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Guide: 5 Ways to Monetize Your Old Designs
After a few years as a freelance designer, you start building up quite a collection of work you’ve done for clients, and ideally for yourself too. If you have a lot of old designs, it seems a shame to just leave them on your hard drive and do nothing.
Chances are you could make some extra money of these designs. And there is no reason why you shouldn’t. Let’s take a look at 5 tips on how to do just that.back to menu ↑
1. Make sure you have the rights to your work
First, you need to make sure you have legal permission to reproduce customer’s old workIf you don’t, grab it or skip that particular project. Even if you own certain reproduction rights, this does not necessarily mean that you have the right to repurpose or even modify your own work.
If someone has bought the exclusive rights to reproduce the work, then you are not allowed to do anything with it (but I hope you paid a lot of money for those rights). This is true a good contract is usefulYou always want to know exactly which rights you give your client and which ones you should keep better.
The fewer allowances you have to give away, the betterNon-exclusive reproduction rights should be sufficient for most clients’ projects unless it is a logo or something specific to the company’s brand.back to menu ↑
2. Sale of prints
This is the most obvious course of action. Many people like to buy prints of designs they like to decorate homes and offices. If you have a style that will turn heads and make your pieces look good framed and hung up on a wall then sell prints of your work is the way to go.
Printing on paper is, of course, only one way you can sell prints. There are many websites that will print your design on almost any type of merchandise and handle production and shipping for you, whether you want to print on a sticker sheet, t-shirt, coffee mug or throw pillow.back to menu ↑
This is potentially the most lucrative option, and – just think – it’s also the hardest to do successfully. The basic idea behind licensing is: you find a company that already makes products that your designs would look good, and convince them to reproduce your designs on those products.
In return you will receive a percentage of the royalties, about 8 to 10 percent. Licensing makes money every time your licensee sells a product with your design on it. You also don’t have to deal with the hassle of production or execution. The licensee will arrange all this for you.
To make real money from licensing, you or your licensee will need some kind of brand recognitionIf you are both relatively unknown, you will have a hard time generating enough sales to cover production costs. Your licensee may decide that it is not worth the time and money to license your designs, and you will be ripped off.
To avoid that, you must do your part to help the market your designs to your own platformThe more buzz you can create around your designs, the more enthusiastic people will buy them.back to menu ↑
4. View in galleries
Now you might be thinking “wait a minute, I’m not a painter who shows his work in galleries. I’m a designer, damn it. “But let me explain. Even if you’re not an artist, some of you more artful or conceptual design pieces can still appeal to gallery buyers
You never know what collectors are willing to pay for. And who knows – you might find that your “art” pieces are in more demand than your design services. Not a bad performance really.
Shop around for the most suitable places to show your work. What you should know about most galleries is that they keep about 50% of all profits from the sale of a work. That means if your piece sells for $ 1000, you can keep only $ 500.
But in return, you will be told that your work has been shown in galleries and is owned by art collectors. This may seem frivolous, but trust me can confer a lot of legitimacy and value to your personal brand.back to menu ↑
5. Don’t forget to market yourself
Whether you are selling prints, licenses or gallery exhibits, it is very difficult to sell without promoting yourself. So don’t forget marketing and building an audience for your workConsider blogging or social media to connect with people who may be interested in buying.
Create an online presence that people can see and appreciate – let them get to know the designer behind the curtain, as it were.
What other ways can you think of to make extra profit from your design work? Have you tried any of the above methods, and if so how did it work for you? Share your insights in the comments.back to menu ↑
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