Hi-Res Art – A Cautionary Tale

3 06 2010

Have you ever received a request for high-resolution art in your first meeting with a potential licensee? If so, you are not alone. I have gotten several phone calls from artists who received this type of request and are trying to figure out what to do next.

The request is typically something like this:

“I need high-resolution art (300 dpi or above) in layered files to create presentations for our internal review process (or retail presentations).”

This type of request is highly irregular and puts you in an incredibly vulnerable position. Without some kind of agreement or contract in place, an artist has no legal footing when it comes to inappropriate use.


1. manufacturers can use 150 dpi art for presentations

2. or you can format the art on templates (ours or those provided by the manufacturer).

Most importantly, if the manufacturer wants your art badly enough they should be willing to sign a ‘shopping doc’ or a contract.

Of course, the fear is that in trying to tie down the details for one of these agreements the manufacturer will get discouraged and tell you to take a hike. In one recent incident, the manufacturer said to the artist in so many words, ”I have hundreds of artists willing to send high-res layered files and they don’t ask me all these questions.”

Not only is this uncalled for, it’s suspicious. This prompted me to call industry colleagues to see if this was the company policy or just an over-ambitious employee. It was the latter of the two. With the right communication between the artist and the manufacturer, the manufacturer actually backed down and took mock-ups of the art.

It’s exciting that things are looking up and more deals are starting to get done, but that doesn’t mean you should let down your guard. Don’t let someone convince you to give up your high-resolution art files until you have an agreement in place.

If you’ve had a similar experience, I’d love to hear about your experience. How have you handled it? What worked? What didn’t?



2 responses

1 06 2012
Jeff Hendrickson (@jefhendrickson)

Hi J’net. What is the “shopping doc” you refer to here and in another post? Also, I’ll be in the city June 21-24. Do you have any classes going on then?

Jeff Hendrickson
Laughing Raven Studio

25 09 2012

Jeff, some time ago you asked me on my blog about shopping docs. I apologize for the delay in responding, I’ve been travelling non-stop. These docs you create to limit the length of time that a potential licensee (manufacturer) can show your art/design/creative to retailers for a response. It’s a precursor to a licensing agreement and may lead to one, or may negatively impact your getting an agreement. You don’t need a lawyer to create one…just write an email and tell a prospective licensee what they can and can’t do with your art for how long, and get them to sign it. The goal is just to control how folks use your art.
Hope that’s helpful. I like that you are a teacher…
I do now have new classes available for the fall…maybe some of your students would be interested too. http://wp.me/p15jPm-bY
If I can help further, let me know.
Sincerely, J’net

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