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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Art Licensing: Update on Adult Coloring Craze

Last year adult coloring books went viral because press releases in magazines, television, and the Internet promoted that it is very therapeutic to reduce stress by coloring pictures. Also, Dover Publications, who has been publishing adult coloring books since 1970, sponsored a National Coloring Book Day, that is officially observed now on August 2 each year. All the hype resulted in thousands of adult coloring books being published by numerous companies and the formation of coloring book clubs and parties. Read "What's With the Adult Coloring Book Craze?' for more information about the adult coloring book hype.

Coloring books are so popular that some companies include a coloring book with their products as an incentive to purchase the products. Many Internet sites offer coloring pages that can be downloaded at no cost. And, a pdf file of a 92 page coloring book “Enjoy the Simple things: A Holiday Coloring Book for kids 1 to 92” with art created by 70 artist members of the art licensing community, Art Licensing Show.com, can be downloaded at no cost.

 In 2015 when the adult coloring books suddenly became so popular, many people wondered if it was only a fad and would soon disappear. But, so far it is still going strong. Helping it to prosper is the evolution of adult coloring becoming more than just a therapeutic way of releasing stress. It is also becoming an integral part of creativity and the ability to customize and personalize products for gifts that is very popular with consumers. All sorts of paper products for gifts are available to color besides coloring books such as calendars, greeting cards, postcards, bookmarks, etc. Also are drawings on non-paper products made to be colored such as on tote bags, sweatshirts, t-shirts, caps, tumblers, jig-saw puzzles, signs, Christmas ornaments, boxes, pillows, stickers, etc


Maybe Adult Coloring will not only be a fad but also become a trend as more products become available!

Below is a resource list of manufacturers that license drawings suitable for coloring. Read "What's With the Adult Coloring Book Craze?' for an additional list of companies that license drawings for adult coloring books.

Resources:
Darice (coloring books)

Evergreen Enterprises (ceramic travel cups)

Harvest House (coloring books)

Lang (coloring books, jig-saw puzzles,note cards, greeting cards, calendars, infuser tumblers)
Note: View the on-line catalog.

Leisure Arts (coloring books)

Peter Pauper Press (coloring books)

Primitives by Kathy (signs and pillows)

Sellers Publishing / RSVP (coloring books, cards, calendars)
Note: Thanks artist Peggy Jo Ackley for sharing this company :)

The Peel People (stickers to color for placement on all kinds of surfaces)

Wellspring (coloring books and paper products)

White Mountain Puzzles (jig-saw puzzles)

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, May 30, 2016

Art Licensing Editorial: Should You Use Color Trends in Art?

Where do color trends come from? Color trends come from all over but the major color trendsetter is Pantone. The Pantone name is known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer-to-manufacturer-to-retailer-to- customer. They are a provider of color systems for a variety of industries and annually introduce the color of the year they think is trending. [1]

Note: The number in the bracket [ ] indicates the article the quote is from. See the article title in the Reference section at the bottom of this article.

“When Pantone releases their color of the year they are setting the tone for upcoming trends. They pull influences from fashion, automotive design, interior design, technology and trade shows. They analyze how color impacts mood and how it relates to current events.” [2] And, “The annual announcement ultimately influences product development, purchasing decisions, product packaging and graphic design.” [3] Many manufacturers but not all use Pantone color trends for their products although it may be several years before they appear on the products because of the time needed to produce them.

In the past, The Pantone Color of the Year has been one color that was bright and bold. So persons in the design community were shocked when in 2016 Pantone introduced the Pantone Colors of the Year as two colors; pastel pink (Rose Quartz) and pastel blue (Serenity). [4] Pantone Color Institute’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman, had this to say about the decision, “Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.”[5]

2016 Pantone Colors of the Year
There were a lot of comments when Pantone announced 2016 Colors of the Year last December. But, surprisingly they were more constructive than negative. Mentioned in the many articles I read, pale pink and baby blue are already seen on clothing in fashion runways, on kitchen appliances, tabletop, household linens, cosmetics, iPhones, shoes, home décor, and in advertising.

