November 27, 2004


To announce the birth of my daughter Nadia, I decided against the traditional cigars or candy bars to hand out to family, friends, and coworkers. I had to get a hold of personalized mint tins-- Birth Announcemints!

Those who've seen my desk at work know I'm a complete fool for mint tins. From Altoids to Starbucks, Penguin to Bawls mints-- I have over a hundred of 'em. My personal favorites are the Altoids. The "curiously strong©" flavor, the delightfully irreverent ad campaigns, everything about them is too cool.

I thought it'd be easy enough... just buy a bunch of custom tins online and hand 'em out. Unfortunately, what I found online was too expensive, unimaginative, and no telling what the mints tasted like. When I told my wife how disappointed I was, she suggested I "make my own."

So, I found well-priced empty tins sold in bulk at Specialty Bottle, glossy, round ink-jet labels and replacement ink cartridges at Desktop Publishing Supplies, and the Altoids were on sale at Sav-on Drugs and Cost Plus World Market.

I used Adobe InDesign for the layout (and a lot of influence from Altoids Sour tins).

To make sure the layout matched the pre-cut labels, I printed up test sheets and used my lighbox to tweak the alignment.

The assembly consisted of peeling labels, sticking 'em on the tins, and scooping Altoids into them over a couple of days.

The count was around 90 tins (half peppermint, half cinnamon).

The final cost, including padded envelopes and postage for out-of-town friends and family was less than the cost of most online custom shops... and the final design was much more to our liking. So far, the labels have held up to minor abuse, but they're not mass-production worthy.

- Lito

Posted by Lito at November 27, 2004 11:22 PM