Joan Website | Joan Bio | Joan Licensing Info | Joan Contact Info | Blog Main Page

Art Licensing by artist Joan Beiriger: I'm happy to share art licensing info but please
give me credit and link to my blog when using it on your site. Thanks.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Art Licensing Resource: Tips on How to Successfully Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the largest professional and business-orientated social networking Internet website with over 300 million registered users. It is used to keep in touch with current and former associates, participate in industries, and promote business. Because of those reasons, anyone in business including those in the art licensing industry has heard that they should join LinkedIn (LI). But once they belong, fill out some of the information in their profile and join a couple of groups to ask questions and read what others have to say, they do not know what else to do with it. LinkedIn management does tout that LI promotes your business BUT how does it really work? They also urge members to continue updating their profiles, connect with people that have similar interests, and endorse them for skills. BUT why should they?

I also had those questions and searched the Internet for articles on how to successfully use LI. Below is condensed information that I culled from the eight articles listed at the bottom of this post. Read the articles to get more details. Notations (#1) through (#8) indicate which article(s) the information came from.

• Create a professional profile
– Article (#1) recommends using a normal headshot of yourself in your profile and do not embellish it with cute icons. Article (#3) an (#4) feels that your headshot should be as professional looking as possible.

– Articles (#1) and (#4) recommends that you fill out the sections in the profile with to-the-point informative material. The summary section should be concise and rich in information about your skills and accomplishments so that your expertise is obvious. However, avoid overstating your expertise because it is deceptive and the wrong way to initiate a connection with others.

– "You can enhance your profile by sharing images, videos, PDF files or SlideShare presentations. Just click over to your Edit Profile screen and upload your achievements." as recommended in Article (#6).

Caution: In the past there has been some discussions posted in LI groups about uploading art to LI profiles and who owns the copyright of the posted images. Read and understand LI's copyright policy before posting images on LI to make sure you do not lose your rights to the images.

– Article (#2) lists some LI tools that allows you to customize your public profile URL, create a profile badge for your personal website, make your blog/website links sexier, search engine optimize your profile, rearrange sections of your profile to your specification.

Note: A person needs to join LinkedIn before they can join any of its groups or make connections. By entering information that is related to art licensing in your LI profile, other members learn about your qualifications and experience and are more willing to connect with you. Hint: A headshot of a smiling, friendly face in a profile is more appealing than a stern looking face.

• Connect with others
Network on LI by engaging with your connections and sharing pertinent information to build useful relationships.

– Article (#3) recommends that you strategically connect with others.

– In Article (#4) it states "Your LinkedIn network is only as valuable as the strength of your connections."

– “Like any other resource, the more you invest into it, the more that you get out of it” is stated in Article (#3).

– “The more connections you have, the more people will see your LinkedIn status updates. Use a personalized LinkedIn note when you’re building your network” is suggested in Article (#7).

– Stay “in touch by using the contacts page to see significant event happenings like a job change, work anniversary or birthday” according to Article (#6).

– “Share Blog Posts with individuals by sending LinkedIn emails directly to your connections” according to Article (#7). But, do not overuse this feature by spamming your connections.

– LI helps you to remember a person's name. "LinkedIn can help you with offline networking too—simply checking out someone's profile after meeting them at a networking event, even if you don't connect, can help you remember their name and what they do. This is another reason why having a picture is important—it will help people remember you” according to Article (#4).

Note: People will not recognize you at trade shows or events if you do not use an up-to-date headshot of yourself in your LI profile.

– Add a tag to your contact name for ease in sorting when finding and connecting to multiple contacts. "You can add your connections to tags and lists to easily find or sort them. The sorting and filtering features are handy when you want to quickly find all of your contacts related to a specific campaign, company, etc. You can sort by Recent Conversation, Last Name, First Name and New—it’s basic and quick" according to Article (#6).

Hint: The tag name can be customized such as artist, agent, art director, or company so that your contact list can be sorted by the tag name. This is useful when sharing and sending group messages of specific information to different segments of the art licensing industry. It is also useful when you need to find your contacts in a certain category.

– In Article (#6) it states "The Relationship tab is where you’ll find the real functionality. You can see a timeline of your association (including the date you connected), as well as conversations you’ve had on LinkedIn. You can also add notes, set a reminder to follow up, record how you met and assign a tag to the person. Don’t worry, they won’t see your updates! This is purely for you."

