You think they have pushed coolers to the limit… until you see the next innovation.  Then you say, “What a great idea!  Why didn’t they think of that before!”  Here is my theory on the evolution of coolers…

  • Someone puts ice in a metal box, adds their food, goes on a picnic.  Others at the picnic who brought their food in a basket are envious of the new invention, they have cold food and drinks!
  • Fast forward many years and insulation processes are added.  The box itself insulates the food – keeping the cold inside.  You don’t have to add as much ice. Easier to transport. Awesome!
  • Now someone invents those blue things that stay cold but don’t melt and create a pool of water at the bottom of the cooler.  Better yet!
  • Plastic… wheels… handles to pull your cooler…. each time we think – this is the best it can get!  How can you improve on that? And it’s good enough, so why try?
  • But innovation continues…

Last week I saw these new “Party Stacker™” coolers from Colman.

I had one of those “What an amazing idea!” reactions.  They come in a variety of sizes colors (only one size shown in the photo).  They stack together – like building blocks of refridgeration.  You can have your beer and soda in one and food in another.  No more sandwiches looking like they were made on pita bread because they got mashed between the mayo and Uncle Ted’s 6-pack.

I found these to be so cool and innovative that I almost bought some. I have no plans to go camping or need coolers mind you, I just thought it was an amazing idea.

So what does this have to do with art licensing?

We, too, must reinvent the proverbial cooler. Year after year, manufacturers want new art for many of the same themes.  Santa – can’t get enough of him.  How do you do a Christmas collection every year that is fresh and different? If you’ve done it 10 times – shouldn’t it be good enough?  Nope.

In art licensing, you must constantly come up with a new twist – a new catch – something that will make a manufacturer have a “What an amazing idea!” reaction.  Then the reaction needs to hit the consumer so they pick up your product and buy it, allowing you to receive royalty checks so you stay in business to create yet another Santa the next year.

The ability to re-think, re-work and re-create a concept or theme that the rest of the world thinks has been done more than enough times is a valuable asset to any artist interested in licensing their art.  So head for the woods and think outside the cooler… I hope you come up with something amazing!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed