Tips on Pricing Your Art for Licensing

Published on Aug. 6th 2013

If you’ve successfully pitched your artwork to a company or manufacturer for licensing rights, the next step is negotiating a price for the rights to your work.

If this is your first deal then you need to carefully consider what is being offered and seek legal advice. It is important that you are only ever negotiating a license for limited rights to your work, and that you always retain copyright.

How you price your work depends on how it is being used, your reputation as an established artist, how many products your image will be reproduced on, the type of product and distribution numbers, etc.

Depending on those factors, you may be paid either a flat fee (a one-time payment) or royalties (ongoing payments). There is plenty of advice available on the web for the details of arranging your contract, but I must stress that you should not supplement this for legal advice.

Your first licensing agreement of your career may come at a lower price, perhaps, than you would like in order to gain experience and a reputation. While this may be necessary to begin with, as you gain experience you can raise your prices to an acceptable industry level. There is a fine line between selling yourself short and getting your brand out there. . . here are a few tips for making sure you’re getting the most for your artwork:

Be open to negotiation

Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Remember that any offer you receive is simply that – an offer. You can come back with a counter-offer if you wish. If you don’t think they will move on price, negotiate other advantages.

Take control over how and where your art is used

Always make decisions about where your art is seen and used that will work towards building up your brand.

With any opportunity that presents itself to you, think, “Is this going to enhance my work/brand? Is this the right place/audience for my art?” If not, it’s best to stay away, and look for other opportunities.

Ask for a price relative to the demand

Price your work according to the likely demand and distribution. For example, is the product your artwork being distributed on local, national or international level?

One of the most important factors for pricing your art is being aware of typical prices within your industry (learn from other licensed artists, talk to manufacturers, etc to see what their experience has been) as well as the type of work your chosen manufacturer usually features. You may also find a wide range of prices due to variation in distribution quantity (small runs of production will pay less for artwork than large ones).

The most important thing is that you price your work according to your reputation as an artist, your experience selling your designs and the size of the deal being made.

When it comes to pricing your work for licensing, there are quite a few factors to consider, but in the end, it has to come down to you and what you feel comfortable with. And of course, make sure you always have a clear contract and get legal help, no matter how small or inconsequential a deal may seem!

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