– You can transfer your LinkedIn connections to another contact management system according to Article (#2).

• Get Endorsements
Article (#8) states "Endorsements make it easy to put in a positive word for a connection without going to the trouble of writing a recommendation. But if you need more recommendations on your profile, consider asking an endorser if he or she would be able to write you a recommendation." Also, list your skills. "It’s worth doing because you want people endorsing you to check off the skills you deem most important." And, "Seek endorsements from people who know your work well. They can strengthen your ties with your connections and make your profile even stronger."

Note: Because recommendations are more personal and plausible, they are more influential than endorsements.

• Join LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn groups is a "place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts" as discussed in Article (#5). And, in Article (#2) "Individuals belonging to a group can start a discussion by asking questions, post comments to other discussions, post links to internet articles that are appropriate to the group, or just follow the discussions without participating."

– By participating and contributing to discussions in the group, a person can develop influence according to Article (#3) and (#7).

– “The Top Contributors section is meant to improve the quality and quantity of content and interactions within groups and is recalculated every day. Regular positive interaction, like posting and commenting, raises a member’s standing in the group while promotional, spam, negative or inappropriate content drops their contributor level" according to Article (#6).

– "LinkedIn Groups allow you to create free polls with up to five answers; to collect feedback on your product or service" according to Article (#5).

– LinkedIn allows you to "use OpenLink to send messages to people in group members even though you are not connected to them" according to Article (#2).

– Article (#7) discusses driving traffic to your blog by often posting interesting content to the group(s).

Note: Make sure you read this article for information on how to gain influence and drive traffic to your blog.

– According to Article (#7) you should "Create a list of Influencers to follow. Share their articles with your connections. This builds your reputation by association and develops trust within your networks."

Note: There are hundreds of groups and many of them are only open to those persons whose profile shows that their interest and experience is related to the purpose of the group. The two most popular groups in art licensing are Art of Licensing (over 11 thousand members) and Greeting Card, Stationery & Gift Industry Gurus (over 9 thousand members). Depending on your interests ask to join others such as Licensing commercial art, Graphic Design Professional, Information For Cartoonists, Textile Designer, and Licensing Managers.

• Take advantage of LinkedIn publishing platform
According to LinkedIn "LinkedIn Pulse is your source for professional news tailored to you. It's the place to discover compelling content, discuss what's trending with millions of professionals worldwide. Available on LinkedIn.com, Android, and iOS, Pulse allows you to read and share your news wherever you are."

If you share a link on LI and make it visible to Public or Public + Twitter and it is considered by LI as a top article, your picture may appear in Pulse with the link.

Or, you can post an article in your LI profile called a "long-form". When you publish a long-form post on LinkedIn, 1. Your original content becomes part of your professional profile. It is displayed on the Posts section of your LinkedIn profile. 2. It is shared with your connections and followers. 3. Members not in your network can now follow you from your long-form post to receive updates when you publish next. 4. Your long-form post is searchable both on and off of LinkedIn.

Below is a list of articles that has information on why you should use LinkedIn to post articles, what to avoid in posting articles, and how to do it.

– "5 Reasons You Should Use the LinkedIn Publisher"

– "Everything You Need to Know About Long-Form Posts on LinkedIn"

– "Publishing Long-Form Posts on LinkedIn"

• Finding Jobs on LinkedIn Job Board
Numerous artists in the licensing industry find that they cannot make a living just by licensing their art and need to supplement their income. Many would prefer working in an industry that uses their artistic talents so searching LI job board or using your connections might be a good way to find a job.

– But, before you search for a job, Article (#2) suggests that you turn your LI profile into a resume.

– And, if you find a company that interests you, Article (#3) suggests using "LinkedIn to find former employees who could give you insight into the company’s culture or to determine which of your own friends and acquaintances know current employees who could make an off-LinkedIn connection for you. LinkedIn could also be useful in the reverse situation — if you’re hiring. If you’re on the fence about an applicant and see that a colleague of yours knows him or her, then you can do a bit of reconnaissance."

– According to Article (#2) "LinkedIn allows users to save up to ten job searches and three people searches".

