer. Ultimately, I discovered I was not cut out for magazine publishing and chose to pursue design over continuing in print production,” she says. “I did learn a lot about the inner workings of magazine publishing—and maybe a thing or two about what not to wear.”

Sandra also attributes her growth as a designer to Minted. She joined the Minted artist community of independent artists in 2010, when the company was only two years old. Eight years later, Sandra says she looks to Minted to provide room for creativity that her day job as a corporate designer doesn’t always provide. “Stationery design and being a part of the Minted community have given me reasons to push myself to take more risks and try new things creatively,” she says. “The support of the community cheering me on has also saved me from design burnout on a few occasions. It’s been pretty amazing to watch other designers, who I now call friends, grow alongside me as well.”

“Subtle Statement” save the date card by Sandra Picco

Though Sandra can’t quite put her finger on her design style, we call it “cheerful classics with a twist.” “I tend to have ‘shiny object syndrome’ when it comes to sticking to one look, but I usually favor a clean, modern aesthetic, and I love using type as the main focal point in my work,” she says.  

Here Sandra talks about her creative evolution, the art of being receptive to constructive criticism, and more.

“Burst of Happy” holiday photo card by Sandra Picco

How have you continued to learn about graphic design since college?
I’m going to date myself big time here, but I studied graphic design before computers were commonplace. It’s hard to even imagine that now. I was taught how to “copy and paste” the old-fashioned way—with a blade and adhesive! I didn’t really learn how to design via the computer until I started my first job after graduation, and with the pace of technology, I feel like I’ve been learning ever since. Needless to say, a lot has changed over the years, but I’m happy that I entered the field when I did because it gave me valuable insight into both worlds.

By day, Sandra works full time as a graphic designer for a small design and print company in New Jersey, where she designs everything from logos and brochures for small businesses to banners hanging in professional sports arenas. “It’s never the same from one day to the next, which keeps things interesting,” she says. “Stationery is my ‘side hustle.’”

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Minted Artists in the Press May 2018

Congratulations to the dozens of Minted artists who are featured on The Chew, The Knot, Pioneer Woman, Cosmopolitan.com, New Jersey Family, and Bobby Berk’s Instagram. Join the fun of spotting Minted artists in the press by uploading PR clips on your social media with the hashtag #mintiespotting.

One of the glorious rooms in Cosmo’s new office, featuring “Change Mind” by Nell Waters Bernegger and Something to Say” by Sara Hicks Malone

Cosmopolitan.com (April 13, 2018) “Inside Cosmopolitan.com’s Glam New Office
Featuring “Change Mind,” “Garden Lush,” and “Golden Now” by Nell Waters Bernegger, “Something to Say” by Sara Hicks Malone, “Wow, That Is Bright!” by Lisa Travis, “Serendipity” by Ilana Greenberg, “Take Flight” by Carol Fazio, “Bright Splash” by Halik Helen, “No. 112” by Jessalin Beutler, “A Bend In The Road” by Kisco Print Shop, “Telephone” by Cristiane, “Circles and Dots” by Alethea and Ruth, “Happy Storm” by Melanie Severin, and “Untitled 1” and “Sometimes I Wish Beginnings Were Ends” by Jaime Derringer


The Chew (April 27, 2018), Graduation Giveaway featuring graduation magnets
Featuring “Modern Abstracts” by Jessica Maslyn, “Photo Block” by Jill Means, “Our Graduates” by Sara Hicks Malone, “Formality” by Sarah Guse Brown, and “Simple Style” by Simona Cavallaro. Also featuring announcements: “Lettered” by Amy Payne, “Congrads” by Guess What Design Studio, “In Vogue” by Hooray Creative, “Annos” by Jessica Williams, “Refinement” by Lehan Veenker, “Magnifique” by Nazia Hyder, “Celebration Script” by Sara Hicks Malone, “Bold Monogram” by Stacey Meacham, and “Rising Success” by Susanne Kasielke  

View The Chew clip


The Knot (Spring 2018), “Color Crush: Dusty Lavender”
Featuring “Lustrous” Table Number by Kaydi Bishop

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From retailer to designer: How Bethan Lumb built her career through hard work and Minted Challenges

Bethan Lumb sits in the ‘Basket of Dreams’ in Queenstown, New Zealand.

When you look at Minted artist Bethan Lumb’s body of work—clean, minimal stationery designs with carefully crafted typography—you might assume she’s been working as a graphic designer for many years. In actuality, the English artist has been a self-described steady “work in progress” who’s designed her own path.

“Golden Pines” wedding invitation by Bethan Lumb

At 18, Bethan went to Manchester School of Art to study Embroidery—which she describes as “more like fine arts and textiles”—followed by a stint at Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Bergen, Norway. “I thought maybe I wanted to pursue a career that had something to do with printed textiles or interiors, but I wasn’t really sure,” she says in retrospect. Upon graduation in 2012, Bethan landed a job in retail. “I worked for a few different companies but most recently L’Occitane, helping to manage one of their boutiques. It’s a great company with lovely products, but I was keen to do something more creative again,” she says.

