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Art Licensing by artist Joan Beiriger: I'm happy to share art licensing info but please
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Friday, January 29, 2010

Licensing Art to the Greeting Card Industry

Art for greeting cards should show a "me-to-you" situation and/or touch the heart and generate an "ah" response in the consumer. Some examples of art with a me-to-you response are shown and explained by agent Suzanne Cruise in her article "How to Keep Art Fresh & New: Reworking Old Art for Today's Greeting Card Market."

There are many card manufacturers and each manufacturer has different needs. Some manufacturers want art styles that are realistic and tightly rendered, some want a water color loose style, and others want a more graphic style that can be embellished with metallics, glitter, etc. But overall, manufacturers are usually looking for artist's work that:
1. generates the "ah" response,
2. is unique,
3. the style does not compete with another artist(s) style that the manufacturer is already licensing,* and
4. the artist has a body of work that can be put together into a cohesive collection.**

*If the manufacturer already have contracts in place with one or several artists that has a certain type of style or subject matter and is successful, then they most likely will not be interested in licensing a another artist work that is similar. Of course, there is always exceptions because the manufacturer may need additional art in certain categories and/or they may deem that your art is different enough that it will not compete with their existing artists work and "dilute" the line.

** Having a set/collection of greeting cards that go together is not imperative but it sure gets the manufacturers attention when you do. Also, if you are fortunate to license a collection of cards to a manufacturer and the collection is placed in its own separate section of the rack it makes a bigger impact than if you license one design at a time and the card is mixed with other card styles.

Note: Read Kate Haper's article "Greeting card submission guidelines - Artist & Writer Submission Guidelines for Greeting Card Companies" for a list of greeting card manufacturers and their guidelines. Also check out card design tips on Kate Harper's blog.

Any information or comments that you would like to share about this article would be greatly appreciated. Click on the comment section below.


  1. Thanks for mentioning my resources! I think your 4 points are right on-Kate

  2. I am so glad to have found you. Thank you for your information. I have recently gone into handmade card design full time and am looking to find a company to license or purchase my design, not sure which is the best way to go or how to approach anyone as handmade cards look better when seen than when emailed. I have created designs that can be mass manufactured and also a range of lettering. Any help would be useful. I live in London and have been searching for weeks for informative information and yours seems the most. Thank you and thank you again. Warm Regards. Kim Teasdale

  3. Hi Kim, I'm glad that my blog articles help. Make sure that you check out Kate Harper's blog that I listed in the above article because she has lots of articles relating to licensing art to the greeting card industry. You are right that hand made cards look best when seen in person. However, you are at a disadvantage by living in London and hoping to license to U.S. manufacturers. It would cost you a fortune to send samples. What I would do is take excellent pictures of several cards with maybe closeups of sections of them. Include the pics in your query letters to manufacturers and mention that you have many more so they should contact you. Good luck! Joan

  4. Hi Joan,
    I'm just starting out and wanted to tell you what a wonderful site you have! Thank you for all the informative articles and links your generosity is a gift!
    Warm Regards Brooke Luder