Rule #8

17 10 2011

Develop a significant licensing portfolio. 

You need a significant portfolio geared toward surface design for a variety of product categories. It is really important to have the portfolio organized before you launch into the Art Licensing arena, since you can never make another first impression.

In Art Licensing, your portfolio is going to be presented in a collection format. When we talk about a certain number of collections, keep in mind that each collection is going to have multiple pieces of art—central images, borders, patterns, and borders (or possibly some combination of them). These are the elements you and the manufacturer will choose from to pull together your product designs.

Imagine yourself walking into a mid-tier retailer during Easter season. In addition to the candy and baskets, they will have melamine and ceramic serve-ware for everyentertaining need.  Essentially the merchandiser will display small bowls, big bowls, baskets, bunny-shaped plates, large platters, pitchers and perhaps egg and bunny shaped décor items and candle holders. This is their seasonal display, or product line.

If you want to see your art on these products in the future, you are not going to create one piece of art to slap on all of those different shapes and sizes of products. You need to think about developing a cohesive collection of art—the images, borders, and patterns—that will all work together to create this product line. You need to think and prepare even more, because you need to show the manufacturer how all those artistic components work together and apply to their line of products.

It takes quite a bit of work up front to develop these types of complete collections, let alone 10-30 of them. But, frankly, the more collections you can create, and the more significant your portfolio is, the more licensing business you’ll do. There’s no doubt in my mind that the more you have to offer and the more people you contact, the more deals you’re going to get. That’s just a truism of sales.



2 responses

19 10 2011

I have been curious about how many collections an artist needs to have before making much of an impact. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. When you do send out or email companies should you send jpegs of all collections or just some and ask if they want to see more? Thank you, Lana

19 10 2011

Lana, Thanks for asking…these are important questions. I recommend a minimum of 10-20 or more collections to get started. And I’ll answer the rest of your question in detail during my Free Friday Q&A. It’s this Friday, October 21st between 12 noon-1 pm PST / 3 pm – 4 pm EST. I hope you can join us to hear your answer and those of other artists growing in this industry. Of course, if you can’t make it, just send me an email and we’ll get you an audio file of the live event. Register here.
I just didn’t want to gloss over your question, as well as the fact that I know others would like to hear the answer.
Best, J’net

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