I love gifting photo calendars. Yes, it takes a bit of effort to collect the photos (and, if you're like me, neurotically arrange them so that the photos are seasonally in line with the months), but they're always a hit, particularly with Laurel's grandparents, who not only love the photos, but also favor paper date keeping. And last month I was thrilled to discover Minted's pretty photo calendars. Read on to learn more about them, as well as how to be one of three winners to receive a $200 gift certificate to Minted!
So, I've actually known about Minted for a while. They're a hub for indie designers and I have participated in a few of their design challenges (and am honored to have some of my designs represented in their collections). That said, given that I'm a designer who creates my own stationery, invitations, and so forth, I had never actually shopped Minted.
However, last month Minted contacted me about their photo calendars and I was definitely interested in checking them out given my aforementioned love of calendar gifting. In the past, I have used larger photo sites for calendars, but not surprisingly, I'm all in favor of supporting indie design, plus I was curious to see how Minted's output compared to the big box competitors.
So here's the skinny: Minted offers two calendar sizes -- standard (8 x 11.5 inch; $45) and grand (11.5 x 14 inch; $55) -- in close to 40 styles that span modern, vintage, floral, and other styles. I ordered a standard calendar for my father-in-law ("Wish You Were Here") and a grand calendar ("Fling") for my mom. Though both are lovely, between the two sizes, I'd definitely recommend the grand, simply because there's more room to write in the calendar boxes.
The photo uploading and calendar creation process is straightforward. I didn't look at all of the calendars, but it seems that you can choose between 3 or so background options per calendar and include 1-3 photos per month. Being a usability freak (and thinking about Minted's competition), what I would love to see them improve on is the ability to: 1) pick your start month (i.e., not simply defaulting to January, particularly since I like gifting photo calendars on birthdays and thus want them to start on the birth month); 2) allow you to edit the cover text completely (for example, when I was first browsing calendars, some of my initial style choices had words -- e.g., "with love" and "the" -- that I couldn't edit); and 3) have more control over photo cropping. Regarding point #3, it seemed photos worked best if they were originally in vertical orientation; otherwise I had to crop horizontal photos so their tops and bottoms wouldn't get cut off -- this required a little trial and error.
Now, these details aside, I will say that these calendars are in a league of their own quality wise. The photos translate beautifully, the designs clearly speak indie and awesome, and the textured paper stock was what surprised me most -- no flimsy, chintzy paper here. It's the kind of textured stock that looks beautiful and that one would actually feel inspired to put a good pen to. Added bonus? Both calendars included "recycle me" type ideas on the reverse of some of the calendar pages to encourage repurposing.
And of course most important of all, my father-in-law and mom (as well as the other family members who were present when the gifts were opened) freaked out when they opened the calendars. Several people actually asked if I had produced the calendars in my studio (thanks for the compliment guys!) given that the product was so much more artful than run of the mill photo calendars. And of course everyone loved flipping through the photos.
So if you're looking for a lovely gift for a friend, family member, or yourself, gather your photos and order one of these calendars. They're so pretty that they'll make you look forward to all dates forthcoming.
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Congrats to winners Tomi, Leah, and Stacy!
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Now, want to be one of three winners to receive a $200 gift certificate to Minted? Here's how:
*Three lucky winners (drawn randomly via Random.org) will receive a $200 gift certificate to Minted, good for anything on the Minted website (e.g., personalized stationery, New Year's cards, calendars, etc.). Super awesome!