Discover Kati Ramer, the artist who paints the ‘pure magic’ of West Texas landscapes

By day, Kati Ramer works in software sales, and by night and weekends, she is a self-taught artist who loves painting the vast beauty of the desert. “My day job is such a dramatic contrast to painting—it’s fast-paced, high-stress, and very cerebral,” the Austin, Texas, artist says. “I like to tell myself that I’m working all parts of my brain by doing both.”

Kati uses heavy acrylics to bring texture and depth to her work, and one of her favorite landscapes is the Chisos mountains in the Big Bend area of West Texas. She takes photographs and paints scenes later in her home studio, though she dreams of someday participating in Big Bend National Park’s artist residency program, a month-long, plein air program. “It sounds glorious,” she says.

Minted: What strikes you about The Chisos?
Kati Ramer: Big Bend is pure magic. It’s remote in the truest sense of the word. It’s the least visited National Park in the country due to the accessibility, but it contains such a rich diversity of scenery—mountains, rivers, canyons. I’m constantly begging people to visit. There is absolutely no place like the desert to find stillness and silence, which I think we’re all desperate to find. In contrast, the grandeur of the Chisos Mountains remind you how small you are in the very best sort of way. It’s easy to forget about the little hurts and worries and frustrations of life when you stand beside or atop the mountains.

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Discover Elliot Stokes, the Brooklyn artist who enjoys solving problems with illustration

Elliot Stokes’ illustration of a milk jug evokes Andy Warhol, but his simple black on white clothes pins or “Slinky on the Stairs”? That’s his own thing. The young artist who grew up in the Atlanta area moved to New York right after college seven years ago and hasn’t looked back. By day, he art directs food photography for the PeopleFood franchise and designs story pages, which he says is not so unlike illustrating. “Both are forms of a kind of visual storytelling and share other creative commonalities, so hopping between one and the other is pretty easy,” the Greenpoint, Brooklyn, artist says. “I’m super lucky to get to do both.”

Minted: What drives you, and where does your inspiration tend to come from?
Elliot Stokes: I love making interesting and pretty pictures, to put in plainly—images that delight me and other people. So much inspires me: the thrilling parts of life and the boring parts; all printed matter I get my hands on; my computer desktop, too. It’s very messy and covered in image thumbnails I’ve dragged onto it. Nothing snaps to grid. My desktop is better than Pinterest to me, since I don’t have to log in anywhere and I can see everything all at once. Sometimes I’ll click through random thumbnails on my desktop until something rubs off. Two Percent Milk” by Elliot Stokes

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Discover Alexandra Feo, the Venezuelan Dutch photographer who calls her style ‘busy minimalism’


Born in Caracas, Venezuela, and raised in a family of musicians and artists, Alexandra Feo grew up in opera and ballet theaters, and developed a passion for the aesthetic of stage arts. Now living in Amsterdam, she works as a photographer but is also a trained ballet dancer and studied music for more than a decade.

Minted: How did you learn photography?
Alexandra Feo: I started in 2009 while living in Tokyo, Japan. Photography is pretty much a national sport there, so I got a camera and started playing around with it. I took several online courses and classes to learn about the basics, including photography techniques, studio shootings, postproduction of images, makeup, and styling.

Fullness – I” by Alexandra Feo

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2 Minted Artists Win Top Honors in 2017 LOUIE Awards

Written by Kelly Hird

We’re proud to announce that two Minted designs, “Party Sloth” by Melissa Egan and “Adagio” by Meg Gleason, were chosen as winners in the 2017 LOUIE Awards. One of the most esteemed awards ceremonies in the stationery world, the LOUIE Awards are hosted by the National Greeting Card Association and took place during the National Stationery Show in New York in May. Kelli Hall’s striking holiday photo card “Statement Joy” also made it to the final round, and all three designs were exhibited prominently in the trade show’s entrance at the Javits Center.

This year’s finalists in the 2017 LOUIE Awards on display at the entry to the Javits Center at the National Stationery Show.

While the three finalists weren’t able to attend this year’s annual award gala, Meg Gleason attended NSS and was thrilled to receive the good news. Her design, “Adagio,” features hand-painted backgrounds, with an original painting created for each colorway.

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Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma gets real about work-life balance and the ‘buckets of life’


Portraits by Christa Kimble Photography 2017

Minted has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2008, and Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma has been right there since nearly the very start. The Columbus, Ohio, graphic designer entered and won Minted’s first Holiday Photo Card Challenge, which at the time had a total of only 110 entries and a grand prize of $1,000. Fast-forward to 2015, and Karly won first place again in the annual Holiday Photo Card Challenge—by then, the submissions grew to 4,661, and the prize amount increased to $9,000.