Comments about 2016 Pantone Colors of the Year
“I don’t know about this color of the year. Yes, I guess it is tranquil. But could also be bland and a bit boring. I guess it would depend in what it is being used on.” [2]

“While these shades, Rose Quartz and Serenity, can represent feelings such as compassion, affection, caring, soothing and relaxation — pastels are often described as ‘soft’ or ‘weak.’ However, Pantone’s research led them to choose these colors, suggesting a change in consumer sentiment, stating, ‘We wanted compassion, which today a lot of people are looking for.’ They say the selections are born from consumers searching for balance in a chaotic world. . . . Senior living and the senior health care industry have been creating a sense of caring, compassion and relaxation in their branded materials and physical spaces for some time, and know there’s strength in these sentiments. Knowing what these colors represent, it won’t be surprising to see them smartly featured in materials being marketed to seniors, or incorporated into interior design elements of communities.” [3]

“Once people get over the baby nursery comments, I think we'll see a wealth of possibility for design and interiors. We've seen pastels emerge in a powerful and modern way in recent years. On its own, pink has almost become a new neutral that, when paired with other colors, has a range of moods and associations.” [6]

Using color trends in art
Should artists use color trends in the art they create for licensing consideration and more specifically Pantone 2016 Colors of the Year? The answer is the same that is often heard in the art licensing industry; it depends!

Some manufacturers are willing to take a chance on using new color trends in the hope to sell more products while other manufacturers use only colors that have been proven to sell their products. Previous Pantone Color of the Year was more applicable on a large variety of products especially in the gift industry because the color hues were bold. The pastel colors of the Pantone 2016 Colors of year does not necessarily work for as many products. Some art themes are very color specific such as most holiday themes. Easter uses mostly pastel colors so using Pantone’s Rose Quartz and Serenity (R&S) will fit well for Easter products. Those colors may also work well for Christmas decorations even though the traditional colors are red and green. Some manufactures that produce Christmas decorations seem to be willing to try new colors even though they tend to be a fad and sell well for only a couple of years. So, I will not be surprised to soon see R&S decorated Christmas trees at the Atlanta Gift shows. R&S colors on other holiday themes would not work. But, R&S colors for non-holiday themes such as for birthday and inspirational may work.

And just like themes, some colors work for certain products and not for others. For instance, the decorative flag industry uses bright colors so that images standout and can be seen 40 feet away. The R&S pastel hues will not work for flags but may work if they are more saturated in color or are paired with other colors. Check out Pantone’s website for suggested colors to pair with Rose Quartz and Serenity colors.

Should artists use color trends?
Sure they should use color trends but only IF the art they are creating for products will sell the products for manufacturers! And, the only way to know what colors work for the manufacturers is by studying their websites and websites of retailers that sell their products. For information about the different product industries and some links to manufacturers that licensing art, click HERE.

Researching manufactures and the product industries that sell their products is a lot of work! But, it is worth the effort to have a better chance in licensing your art.

References
[1] “About PANTONE” - Pantone®

[2] “The Pantone Color of the Year for 2016” - Garrett Specialties Blog

[3] “What Pantone’s 2016 Color of the Year Selections Could Mean for Senior Living” - Glynn Devins

[4] “Surprise: Pantone’s Color of the Year is actually two colors” -Washington Post

[5] “Introducing Rose Quartz & Serenity” Pantone®

[6] “Pantone's Color(s) of the Year for 2016!” - Apartment Therapy

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, May 15, 2016

Art Licensing Editorial: How to Create Art that is Licensable

Artists that are new to the art licensing industry are often frustrated that they have not been able to license their art to manufacturers (licensees). They may have been successful in selling their art at street fairs, in art galleries, or e-stores like Etsy. But, the art licensing industry is very different than these types of venues since licensees do not just sell to individuals but to the mass market through retail via multiple channels of distribution. Thus, art must appeal to a wide range of consumers.

In the art licensing industry, the reason why licensees license art to be placed on their products is to entice consumers to purchase them. So licensees look for well executed art with themes that are popular with consumers. Each licensee has specific art needs that often change with the fluctuation in economy, technology and trends. Even in the different product industries such as greeting cards, or decorative flags or fabrics each licensee tends to license art with a certain art style(s). It is a MUST that artists make sure their art style(s) and themes fit the licensee product line(s) BEFORE submitting art to them so that they do not waste their own time and the time of licensees.

Informative articles about the different product industries and links to licensee websites that license art can be found on the sidebar on my blog under "Topics/Manufacturers".

Note: The title of this article is somewhat misleading because it insinuates that the information given in the article provides a full-proof way to get licensing deals. Unfortunately, there is no formula that will achieve that result. But this article does discuss what is required so that images submitted to licensees have a better chance in being licensed.

Why isn't all art licensable?
The art licensing industry has hundreds of artists that are successful in licensing their art because 1) the art technique is well executed, and 2) the art style(s), and 3) themes are wanted by licensees for their products. If any of these key components are missing, the art is not licensable or is difficult to license. The following discusses the art techniques that makes art well executed, art styles used for products, and art themes that are popular with consumers and licensed by licensees. Read the related article, "Editorial: Not all art is licensable"

• Well-Executed Art
Agents do not want to represent an artist and licensees will not license the art if the artist's work is not good enough. In other words, the art technique is not well- executed and the main reason why artists have difficulty in licensing their work.