• LinkedIn Company Page
I am not sure that creating a LI Company Page is useful for freelance artists but it may be for others in the art licensing industry. According to "10 Steps to Create a LinkedIn Company Page" in Forbes "A LinkedIn Company Page gives a business a fantastic opportunity to promote its products and services, recruit top talent, and share important, interesting, and useful updates. Anyone with a company name and company email address can create a LinkedIn Company Page within minutes. The best part is that it’s free and easy."

– Article (#2) recommends for those with a Company Page to optimize it by “creating targeted Showcase Pages, post company status updates and target them, keep track of industry new with the trending content tool, generate leads, create your own group, email your group, add the company follow and LinkedIn share buttons to your website, and analyze your LI marketing performance with Page Insights and LI content marketing score".

Note: I have seen several manufacturers that license art and at least one art licensing agency with a LI Company Page.

Conclusion
LinkedIn is for all kinds of business including those in the art licensing industry - artists, agents, manufacturers, etc. Until I read the many articles I found on the Internet about LI, I did not realize how much it has to offer in gaining exposure of art and reaching a large audience. It does take effort but I think it is worth utilizing LI to keep in touch with those in the art licensing, participate in it, learn about the industry and promote your business.

Belonging to LI has been successful for some in the licensing industry. Agents have found artists to represent and some artists who regularly ask questions and respond to posts in the LI groups have reported they were discovered by manufacturers on LI and resulted in licensing contracts. Also I do know that writing blog articles and posting the links on LI works for me in gaining visibility. When I walk the trade shows, strangers often approach me but obviously I'm not a stranger to them. That also has happened when I meet art directors and owners of companies for the first time.

Resource Articles
(#1) "The Definitive Guide to Awkward LinkedIn Networking" from Hubspot

(#2) "The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering LinkedIn" from Hubspot

(#3) "How To Use LinkedIn: 5 Smart Steps To Career Success" from Forbes

(#4) "How to Use LinkedIn Powerfully: 10 Tips to Know" from Social Media Today

(#5) "8 Ways to Use LinkedIn Groups to Boost Your Business" from Chief Information Officers (CIO)

(#6) "How to Use LinkedIn to Build Relationships and Generate Leads" from Social Media Examiner

(#7) "10 Tips: How to Use LinkedIn to Drive Traffic to Your Blog" from wishpong

(#8) "Everything You Need to Know About LinkedIn Endorsements" from Forbes

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).

Monday, August 4, 2014

Photoshop Tips: Using the Modify Selection Commands to Alter Motifs

Adobe Photoshop (PS) has so many tools and commands that it is difficult to know them all. Most PS users know that they can select an image with the lasso, or marquee, or magic wand tools but few realize that once an image is selected the selection can be changed various ways with the modify commands (border, smooth, expand, contract, feather). And, by modifying the selection and using other tools and filters on the image, an artist can quickly change the shape of the motif and/or achieve interesting effects. Below is an example on how to use each of the modify commands. But, depending on how they are used with PS tools and filters, different looks can be achieved. I recommend that you experiment with each of them and discover other ways that you can alter the shapes and looks of motifs.




• Modify Selection Border Command
Use the modify selection border command plus the Gaussian blur filter to create a color fade around the motif.

1. Use the Magic Wand tool and click on the image to select it. See A1.
2. Pull down the Select window, open the Modify window, and select Border (Select/Modify/Border).
3. Decide on the number of pixels wanted for the border and enter it. Press okay. 100 pixels were used for example A2.
4. Pull down the Filter window, open the Blur window, and select Gaussian Blur.
5. Enter the number of pixels wanted for the blur and enter it. Click on okay. Press the Command key plus D to deselect the image. 50 pixels were used for example A3.







•Modify Selection Expand Command
Use the modify selection expand command to remove the white space between the black line and filled blue color on the motif.

1. Example B1 shows the outline circle motif that will be filled with a blue color.
2. Choose the color you wish and use the paint bucket tool to fill the center of the motif. Note: An unwanted one pixel space between the black outline and blue circle occurs. See B2.
3. To remove the white space, open Select/Modify/Expand. Enter 2 pixels in the box. B3 shows the selected area (may not be able to see the selected area on your monitor) that is slightly on top of the black line. Click on okay. B4 shows that the white space between the black and blue is no longer visible.







