These are the Most Popular Themes in Art Licensing

These are the Most Popular Themes in Art Licensing

As many of you know, I have a long art licensing background. If you’re not entirely clear on what that is, it’s a way you can make money by “renting” your artwork to companies to put on their products. 

When you buy kitchen towels, dinnerware, writing journals, beach bags, swimsuits, coffee mugs, tea sets – you name it! – you’re buying a printed item designed by an artist. In fact, any item of clothing you own that’s got a pattern on it – yes, even plaid – has been designed by an artist. 

Now you can see the immense potential for artists in art licensing.

Art licensing companies are always searching for something special and unique to plaster across a new range of products. And one way you can help them is to target some of the themes they’re always in need of. So when you’re building out your art licensing portfolio, it’s a smart idea to think about some of these.

Here are a few of the top categories most requested by art licensing companies:

Winter Holidays + Themes 

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza. This festive time of year is also a busy time for art licensing. Art licensing companies are always on the hunt for a new way to capture the spirit of these holidays (and the winter season in general), while customers are eagerly on the hunt for gifts and themed home decor at this time of year.

Christmas surface pattern design

Spring Holidays + Themes 

In the spring, we’re graced with Valentine's Day (technically still winter but usually grouped in with spring) and Easter. Plus, the general themes of spring which may include bright, blossoming botanicals and plenty of bunnies and chicks.

Spring surface pattern design

Summer Holidays + Themes 

Summertime brings the 4th of July and vacation vibes – think explosions of patriotic color and beachy prints to cover swimming costumes, beach bags, towels, barbecue dinner sets, and beyond – not to mention prints for t-shirts and shorts.

Summer surface pattern design

Fall Holidays + Themes 

The fall holidays thrive on patterns  –  the fun of Halloween and the warmth of Thanksgiving. And, like the December holidays, these designs are always popular with shoppers looking to decorate their homes or throw parties.

Fall surface pattern design

Birthdays, Anniversaries, Special Occasions

Birthday cards and wrapping paper (and everything related) will always be needed – every day of the year. It’s easy to take for granted that every single birthday card you’ve ever bought was designed and licensed by an artist.

Plant Cards

Everyday Themes 

Everyday themes like the beach, pets, juvenile, kitchen, gardening, and floral are popular with shoppers because they represent hobbies or favorite things. If you know my work, you know that I paint a lot of plants and cats. Both things I love, but many other people also care about them. From prints to coffee mugs, Washi tape to calendars – I’ve successfully sold these themes over and over!

Cats and Plants Licensed Art

On top of these themes, there are also “trends” that are always present. But when we talk about trends in art licensing, they’re usually slow-moving and often hang about for years. Some fairly recent examples include cacti, llamas, tie dye, or Christmas trends like red vintage trucks and Scandinavian Gnomes.

I want to talk a lot more about trends, so stay tuned for an upcoming blog post!