Well-executed art has pleasing colors and the objects, and colors in the art is well balanced so that the viewer's eyes moves all over it. Below is information on art techniques (composition, color saturation, color combinations) that are important in well-executed art.

A. Color Saturation

Saturation of color depicts how pure or intense the color is; not diluted with white or gray or black. Unsaturated/de-saturated color can become dull if too much white or muddy if too much black is added to a saturated color. For example, the paint colors cadmium yellow, cadmium red, and ultramarine are highly saturated while yellow ochre, venetian red, and indigo are dark and unsaturated.  For more information about color saturation read, "What is Saturation?

Using a variation of color saturation in the art gives contrast to images so that they standout. If TOO MUCH color saturation is used in the image, there is a loss in shading and contrast in the images. While TOO MUCH unsaturated color makes the art dull or muddy looking. Thus, a good balance between saturated and unsaturated colors should be used in achieving well-executed art for products.

However, some industries such as wall décor tend to license art that has moderately dark de-saturated colors. And, licensees that sell baby clothing and accessories mainly use art with light de-saturated colors (pastels). Although, more saturated art and designs for baby products is now trending. In Photoshop, using the Hue/Saturation or Curves functions can easily alter the color saturation of images.

B. Color Combinations
Using pleasing and popular color combinations in art is important for the art to be licensed. As is stated in "Basic color schemes - Introduction to Color Theory" . . . "With colors you can set a mood, attract attention, or make a statement. By selecting the right color scheme, you can create an ambiance of elegance, warmth or tranquility, or you can convey an image of playful youthfulness. Color can be your most powerful design element if you learn to use it effectively." Read the above article to learn more about color theory and get links to websites with apps to create color combinations. Also check-out the article, "100 Brilliant Color Combinations and How to Apply Them to Your Designs."

Certain color combinations are popular and expected to be used on art for holidays and certain themes. For instance, Valentine's Day art should have red and white; baby and Easter - pastel colors; Halloween - black and orange; Christmas - traditional dark red and green; Saint Patrick's Day - greens; nautical - blues; patriotic - red white and blue.

Although, often these traditional color combinations may vary depending on type of products, trends, art styles and demographics. Currently colors for Halloween are bright fluorescent looking shades of orange, blue, green, pink, and yellow with black besides the traditional orange and black. Un-saturated colors of red, white and blue with a distressed art style are being used for some nautical art. And, bright red and chartreuse green with a whimsical art style is used for youthful and fun Christmas images.

For the last several years, a black background was used for many art themes but now not as much. Duo toned (red/black, white/black, grey/black, turquoise/white, etc.) graphic and flower patterns are now trending for home decor, clothing and accessories, kitchen, paper products and more.

C. Art Compositions
The correct placement of motifs AND color in a design or painting is an important aspect in achieving a good composition. Design principles like the Rule of Thirds creates balance in the composition. The Rule of Odds makes a composition more dynamic and interesting. And, the Rule of Simplification eliminates the clutter in the composition so the viewer can concentrate on primary objects. There are many more design principles so read, "Creating Licensable Art: Composition Tips" for more information about them and links to other articles that have more in depth explanations and examples.

• Art Styles
Not all art styles (traditional/realistic, whimsical, abstract, cartoon, stylized, graphic, distressed, etc.) are licensable for ALL product industries, or even by licensees in the same industry. That is because of the kind of products licensees sell, the demographics of their customers, and their distribution channel. For instance, abstract art may be licensable for fabric and wall décor but not for many other industries. And, humor and cartoon art styles and themes may be licensed by some licensees in the greeting card industry but not by other licensees in the card industry.

Art styles used on products change over time depending on trends and other factors. So styles that were predominate five years ago for certain product industries are gradually being replaced by other art styles. For example, in the greeting card industry whimsical and stylized styles are now more prevalent than the traditional realistic art styles. And, instead of using mainly traditional and SOME whimsical styles, the decorative flag industry now uses whimsical, stylized, distressed and SOME realistic art styles.

• Themes
Some artists create art with a theme they like and then try to find a manufacturer that will license it. But successful licensed artists create art to be put on products with themes for the mass market or niche market that they know is popular with the consumers for those markets.

Knowledge is power. Knowing what kind of images that a licensee want is crucial in being able to get deals. For example, most licensees in the greeting card industry want art that gives a meaningful and sentimental feeling. And, the decorative flag licensees want art that is colorful with central images that can be distinguished 20 feet away.

Although licensees say that you want new art, many are not willing to take a chance on introducing themes that may not sell. So they tend to license art with themes that are popular with consumers and proven sellers of their products. Hint: Art with popular themes and have a fresh new look are often licensed.