As an active community member, Karly has become somewhat of a Minted celebrity over the years. Not the mysterious, intimidating kind of celebrity, but the well-liked, down-to-earth variety. Karly’s one of those genuine, kind people you immediately warm up to and respect. As a designer, “talented” is an understatement, and as a human, she’s Midwestern-friendly and very real; she’s open to saying, “I’m still figuring out this whole work-life balance thing—who isn’t?”

In this interview, the busy mom talks about how her life has changed since she’s transitioned her business as an independent graphic design company into a full-time Minted artist—with Karly defining “full time” on her own terms.

“Lovely Beginning” wedding invitation by Oscar & Emma

Minted: How many hours per week do you usually work work?
Karly Depew: I average about 20–25 hours per week right now, which is a drastic change from the 50–60 I used to work before my children were born. Before my children were born, I worked for myself, so I never stopped—weekends, evenings … all the time. Now that I focus on designing for Minted, “work” for me is a process of getting inspired and researching ideas for current challenges, creating many rough drafts, playing around with fonts and drawing or painting illustrations.

What’s a typical day in the life for you?
A typical day in my life starts at 6:30 a.m. when my children wake up. Once the morning routine is complete, my husband and I go our separate ways to Kindergarten and daycare drop-offs. By 9 a.m. I am usually off to a fitness class or run through my neighborhood. After a few errands and house chores, I am usually able to be at my desk by 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. I try to stay focused on work until 3 p.m. when I leave to pick up my daughter from school. Once all the kids are home by 5 o’clock, we have our family time, dinner, and bedtime routine. I am lucky if I get to work an extra hour in the evening after the kids have fallen asleep. Usually, by that time I just want to spend some time with my husband on the couch while we watch Netflix.

How do you balance personal life with work?
I honestly don’t know if it is possible to have a true work-life balance. It is something that I am constantly striving to accomplish. Once I became a mother, the “mommy guilt” came full force. If I spend time focusing on work, then I feel guilty about neglecting my family, and vice versa.

I saw an interview with volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings on the TODAY Show and she talked about her “three buckets” in life. If she ever feels off-kilter or grumpy, she knows she needs to re-evaluate and find the bucket that needs to be filled. When I heard that interview, it was an A-HA! moment for me. My buckets are 1.) Family 2.) Work 3.) Self. It is a constant balancing act, but when I am stressed I know it is because one of those buckets needs to be filled.

After my twin boys were born, I knew I had to shift the focus of my business. I’ve put the custom design portion of business “on hold” and focus on Minted at the moment. It has allowed me to have more time to invest in my family and myself.

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Minted greeting cards, children’s apparel, and nursery decor make shining debut at NSS 2017

Photos by Charlie Juliet Photography

Greeting cards, children’s apparel, and nursery decor were Minted’s headlining acts at our National Stationery Show (NSS) booth this year. All three product categories made a shining debut at the paper goods tradeshow and were well-received by both independent and large national retailers. The new products were right at home alongside our new home décor textile patterns and Minted’s longtime claim to fame: custom cards and invitations, including our wedding suite.

After introducing Minted Wholesale at NSS 2016, the program continues to grow. Last year, we showed NSS attendees our custom invitation offerings along with a handful of limited edition art prints, home decor products such as pillows and table linens, and packaged stationery products. Now Minted Wholesale is even better than ever. Our new line of wholesale greeting cards are sourced from The Better Together Greeting Card Challenge, our first competition that shines an extra-bright spotlight on excellence in writing and design. Since last year, we’ve made our wholesale pricing more competitive and also made improvements in our customer service,” says Dan Garblik, Minted’s Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships. “We’re excited to grow this new and exciting side of our business.”

We showcased some of our new greeting cards against a copper wall, spotlighting a rotation of Minted artists. Here we show Stacey Meacham of Atlanta, Georgia; Shonda Rhimes, the TV producer extraordinaire who contributed copywriting to the first part of the Better Together Minted Greeting Card Challenge; and Carrie O’Neal of Fairfield, Ohio.

As Minted Wholesale has expanded, we’ve been careful to select retail partners who agree to support our artist-friendly terms. “We seek partners who are excited about the Minted artist community and want to help us tell our crowdsourcing story,” says Brady Wood, VP External Relations. “We’ve seen wonderful examples – with West Elm and Pottery Barn Kids, for example – of our retail partners telling stories about the artist behind the product.”

