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Monday, January 23, 2017

Art Licensing Editorial - 2017 January Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market Trends / Record-Breaking Attendance

 AmericasMart Atlanta, the home of the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishing Market, reported a VERY successful show in the article "Record-Breaking New and International Buyer Increases at Atlanta Winter Market". And, that was easy to believe that attendance was up, "WAY-UP", from the previous years because the showrooms and temporary booths were crowded with buyers and the reps were busy, "REALLY-BUSY", taking orders. Of course, it was slow going with so many people moving down the corridors, through the showrooms and booths, using the elevators (forget that) and escalators, and standing in line to purchase lunch or use the restrooms. And another drawback I found with so many buyers attending the show was that two of my appointments with art directors were cancelled. The art directors were needed to help show products and write-up sales so they did not have time to look at art. But, all of these inconveniences were worthwhile because a successful show means the likelihood of a successful art licensing year.

Note: It should not be surprising that attendance and buying at the show had increased because the consumer confidence for 2016 was the highest level since 2001 resulting in pumped up consumer spending as stated in the article "Holiday Sales and Searches Up for 2016". That meant that retailers needed to replenish their merchandize at the Atlanta Gift Show resulting in its huge attendance. Also read, "Holiday Consumer Confidence Up, But What About In 2017?

• Products
The Atlanta show is all about product and viewing it is mind-blogging as you walk down corridor-after-corridor on floor-after-floor in the three buildings. So it is not always easy to determine what type of products/art/colors are trending. But, according to the articles I read, "United we stand - made in America" label is stronger than ever. Also, pet related, coastal, words/inspirational phrases, and of course Christmas products is huge. The article "Direct from Atlanta Market: Excitement Fills the Air at Americasmart" stated that " . . . there is a growing demand for fashion and personalization, and retailers and consumers are wanting more."

A new direction in the decorative flag industry that will be seen in 2017 by several flag companies is state and even city themed flags that will increase flag sales. Because many flag manufacturers now produce their own flags in the United States, they can do print-on-demand short production runs with names of cities or states on them that is not feasible for companies that outsource their flags to China. For example, retailers will be able to order not only decorative flags with the VERY popular word welcome on it but will be able to order "Welcome to (city/state name)". In the article "Holiday Decorating Tips", Studio M said that ". . . retailers can expect to see some state-themed products from Studio M at summer markets in 2017".

• Trends
Art themes that started as a trend and have proven over time to be consistent sellers of products are considered to be evergreen (timeless). These themes are seen on all kinds of products. They include flowers, birds, butterflies, cats, seashells, lighthouses, roosters, pumpkins, fall leaves, turkeys, Santa Claus, snowmen, snowflakes, Christmas trees, pinecones, poinsettias, and reindeer.

Not surprising, last year's huge fad of adult coloring books were not prevalent this year at Atlanta. Although coloring books and other products that can be colored are still selling well for some manufacturers. Chevron and Polka-Dot designs are still popular and are not only used as standalone designs but are now incorporated into art. At Atlanta these two designs plus plaid and gingham were prevalent on kitchen products.

According to Gifts and Decorative magazine in the article "Direct from Market: Trend Spotting at Americasmart" trends include stylized geometry on jewelry and fashion accessories, bringing the outdoors-in with the coziness of Hyyge (Danish meaning "well-being"), whimsical images of ice cream, millennial pink color throughout all product categories, coastal, personalization of products, and more.

Below are pictures and discussions on 2017 Pantone Color of the year and the widespread trends of words/phrases, coastal, and Christmas art that I saw at Atlanta. 