• Modify Selection Smooth Command
Use the modify selection smooth command plus the brush tool and delete command to alter the shape of the motif.

1. Use the Magic Wand tool and click on the image to select it.
2. Pull down the Select window, open the Modify window, and select Smooth (Select/Modify/Smooth).
3. Decide on the number of pixels wanted to round the corners (points on the star) and enter it. Click on okay. 100 pixels were used for example C1.
4. Fill the inside corners of the star with the same color of the motif by using the brush tool. See C2.
5. Pull down the Select window and select Inverse. Press the delete button on the keyboard. Press the Command key plus D to deselect the image. See C3.
Note: Notice that each rounded point on the star is not uniform. This is probably due to an artifact of the "smooth command" software. The software may do a better job on different shaped motifs.




• Modify Selection Contract Command
Use the modify selection contract command plus the delete command to create an outline of the motif.

1. Use the Magic Wand tool and click on the image to select it. See D1.
2. Pull down the Select window, open the Modify window, and select Contract (Select/Modify/Contract).
3. Decide on the number of pixels wanted for the outline and enter it. Click on okay. 100 pixels were used for example D2.
4. Press the delete button on the keyboard. Press the Command key plus D to deselect the image. See D3.
Note: Notice that some of the "points" inside the star are not sharp. This is probably due to an artifact of the "Contract command" software. The software may do a better job on different shaped motifs.




• Modify Selection Feather Command
Use the modify selection feather command plus the delete command to create a feathered effect on the motif.

1. Use the Magic Wand tool and click on the image to select it. See E1.
2. Pull down the Select window, open the Modify window, and select Feather (Select/Modify/Feather).
3. Decide on the number of pixels wanted for the radius and enter it. 100 pixels were used for example E2. Click on okay.
4. Press the delete button on the keyboard. Press the Command key plus D to deselect the image. See E3.
















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).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Art Licensing - 2014 Summer Gift Trade Shows

The gift industry trade shows/markets* normally start off each year with the huge Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market in early January at The AmericasMart followed by other regional shows across the U.S**. Then in June, the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market starts the summer season of gift shows, followed by the Atlanta show in July. The attendance at the summer shows has ALWAYS been smaller than the winter shows because retailers do not need to restock their inventory with as much merchandise. Most retailers sell at least one third of their merchandise during the Christmas buying season. And, as usual the lower attendance at both the summer Dallas and Atlanta shows transpired. Read below about several of the shows.

* Gift industry trade shows are for manufacturers to exhibit their products so that retailers can purchase them for their stores.

** Read "Gift Show Directory for 2014/2015" for the dates and links to websites for gift shows.

• Dallas
For me, it does not bode well about the success of a trade show when a report about the show starts out with the optimistic phrase "the mood is upbeat" as editor Caroline Kennedy for Gifts and Decorative Accessories wrote in "Direct from Market: Dallas". She stated that even though buyer traffic was down, business was brisk. And, according to her it's a good sign for the rest of the season.

However, art licensing agent Jim Marcotte of Two Town Studios had a different impression about the Dallas show. In his article "Dallas, Tell Me It Ain't So!" Jim states "While the Dallas show is not nearly the size of Atlanta, most of the big players have showrooms and the rest are represented somewhere in the buildings, so it’s a good place to get an early read on the market. What we did not expect was the language we kept hearing - evaluate, retrench, slow, reduce exposure, wait and see, soft market - all those words that strike fear into the hearts of designers and agents." That sounds depressing but do not give up about the success of the summer trade shows because Jim has better news to report about the Atlanta show :)

• Atlanta
The Gifts and Decorative Accessories (GDA) staff reported in their articles "Direct from Market: Atlanta July 2014", and "Direct from Market: Atlanta, Part 2" a steady flow of buyer traffic at the Atlanta Gift Show (July 8-15) that increased on Thursday and Friday. And, art agent Jim Marcotte reported in his article "Atlanta: Land of Opportunity, or What's Yours Is Mine..." that "We spent 3 long days covering A LOT of those 7M square feet. The doom and gloom of Dallas (see the previous post) was not so evident in Atlanta, perhaps because it’s a better show even on its down days, but traffic was definitely slow." Make sure you read the GDA and Jim’s articles for more information and trends seen at the Atlanta show. And, check out the artist blogs listed below about the show. Also, look at the videos by interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn about AmericasMart to get a feeling on what it is like to walk the Atlanta show when it is busy. Note: Some of the footage for the videos was probably taken during the January 2014 show.