Just as Minted has come a long way since Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy started the company in 2008, so too has our presence at NSS. In the early days, Minted products were exclusive to minted.com. Now with Minted Wholesale and the opening of Minted’s San Francisco retail store, Minted’s footprint extends to brick and mortar and beyond. “It’s truly exciting to see the progression — I think Minted is definitely steering to the right market that will generate more exposure and revenue,” says Nam Bourassa, a Canadian Minted artist who joined the community in December 2008. As one of the early designers to enter Minted’s Design Challenges, she represents a thriving community of independent artists who create the designs for the many products that Minted produces and sells.

Nam says she’s a fan of Minted Wholesale because the program allows artists to see their designs in additional commercial markets. “It certainly gives bragging rights to recognize a product that was designed by you,” she says. “The wholesale products are high-quality with fabulous design styles.”

As part of the tradition that’s developed over the years at NSS, we hosted a cocktail party for Minted artists who traveled from around the U.S. and beyond, in addition to a breakfast meeting for some of our top-performing artists in the CMYK program. Enjoy the gallery of photos.

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Natural disaster aside, Chasity Smith focuses on family + design

When we contacted Minted artist Chasity Smith nearly a year ago about featuring her for a “Meet a Minted Artist” story, she politely declined because she was in the midst of dealing with flooding in her hometown of Livingston, Louisiana, a rural area, between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. “It was a complete devastation and the worst natural disaster in my town,” she says of the Livingston Parish Flooding in August 2016. “Our normal flood stage is 13 feet, and it crested at 22.16 feet, a major record-breaker — 75% of our parish was underwater. So many people were stranded in homes and vehicles. No one was prepared for this flood. Schools were closed for over a month.”

As Chasity explains now in retrospect, her family was lucky and didn’t experience flooding as badly as many others in her town. “Thankfully, our whole community came together and helped each other as much as possible. It was scary and something I never want to experience again.”

When we asked her to share more details about the flooding, she steered the conversation away from doom and gloom, talking instead about the brighter side of life, her family, and the Minted community. As you’ll read in this interview, we discovered how the 34-year-old artist has taken an unconventional path to become a successful work-from-home designer and mom.

“Balloon” children’s birthday party invitation by Chasity Smith. She describes her design style as “mostly simple, but I love to try new things like bold, unique patterns and designs that are different.”

Minted: How and why did the flooding happen?
The flood happened because of a slow moving low-pressure weather system that dumped rain for 39 hours straight. We knew we had a lot of rain coming, but we were never warned what was about to happen. 

How long did it take to recover, and did you have to move into a new home?
So many people in my community are still recovering. It’s such a long process for everyone. I do still live in the same home. We had family that had to be rescued. Since we didn’t get it as bad as others, we had family come stay with us. At one time, we had 10 extra people staying in my house. After they came to my house, water started rising in my area. The hotels and shelters were full. My aunt just moved back home last month.

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Greek-Mexican-L.A. artist Aspacia Kusulas finds creative bliss in letterforms

After quitting her day job as a graphic designer in May 2016 to enter an intensive type design program at Cooper Union in New York, Aspacia Kusulas traveled to Iceland, Russia, and Finland among other cities for several months with her brother. In September 2016, she returned to her home base in Los Angeles to make the leap into creative self-employment. At first, she was nervous about securing enough freelance gigs to stay afloat, but things turned out better than she expected. In fact, she’s constantly busy flexing her lettering and type design skills for branding projects, in addition to catalog work and teaching calligraphy workshops—not to mention her Minted designs. “I really enjoy the freedom,” she says. “Sometimes it feels a little bit like I’m not working, but I am.”

Abstracciones Vol. 3” wall art by Aspacia Kusulas

At 35, she’s accomplished a lot, but we have a feeling she’s just getting warmed up. Aspacia’s ultimate career goal is to establish herself as a letterer, calligrapher, and type designer. “I really want to focus more on type design—it’s a personal dream of mine,” she says. Having grown up in Mexico, with Greek heritage, she has a worldly view of how art and culture collide. As for her design style, Aspacia thinks it’s hard to define. “Sometimes I feel whimsy and playful, sometimes I feel edgy and bold, sometimes nostalgic and complex. I would say my work is the result of juxtaposition of my favorite things which translate to an eclectic style,” Aspacia says. “I strive to place the old in a modern context.”

Here Aspacia talks about what drives her, scares her, and the little things you wouldn’t know about her unless she tells you right now.