Below is a list of some popular art themes.
– Nature - flowers (sunflowers, daisies, geraniums, etc.) birdhouses, butterflies, garden birds, dragonflies, frogs, roosters, etc.
– Coastal and Beach scenes - seashells, lighthouses, sea birds, flip-flops, umbrellas, beach chairs, etc.
– Patriotic - American flags, patriotic colored flowers, stars, fireworks, etc.
– Easter - eggs, bunnies, flowers, religious crosses and scenes, etc.
– Christmas - Santa, snowmen, cardinals, poinsettias, pinecones, snowflakes, reindeer, religious scenes, etc.
– Halloween - pumpkins, scarecrows, spider webs, crows, non-scary witches and monsters, etc.

The concept "less is more" of simple duo colored patterns has replaced art themes on many products such as gift bags, gift wrap, totes, plastic tumblers, etc. Read "Art Licensing Editorial - 2016 January Atlanta Market Trends" for more information and pictures about this art trend and other trends seen at the 2016 January Atlanta gift show.

How to recognize if your art is good enough
Just because your family and friends love your art and you get accolades from other artists does not necessarily mean that the art you create is licensable. Of course, if you are getting contracts you know your art is good enough to get licensed. But if you are not, then maybe your art technique needs improving or you are not creating the right themes. So, how do you find out?

It is better to get input from persons that are known experts in the art licensing industry such as art licensing coaches/consultants than from family and friends. But even coaches will not be helpful if they do not give constructive criticism and are not able to give suggestions on how to improve the art. Coaches may be experts in the art licensing industry but art direction or giving constructive criticism is not always their forte. So if at all possible, get recommendations or ask the coach before you hire her/him. Some art licensing coaches are listed in the article "On Art Licensing Coaches (consultants)".

Another way to determine if your art is good enough is to be IMPARTIAL and compare your art with art that has already been licensed. Study the art that has a similar art style as yours. Ask yourself questions like: What makes the licensed art outstanding; colors, placement of icons? Is my art as good as the licensed art or does it need to be improved? Hint: This method in recognizing that your art is not good enough will NOT work unless you are brutally honest when comparing your art with the licensed art. Note: An excellent e-store to compare decorative flag art with licensed flag art is Flagsrus. And, the Leanin' Tree website is a great site for comparing your art to licensed greeting card art.

Read my (Joan Beiriger) journey on improving my art to make it licensable in "Editorial: Is Your Art Good Enough to License?" The article also discusses more ways to find out if your art is good enough to be licensable.

Conclusion
Creating art for products for the art licensing industry is NOT a hobby. It cannot be a hobby if you want to be successful in getting licensing deals and continue to get deals. It is not a couple of hours a week job but for some artists a 12 hour or more a day job. Artists are willing to spend countless hours because they are passionate in creating art for products, seeing their art on them, and hopefully earn enough money to make the hard work worthwhile.

Successful licensed artists are prolific in creating art. They are constantly looking for inspiration for art to create and are continually improving the quality of their art. They are very observant wherever they are and look at designs and colors on products in retail stores, on e-stores, social media, and the clothing people are wearing to see what is trending. Researching for manufacturers that license art to see what type of art styles and themes they are licensing is a MUST if an artist does not have an art licensing agent to represent them. Note: It is well known that the more prolific artists are in creating licensable art, the more licensing deals they will get.

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, April 17, 2016

Art Licensing Show.com® - One Year Old & Growing


It has been a year since Art Licensing Show.com® (ALSC) first launched their website. And, it is proving to be a popular and successful method for art directors to view images for licensing consideration and for artists to easily connect with art directors.

In case you do not know about ALSC, it is a online website that with one password art directors that license art (licensees) can view thousands of images created by hundreds of artists (licensors). Once the art director becomes a member (at no cost) she/he can see examples of artists’ work, choose potential artist work, and request permission to connect with the artist to view it, or specific themes, or all of their work.

At a reasonable price, the ALSC membership subscription plan allows artists and art licensing agents to upload art into their own secured portfolio on the ALSC website. Artists have complete control in allowing or not allowing licensee members to view some or the entire portfolio.

Note: Artists also has the option to become a member at no cost. They are able to connect with other members and have access to discussion groups and resource pages. But, their art will not be marketed by ALSC and they will not have a portfolio. Thus, they cannot show their work on the ALSC site to licensee members.

As an additional benefit, ALSC is a full-fledged social media site that is focused on art licensing and where members can ask questions and share information in a variety of discussion groups.

Read artist Cherish Flieder's article “Celebrating Art & Licensing” about how the Art Licensing Show began and how to become a member. Also, read “Art Licensing Show.com® - What is all the excitement about?"

