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Brian Miller, Creative Director, Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Brian Miller, Creative Director, Luxgraphicus Design Agency

How would you pay for the intellectual property of your business?

Specifically, the visual material which forms a vital part of the intellectual collateral associated with your business.

I’m not going to tell you the best way, or the cheapest way, or even my opinion here. I’m going to pose the question and provide some alternatives, then let you decide, or at least think about, the answers. Of course, if you’d like to discuss your ideas I’d love you to contribute to the blog here with comments and questions.

As designers, we’re creating intellectual property. But who owns it? Our clients commission us to do it. They pay us. (usually!) It’s created to be used in the operation of the business. But on what basis is it sold to the business? Does the initial fee cover the ownership of the intellectual property? Who owns copyright? Who has license to use the material?

Most of these are legal issues of course, which is not my area of speciality, although I do have some knowledge of copyright law and its application. I’m not going to dive into the deep waters of the legalities here!

But, as the owner of a design business, I am interested in how other business owners would be prepared to pay for the material created.

Recently I’ve been working on several approaches to licensing and payment for branding and identity projects. How would you be prepared to pay for the intellectual property which is so important to your business?

Here are some options;

Pay an upfront fee for the design work, and a license to use the work for the intended purpose. (later negotiation required for use beyond the original scope)

Pay a lesser upfront fee for the design work, with an ongoing (monthly or quarterly) fee for the license to use the work. (with outright transfer of the copyright after a negotiated period)

Pay a lesser upfront fee for the design work, with an ongoing premium on subsequent use of the work in designed and/or printed material. (with outright transfer of the copyright after a negotiated value of work completed)

Pay a greater upfront fee for the design work and full copyright ownership of the work. (no further negotiation required)

All have their strengths and weaknesses. There are, no doubt, alternatives too. As well as analogies from other industries.

As the owner of a design business I have my own preferred options, and as an innovator and entrepreneur, I can offer business owners added value through additional services within the licensing options, but which would the market support? (I’ll fill you in on the added value bits in subsequent posts!)

So which would you, as a small business owner or operator, be prepared to accept, to secure the intellectual property of your business?

Over to you…

Brian.

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Brian Miller, Creative Director, Luxgraphicus Design Agency


Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me?

We all know and love him – Mickey Mouse.

And, after many years unchanged in both look and character, I read recently that Disney are considering a change.

Not a complete new look and personality, but a subtle shifting to bring Mickey into line with modern expectations. Staged to allow for amendment and re-tracking no doubt, but a change none the less.

It has been over 90 years since Mickey’s debut on the world stage, so perhaps it’s long overdue.

So why change? Why re-brand? And what are the pitfalls?

I also heard some frightening news the other day. Only 35 working days until Christmas (even less by now of course!).

Now there’s a character who’s been around for a bit longer than Mickey Mouse. No, not Jesus, although his own branding has been modernised and amended on many occasions with varying success.

No, I mean Santa Clause. The icon of Christmas who has now been taken over by the corporate and commercial world of business that is modern day Christmas.

So why not look at a re-branding of this well know and familiar character?

Lots of opportunity to fiddle with looks, colours, audience perception.

Lets try for a different audience, hipper, young adults. They buy lots of expensive, hi tech stuff at Christmas. They want a cooler, tougher, Santa. One who doesn’t pander to little kids pathetic whims. A rebel the audience can connect and identify with…

Enter, hard rocking, hard drinking, Santa!
hard rocking, hard drinking santa

What about looking from a different angle? Teenage and early twenties males, older men in mid-life crisis mode, aspiring females (this is a perverse angle, true). What would attract this audience?

Enter, sexy Santa!
sexysanta

Or, then there is always the safe option. Family friendly, good for the young kids, traditional, big audience acceptance here…

Yes, it’s fat and friendly Santa Clause!
fatsanta

Which Santa would you choose to take the brand into the next century?

Clearly there are pitfalls in several options. But is staying put therefore the best option?

Branding, and even more so, re-branding, are critical business decisions which need to be carefully thought through, planned and implemented.

To stand still could well mean irrelevancy and ultimately, failure. But make sure the change is done well and make use of professionals to guide you through the potential pitfalls.

Keep your eye out for changes to Mickey. I think Santa is safe for the time being.

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