Examples of Bethan Lumb’s work while studying Embroidery (aka “fine arts and textiles”) at Manchester School of Art, and briefly at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Bergen, Norway.

With that “keen” thought in mind, she coincidentally discovered Minted in 2014, and even with a lack of knowledge about design programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Bethan dove head-first into entering Minted’s competitions, learning as she went along. After achieving 98 wins with Minted—and with a growing creative itch needing to be scratched—Bethan decided to go back to school in 2016—this time to design school. She registered for classes at Shillington, a graphic design college with campuses around the globe.

I’ve always enjoyed being creative, but feel like I only really started to understand design properly after going back to college,” she explains. “I love that design consists of so much more than making things look nice; it challenges you to think creatively to solve problems, consider the end user, and learn from your mistakes.”

Long story short, after graduating from design school in 2017, Bethan is now following her dream of working full time as an agency graphic designer by day in Manchester, and moonlighting as a designer for Minted by night.

Here, she shares more about her story and what she’s learning along the way.

Of all her Minted designs, Bethan’s “Watercolour Stripe” wedding invitation is the most meaningful to her because she originally designed it for her sister’s wedding. “The feeling of knowing that someone has chosen this invitation for their special day never gets old,” Bethan says.

How did you discover Minted?
I honestly can’t remember where I discovered Minted—I think through a design blog. I remember seeing the design challenges and thinking, “This would be a great way to learn to use Adobe software.” I remember my first pick was in the Holiday cards, and I was so slow in Illustrator, the file prep took days! But seeing my card for sale on minted.com, and seeing people choose it as their holiday card amongst so many amazing designs was worth all the hours of work.

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Top 10 Tips for Preparing a Design for Minted Foiling

Written by Emily Heaton, Olivia Goree, and Jocelyn Mock

Foil-pressing has been a specialty printing method for years, but is gaining in popularity. The traditional techniques haven’t changed much since the development of this printing method in the late 1800s. Heat, pressure, metal dies, and foil film are used to stamp an impression on paper after the digital elements are printed. Though the stamping process is slightly more automated than it used to be, operators still make manual adjustments to the press to create an even impression for every design. Depending on the size of the foil area, the pressure and temperature of the metal dies may vary across designs; however, a single pressure and temperature need to be applied to each individual design.

This foil-pressed Holiday Card, “Wonderfully Merry” by Annie Mertlich of Wildfield Paper Co. is a great example of a foil-pressed design that prints well. The lettering provides a solid area for foil adhesion while maintaining a hand-drawn feel.

In order to optimize your design for the unique process of foiling, here are the top 10 insider tips to keep in mind while designing foil-pressed designs for Minted:

1. Keep in mind that foil elements may shift up to 1/32’’ (or 0.03125”) in any direction due to the nature of the foil-pressing process.

2. Thin / small foil elements should have a stroke of at least 0.25 pt stroke to ensure proper foil adhesion to the paper.

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15 questions to prompt stationery design critiques on Minted

When asking for constructive criticism from Minted artists, there are varying schools of thought. Some artists prefer to ask broad questions, while other artists prefer to drill down to a specific point.

Longtime Minted artist Phrosné Ras shared her advice on generating critiques. “If you feel something is not working in your design, you should have some idea where the problem is,” says the artist known for hand-drawn elements. Same goes for providing feedback to others—aim to be the opposite of ambiguous. Thoughtful observations and pointed suggestions for improvement are more helpful than saying, “I don’t love it.”

This is an example of how Minted artist Melissa Casey asked for feedback on her submission to the What a Bright Time Foil-Pressed Holiday Photo Card Quickfire Challenge in April 2018. She created a poll to share several versions of the design and asked the question, “My thought with this one was to make it more of an art piece and not so much of a card. I therefore blended the text into the design. Do you think it works or should I make the text more obvious?” Her approach generated a significant number of critiques from fellow Minted artists.

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Font Award Roundup: Special Prize Winners

Announcing the Special Prize winners for our Font Awards! These awards are for designs that introduce new fonts and use them in a visually interesting and differentiated way. We’re always looking to the community to help us surface fresh new fonts to add to our Minted Font List. If you have a vision for an amazing design that uses a font that’s not in our font library, feel free to use it in your submission. You can read more about Minted fonts here. A huge congrats to all the winners!

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In the thick of a global journey, Minted artist Shari Margolin feels braver, inspired, and slightly homesick

Minted artist Shari Margolin floats in the geothermal mineral water of the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Josh Meister)

“We have no clue where we’re going next or how long we’ll be in Colombia—we’re flying by the seat of our pants,” says Shari Margolin, a Minted artist who’s on a stopover in Los Angeles for a few days before embarking on the final leg of a global trek culminating in Latin America. The graphic designer and her husband, photographer Josh Meister, have concrete plans to meet up with Shari’s sister and brother-in-law in Nicaragua in a few weeks, but the rest is sort of up in the air.