1st Year Accomplishments
ALSC is not only successful in continual increasing membership but it has become a wonderful and flourishing community of members that share information and help others become successful in licensing their art. Members have stepped up and volunteered to moderate the different social media groups, give suggestions on improving ALSC, and brainstorming on marketing the ALSC site and ALSC portfolio licensors work.

• Growth
There are now 700 members consisting of licensees, artists, licensing agents, licensing coaches/consultants, and art licensing attorneys. Licensee members represent a huge variety of product industries such as fabric, decorative flags, greeting cards, gift bags, gift wraps, calendars, paper party ware, jigsaw puzzles, toys, wall décor, pillows, checks, coloring books, giftware, and much more. They sell their products to individual retailers, small and huge chain stores, e-stores, non-profit organizations, and as print-on-demand to consumers and retailers.

ALSC has 27 specialized groups that members can join to discuss and share just about anything related to licensing art. Some of the groups concentrate on product designs such as tabletop, greeting cards, home décor, gifts, and textiles. Other groups discuss trends, marketing, tips/techniques for creating art, and post the latest news in the art licensing industry. There is even an art submission group where licensees request art themes they want to license. And, there is a monthly art challenge group, a monthly text chat group, and much more.

• Marketing
ALSC constantly markets licensor profile member’s art on many social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, ALSC blog, and posts videos on YouTube. Last year, a group of ALSC members brainstormed on taking advantage of the popular adult coloring book craze to promote ALSC and portfolio licensor members art. They recommended that ALSC publish a coloring book as a free pdf file to be downloaded and printed by anyone. The images could then be shared by family and friends and given to persons in hospitals, shelters, care facilities, and schools to bring happiness and healing by the simple act of coloring beautiful images.

So last December, a 92 page coloring book “Enjoy the Simple things: A Holiday Coloring Book for kids 1 to 92” was released with art created by 70 ALSC artists. The book has been downloaded nearly seven thousand times and shared all over the world. A free pdf file can still be downloaded at
“92 Free Holiday Coloring Pages to Print & Share!” AND a printed bound book can be purchased on amazon.com.

Note: The coloring book project was very successful! So stay tuned for future ALSC promotional projects.

Member Opportunities and Experiences
• Reasons why licensees and licensors joined ALSC

Below are statements from a few members on why they joined ALSC.

1. Susan January, VP of the greeting card company Leanin’ Tree stated in “Presenting Artlicensingshow.Com – A 24/7 Virtual Art Licensing Show” that “I truly believe this site has great potential to help make my work more streamlined and efficient. Coming to one site, as opposed to a hundred different artists’ sites, is a fantastic benefit to me.”

2. Artist Annie Troe in her blog article “Why I am on Art Licensing Show .com!” wrote that
- It is the ONLY Art Licensing Show online.
- Be listed in the ultimate art licensing directory.
- No cost or low cost depending on if you are an Artist or Art Director/Manufacturer.
- Connect with industry leaders – It is a social network dedicated to Art Licensing.


3. Artist Karen Embry stated in her blog article, “Art Licensing Show Celebrates One Year Anniversary” that “With so many options/pricing plans for membership, there is something to fit in every artist’s budget. Art directors can join at no cost."

4. "I (Joan Beiriger) thoroughly agree with both Annie and Karen. An added bonus in being a member of ALSC is that I am able to connect directly with art directors and ask questions. I cannot do that with art directors that are not on the site unless I have already built a relationship with her/him. Also, because ALSC is constantly promoting licensor portfolio members work, my art is being marketed all over the internet at no additional price. You can't beat that!"

• ALSC Member’s Success
One of the most asked questions by artists who are considering joining ALSC, is if artists are getting licensing deals from licensors members and how many. The answer is YES artists are getting deals but there is no way to tell how many because ALSC is not an art licensing agency and artists are not required to report if they have signed a contract. Also most artists do not broadcast their success and those that do wait until the product is introduced into the market. That normally takes a year or more.  But, several ALSC artists have shared their success. Read what they have to say.

1. In artist Annie Troes blog article “Celebrating 1 year!” Annie states, “It has brought me opportunities/manufacturers I didn't know about and sped up my ability to connect with the wonderful art licensing community. Signed a contract to be announced and have another manufacturer shopping my art around to some big stores! This and more has happened for me because of ALSC.”

2. "I (Joan Beiriger) also had the same experience as Annie on ALSC although I have not yet signed a contract. Many art directors are interested in my art and three of them from different industries are shopping many images and collections to large chain stores. I never would have been able to contact these licensees or even realized that several of them license art if I was not an ALSC licensor portfolio member."