– Blogs
   artist Caroline Simas: "Atlanta Market July 2014 Recap"

   artist Genevieve Gail: "Atlanta Gift Mart Recap"

   artist Phyllis Dobbs: "Sights at Atlanta Gift Market"

– Videos
Brian Patrick Flynn is an American television producer turned interior designer. Also, he is on HGTV and gives presentations during the gift shows at AmericasMart. Brian calls himself an ambassador of AmericasMart. Watch the videos to experience the amazing AmericasMart.

   "An Interior Designer's Guide to AmericasMart Atlanta"

   "Brian Patrick Flynn's Top 10 Tips for Shopping AmericasMart"

• Las Vegas
The Las Vegas Market is the fastest growing furniture, home decor and gift trade show in the United States. By aggressive marketing and expanding the World Market Center Las Vegas campus, it is becoming the go-to trade show for the Western U.S. states. When this post was written, the July 27 -31 summer show had not yet opened. But the statistics on the expected increase in attendance is VERY impressive. According to the article "IMC: Summer Vegas Market Pre-Registration Gains Over Winter Show" the International Market Centers expects attendance ". . . to gain most abundantly in the gift and home décor category, with buyer registration pacing 18% ahead of the recent Winter 2014 Market and 83% ahead of the Summer 2013 Market."

Note: The health of the gift industry ultimately affects art licensing and the amount of art that is licensed by manufacturers. Thus, successful gift shows (Atlanta and other regional ones) bodes well for the licensing industry. Hopefully, this year and in the following years there will be an increase in buyers attending and purchasing merchandise at the gift shows so that the art licensing industry thrives. 

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).

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Art Licensing: Do U.S. artists need a business license to license their art?

Questions often asked by United States artists entering the licensing industry is if they need to have a business license or a seller permit to be able to license their art? There are all types of business licenses/permits such as seller's permit, federal and state business licenses, and city/county business licenses. Each is for a particular purpose. Artists that ONLY license their art may not need a business license. It depends upon the city and state they live in. See below for discussions on the different ones.

• Seller's Permit
A seller's permit (resale certificate) is needed in most but not all states IF a person sells merchandize at retail (to consumers). The number on the permit issued is called a resale number. Artists who license their work to manufacturers are not selling merchandise at retail so they do not need a seller's permit.

And, whether artists who sell to consumers needs a seller's permit or not depends upon the state. Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon do not collect sales tax so a seller's permit is not needed when artists sell their work to consumers in those states. To find out information about seller's permits in the different states, go to the U.S. Small Business Administration website. Hint: Artists are not listed as a business type so use General Licensing. And, to find out more about resale certificates, read "What is a Resale Certificate And Who Can Use One?"

– Internet stores
According to Nolo "Despite what you sometimes hear . . . some Internet sales are subject to sales tax, and even when a site doesn't collect sales tax, consumers are technically responsible for remitting any unpaid sales tax on online purchases directly to their state." Also, " If an online retailer has a physical presence in a particular state, such as a store, business office, or warehouse, it must collect sales tax from customers in that state. If a business does not have a physical presence in a state, it is not required to collect sales tax for sales into that state." For more information, read "Sales Tac on the Internet".

• Federal Business License
A person only needs a federal business license if their business is regulated by a federal agency such as alcoholic beverages, agriculture, aviation, etc as shown in "Federal Licenses & Permits". Since art is not regulated by a federal agency, a federal business license is not needed to license art. Note: Artists may be requested to supply their federal number to a licensee so that they can report the revenue the artist received to the federal and state tax boards. In that case, the federal number is the artist's social security number. 

