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Making the Choice Between Selling or Licensing Your Designs

June 18, 2023 - Tag: Selling Design

The big question a lot of artists who are either new or seasoned in the world of Art Licensing is, should I sell or license my designs? Both options have their pros and cons, and the choice depends on various factors such as financial goals, artistic control, and long-term aspirations. We’ll explore a few ideas to consider when deciding whether to license or sell your art.

Licensing Your Art

Licensing your art involves granting someone else the rights to use your artwork for a specific purpose or period while retaining ownership of the original piece. Here are some points to consider:

  1. Financial Potential: Licensing your art can provide a steady stream of income through royalties. You can negotiate agreements with companies, publishers, or manufacturers who want to use your art on products, merchandise, or in promotional campaigns. If your art gains popularity, licensing can generate substantial passive income.
  2. Artistic Control: Licensing allows you to maintain artistic control and ownership over your work. You can specify how your art is used and ensure that it aligns with your vision and values. This can be particularly important for artists who want to preserve the integrity of their creations.
  3. Exposure and Recognition: Licensing your art can enhance your visibility as an artist. If your artwork is featured on widely-distributed products or in prominent places, it can attract a larger audience and help you gain recognition. This exposure can lead to new opportunities and increase the value of your art in the long run.

Design of Skye McNeill

Selling Your Art

Selling your art involves transferring ownership of the original piece to a buyer in exchange for a one-time payment. Things to consider:

  1. Financial Gain: Selling your art can provide immediate financial gain. If you find the right buyer or gallery, you may receive a significant sum for your work, especially if your art is in high demand or you have an established reputation. Selling can be a good option if you need immediate funds or prefer a lump sum payment.
  2. Loss of Control: Once you sell your art, you relinquish control over its future use and dissemination. The buyer has the right to display, reproduce, or resell the artwork without your permission. If maintaining control is crucial to you, selling may not be the best option.
  3. Artistic Legacy: Some artists choose to sell their art to private collectors or museums to ensure its preservation and legacy. Being part of a prestigious collection or exhibition can elevate your standing in the art world and contribute to your artistic reputation and historical significance.

Finding the Right Balance

It's worth noting that licensing and selling are not mutually exclusive options. For many artists a combination of both works out well to maximize their opportunities and revenue. Ultimately, the choice between licensing and selling your art depends on your personal goals, financial needs, and artistic vision. Consider your short-term and long-term objectives, evaluate potential opportunities, and seek advice from professionals in the art industry. It's essential to make an informed decision that aligns with your artistic aspirations and allows you to thrive both creatively and financially.

Deciding whether to license or sell your art is a decision that requires careful consideration. Licensing offers financial stability, artistic control, and exposure, while selling provides immediate financial gain. Remember there is no one-size-fits-all answer, and it's crucial to assess your personal circumstances and goals. By understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each option, you can make an informed decision that suits your needs as an artist.

Sign up to Patternfield

If you are an artist interested in licensing or selling your artwork, Patternfield can help. The Patternfield Platform is an entire ecosystem of digital services for designers, illustrators and artists. You can store, manage, and share your work with new and existing clients on one platform which is shared with our own database of fully qualified buyers and art directors from all over the world.

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