– Pantone Color of the Year
At Atlanta I attended Laurie Pressman's (vice president of the PANTONE Color Institute) presentation “Home 2017: At a Crossroads for Color + Design”. She stated in her presentation that color influences 50 - 85% of product purchasing decision. Product purchases also depend upon experiences and yearning for familiar comfort. The way consumers purchase products has change because of technology and type of expected service. The speed in processing so much information has made consumers want to pare back the clutter (less is more) resulting in the popularity of minimal color (white on white, dusty pinks); versatile, tranquil, stable, chic and sophisticated grays; warm browns; and luxurious reds. And, the importance in well-being has lead to nature and the desire to rejuvenate and revitalize resulting in Pantone's 2017 color of the year "Greenery", a zesty yellow-green shade of green. Note: Pantone 2017 color of the year "Greenry" has been trending for years on paper products, tabletop, gifts, home accents, and whimsical Christmas decorations. And now it is also trending on fashion and home furnishings products.


– Words & Phrases
Inspirational, religious, and humorous tongue-in-cheek phrases are still going strong. Most products are brightly colored or black and white wall art and greeting cards. More prevalent this year are words and phrases on kitchen décor and accessories.

Brownlow Gifts showroom at Atlanta usually showcases very colorful products but this year they were black and white. When I questioned the Brownlow rep about it, he said that these B&W products with inspirational words and phrases are huge sellers. They make great gifts because the consumer does not have to worry that the color will not fit the home décor of the recipient. B&W kitchen products were also in other manufacturer showrooms.


– Coastal
Coastal and beach themes were very strong last year at Atlanta and it was even more so this year. Gift and Dec publication article "Direct from Market: Trending Spotting at Americasmart" stated that "According to our Gift Book consumer survey for 2017, 8 percent of consumers describe their home decorating style as coastal, up 2 percent from the previous year. If Atlanta is any indication, this number will only continue to rise."

The majority of showrooms at Atlanta had a coastal line no matter what kind of products they sell. Last year mermaids were the outstanding icon and they were even more so this year. Mermaids were on stationery, pillows, flags, rugs, jewelry, totes, tabletop, home décor, plush and even zip-up throw blankets with mermaid tails. Whale images are also very popular and the popularity of flamingos seem to be increasing. Seashells, seahorses, starfish, crabs, lobsters, octopus, and sea turtles are still a stable in the coastal line although they seem to be going neck-and-neck in popularity with ships/boats and their accessories such as ship wheels, anchors, and lifesaver rings. Ships/boats and accessory products and images tend to use red, white and ultramarine blue colors. While, the background color or portions of the art in other coastal art often use turquoise OR ultramarine blue on white/ivory colored background.


– Christmas
As usual, Santa Claus, snowmen, angels, reindeer, polar bears snowflakes, pinecones/pine-nettles, poinsettias were prevalent in the Atlanta holiday & floral/home décor (H&FHD) showrooms plus the many gift showrooms that have Christmas lines. Not so prevalent were amaryllis flowers, nutcrackers, penguins, and woodland animals.

At the Atlanta show during the last two years there has been an inkling that elves might start to trend because some of the H&FHD showrooms had elf figurine lines. But it was not until this show that whimsical elf figurines and art went viral and appeared in most H&FHD and gift showrooms that have Christmas lines. Note: The popularity of elves may be due to the recurrence of the popular "The Elf on the Shelf" children's picture book(s) that was originally published in 2004.

As seen in previous years, traditional Christmas art and décor use deep red and deep green colors. Fun whimsical art use bright red and chartreuse green ("Greenery" Pantone 2017 color of the year). And, elegant designs use silver and gold. Red and black plaid designs and burlap textures are becoming more popular in Christmas art and décor.

According to Studio M in the article "Holiday Decorating Tips" 2016 holiday décor had lots of black, white and red color schemes with burlap, muslin, and buffalo check. Natural elements such as birch, pinecones and antlers continue the trend of Nordic, woodland and forest themes. Studio M predicts that 2017 will be a derivative of 2016 with lots of white-on-white and green-and-white color schemes while textural elements and more woodland animal elements like antlers and snowy owls will continue. Note: The predicted 2017 trend depends upon the type of products. For example, white-on-white art may work for tabletop and paper products but not for decorative flags.