NOTE: Artist Kiffanie Stahle shared the following information.
"One note on the federal tax ID number issue. Even sole proprietors can request a free employer identification number (federal tax ID number) from the IRS to give to licensees. Licensees will then use this number on your 1099s and the IRS will link it to your individual tax return. Thus keeping your SSN a little safer!  Here's the link to obtain an EIN: https://sa.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/index.jsp  "

• State Business License/Permits
Whether an artist needs a state business license or permit depends on the state she/he lives in. Some states require any business operating in the state to register for tax-specific licenses/permits whether based in a commercial location or out of the home. Other states may not require any license/permit. To find out what business licenses are required in your state, read "Find Business Licenses & permits".

– Business having employees
The requirements in operating a business with employees is more complicated because the owner probably will need to file for additional permits and file forms such as employer identification number, registration of employees, business income tax statements, etc. Also they must comply with laws on minimum wages, hours, working conditions, safety, discrimination, etc. To find out information about the requirements in different states when having employees, go to the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

– Limited Liability Company (LLC)
It is not required but some artists decide to form a limited liability company (LLC) to protect their personal finances if their art licensing business is sued for copyright infringement or breach of contract. To do so, it must be filed with the Secretary of State's Office in the state the business is operating in. If the business is a sole proprietorship, it does not need to be registered with the state. Note: Many states require a sole proprietor to use their own name for the business name unless they formally file another name as a trade name, or fictitious name. For more information, read "Register With State Agencies".

– Fictitious business name (doing business as = DBA)
Most states, but not all, require that the owner of a business register a fictitious business name. In some states the business name could be considered fictitious even if additional word (s) are added to a surname while other states do not consider it fictitious as long as the surname is in the business name. Filing a fictitious name often involves publishing in a general circulation newspaper the opening of the business with the fictitious name. Note: Unless the fictitious business name is filed, bank accounts with the fictitious business name cannot be opened. For more information, look at your states requirements on fictitious business names. For more information, read "Register Your Business Name".

• City/County Business License
Some counties and/or cities require any business operating within their limits to take out a business license even if the state does not necessitate one. The license usually requires a yearly flat fee or may depend upon the gross amount earned. If the business is home based, it may require a zoning variance with stipulations on not allowing customers to visit or employees to work on the premises. To find out information about city/county licenses in the different states, go to the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

• Reporting Income to IRS and State
For artists that have a thriving art licensing business, know that they need to report the income earned to the IRS. Also, they know to report income to their state unless they live in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire*, South Dakota, Tennessee*, Texas, Washington, Wyoming. But artists that have just started licensing their work may not be aware that ANY income earned no matter how little may need to be reported to the state and MUST be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to IRS "It is a common misconception that if a taxpayer does not receive a Form 1099-MISC or if the income is under $600 per payer, the income is not taxable. There is no minimum amount that a taxpayer may exclude from gross income. . . Taxpayers must report all income from any source and any country unless it is explicitly exempt under the U.S. tax code. There may be taxable income from certain transactions even if no money changes hands." For more information about reporting income to the IRS read, "Reporting Miscellaneous Income". And, read "States Without an Income Tax" for more information.

* Must pay interest and dividend income.

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).

Friday, June 20, 2014

Art Licensing: Are Paper Products Being Replaced by the Internet and Smart Devices?

Because of the Internet and increasing usage of electronic smart devices' it has been long predicted that we are becoming a paperless society. But according to the article "Paperless society? Not so fast" even though electronic technology has taken a toll on the pulp and paper industries especially in the production of newsprint there are still 20,000 identifiable uses of paper in the world today. To stay in existence many print companies that in the past used paper products exclusively are now hedging their bets by also moving to the Internet and offering electronic versions of their publications. According to IDC (International Data Corporation) in the article "Paperless society? IDC says not so fast" although the world is printing less, "the paperless society remains largely a myth as page volume from printers was 2.98 trillion 2012, down 1.5 percent from 3.03 trillion in 2011". It will take a long time IF ever before we become a paperless society.

So what impact has the surge in use of the Internet and smart devices have on the art licensing industry? Paper products such as greeting cards, wall calendars, personal checks, and daily planners are now competing with electronic technology. And, these paper products use licensable art to help sell them. Will these industries disappear along with the opportunity to license art for them?

• Daily Planners
The sales of daily planners are declining as smart devices take over the task of scheduling persons daily lives. But according to the article "Daily planners: paper or electronic?" many people are visual and although electronic planners make life easier it still is satisfying to write down lists, scratch them off when complete, and know that it is crash proof and will not suddenly disappear. According to the article there still is a large segment of the population that use paper planners. This industry probably will not disappear but to stay in business it now has customizable features and is more for a niche market.