Photo by Alyssa Gonzalez

Minted: You have Greek roots but grew up in Mexico. Can you tell us more about your family’s heritage?
Aspacia Kusulas: I was born and raised in Zacatecas, Mexico, a colonial city known for its old, pink buildings, baroque churches, and silver mining. It is a small city, but full of culture and the arts. Growing up with Mexican and Greek customs was really enriching. I was exposed to a wide range of cuisines—something I still love very much—and attended many unique and vibrant art festivals. My dearest aunt took me to a lot of plays, concerts, and exhibits and those experiences imprinted on me deeply, so much that I knew I wanted to do something artistic when I grew up. I moved to Los Angeles in 2005, and I have been living there since, but nowadays I’m spending time in both Mexico City and L.A.

“Baby Bistro” baby shower invitation by Aspacia Kusulas

You received a B.A. in Graphic Design from Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico. Do you think there are any differences between studying graphic design in Mexico and the U.S. or other countries?
One of the major differences in studying graphic design in Mexico is the strong cultural foundation you receive that informs your practice. Mexico has a unique cultural identity, and there is a long-standing design heritage that reflects that. What I learned in my alma mater was that instead of this hindering the creative process or boxing you in aesthetically, it can actually teach you to understand the implicit parameters of visual culture more formally and thus help you to use those principles to adapt to any design situation while still asserting myself as a Mexican designer when it makes sense.

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Shake, Rattle and Roll Baby Shower Invitation Challenge Special Prize Winners

Announcing the special prize winners from our Shake, Rattle and Roll Baby Shower Invitation Challenge! Each year, friends and family of expectant parents come to Minted seeking a baby shower invitation that not only sets the stage for this event, but is also special enough to serve as a cherished keepsake for the parents-to-be. We invited you, our talented Minted community, to design fun and unique invitations that would set the tone for a baby shower that parents-to-be will remember for years to come. Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!

For the most design-forward, innovative birth announcement or invitation
that you would only find at Minted

Runners-up: Brewery by Jennifer Lew | Little Garden by Lori Wemple
Oh Baby Blue by Jennifer Wick


For the best design specifically created for one of the unique shapes Minted offers

Runners-up: Vintage Bib by Sweta ModiStork Banner by Susan Brown
Napoli by Genna Cowsert


For the best design that celebrates both parents-to-be

For the best design for an alternative to a traditional baby shower

For the best design with elements that would truly shine in foil

For the best design celebrating twins or multiples

For the card that best leverages clever wording

For the best design that celebrates a fall or winter shower

For the best design celebrating the upcoming arrival of a baby boy

For the best design that puts the mom-to-be’s name or other
customizable text on a curvilinear path

For the best design from a designer winning for the first time

Peer-nominated: For the best design that incorporates an original
hand-drawn illustration or hand lettering
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After Building Her Style on Minted, Roxy Cervantes Tries Her Hand at Illustration

When Roxy Cervantes joined the Minted artist community in 2010, she was fresh out of college and hadn’t developed her own design style. Eager to learn and gain real-world experience, she entered her first Minted Design Challenge for business cards. Seven years on, she credits Minted Challenges with helping her develop her aesthetic, which has evolved into what it is today: clean, simple, typography-driven cards and stationery with a dollop of white space.

Now 29, Roxy works by day as a graphic designer, and by night, she’s steering herself in a new direction with her Minted design work. “I am not an illustrator by any means; in fact, I am very intimidated by illustration, but recently I’ve been trying to push myself to develop my own illustrative style,” she says. “Illustration is definitely challenging and outside of my comfort zone, but that’s one of the things I love about the Minted Challenges—you can put anything out there and the community is always supportive and incredibly helpful.”

In this Meet a Minted Artist interview, Roxy talks about how fellow Minted artists’ talent inspires her to grow.

“Big News” foil-pressed save the date card by Roxy Cervantes

Minted: How are you trying to push your illustrative style?
Roxy Cervantes: Illustration was never one of my strengths. I don’t draw or illustrate, but seeing amazing designs by other artists inspires me to try. There’s not just one way to do illustration; I’m trying watercolor, painting, and drawing. I’m working on figuring out how I can take my style in a more illustrative direction and grow myself as a designer to get outside my comfort zone. I signed up for a Skillshare and take classes online, and I’m also learning how to do hand-lettering, which is very challenging. I’m practicing on my own to see how I can incorporate my own illustrative style into Minted Challenges. Even if I think my work is terrible, you can get great feedback, and it’s encouraging. I feel comfortable putting myself out there on Minted, and I know I will improve.

“Stable” wedding invitation by Roxy Cervantes

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