• Related Articles
Art Licensing Editorial - 2016 January Atlanta Market Trends

Art Licensing Editorial: 2015 January Atlanta Gift Show

Art Licensing: 2014 Atlanta Gift Show - the amazing AmericasMart campus

Art Licensing Editorial: 2014 Atlanta Gift Show - insights on walking the show

Art Licensing Editorial: 2014 Atlanta Gift Show - trends

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: http://www.joanbeiriger.com/

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Art Licensing: List of Manufacturers that License Art

Since 2009, I have been writing articles about art licensing including 16 different manufacturing industries that license art for their products. This article combines and updates the lists of manufacturers mentioned in those articles. Some manufacturer websites in those articles are no longer available. The reason could be that they are out of business, purchased by another company, changed their business name, or no longer maintain a website.

Note: Not all manufacturers show their products to the public. To determine if your art is a good fit for those manufacturers, you should search the Internet for retail stores that sell their products.

Calendars
Read "Licensing Art to the Calendar Industry" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

Amber Lotus Publishing
Andrews McMeel Publishing
Leanin' Tree
Pomegranate
RSVP
The Lang Company
Trends International

Cards, Greeting
Read "Licensing Art to the Greeting Card Industry" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license.

Read artist Kate Harper's article "Artist and Writer Submission Guidelines for Card Companies" to see a list of over 50 manufacturers that license greeting cards.

Read "Art Licensing: POD E-Stores - The Best-Kept Secret of Birthday Card Designers" by Jerry McLaughlin (founder and CEO of Blow Birthday Cards) about print on demand greeting card E-stores.

Coasters
Read "Licensing Art to Coaster Manufacturers" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

Counter Art (division of Conimar Group LLC)
Evergreen Enterprises
Highland Graphics
Lang
Legacy
Studio M / Magnet Works Ltd.
Thirstystone Coaster Company

Coloring Books and Other Products to Color
Read "Art Licensing: What's With the Adult Coloring Book Craze?" and "Art Licensing: Update on Adult Coloring Craze" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

– Coloring Books
Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC
Darice
Design Originals (A Fox Chapel Publishing company)
Dover Publications (been publishing adult coloring books since the 1970s)
Fox Chapel Publishing
Global Doodle Gems (collaboration of artists around the world to produce coloring books)
Harper Collins Publishers
Harvest House
Leisure Art
Peter Pauper Press
Penguin Random House
Sterling Publishing (look in Sterling 2016 Coloring Creativity catalog for published coloring books)

– Coloring Books and Other Products
Lang (coloring books, jig-saw puzzles,note cards, greeting cards, calendars, infuser tumblers)
Primitives by Kathy (signs and pillows)
Sellers Publishing / RSVP (coloring books, cards, calendars)
The Peel People (stickers to color for placement on all kinds of surfaces)
Wellspring (coloring books and various paper products)
White Mountain Puzzles (jig-saw puzzles)

Fabrics for Quilting and Crafts
Read "Licensing Designs to the Quilt and Craft Fabric Industries" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

Benartex
Blank Quilting Corporation
Clothworks
David Textiles, Inc.
Free Spirit Fabrics
Hoffman Fabrics
Marcus Brothers Textiles
Moda (by United Notions)
Quilting Treasurers
Red Rooster Fabrics
RJR Fabrics
Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Timeless Treasurers
Wilmington Prints

Fabric Products
Read "Licensing Art for Cloth Products" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

C & F Enterprises (bedding, throws, pillows, handbags, tote bags, etc.)
Fiddlers Elbow (kitchen towels, canvas totes, doormats, mugs, mouse pads)
Kay Dee Designs (aprons, kitchen textiles, trays, & coasters)
Manual Woodworkers and Weavers, Inc. (pillows, throws, art banners, table runners and placemats, fashion handbags, etc.)
Peking Handicraft, Inc. (hand crafted quilts, bedding products, hooked rugs, needlepoint pillows, linens and hand-painted glassware)
PureCountry Weavers (tapestries, throws, pillows, totes)
Simply Home (throws, pillows, wall hangings)
Stevens Linen Associates, Inc. (towels, calendar towels, potholders)

Flags, Decorative
Read "Licensing Art to the Flag Industry" and "Art Licensing: E-store Owner's Perspective About the Flag Industry" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

Briarwood Lane
Carson Home Décor
Custom Décor
Evergreen Enterprises, Inc
Studio M / Magnet Works
Premier Designs
Toland Home Garden (view their catalog to see licensed flags)
Wincraft (sells to large chain stores) - Search the Internet to see examples of Wincraft flags sold by large chain stores.

Mugs, Coffee
Read "Licensing Art for Coffee Mugs" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

C.R. Gibson
Enesco
Evergreen Enterprises
Lang
Leanin' Tree
Tervis

Paper Party
Read "Licensing Art to the Paper Partyware Industry" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

Creative Converting
CR Gibson
Design Design

Plates and Tabletop Products, Decorative Ceramic
Read "Licensing Art for Decorative Ceramic Plates and Tabletop Products" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

Certified International Corporation
One Hundred 80 Degrees
Park Designs
Sango
Wild Wings

Plates and Tabletop Products, Decorative Melamine (acrylic)
Read "Licensing Designs to the Melamine / Acrylic Tabletop Industry" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

Cameron Designs
Keller Charles
Merritt

Prints, Art
Read "Licensing Art to Print Manufacturers" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

Art In Motion (division of ICA Home Decor)
Fine Art America
Gango Editions
Greg Young Publishing Inc.
Montage Fine Art Licensing & Publishing
Northern Promotions, Inc
Penny Lane Fine Art & Licensing
Roaring Brook Art
Sagebrush Fine Art
The Land of Nod (children products including wall art)
Wild Apple

Puzzles, Jigsaw
Read "Licensing Art to the Jigsaw Puzzle Industry" for information about this industry and kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

Buffalo Games
Ceaco
Elms Puzzles (wooden puzzles)
Heritage Puzzles
Lang
Masterpiece Puzzles
Mega Brands
Melissa and Doug
Ravensburger
Springbok
Stave Puzzles (wooden puzzles)
SunsOut
TDC Games
WellSpring
White Mountain Puzzles Inc

Rugs and Mats
Read "Licensing Art to Rug and Mat Manufacturers" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

– Accent Rugs
Homefires Rugs (associated with Jellybean rugs)
Jellybean Rugs (brand of Home Comfort Rugs and associate with Homefires rugs)
Park Designs
Peking Handicraft

– Mats
Apache Mills
Briarwood Lane (also a flag manufacturer)
Custom Decor, Inc. (also a flag manufacturer)
Evergreen Enterprises (also a flag manufacturer)
Studio M / Magnet Works (also a flag manufacturer)
• Toland Home and Garden (also a flag manufacturer)

Scrapbooking
Read "Licensing Designs to the Scrapbooking Industry" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

Karen Foster Design
K & Company (now Simplicity)
Momenta

Tiles, Decorative
Read "Licensing Art to the Decorative Tile Industry" for information about this industry and what kind of art that manufacturers want to license. Below is an updated list of manufacturers and links to their websites.

Artwork on Tile
Cape Cod Treasure Chest
My Backsplash
Pacifica Tile Art Studio
The Tile Mural Store
Tile by Design

*********************************
The above lists show only some of the manufacturers that license art.  More can be found by searching the Internet, looking at products in stores (especially gift stores), attending trade shows like the Atlanta Gift Market, and joining the Art Licensing Show.com (ALSC). 
**********************************
Related Articles
How to License Art to Manufacturers
Art Licensing: When do you Submit Art to Manufacturers?
Art Licensing Editorial: Tips on Getting Deals
Art Licensing: Tips on Negotiating Contracts
Art Licensing Editorial - Should Artists Sign Exclusive Agreements?
Advantages in Getting Multi SKU Licensing Contracts
One Painting Can be Licensed for Multiple Products - Right?
Art Licensing: Hurry-up and wait . . . and wait . . . and wait
For Art Licensing Success, Know How Manufacturers Make Products
Marketing: Manufacturers Use Facebook to Promote Products & Connect with Customers
Art Licensing: Should you sell art on POD stores?

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: http://www.joanbeiriger.com/

Monday, October 17, 2016

Art Licensing Editorial - Should Artists Sign Exclusive Agreements?

In the art licensing industry it is often heard that artists should NEVER sign an exclusive agreement because it will restrict them in being able to get licensing deals and earn revenue. However, that may not always be true. Just like so many other things in this industry it depends upon the artist and what she/he hope to achieve in licensing her/his art. The following discusses exclusive and non-exclusive agreements that apply to 1. art licensing agencies that represent artists, and 2. manufacturers that license art for their products.

• Exclusive agreement with an agency
The majority of art licensing agencies in the United States require that their artists agree to an exclusive representation. That means the artists use only one agency to get them licensing deals in ALL product industries worldwide. Although, if the agency does not license art to foreign manufacturers, the artist may hire another agent to only represent her/him in foreign countries. Note: The reason agents want to do exclusive representation is to avoid the confusion if several agents submit an artist art to manufacturers. Not only do the manufacturers think it is a waste of their time to view the same art shown by several agents but if they are interested in licensing any of the art they would not know which agent to contact.

Some agencies do non-exclusive representation because they concentrate only on particular products such as fabric or wall art. Thus, some artists do have several agents. However, it can get sticky if one of the agents decides to license the art for products that they were not hired to.

• Exclusive agreement with a manufacturer for a specific product industry
Some industries are very competitive and want to use artist brands to sell their products. For instance, many fabric companies that sell their products to the quilt industry require their artists to be exclusive to them since they are showcasing and promoting the artists. That means those artists are not allowed to license their designs to other fabric companies. As artist Tara Reed points out in "5 Things to Consider Before Signing an Exclusive Art Licensing Agreement", an artist may decide to enter an exclusive agreement if they will ". . . guarantee a certain amount of sales per year (hard to come by at the moment), guarantee that they will bring out a certain number of products, promote you and your brand in specific ways… you want something in return for cutting off other opportunities for a few years." Also read art licensing agent Maria Brophy's article "Should you Sign an Exclusive Agreement - What to Consider". It has excellent examples on when Maria DOES NOT and when she DOES sign exclusive agreements.

• Exclusive agreement with a manufacturer for a specific image(s)
The most common exclusive agreement in the art licensing industry is when manufacturers license an image for their products. In fact, most product licensing contracts have this stipulation in it. The agreement requires that the artist NOT license the SAME image to other manufacturers in the SAME industry until after the contract expiration. The purpose of this exclusivity is so that the manufacturer is not competing with other manufacturers that are selling to the same consumer base. An exception is in the wall décor industry where non-exclusive agreements are offered. That is why the same image for posters and prints may be in many print-on-demand wall décor Internet stores.

However, the same image may be licensed to different manufacturers at the same time and for the same product if their customer bases are different. For example if the image was licensed to a manufacturer that sells only to general retailers it may be okay to license the same image to a manufacturer that sells to the mass channel (chain stores) and to non-profit companies. Of course, you should inform the companies that are involved to make sure they have no objections in licensing the art to another manufacturer. If you do not inform them, you may be infringing on contracts since you may not be aware that besides selling to general retailers the manufacturer also sells to chain stores.

Note: A difficult situation could occur if an artist license VERY similar looking images to different manufacturers that produce the same products. Manufacturers want to sell art that is different from their competition. They would be unhappy if the images are so similar that customers would mistake them for the same art. It is always wise to inform the companies involved to make sure there is no conflict.

• Contracts/Agreements
Read all contracts and agreements closely and make sure you understand all the terms and clauses in it including "exclusive". If you are unsure, I recommend that you hire an attorney experienced in art licensing legislation to look it over before you sign it. It is less expensive to pay an attorney to make sure the contract is fair to you than to find out later that you signed a contract with clauses unfair to you.

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: http://www.joanbeiriger.com/

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Art Licensing: POD E-Stores - The Best-Kept Secret of Birthday Card Designers

E-Stores (online/electronic stores) are becoming more and more popular on the Internet. Consumers have found that it an efficient way to search for products with the best prices, find products that local retailers no longer stock, and search for unique and personalized products for gifts. Depending on the type of product(s) sold, owners of e-stores can take advantage of printing on demand (POD) to keep a low inventory, and sell personalized products. Personalized products appeal to a smaller number of consumers (niche) and usually are not available in retail stores.

The e-store Blow Birthday Cards is a wonderful example on why Internet POD stores are created. As founder and CEO, Jerry McLaughlin explains, “Somewhere around my 50th birthday I realized that I wasn’t doing a good job of sending real birthday cards to my good friends. I always meant to, but I often missed the opportunity. Too busy with work, too busy with kids, not enough time to get to the store, etc. I wanted to be the person that always remembers to send a card, because my friends are very special. I knew I needed a system if I was going to be able to change my ways. I created Blow Birthday Cards so I could always get a birthday card on time to each of my special friends – and now I do :) “

Below is an article by Jerry about why he thinks an POD e-store with unique greeting cards is fulfilling consumer wishes that is lacking in retail stores.

The Best-Kept Secret of Birthday Card Designers

By Jerry McLaughlin
Founder & CEO of Blow Birthday Cards





Birthdays are a gift – a once a year chance to tell our friends and loved ones that they are special to us without either of us having to feel weird about bringing it up.

But even on a day dedicated to celebrating a special person in our lives, saying what we want to say can be hard. So, for the same reason that the President has speechwriters, we rely on birthday card designers to awaken shared memories, make us laugh or blush, and give voice to our deepest feelings.

But is that what birthday card designers are doing for us today?

Not so much. Yes it’s true that Americans bought 1.7 million birthday cards today, just like they do every day. But most of those shoppers say they would have liked to find a more special card.

What makes a birthday card special?
A special birthday card recalls for both the giver and the recipient a specific shared memory, revels in a shared sense of humor, or reveals a sincere feeling.

To evoke a shared memory we need a specific trigger. For example, let’s say you and your wife shared your first kiss on a camping trip with friends; you know she’ll appreciate a card that captures a couple kissing outside of a tent or a whimsical camping scene.



Why aren’t we making specialized cards that customers crave?
The historical root of the problem is in the high cost of running a retail store. Every successful retailer knows space in the store is precious. So before they dedicate some of that precious space to a birthday card design, they’ve got to expect to sell a lot of that same design. Therefore they have to offer designs that will appeal to almost everyone that comes in looking for a birthday card. The result is a lot of cards on the shelf that are suitable for anyone, meaning they are special for no one.

Designing for online is different
In my view, too often independent designers are trying to out-Hallmark Hallmark. They are designing cards that will have the broadest possible appeal. But rather than fight the big card companies head on, designers can make cards that reference very specific interests, objects, activities, experiences, or sentiments. These specialized cards don’t appeal to everyone, but they appeal very strongly to enough buyers to make the designer very successful, and appreciated. The watchwords of the successful independent birthday card designer are “specialized” and “insightful”.

At Blow Birthday Cards, we also focus more on finding great designers than on finding great cards. We look for designers whose birthday cards have visual or verbal elements that relate to some narrow interest or specific aspect of life. For example, we prefer a yoga card to an exercise card. The more specialized the card, the more perfectly it will fit someone.



Writers (more than) welcome
While visual artists have created some great birthday cards, people that think of themselves more as storytellers have designed many of the best birthday cards. The great birthday card is an effective communication, like a great advertisement.

So-- what’s the best-kept secret?
In a country with 330 million birthdays this year, a card that is so specialized that it is perfect for someone you know will be perfect for 100,000 other people too. Those are the birthday cards customers cannot find in stores. Those are the birthday cards that sell online. Those are the birthday cards customers really want.

Note: Blow Birthday Cards is a member of Art Licensing Show (ALSC) and artist members can connect with Jerry McLaughlin. Artist "profile members" can also show him their art on the ALSC website.