• Wall Calendars
One of the biggest industries that depend upon art and photographs to sell products is wall calendars. For years it has been a tradition in December to purchase calendars for the kitchen, maybe for other rooms in the home, and for gifts. Now smart phones and computers have taken over part of the calendar industry but do NOT think wall calendars will disappear.

According to the article "Calendars: The Paper-Digital Trap" it seems that many people are using both paper and electronic calendars. Individuals use electronic calendars as daily planners while person(s) use wall calendars as wall décor and scheduled appointments that can be viewed at a glance. In the article " Why do we still buy calendars?" Dr. Paul Glennie at the University of Bristol in the UK thinks that ". . . the calendar has a social function, bringing people together around a common focal point. . . From a household point of view or a work point of view, it works on a more obviously collective level than everybody looking down at their own apps."

So, it looks like calendars are here to stay. But because of the shift in consumer spending, consumers now wait for the expected discounted calendars to go on sale before purchasing them. This is affecting the amount of revenue that calendar manufacturers make and thus the amount of royalties paid to artists.

• Personal Checks

Now that bills can be paid online you would think that the use of checks are now obsolete. But according to the articles "Why don't more consumers use automatic bill pay?" and "Are Paper Checks Still Useful" only 50% people pay their bills online. The reason is not all persons find it convenient, have computers, or trust the security of paying over the Internet. Also not all companies are set up for their customers to pay online. And, checks may be the only way to pay services such as the hairdresser, gardener, house keeper, or send money gifts to friends and relatives.

Decorative personal checks are a favorite among those that like to express their personality as stated in "Five Reasons Why You Should Still Use Personal Checks" and it is also easier to keep track of personal finances. But because of the ability to pay bills online, checks usage has declined. Thus, the personal check industry has weakened resulting in artists not making much revenue for licensing their art on them.

• Greeting Cards
About five years ago when e-cards became popular the paper greeting card industry were concerned that they would be put out of business because consumers would only use e-cards. The reason is that e-cards are either free or less expensive than paper cards and do not need the additional cost of a stamp to send it. American Greetings and other large card companies struggled as revealed in the article "Even As American Greetings Struggles, Small Card Companies Find A new Way to Thrive". However, small card companies found a way to successfully sell cards by producing a handmade luxurious look with embellishments and die cuts that e-cards could not produce. These cards became so popular that now the large card companies have also included embellished cards in their card lines to satisfy customers seeking elegant looking cards.

Selling products during the Christmas season is huge and that includes Christmas cards. In the article "E-cards an alternative, not replacement to paper Christmas greetings" it states that "Although many people use e-cards because they're free, convenient and eco-friendly, it's unlikely that e-cards will replace paper Christmas cards entirely. That's because the tradition and the sentiment of sending greeting through the mail has been in place for centuries." That is good news for the art licensing industry because there are over 50 paper card manufacturers that license art. Read artist Kate Harper's article "Artist & Writer Submission Guidelines for Card Companies" for a list and links for manufacturer websites.

Summary
There is no question that there is a weakening of sales over the last five or so years for many paper product industries with the usage of the Internet and smart devices. It has impacted the art licensing industry as licensing revenue for products that license art has decreased. However, it is not entirely due to the increase usage of the Internet and smart devices but also because of the downturn in economy and change in consumer spreading*. To paraphrase Vice President Susan January of Leanin' Tree, Inc. (greeting card manufacturer) at a 2013 SURTEX show seminar "Artists use to be able to make a living in creating greeting cards but not anymore. Artists often need alternative means of revenue."

Note: The invention of electronic devices have created more products to license art such as skins and cases for cell phones, tablets and computers by manufacturers such as keka and Gelaskins. But, most of these types of companies are Internet stores and offer licensing print-on-demand deals or buy the designs outright. Thus, the revenue is not that lucrative.

* The impact of the great recession on consumer spending has created a new norm of bargain hunting. Consumers are looking for discounts and expect it from retailers. And, they are not splurging as much as they did before the recession and normally only buy what they need. It is predicted that this change in consumer spending will NOT shift back to pre 2008 spending.

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).