3. Illustrator Valerie Hart stated in the interview article, “Coffee & Conversations From Studio to Store” that “The most important way ALSC has impacted my art business is with licensing deals! I’ve signed two in the last six months and I’m currently at the contract negotiating stage with two more manufacturers.”

Hint: Artists who are the most successful in connecting and getting licensing contracts with manufacturers not on ALSC use the same techniques when approaching ALSC licensee members. They do their homework and make sure that their art style and themes fit the licensee product lines before approaching art directors. Thus, successful ALSC licensor members do their homework, are proactive in asking ALSC licensor members to connect with them, and follow-up with a short message describing why her/his art will sell their products. There are so many artists on ALSC that sitting back and waiting for an art director to contact you does NOT work.

To find out more about how to become a ALSC member click here.

If you are an ALSC member and would like to share why you became a member and/or have a ALSC success story that you are willing to share, please write about it in the comment section of this article. Everyone would love to read it!

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/

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Art Licensing: Mary Engelbreit's Amazing and Continued Licensing Success!

With over 40 years of licensing her art, artist Mary Engelbreit® is still going strong, continuing to draw and license her art. As she states in her biography "I plan to drop dead at my art table. I can't explain to you the pleasure and true happiness I get from drawing! I'm just so glad other people like it, too!" That statement expresses what other artists feel when they are passionate about creating art, and that is a major attribute needed to be successful.

Mary Engelbreit is successful, VERY successful! Mary Engelbreit Studios now has contracts with dozens of manufacturers who have produced more than 6,500 products, with more than USD 1 billion in lifetime retail sales.

Mary and her staff continue to license her art so that the growth is not so fast that it floods the market and damages the Mary Engelbreit brand. They also protect the brand by making sure that they choose manufacturers that reproduce Mary's artwork as faithful to her original art as possible.

 
Mary Engelbreit Partners with studio•m
Recently Mary Engelbreit partnered with studio•m by magnet works to produce her own unique version of a miniature fairy garden. Merriment is an adorably different kind of fairy gardening line that is full of character and personality. The line was introduced by studio•m at the 2016 Atlanta Gift show. View the video "Introducing Merriment by Mary Engelbreit" that shows how the line was developed.

Why is the Mary Engelbreit Brand Successful?
For most artists, overnight success is a myth, but not for Mary Engelbreit once she started selling her greeting cards in 1983 at the New York National Stationery Show. Her initial offering of 12 cards at that show quickly grew to almost a hundred cards by 1986 and had blossomed into a million-dollar-a-year business.

I have stated in other articles that "Art brands tend to sell more products than non-brands because the customer base grows as the brand becomes more popular. To become a brand that is recognized by consumers the art must be unique and different from other art. And, to become successful and stay successful the brand must resonate some emotional response with the consumer, appeal to a wide spectrum of consumers, grow slowly, and stay true to the look of the brand but continue to be refreshed."

That is exactly what Mary Engelbreit has done with her brand and why it is so successful. Her brand has a huge fan base because Mary's art is cute, unique, and resonates with the consumer. Her art style is widely recognized and sought after by consumers, and has appeared on a wide range of products including greeting cards, calendars, T-shirts, mugs, children and gift books, rubber stamps, ceramic figurines, jewelry, fabric, kitchen accessories, home décor toys, baby clothing, apparel, bags, medical scrubs, and anything else you can imagine. Thus, there have been and continue to be lots of products that consumers can purchase as gifts or for themselves.

Career Highlights
Below is a list of some highlights of Mary's career that I gleaned by reading articles, reading the book "Mary Engelbreit - The Art and the Aritst", and watching videos. See the below reference section for links to articles and videos.

• 1977 - Mary went to New York to sell her illustrations for children's books to publishers but was unsuccessful. One art director recommended that she instead create greeting cards.

• 1983 - Mary exhibited at National Stationery Show with her small 12 card line. She also hired an agent and started licensing her art for other products.

• 1986 - Mary's greeting card business had grown into a million-dollar-a-year business. She decided to license her card images to Sunrise Publications so that she would have more time to create art.

• Early 1980s to mid-1990s -Twelve Mary Englebreit stores were opened in malls across the United States. But they were closed by the mid-'90s because it took too much work and time that infringed on Mary creating art.

• 1996 to 2009 - Mary was editor-in-chief of the award-winning creative lifestyle magazine “Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion” covering topics such as family life, food, decorating, craft projects, flea markets and collectibles. Even though it had a large following, the lose of advertising revenue during the recession caused Mary to stop publishing the magazine in 2009.

• 2001 - Mary saw her original dream come true when she signed a contract to illustrate children's books for HarperCollins. Her debut book, "The Night Before Christmas," has appeared almost every year during the holidays for 13 years on the New York Times best-seller list.

Note: Mary Engelbreit is one of a select few artists with three New York Times children books best sellers.