After spending eight months trotting around Europe and Asia as part of a “year-long experiment,” the couple’s not too concerned about the unknowns of Latin America. Which isn’t to imply that they embarked on this journey with a completely laissez-faire attitude. They began “loosely planning” and daydreaming five years before they set sail in June 2017 from their home base in Atlanta, Georgia. Shari and Josh saved money, minimized their stuff, found tenants to rent their home, researched the heck out of everywhere they wanted to go, and launched SocietyofEverywhere to document the trip. The impetus? “We’re both slightly obsessed with travel and, technically, we can work from anywhere in the world,” says Shari. She’s a self-employed graphic designer, and Josh is a photographer.

With three months left to go, here’s the story of what they’ve seen, how they’re feeling, and what they’ve eaten so far.

Skógafoss, a waterfall in Iceland that Josh Meister shot at midnight. “We had light almost 24 hours a day when we were there during the summer of 2017,” Shari says. (Photo by Josh Meister)

Minted: You just spent about four months in Europe, four months in Asia, and now you’re about to explore Latin America for the next four months. If you could do it again, would you do anything differently?
Shari Margolin: I’m glad we started with Europe because it eased us in to full-time travel—a lot of people spoke English, and it felt comfortable because we’ve traveled there before. But it was the most expensive region, and if we were to plan the trip again, I’d spend a little less time there and also visit more of Eastern Europe, for the cost savings and to get off the beaten path a bit more.

I’ve heard super good things about Sri Lanka and am bummed we didn’t make it there. A year seems like a crazy long time to travel, but somehow it’s just not long enough, and inevitably, we’re going to miss some good places.

A view from above of a section of falls at the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. (Photo by Josh Meister)

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What’s it like to be a Minted artist for 10 years vs. 10 months?

Minted has come a long way since the company’s humble beginnings in 2008. What started as a bud of an idea—and Founder Mariam Naficy’s quest to unearth hidden creative talent everywhere—has blossomed into a marketplace that now surfaces the world’s best emerging artists.

We invited two Minted artists with similar—and yet, distinctly different—paths to interview one another.

First up is Amy Ehmann of Design Lotus, a pioneering Minted artist who joined the community 10 years ago during the dawn of the company’s crowdsourced design competitions. The Colorado artist ignited her freelance design business with fellow stay-at-home mom and best friend Tina Furjanic.

The second artist is Stacey McCarney, a newer community member who entered her first Minted design competition only 10 months ago. Stacey is an Irish designer, mom (who’s seven months pregnant with her second child), and lifestyle blogger. She worked in business for years before becoming inspired in a fabric store to teach herself design.

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The Minted Guide to Creating Original Work

Written by Kelly Hird

With a growing number of Minted Design Challenges, now’s a great time to think about fresh ways to find inspiration and create work that showcases your personal strengths. Consistently generating innovative ideas can be difficult, especially if you’re designing for multiple product categories. To help provide tips for creating new work and defining your style as an artist, we turned to the experts: Minted’s talented artist community. “Create” art print by Jennifer Morehead

Set Your Creative Direction
With a flurry of excitement with the opening of each new Minted Challenge, here are some of the ways that Minted artists have embarked on their creative processes.

  • Study the Special Prizes section of the Challenge PDF
    The Special Prizes section in each Challenge PDF provides insight into what types of designs our Merchandising team want to add to the assortment. Use the list of Special Prizes to brainstorm the types of designs that are likely to be successful in a challenge.
  • Consider your audience
    Minted artist Karly Depew of Oscar and Emma makes a list of all the design styles that she wants to submit to a challenge. “I think about the consumer and what would appeal to them. For example, I always try to submit something classic, something modern, something bold, and something vintage.” 
  • Inspiration is everywhere—go find it
    Every artist’s background and experiences give them a unique perspective. Understanding what inspires you on a personal level can help you create work that’s truly authentic. Artist Naomi Ernest finds inspiration by creating work that honors her family history and environment. “A passion for my local environment is always evident—the lakes, landscapes, and resources of my home state of Michigan provide constant connection and inspiration for colors, textures, and themes in my work,” she says. 

    Aspacia Kusulas collects objects, pieces of paper, and photos from inspiring places she’s visited to remind her of inspiring experiences. “My creativity is fueled by memories, travel, and everyday life,” says the Greek artist who lives in L.A., by way of Mexico.Some artists swear by creating a collection of ideas ahead of time, and drawing from them when the appropriate Minted challenge launches.Andi Pahl consults her journals for creative inspiration. “There’s always a surprising idea that I wrote down at some earlier point.”

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