Minted Crowdsources Wall Art Collection for West Elm

While the concept of  “crowdsourcing” may have gotten off to a rough start within the creative community, the practice has matured. Some of the more reputable firms now enable talented, independent creatives to get greater exposure and additional opportunities than they might have gotten on their own.

For example, if you haven’t visited Minted in awhile, maybe it’s time for a second look. Minted defines itself as an online marketplace for independent design and art. Using crowdsourced graphic designs and art from a global design community, Minted sells premium printed products for the $10 billion stationery market, the $48 billion wall art market, and the $7 billion party décor market.

Minted defines their mission is “To find exceptional artists and designers all over the world and bring their work to consumers who appreciate great design.” According to their website, “We believe that great design lives and thrives in the hands of indie designers that people may not have access to through traditional retailers. Our goal is to use technology to allow our community to discover the work of great designers from all over the world. And at the same time, create a place where designers can get exposure and build their careers.”

All designs and art featured on Minted are sourced through design competitions and curated by the community. The company holds ongoing competitions, giving designers and artists the opportunity to submit their work. Those voted to the top are sold on the site. Designers earn cash prizes and commissions on all their sales.

 Partnership with West Elm

Minted recently announced a partnership with West Elm to sell crowdsourced art prints at West Elm home-furnishing stores nationwide and on This is the first major retail partnership for crowd-sourcing pioneer, Minted. It is also the first content licensing partnership for Minted. Minted sourced and licensed the art to West Elm, who manufactured and marketed the final products.


The two companies launched the Minted + West Elm Wall Art Challenge only a few weeks after meeting at West Elm’s Brooklyn headquarters. Within another two weeks, artists from around the world had submitted more than 1,400 works of art via Minted’s crowdsourcing platform. As with all Minted challenges, the winners were selected by the public’s vote and the winning artists will earn a commission on every sale.

West Elm’s creative team hand-picked 25 of those winners to be produced and sold by West Elm. The winning works include photography, graphic patterns, and painterly landscapes.

“West Elm and Minted share a passion for discovering and supporting exciting independent artists,” said Minted CEO and founder Mariam Naficy. “I am thrilled to introduce Minted’s talented community artists to more consumers through the West Elm brand.”

“Our Minted collaboration provides us with a great opportunity to continue to support and elevate independent artists,” said Jim Brett, West Elm President. “The Minted community and crowd-sourcing platform has helped us curate a beautiful collection that we’re confident our customers will love.”

The framed wall art is priced from $59 to $199 and is offered in ready-to-hang formats in a variety of frame colors. West Elm encourages customers to create their own collections by piecing together their favorite works into a gallery wall.

Rose Lindo, a winning artist who lives in Austin, Texas, has her work “Man Meets Nature” for sale at West Elm. “Being from a teeny town in Oklahoma that recently got its first grocery store, it’s mind-blowing and humbling that my work is now sold by a major American brand,” said Lindo. “West Elm has an aesthetic that inspires me.”

About West Elm

Mixing clean lines, natural textures and handcrafted collections from the US and around the globe, West Elm offers unique, affordable designs for modern living. The brand introduced its first catalog in 2002 and opened the doors of its first retail location in 2003. The brand’s collection of modern furniture and room décor is now available in 55 retail stores in the United States, Canada and Australia, and at


West Elm-Minted Collaboration

About Minted



What Do You Think About Crowdsourced Design?

The new website is using provocative topics and poll questions to attract and engage readers. For example, recently asked readers to weigh on the controversial topic of crowdsourced design.

Crowdsourcing is defined as “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.”

Slightly more than half (56%) of the respondents said “No” they didn’t think crowdsourcing was hurting the graphic design business. The other 44% said “Yes” it was.

Of the 122 people who answered the poll question if they had ever participated in crowdsourced or spec work, 35% selected the response:  “A few times and I would do it again.” Another 27% said they had never done so, while 24% took part in crowdsourcing “all the time.” The remaining 14% of respondents chose the answer: “A few times, but I would not do it again.”

Nearly 70% of respondents agreed that crowdsourcing was “a good way to build my book,” with only 35% dubbing the practice “bad for our industry.” In another question, 80% of respondents said “Yes” to the query: “Do you feel that crowdsourcing helps a student or someone starting out in graphic design?”

The poll questions tied in with an article entitled “Crowdsourced Design: Commoditization or Democratization?” in which NSG Design owner Nicole Spiegel-Gotsch talked with the CEO of the crowdsourcing design firm 99designs Patrick Llewellyn and the President of Sterling Brands Design Division Debbie Millman.

Llewellyn defended crowdsourcing, noting that it encourages community participation, affords informal design feedback, and even allows entrants to win prizes. Even though 99designs has designers on staff, the firm went to the masses for the massive redesign of the front page of their website.

Llewellyn says crowdsourcing can have a life-changing impact for some designers: “99designs has paid out almost $1.5 million a month to winning designers… Some have built such a large following that they no longer have time for contests.”

The home page redesign contest has received over 400 entries to date from over 120 designers.  Moreover, 99designs currently has over 1,500 open contests.

Debbie Millman painted a less-than-rosy picture of crowdsourcing, asserting, “At the end of the day, [crowdsource businesses] get paid and clients get a plethora of design options for free. How is that fair?” Millman believes portfolios and proposals are a better way for would-be designers to share their work.

“When people are willing to do work for free, it becomes very demoralizing,” said Millman. “How many millions of dollars in free work is being given away?”

The article attracted more than 45 comments from readers. Neil Tortorella suggested that that 99designs could try crowdsourcing their management decisions. “If they believe crowdsourcing is the fun community answer, what the heck? How hard can it be?”

Another reader wondered if graphic design is the only field in which companies are taking advantage of creative professionals who are so passionate about “breaking in” that they will work for free. (The short answer to that question of course is “no.” Photographers, writers, and artists have all been asked to do work for free, simply to get the “exposure.”)

Some commenters compared the quality of crowdsourced to commissioned work. One reader wrote: “I can hire 10 designers and have them each spend three hours on a design, and I will end up with 10 mediocre designs. Or, I can hire one designer to work back and forth and spend 30 hours on a few concepts that are truly brainstormed, unique and carefully planned out.”

Spiegel-Gotsch suggested a hybrid between free crowdsourcing and paid work. In essence, the designers whose work was not chosen through crowdsourcing could still receive some sort of “kill fee.”  As Spiegel-Gotsch noted, “What could be so bad about having both the competitive aspect and getting paid for your work?”


Crowdsourced Design: Democratization or Commoditization?

Press Release: Impact of Crowdsourcing Graphic Design Appears Mixed