• 2014 - animated video released of Mary Engelbreit's children's book "The Night Before Christmas". See the reference section for the link to the video that shows how the animation was made.

Accolades and Awards
Mary Engelbeit has received numerous awards and honors for her art during her licensing career. Listed below are a few of them.

• 1998 - Wall Street Journal described Mary Engelbreit as "building a vast empire of cuteness".

• 2000 - Mary was listed as the second best-selling licensed property Annual LIMA Gala & Awards Ceremony for the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA)– second only to Winnie the Pooh.

• 2000 and 2002 - Mary Engelbreit was honored with the “Best Art License of the Year” awards at the Annual LIMA Gala & Awards Ceremony for the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA).

• 2001 - Indoctrinated into the St. Louis Walk of Fame for her art and the national impact on St. Louis cultural heritage.

• Mary Engelbreit continues to be one of the most prolific artists in the United States and was dubbed "a Norman Rockwell for our times" by People magazine.

• 2013 - Mary Engelbreit was honored with the Louie Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Greeting Card Association.

References
• Article - "Mary Engelbreit: Artist and Entrepreneur" Note: You may not be able to see the text until you answer the one question in the dialog box below the title.

• Article - "Q&A: A Conversation with Mary Engelbreit"

• Book - "Mary Engelbreit: The Art And The Artist" published by Andrews and McMeel in 1996 and sold on amazon.com.

• Video - "Mary Engelbreit Lifetime Achievement Award Video" This video was shown at the “Best Art License of the Year” awards at the Annual LIMA Gala & Awards Ceremony for the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA). In it Mary discusses her art and inspiration.

• Video - "KETC | Living St. Louis | Mary Engelbreit" This video shows how an animation of Mary Engelbreit's children's book "The Night Before Christmas" was made into an animation video.


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/ ).

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Art Licensing Editorial - 2016 January Atlanta Market Trends

I do not know if the expected 95,000 visitors and buyers attended the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market. And, it was hard to tell if there was more traffic than last year. But, the show definitely had a lot of people crowding the elevators, escalators, hallways and especially the large showrooms that have a wide range of products. A successful 2015 year allowed some distributors to radically expand their Atlanta showroom and for manufacturers to not only expand their existing product lines but to add new product lines. Read about the showroom expansions on "Direct from Market: Robust Atlanta Kicks Off Market Season".

Examples of companies with new product lines introduced at Atlanta are Hallmark and studio•m (formerly Magnet Works). Hallmark known for its greeting cards, gifts and ornaments introduced their new line called Hallmark Home & Gifts. The goal of the new line is to "help . . . customers create a stylish, yet comfortable home." And, studio•m introduced two new product lines. One is a very unique fairy garden named Merriment and designed by the well-known artist Mary Engelbreit. The second new introduction is a collection of outdoor kinetic art named Kaleidoscope and designed by artist Carol Roeda. View videos of studio•m new product lines by clicking HERE.

2016 Pantone Colors of the Year

Every year I always look forward to seeing how the different showrooms showcase their products featuring the Pantone Color of the year. Companies always depend upon the products they already have because they have little time to prepare the display; Pantone announces the color in December and the show is in January. For 2016 Pantone announced for the first time two colors of the year - feminine pastel Rose Quartz and pastel blue Serenity. Those colors made it impossible for many companies to display their products with Pantone colors because a majority of gift companies (other than products just for women) do not use pastels on their products but instead they use much brighter, rustic, or muted colors. It should be interesting to see if the introduction of new products in showrooms at the 2017 gift shows will have 2016 Pantone colors.

Even most of the interior designers that created vignettes for the Pantone Design Exhibition at AmericasMart did not use 2016 Pantone Colors of the year with the exception of designer Kristin Alber. She created the unusual feminine office space using products with 2016 Pantone Colors of the Year that is pictured above.

Product Trends
I am sure there were lots of products trending at Atlanta but the show was so large I could not spot them all. Below are some that I did notice.


• Adult Coloring Books
Not surprising adult coloring books predominated showrooms that sold paper products. In fact, International Arrivals and Wellspring in the Southeast Marketing (distributor) showroom sponsored adult coloring seminars by artist Joanne Fink on "How to Host Coloring party Events" and "How to Merchandise Coloring Products Well in Stores." They also had demonstrations by artists coloring the images in books that the artist had created. Read "International Arrivals, Wellspring Host Coloring Seminars at Americasmart".

