Minted Review: Custom Photo Cards and Invitations
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|Luxe cards, great design and top-notch support set this service apart; big bulk discounts for large orders, but small orders are pricy|
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Minted is among the pricier options we've reviewed, but you definitely get what you pay for with easy-to-use customization tools, cool designs and a high quality product. The company offers substantial discounts for larger orders, so they're a great choice for those sending dozens of holiday cards or ordering invitations for a large event. They also shine in the wedding arena, offering a very complete wedding shop with everything from casual save the dates to formal invitations in styles to match any couple's tastes.
Shopping and Selection
One of our favorite customized stationery providers, Minted draws its offerings from independent graphic designers around the world through monthly online design contests centered around a range of products and themes. Community members and special guest judges vote on the entries for each month's contest, and only the top few go into production. Minted's heavy focus on design and designers shows in their stylish, versatile selection.
Minted focuses on announcements, invitations, and stationery, with wide selections of birth announcements, thank you cards, wedding stationery and invitations, birthday party invitations, journals, and gift products. The design aesthetic is diverse, but contemporary, drawing from the work of hundreds of designers around the world. Some designers just have one or two cards up on Minted, but others have built whole collections after winning a number of challenges.
The Minted design tool was one of our favorites. Working from any one of Minted's stylish designs, the tool allows users to adjust nearly every element, including moving text, changing fonts, adjusting colors and shifting design elements. While very flexible, the tool also stays firm about some elements, keeping proportions consistent, for example.
The highly-flexible design tool makes Minted a great choice for consumers who want a lot of control over every element of their card, from the angle of text boxes to the length, color and thickness of each line. This level of control is very unusual among the sites we've reviewed.
One special feature we liked about Minted was their designer proofing service. At no extra cost, a graphic designer typesets each order for a digital (PDF format) proof before it goes to press. This means that a graphic designer takes your customized design and fine-tunes it, ensuring that elements end up lined up and tidy, rather than askew. About a day after you submit your custom design and place your order, Minted sends you a link to your digital proof, which you can read over closely and then either approve it or ask for more changes. If you'd like any additional design work done, there will be a fee. However, if you believe Minted has made an error in your proof they'll redo it free of charge. As soon as you approve your proof, your order goes into the print queue for production.
If you'd like to see a physical sample before you place your order, you can order as many samples as you'd like, and their cost will be deducted from your next Minted order. Minted charges $9.00 for the first sample and $1.00 for any additional samples. Remember that sample cards will use the site's default images and text, not your personalized information.
Minted offers an interactive delivery time prediction tool at the site, which can help consumers predict when their order will arrive. After you place your order, you receive a digital proof within one business day. When you approve your proof, your order immediately enters the printing queue, and most orders will be ready to ship within two days of proof approval. The turnaround times in this chart assume you approve your proof within one day and that you have ordered a regular, digital offset printed card. Special printing techniques or slow proof approval may change delivery times. Minted charges a flat shipping rate, no matter how many cards you order.
Our shipment from Minted arrived via FedEx four business days after we placed it, which was several days fewer than they predicted it would take when we ordered. This may have something to do with the fact that Minted is based in the Bay Area and our offices are in San Francisco, but whatever the reason, we were pleasantly surprised. The packaging was beautiful, complete with a green Minted band around the envelopes and a ribbon and heart sticker around the shrink-wrapped cards.
Minted offers four paper options for most of its cards, including wedding stationery. Minted charges an additional fee per card for Premium 100% Recycled Paper, Pearlescent Paper and Triple-Thick™ Paper.
We ordered our test cards on the Signature paper and were very impressed with the thick, textured paper. Our Minted cards feel heavy and expensive, and the paper provides a nice surface for writing as well as high-quality images. You can order some Minted cards in special shapes, including scalloped edges, frame shapes and rounded corners.
We had a suspicion when ordering our cards that we would like the Minted set a lot, and we were right. The cards inside the carefully planned packaging lived up to their wrappings with truly exceptional print quality. Our photograph is highly saturated and smoothly printed, and text and graphical elements looked great.
Minted's stylish designs look even better in person than they did on the screen, and they're impeccably produced and delivered. At least one person in the NextAdvisor offices chose Minted for their family holiday cards last year.
Our card, like many on the Minted site, was printed using a digital offset press. This technique creates rich, cost-effective color prints. Some of Minted's premium offerings, including a number of wedding invitations, use letterpress, engraving or traditional offset printing. These cards are generally more expensive than digital offset printed cards and may take longer to produce, since these printing techniques can be very labor-intensive.
In addition to an email help line, Minted provides fairly long live help hours via web chat and phone. Minted's customer service department operates from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST on the weekends. With the exception of a few major holidays, Minted customer service is available year round. Minted also welcomes feedback via physical mail and an online form.
Minted is definitely an upscale option. Holiday cards, invitations and announcements generally have an order minimum of 25 pieces per design, while personalized stationery has a minimum of 15. Increasing discounts for buying in bulk are available for quantities up to 775 pieces, after which point the price levels off. The company also produces customized journals, which can be purchased individually, although there is a discount for bulk orders, as usual.
Although the price for 25 cards from Minted is the most expensive of all the sites we tested, their bulk discounts are substantial and factor in the expense of a graphic designer proofing your order up front. If you plan to buy 100 or more cards, Minted costs just four dollars more than the next cheaper options, Tiny Prints and Paper Culture, so don't write them off based on the cost of a small order.
This chart contains pricing information for the least expensive 5 by 7 inch flat card printed on card stock from this site. Different sizes and options may have different pricing. Click here for more information about how we compared prices.
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