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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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Licensing Art to the Flag Industry

There are many companies that manufacturer flags but most of them are for niche markets such as flags for individual US states, landmarks, national and state parks, museums, sports, and colleges. I have found only a few manufacturers that license art and those are for the decorative and garden flag industry. A decorative flag is usually large (28 by 40 inches) and hangs from a pole that is attached to a building. A garden flag is ususally small (12 by 18 inches or smaller) that hangs from a metal stand that is inserted into the ground.

Manufacturers license various art styles from traditional to illustrative. Art themes are for everyday such as garden, floral, animal, and inspirational or for specific holidays. Some of the manufacturers also license basic motif/icon art for their applique stitched flags. Just with every industry, decorative and garden flag manufacturers are looking for certain things in art.

Flag manufacturers normally want art that is:
1. unique,
2. that "pops,"*
3. has saturated colors, and
4. is in a vertical format.**

* For flags, image(s) must be easily discernible five or more feet away. That means that the background cannot be so busy that the main/central image blends into it.

** The design ratio for flags is normally 7/10. That ratio is approximately the same ratio of the standard size of greeting cards (5 by 7 inch). As a result, greeting card art needs only to be slightly adjusted to fit decorative and garden flags. Caution: If your original art is only 5 by 7 inches, that art enlarged to fit a 28 by 40 inch flag would have VERY poor resolution. Thus, it is better to create larger designs if you plan to license them to flag manufacturers.

Hint: Keep in mind that you should create other formats for your art besides vertical. Some flag manufacturers also produce additional products such as floor mats and mailbox covers so you could potentially license the same art for other products if you also format your art horizontally.

It is a good idea to see what kind of art on flags is selling at retail before approaching a manufacturer. Check out Garden House Flags (internet store) to see decorative flags from various manufacturers. Then look up the websites of following manufacturers and call them for their art submission guidelines if they are not listed.

Carson Home Décor

Note: There are more manufacturers that license art for flags than the ones listed above. If you are willing to share that information, please email me the information at and I will add that information to the above list.

If you have any comments about this article, please voice them in the below comment section.


  1. Your site is so inspirational and helpful. Thank you for the kindness of sharing your experience and knowledge. I greatly appreciate it. I'm so glad I found your blog :)

  2. Hi Joan,
    You are AWESOME! Thanks for sharing the great info. I hope many good things come your way.
    Karen Embry

  3. Hi Joan,

    Thank you for sharing this information. Would you mind to share with us what would be the minimum size of an original art to be suitable to be printed as a flag?

    Best to you always,


  4. Hi , I discovered your blog through Kate Harper's blog, and I am "wow"!!
    Thank you for sharing all these informations with us!

  5. Good question Leyla! Ideally you would like to create art at least the same size needed for the product so that you don't have to increase the size in Photoshop and thus lose resolution. However, that isn't very practical because most scanners can't scan a 28 by 40 inch painting and the file size in Photoshop would be huge. Also manipulating huge files in Photoshop takes too much time.

    I create all my art with a minimum size of 12 inches at 300dpi (12 by 16.8 inches for a vertical format - greeting card format). That means the image would be enlarged 2.3 times to fit a 28 by 40 flag. Surprisingly even though my art is enlarged that much, the detail in the images still looks good when printed.

    Do some test runs of your art and see what happens when you enlarge a pic to fit on a large flag. You may be able to use a smaller size than I do.

    Good luck,

  6. Thank you Joan for being so generous with your information. I sincerely appreciate it. Being a newbie there is just so much to learn that sometimes I feel overwhelmed!

    You are the best!

  7. Thank you so much for this info. I design artwork I believe would be perfect for flags, but I see now I may have to go a little larger on the design for this. Great info...thanks! :)

  8. I am an artist with a big flag company and this does help me look for more manufacturers...thanks

  9. Dear Joan,
    I love your blogs. I'd love to know more about your process... What kinds of paints do you use? Do you pencil sketch first? How long oes it take you to create a piece of artwork? Do you scan your artwork on your own scanner, to the company? And can they use your artwork from the scanned work? This business is still a big mystery to me. All of the steps from creating the art to when it can be printed onto products is still very vague.
    What should I do to get some of these technical questions answered?
    Renee Gauvin

    1. Hi Virginia,
      I create my art digitally in mostly Photoshop even though it looks like it was done with water color or acrylic paints. You have some great questions and as far as I know the answers are spread throughout many blog articles on my site and other artist sites. My reply would take too long to answer in this comment but would make a good article. So be patient until I write an article about how artists (traditional and digital) create art for products :)