A picture of a horse in a distressed painted style on wood Art & Photography Licensing 101 Trends and How it Affects your work


©2018 Michael Woodward

It’s amazing how many submissions are sent to publishers and manufacturers by artists who have given no thought whatsoever to the content of the work and the needs of the company receiving it. Each company is in many ways unique so presentations should be created specifically for the Art Buyer/Creative Director of company you are approaching.  Before you submit anything, you must understand the market sector you are targeting. Do the basic research.

Trends are created from several sources; fashion and home furnishings are two. These industries plan one or two years in advance. They each have color guides, which originate from market research and forecasts. Send the companies you choose to market to exactly what they want. It’s not good to send, for instance, nude figure studies to a print publisher who only prints wildlife. Although this may seem obvious to some, it’s amazing how often this happens!

 Visit art exhibitions, fashion shows, interior design exhibitions. Subscribe to trade magazines in any market that interests you. Get to know who the major manufacturers are as well as the major retail chains who sell the product. Research websites regularly so you keep up with what’s new. On many art publishers websites you’ll have on the menu items “Best Sellers” as well as “New Releases”. These are important sections as it gives you an idea of what’s sold really well as well as new images and the colorways and styles they are starting to promote.

 These days retailers have become very powerful as they control many aspects of the industry as many of the independent retailers and Moms & Pops stores have disappeared as they simply cannot compete. The big retail chains can manufacture in China and the Far East and undercut the small independent shopkeeper and this allows them often to dictate prices, product type, color etc that they want to buy in the mass market sector.  Thankfully in the high end fine art gallery and interior design market it’s not as crucial but even high end poster companies have to now look at the colors and trends very carefully.  Framers buy much of a print publisher’s inventory as retailers invariably want finished product so framers work hand in hand with retailers and publishers.

 Trend Report extract 2018

While 2017 was all about tropical green, warm neutrals, and sophisticated camel accents, color palettes took an edgier turn this year. Think fiery reds, metallics, and, of course, a lot of Ultra Violet — the Pantone color of the year. These home decor trends will continue to define the months to come and seep into 2019’s design visual boards.

This year, turn to sunny goldenrod shades to make a cheerful, cozy statement. Warm, rich yellows feel organic and all-natural, and pair best with cream and blue accents, according to Valspar, which selected Golden Ochre as one of their colors of the year.

Pantone named Ultra Violet the 2018 Color of the Year, and it’s easy to see why. This rich, thoughtful shade of purple adds energy and depth to any room. Whether you’re adventurous enough to commit to an all-purple color scheme, or prefer to experiment with home accessories first, this complex hue is one to watch.

Websites to help you with trends: www.colorassociation.com, www.colormarketing.org,  www.trendland.com

©2018 Michael Woodward



Licensing Art & Photography 101 is the most comprehensive guide to licensing in the industry. Full of insiders, tips, Contacts, resources and How too's. This is the long awaited second edition of the E-Book from Michael r Woodward fully updated for 2018.

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