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Art Licensing by artist Joan Beiriger: I'm happy to share art licensing info but please
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Monday, November 2, 2009

Finding Manufacturers that License Art


Artists often ask if there is a list of manufacturers that license art. Unfortunately I am aware of only a few sources that lists a variety of product manufacturers but they are expensive. But a free list of greeting card manufacturers is available on artist Kate Harper's blog.

So where can you find manufacturers that license art? Well it is mostly done by research which takes a lot of time and effort. Or you can sign on with an art licensing agency and let them do the work of contacting manufacturers for you. A good agency has hundreds if not thousands of contact information for manufacturers that they have accumulated over many years of research. They also have contacts that many artists working alone would have a hard time making such as manufacturers that only do mail order or direct-to-retail.

And once you find manufacturers, your work is just beginning because you then have to find out if your art style will fit in their product lines. You also need to contact them in order to find out the contact person to get submission guidelines. Some of that information may be on manufacturer websites but in many cases you still need to call. Below are some links and suggestions on how to find manufacturers that license art.

Links to lists of manufacturers that license art
1. Free list of Greeting Card Companies. Kate Harper is maintaining a free list of greeting card manufactures with contact information and links to submission guidelines in her blog article "Artist & Writer Submission Guidelines."

2. Source Book. EPM Communications publishes a yearly Source Book that lists (among other information) manufacturers that license art. However, I do not feel that the expense of the book ($375) is worthwhile for art licensors. Read my blog article "Licensing Resource - EPM Communications" for the reason why.

3. LIMA Licensing DataBase. LIMA (International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association) maintains a list of licensees but you must belong to LIMA in order to access contact information in it. I am not a member so I do not know if the information on the list is valuable for art licensing. LIMA seems to focus more on character and brand licensing than art so it may not be worthwhile to join just to be able to access their database. I could not find the cost of membership on their site but I suspect that it is expensive.

Ways to find manufactures that license art
1. Window Shop. Look at products in a variety of stores, check information on hang tags for the manufacturer, and search for the manufacturer on the internet to get contact and art submission information.

2. Trade Magazines. Read trade magazines and look at advertisements for manufacturers that license art. Kate Harper has a good list of trade magazines in her blog article "List of Trade Magazines for Card and Gift Industry."

3. Licenses that are Recently Granted. The License Finder database of licenses that have been recently granted on the License Magazine website can be searched by property, licensee products, agent/licensor, and category to find art licensed and the manufacturer that licensed it. This database is dependent upon licensors and licensees entering the information into it and unfortunately not enough do. As a result, it is VERY incomplete. But you still can find some manufacturers that license art and use that information to search the internet for their websites.

4. Trade Show Vendor Directories. Looking at trade shows directories is a good way to find manufacturers but not all the manufacturers license art so you will have your work cut out for you in finding ones that do. Another source is to look at lists of permanent manufacturer showrooms located in major US cities. The largest is in the AmericasMartAtanta (Mart) with over 5000 permanent showrooms. During the January Atlanta Gift Show the number of manufacturers swells with the addition of over 5000 temporary booths. By checking the Mart permanent showroom exhibitor directory you will be able to find the names of manufactures by category (i.e. gift wrap/ packaging, greeting cards, linens/decorative textiles). Some of them have paid for a virtual store advertising so that you can see examples of their products and contact information. For most you will need to search the internet in order to get contact information from their websites.

5. Walk Trade Shows. You need the proper credentials to attend trade shows but walking trade shows is a good way to find manufacturers that licensed art. Unfortunately many trade shows are getting smaller and not as many manufacturers are exhibiting. The Gift Show in Atlanta is the largest one in the US and a good way to find manufacturers that license art.

6. Exhibit at Licensing Shows. Although exhibiting at licensing shows is expensive, it is one of the best ways to find manufacturers that license art. The Surtex show in May seems to be the show that draws the most manufacturers looking for art. Read "Art Licensing Trade Shows" article for a list of licensing shows.

Read more articles about manufacturers by visiting the Manufacturers section of this blog.  Some include links to manufacturers that license art.

8 comments:

  1. Another wonderful Article! Thanks for helping artists.

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  2. Thanks Joan, just getting started with full scale licensing efforts for my artwork, appreciate your share!

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  3. Hi Joan, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your insight and advice on your blog. You are very generous.

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  4. Thank you for this article, Joan. It is very helpful.

    Stacey Montgomery
    Stacey M Design
    http://www.staceymdesign.com

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  5. Hi Joan,
    I think it is so wonderful that you are willing to share so much with all of us. I can't thank you enough for your generosity and knowledge. It is so appreciated. Janet

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  6. really happy to have stumbled across your blog. I hope to have some representation for my work in the coming year.
    Best wishes to you and all your readers
    CArrie

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  7. When submitting art to a manufacturer or agency, what information have you found to be most important to include? If you are not a well-known brand like Disney or Marvel, then what about a brand makes it a desirable license for a manufacturer or agency to take on?

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  8. Hi Anonymous,
    You referred to a brand in regards to artists. Now a days there are very few manufacturers and agents that believe that artists are brands. But what they really mean is it does not matter if an artist is a brand because the majority of consumers do not purchase products with art on them because it was created by a certain artist but because they like the art. So what manufactures are looking for is that the art style and themes appeal to consumers. And the best way to find that out is to research the manufacturers product lines via online, in retail stores or at trade shows. Agents not only are looking for artists that have art that appeals to consumers but have a variety of themes (holiday, flowers, coastal, animals, party, etc.), a large body of work, and know Photoshop to manipulate art to fit different product shapes. So make sure you include that information when you ask an agent for representation.
    Joan

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