Every holiday season since becoming a designer, I feel guilty when the holiday cards start rolling in because I'm too busy with design work to tend to my own cards. One year I embraced this reality and sent out cards in March; otherwise, I don't get around to it. However, this year, thanks to a kind offer from the folks at Minted (where I have had some designs represented), I actually will send out holiday cards this month! Read on to check out my thoughts on Minted's holiday cards, as well as to learn how to win a $150 gift certificate to Minted!
Minted is a paper goods site built largely on the talents of indie designers -- most of the collection is generated from design competitions. Bizarrely, just before Minted reached out to me, I was thinking of how nice it would be to design a holiday timeline card (if I had time, that is). So when I looked at the site and realized they have something similar, I figured it was fate. Even though it wouldn't be my design going out as our holiday greeting, it would be awesome to simply get it done. Because I love the reconnection that happens around holiday cards.
As you will see from a quick peek, Minted has a ton of options. I recommend rounding up your candidate photos prior to browsing so you can narrow down your search by number of photos to include and orientation. Here's how my process went.
Since I wanted a timeline approach, I started by selecting the Yearline Card collection. This rendered 216 options -- an unwieldy number for someone who likes to peruse all the options, but my process was then narrowed down a lot because the family photo I wanted to use was vertical in orientation and most of the Yearline cards require horizontally oriented photos. I clicked View All and did a quick first pass to identify vertically oriented candidates, ruling out anything that looked too Christmas-y (I prefer non-denominational cards) or didn't fit my style. Here were my final candidates -- all lovely, but I share my narrowing down process below.
I love how simple and modern this Wish Banner card is. I also love that you can include four photos on the front -- I definitely had enough photo candidates to utilize this layout. However, I've been noticing this font around a lot lately in both personal and commercial work so I ruled this one out. (Note: you can change font styles and sizes but I wanted to land on a design quickly and not have to make a lot of stylistic edits.
This Bowtie card is classic and pretty, with a little whimsy added via the bird. However, six photo windows on the front meant more time obsessing over photo choices, plus I didn't think my vertically oriented family photo would fit well in any of the boxes.
A Big Hello
The minimalism of this Big Hello design appealed to me. After all, I designed a pair of cards inspired by the word Hello earlier this year! However, the red and green colorway was too Christmas-y for me and even though there are two blue colorway options that are lovely, after looking at the red/green, I kept thinking Christmas even when looking at the blue options.
Float + Joy
This Float + Joy design is really lovely and elegant. However, I ruled it out because I wanted more color pop, plus the photo window was too narrow for my family photo.
Joyful Modern Wreath
This Joyful Modern Wreath design is pretty and basically fit my parameters, but I wasn't struck by the must send response I was looking for.
Ultimately, I chose Mod Joy! I don't know if it's the unconventional colorway (I am obsessed with yellow right now), the fun family photo in the example, or the fact that JOY is such a representative word for us this year, but I saw this design and it felt like the perfect one. And I love the pop of the color on the interior and the fact that the color is called sunshine, which is perfect given that the family photo I wanted to use was from our trip to California.
Once I settled on Mod Joy, I selected the quantity, paper options, and format and inserted photos and text. I bypassed the options to upgrade the envelopes, include envelope liners, and print return labels (all good options to have though), and asked in the comments whether they would consider adjusting the JOY text box slightly so the word JOY ran in full down the center of the section. And that was it, within an hour, my cards were done and ordered!
Within 24 hours I received my proof (and they took care of my design edit to the JOY box -- yay!) and approved it and my cards are expected to arrive early next week. Totally awesome! In short, the experience was great. While yes, in an ideal world, I would love to design my own holiday cards, when that isn't an option, truly, the next best thing for me is to support another indie designer.
And now, you can enter to win a gift certificate and get your cards out too! Minted kindly offered to match the $150 credit they offered me (I needed to order 150 cards so this helped defray my order total by almost half...thank you, Minted!) to you. Pretty cool, no? Here's how to enter to win:
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Congrats to winner Tara!
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*One lucky winner (selected using Random.org) will receive a $150 Minted gift certificate! Sweet!