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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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Art Licensing: Strategy on Creating Art for Products

Because licensing art is a commercial venture, art for products need to be popular with a large number of consumers.  If artists create art with themes they like but may not be popular with consumers, the likely hood in licensing the art is slim.  The problem is that they first created the art and then try to figure out what product it should go on. That is backwards thinking!

A better strategy is to first think about the product and then figure out what theme (image) sells best for that product before creating the art. All themes are not popular for all products. Flowers, birds and butterflies seem to be a fit for most products. But, elephants, grizzly bears, and other wildlife have a more limited appeal. And, snakes have almost no appeal with the exception of a few products in small niche markets.

You should choose one or two industries to first start licensing your art to. You need to study that industry and determine what art themes, colors, and art styles are being licensed. And then, create the appropriate art for the products. For instance, many artists start licensing their art to the greeting card industry. It is huge, has many manufacturers, and uses a large variety of art styles and themes so it is easier to get licensing deals than other industries. The number one category for cards is birthdays. Visit retail chain and gift stores and search manufacturer websites to see what images are used for birthdays. Read designer Kate Harper articles "Greeting Card Business: 101" for information on designing cards and check out the side bar on her blog for links to other useful greeting card articles.

Note: What industry you choose depends on your art style and may not be for greeting cards. If you are a surface designer and create patterns, of course you should first choose the fabric industry.

Below is a list of articles about different industries that license art. The articles discuss what kind of art manufactures expect from artists and includes links to some websites.

• "Licensing Art to the Calendar Industry"
• "Licensing Art for Cloth Products"
• "Licensing Art for Coffee Mugs"
• "Licensing Art to the Greeting Card Industry"
• "Licensing Art to the Flag Industry"
• "Licensing Art to the Jigsaw Puzzle Industry"
• "Licensing Designs to the Melamine / Acrylic Tabletop Industry"
• "Licensing Designs to the Quilt & Craft Fabric Industries"
• "Licensing Art to the Paper Partyware Industry"
• "Licensing Art to Print Manufacturers"
• "Licensing Designs to the Scrapbooking Industry"

Your comments are welcome. Please click on the comments section (below) to write your comment.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Licensing Art to Print Manufacturers

The art print industry may be a big business but it is not necessarily a lucrative one for artists and can be full of pitfalls. Some manufacturers pre-sell art by doing presentations to retail chain stores. Other manufacturers show thousands of art in their catalogs or on their websites. Much of the art may never be printed because these manufacturers are usually print-on-demand companies. In other words, it is printed only when a retailer or consumer orders the art. Thus, the revenue from the art may be non-existent or very little. And of course, the art is tied-up and not available for licensing to other print manufacturers for several years.

According to the research I have done and networking with other artists there seems to be many unscrupulous print manufacturers that are out to make a quick buck and their licensing contracts are not in the artists best interest. Sometimes the artist loses all rights to her/his work. Some manufacturers ignore the contract terms such as sub-licensing the art to other manufactures and the artist gets nothing. Also some do not pay artists the revenue due to them. They may even lie to the artist that their art is not selling when in reality the art is being displayed in stores. SCARY ISN'T IT! But happily NOT all print manufacturers are dishonest. To find out how to protect your art, read art licensing agent Lance Klass article "How an Artist can Avoid Disaster in Today's Print Market." Make sure to read the comments to this article.  Lance has an update to the print industry since he originally wrote his article.

Artists that are savvy in licensing their work and try to avoid unscrupulous manufacturers network with other artists by questioning them about their experiences with the manufacturers. Some artists avoid print-on-demand manufacturers and instead get deals by going direct-to-retail or direct-to-consumer where they have a chance in making higher revenue. According to a review by Creatives a Work blog about art marketing consultant Barney Davey's book "How to Profit from the Art Print Market", Barney recommends that artists should sell their art to art collectors (direct-to-consumer) as a better way to secure their future.

Most print manufacturers are looking for art for the home / business d├ęcor market. Thus, they usually want art:
1. that has popular themes for consumer homes, office and business walls. Coffee, wine, coastal and inspirational words are a few that are popular. Search print manufacturer websites to see others.
2. that have colors that blend with furnishings. Unsaturated colors (NOT bright but more grayed) have been popular for years but these colors seem to be changing.  Also black -on-white or white-on-black seems to be popular.  Search print manufacturer websites to view recent color trends.
3. with two or more images that can be grouped on a wall.
4. that is formatted as vertical, square and horizontal.

Below is a list of some art print and poster manufacturers.
Caution: I do not endorse any of these manufacturers because I have no knowledge of their business practices. I recommend that you contact artists that license their work to these manufacturers for information.

Art In Motion (division of ICA Home Decor)

Fine Art America

Gango Editions***

Greg Young Publishing Inc.

Montage Fine Art Licensing & Publishing

Northern Promotions, Inc

Penny Lane Fine Art & Licensing

Roaring Brook Art

Sagebrush Fine Art

The Land of Nod (children products including wall art)

Wild Apple

*** This manufacturer has been endorsed by an artist.  See the comment to this article.

Your comments are welcome. Please click on the comments section (below) to write your comment.