• Product Lines
More companies at this show appeared to be branching out into other products lines. Not "putting all their eggs in one basket" seems to be a necessity to stay in business. For years, gift companies have been branching out with product lines that do not necessarily relate to their core products. Therefore, gift company that use to have only wall decor and figurines may now also have clothing, perfume, hand lotion and jewelry lines. The most crowded showrooms were those that had a huge variety of product lines while the showrooms that had only one or two product lines were empty. Note: To get maximum visibility of their products some companies have their own showroom, showcase their products in a distributor showroom, and may even have a booth in the temporary sections of the show.

• Decorative Flags
More companies are adding decorative flags to their product lines and more new flag manufacturers are emerging resulting in more opportunities for artists to license their art for flags. But the downside is that the competition among flag companies is greater which could cause less sales of individual images and not allow artists to earn as much revenue per licensing deal.

• Use of LED lights
Although not new, the use of LED lights on Christmas decorations, wall decor, decorative flags and all kinds of decorative glass containers was widespread. Lit up wall decor and other products are very popular with consumers and sell well according to a few buyers I spoke with.  

• Kitchen Cookware
Many of the showrooms with kitchen products had very simple and contemporary looking products that had very colorful solid colors without any art. Matching trivets and other kitchen items have fret design cutouts such as chevron patterns that are very popular and seen on all kinds of products.

Design Trends
Years ago, designs started with the fashion industry and filtered down first to the home décor industry and then to the craft and gift industries. According to well-known international trend guru Patti Carpenter*, trends no longer filter down from fashion to home décor but happen at the same time which reduces the time in filtering down to other industries. Thus, the trends in the gift industry follow the trends in fashion and home décor more quickly.

Many of the designs and looks that were prevalent last year or at the 2014 Atlanta show were not as widespread this year. Some of the showrooms still display rustic distressed style art on their products but not as many showrooms had distressed products as last year. The concept of woodland creatures seems to have disappeared although owls, foxes and bears are still seen on products. The concept "less is more" of simple duo colored patterns has replaced art themes on many products such as gift bags, gift wrap, totes, plastic tumblers, etc. See below for more information about duo colored patterns.

* Information from the conference "Through the Looking Glass: A Study in Contrasts" by Patti Carpenter that I attended at the show.

• Patterns
Plaids, paisley, stylized flowers, gingham, damask, animal fur, polka dots, stripes, tribal designs and simple designs are on a huge amount of products from fashion to gift ware. Animal fur designs are trending down and not seen as often while tribal designs seem to be trending up. Polka dots, stripes and chevrons seem to be evergreen and stable designs that will continue to be used on products. Plaids are seen mainly on clothing but are also seen on plush animals and some gift products. Pastel gingham designs tend to be used for baby products. Colorful paisley and stylized flower patterns are seen on beachwear; usable products such as knifes, pens, pencils; paper products like albums and note books, etc.
The most used patterns on products seen at Atlanta were simple duo colored patterns such as variations of fretwork (interlaced decorative design) and fleur-de-lis (stylized lily). Many of the simple designs are based on Gothic architecture such as fretwork and ornamental designs. These include variations of the fretwork chevron and quatrefoil (means four leaves and is four partially overlapping circles) designs. Chevron and quatrefoil designs were very prevalent on a huge variety of products in AmericasMart showrooms. Variations of chevron designs are shown in the above picture #2 (black and white ribbon), #3 (totes and dresses), and #4 (green colored products). Quatrefoil designs are shown in the above picture #1 (turquoise gift bag), and #4 (turquoise colored products).

White designs on black or gray give an elegant look to products and are seen on clothing, totes, purses, rugs, lampshades etc. It was obvious that a simple white-patterned design on black is VERY popular by just looking at the clothing worn by women attendees at the Atlanta show. White designs on brilliant colors give a youthful and playful look as seen on products in the above pictures.

• Text
Some Atlanta showrooms still have the typical B&W chalkboard inspirational words and sayings. Words and sayings are still prevalent on wood and ceramic plaques but not all are inspirational. Also seen are inspiration sayings with colorful art, humorous sayings with colorful simple images, sayings for coastal, lodge, and man caves. And, some word(s) are manipulated into artistic shapes making it a piece of art.

• Coastal
The coastal theme is still trending and this year mermaid images were widespread in showrooms. All shades of blues and whites were seen on coastal products but turquoise was more prevalent.

• Christmas
Traditional Christmas colors of deep red and green was more prevalent than the playful bright red and chartreuse green. Several years ago it was predicted that Santa would take over the popularity of snowmen and that is what was seen in the showrooms dedicated to Christmas products. Although, snowmen are still popular and so are angels and reindeer. Less popular are penguins, polar bears, gingerbread men, nutcrackers, soldiers, stockings, mittens, etc.

Related Articles:
"Art Licensing Editorial: 2014 Atlanta Gift Show - trends"

"Art Licensing Editorial: 2015 January Atlanta Gift Show"

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/ ).