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: http://www.joanbeiriger.com/

Monday, September 5, 2016

Art Licensing Editorial: Do artists need to create collections?

In the art licensing industry, the most heard answer to questions asked is "it depends". And that is also the answer to the question on whether artists need to create art collections. A collection has many meanings and the following discusses the reason why some types of collections should be created while others may not be needed.

• What is a collection?
A collection can be images that are organized in various ways, or complimentary images created for a specific product, or complementary images and associated designs created for use on multiple products. All these type of collections are useful when submitting to manufacturer art directors (ADs) for licensing consideration and for placing on websites so that ADs can easily find the art they are interested it.

#A - images organized by themes etc.
The advantage in organizing art into collections of themes, seasons, holidays, or occasions is that it is easier for ADs to find art they are interested in licensing and thus the more often they will visit the artist/agent website. Also ADs request art for particular seasons, holidays, and themes. So if the art is already organized into those collections it is easier for the artist to find and submit the art.

The following are possible ways to organize art into collections.
1. Themes - coastal, beaches, nautical; patriotic; birds, birdhouses; butterflies and insects; flowers and gardens; food and wine; inspirational sayings; Lodge
2. Seasons - fall, winter, spring, summer
3. Holidays - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July
4. Occasions - anniversary, baby birth/shower, back to school, birthday, graduation, wedding

#B - images organized by product type
Some artists organize their art on their website into collections by the type of product that it was created for. For example, the product collections could be greeting cards, gift bags and wrap, decorative flags, fabrics, and tableware.

#C - images formatted various ways
A collection can be one main image that is formatted various ways such as vertical, horizontal, square, and round. Formatting an image different ways takes time but it could increase the likelihood in being licensed. For instance, the greeting card industry produces cards that are vertical, horizontal and sometimes square and round although vertical images significantly out number horizontal images. And, many decorative flag companies sell doormats and mailbox wraps besides vertical flags so they need both vertical and horizontal images. By submitting various formatted art to card companies may mean getting a deal or not. For instance, if the image was submitted only as a vertical format and the AD decided that the image would look better as horizontal then it may not be licensed. And, by submitting images in both formats to flag companies, additional products (mat, mailbox wrap) have a better chance in being licensed instead of only a flag.

Artists typically create art that is vertical since it is the most used format for products. It is true that companies sometimes ask for changes when they are considering licensing an image. But not all companies have the time to wait for images to be reformatted and instead they license art that has already been formatted numerous ways. Also, if the art is already formatted it is ready to go when artists wish to submit art for coasters, plates, etc. (square and round), OR placemats, serving trays, cutting mats, rugs, etc. (horizontal). Thus, having art formatted several ways can be a time saver in the long run and also increase the possibility in licensing the art.

#D - series of complimentary images for a product
This type of collection is two or more images that compliment each other. It is created for one or more specific type of products such as boxed greeting cards, calendars, fabric for the quilting industry, dinnerware, coaster sets, paper party ware, wall décor, gift bags, etc. Creating this type of collection is time consuming and since it is created for a specific type of product(s) it may not be usable to be licensed for other products.

#E - series of images with complimentary images for use on multiple products
When art collections are discussed in the art licensing industry, this is the type of collection that is often implied. It is a series of images including patterns, icons and borders that compliment the images for use on multiple products. Some successful licensed artists recommend that the collection consist of 1. at least four central images; 2. one rectangular, circular, oval, and square frame; 3. at least three borders with different widths; 4. at least several repeating patterns; 5. several backgrounds; 6. at least six or more supplemental icons, 7. text if it is appropriate. The intention on creating this type of collection is that most of the art is already finished before submitting to ADs so the art is ready for multiple products with minor editing needed. And, the art has a better chance in being licensed because the AD can choose from a selection of looks instead of only one.

