An artist recently emailed and asked:
I have read a lot on licensing and I have been in the business of illustration for awhile now.
My biggest hurdle is do I keep my existing website and do licensing from it as well as my other illustration business or do I create a whole new thing.
I don’t know if there is a right or wrong but I was hoping to get your opinion on it.
Many artists have multiple streams of income and licensing might just be one of them, but beware of creating a website that tries to cover it all in one place. You could end up having so much that you confuse your visitor and they leave without even realizing that you license your art. If you generate income in many ways, (cafe press, etsy, direct sales, work-for-hire, etc) consider a website that is targeted for licensing.
Here are 4 key pages to include on an art licensing website:
- Make licensing stand out on your home page. Make sure it is obvious that you create art for licensing at first glance when someone goes to your website. Also, make it very clear where manufacturers should go to learn more about your art for licensing.
- Have a page for manufacturers. This might be a page titled “licensing” or “art for licensing” or even “manufacturers” but the goal of this page is to speak directly to manufacturers who license art. This is where you show them that you get it. You understand what they need and you are ready to provide. If you’ve had your art on products, this is a great place to show examples. Create art in collections? Show that, too. Also explain why you are unique and why they want to work with you. Similar to an “About” page, but this information is about the business side of things, not you personally. If you have proven success in other areas, like publishing or in-house experience, let the manufacturers know.
- Let people get to know you. Be sure to have an a”About” page that tells visitors to your website a little bit about who you are and what you are all about. Great art can stand on its own, of course, but people get even more connected to it when they bond with the person behind the design. You don’t have to post your deep dark secrets, but reveal what makes you tick.
- Don’t forget the contact information! Believe it or not, more than one artist has become so involved in the rest of their site that they forget to add even an email address. Ten years ago, contact information usually consisted of email, phone and snail mail address. Today you might include links to social media as well – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the like.
Those are the four must-have pages for an artist serious about building an art licensing business.
You can add more bells and whistles over time, but these pages will serve you well!
Here’s to your creative success!
– Tara Reed
P.S. Are you actively licensing your work and wondering about the online portfolios with login required that many artists in the industry use?
If you use WordPress to create your website, also read:
Top 5 Things I Love About the WishList Plugin for My Password Protected Portfolio