The drawback in creating this type of art collection is that it is VERY time consuming resulting in artists not being able to create as many different images and have less art to submit for licensing consideration. Also, not all of the recommended components in the collection as listed above can be used on all products. It is a waste of time in creating them if they will not be used. Thus, I recommend that if you want to do this type of collection you create a modified version of it depending on the kind of products the collection are intended for.

• Are collections necessary?
As discussed in #A and #B, it is very useful to organize art into collections. Thus, I recommend that art be organized into at least #A collection.

To increase the opportunity in licensing art for more products, it is probably a good idea to create collections as discussed in #C unless there is no need to format art in various ways. For instance, surface designs are created as repeating patterns for fabrics, scrapbooking and other paper products. There are few opportunities to license repeating pattern designs for products that require formats other than square and maybe vertical so it is not necessary to format the designs as round or horizontal.

Many artists think that all the art they create will be suitable to be licensed for ANY kind of product. Unfortunately that may not be true. Art that is licensable depends on whether it incorporates the current trends, themes and art styles wanted by consumers. Not every product or even each manufacturer in the same product industry uses the same specifications so the art may be only licensable for one, a few, or many types of products. For instance, intricate and collage styled art that was created for jigsaw puzzles (i.e. a bunch of children playing in the snow) would not be licensable for many other products such as decorative flags, tableware, shower curtains and bathroom accessories. Therefore, there is no reason to create a collection of art as described in #E if the art is not licensable for a wide range of products.

However, collections are necessary if the artist wishes to license their art to manufactures that sell products as collections that are listed in collection #D.

• Conclusion
As mentioned in this article, it depends on whether artists should create collections of their art. Some should be created such as #A while others like #E may not be needed; at leased for all art. Creating collections, especially for #E, is very time consuming and if the art is not suitable for a wide variety of products it is a waste of time creating them.

Some artists intentionally begin their licensing career by creating art for only one product industry such as greeting cards, or fabrics. Others may discover by accident that their art tends to be more licensable for one industry than others. So there is no need to create collections #D or #E. However, once they are successful in licensing their art for the one product and decide to branch out into other industries, it may be time to create collections for art that is suitable for a variety of products.

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: http://www.joanbeiriger.com/

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Art Licensing: Exceptional Marketing Outside-The-Box = National Coloring Book Day

Marketing is imperative in selling products to consumers. And, Dover Publications absolutely thought outside-the-box in promoting coloring books in the United States by getting permission last year from the U.S. Registrar to observe August 2 each year as National Coloring Book Day (NCBD). Companies, organizations and individuals besides Dover are endorsing National Coloring Book Day on August 2 by having parties, book signings, coloring contests, and other activities throughout the United States.

Coloring Parties
By searching the Internet, you can read a large number of articles mentioning upcoming events celebrating National Coloring Book Day this August 2. Adult coloring parties sponsored by various organizations, companies, and individuals will take place in libraries, community centers, bookstores, cafes, private homes, and other locations. Persons are invited to attend most of the events at no cost. For instance, on August 2, Thunder Bay Press is sponsoring and providing coloring books and colored pencils for the coloring day event at 12 bookstores across the country. To find other locations for NCBD parties throughout the U.S., view Dover's National Coloring Book Day website.

Artist Signings
Dover Publications is sponsoring meet-and-greet artists across the country where several artists will sign copies of their coloring books. Note: Other coloring book publishers are also probably having artist-signing events but I did not have the time to search the Internet.

Contests and Giveaways
Coloring contests and giveaways are also found on the Internet. For instance, publisher Leisure Arts is having a "National Coloring Book Giveaway" contest. Note: There are many other coloring contests and giveaways on the Internet.

Summary
Continuous marketing by hundreds of companies, organizations and individuals like the NCBD events help to keep the adult coloring book industry alive. And, offering free parties brings in more consumers wishing to purchase books as they discover the therapeutic value coloring has including the fun and sharing of their colored creations with others.

Related Articles:
• "Art Licensing: What's With the Adult Coloring Book Craze?"

• "Art Licensing: Update on Adult Coloring Craze"

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: http://www.joanbeiriger.com/