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Card Designers Reach The Kelvyn Gardner License This! Shortlist

Those with connections to the greeting card industry have once again made into the shortlist of the Kelvyn Gardner License This! awards, with the judging taking place at the Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) exhibition (17-19 November at ExCeL London).

4B. License This Logo (BLE)-01 copyThe live final of License This! will be on November 19, where Dan Grant, licensing director of Danilo Promotions and Dale Borehamsenior design manager of Moonpig will be among the judges.

The Character & Animation and Brand & Design categories in the competition are both aimed at unlicensed brands and properties with the judges looking for new creative concepts which have the potential to spread across multiple product categories.

Among the shortlist in the Character & Animation category is Seedfolk, a concept created by Joel Mercer, designer for Seedlings Cards & Gifts.

Above: Seedfolk by Joel Mercer, designer of Seedlings Cards & Gifts.
Above: Seedfolk by Joel Mercer, designer of Seedlings Cards & Gifts.

Meanwhile, Pencil & TIE’s designs, which appear on the company’s range of greeting cards is in the running in the Brand & Design category.

The greeting card community has good form in this competition. Tracey Collistonfounder of greeting card company Ginger Betty won License This! last year with her Owl’s Nest brand, which went on to clinch the Best Cute Range in The Henries 2021.

Above: Tracey Colliston making her Owl’s Nest pitch to the judges last year, which had to be done virtually.
Above: Tracey Colliston making her Owl’s Nest pitch to the judges last year, which had to be done virtually.

Artist Rosie Brooks (whose designs are published on greeting cards by Holy Mackerel) was a winner in 2019 while Charlotte Reed, founder of May the Thoughts Be With You, who won the award in 2018, has gone on to develop a licensing programme which has seen cards and calendars produced by Danilo and gifts from Half Moon Bay.

“The standard of entries this year was very high,” confirmed chair of the judging panel, Ian Downes, director of Start Licensing. “It was encouraging to see so many original ideas and concepts. The entrants put a lot of effort into the competition, crafting some compelling entries, and it was tough to draw up a shortlist.”  Continued Ian: “Based on the quality of entries, it’s clear that there is no shortage of creativity in and around licensing at the moment and the industry can be assured there is plenty of fresh thinking going on.”

This year there are three categories, including a brand new Product Design award launched in partnership with Mojo Nation, where designers have been tasked to invent a desktop accessory inspired by Aardman’s Morph IP.

The finalists are…

Character & Animation Category

Els Morris – Els Doodles: Rosie Roars is an illustrated little one’s story book. Rosie is three and her favourite animal is a lion. Her family helps her to discover different animals and she decides that being a ‘buzzy, hopping, rainbow roaring me’ is the perfect person to be. The book teaches little ones that it’s good to celebrate who we are, while learning about others along the way.

Stacy Moore – Eat Dirt: Eat Dirt is a series of humorous stories and poems for children aged 2-5 years old, designed to inspire a love of veggies, gardening, and outdoor play served up with a big dose of pure silliness. The lovable main characters include Grumpy Bean and his seven vegetable friends, plus the Green Thumb Chums and Toad.

Above: Eat Dirt is a concept by Stacy Moore.
Above: Eat Dirt is a concept by Stacy Moore.

Joel Mercer – Seedings Cards & Gifts:  SeedFolk has been developed by the innovative creative team behind Seedlings Cards & Gifts, a lovable range of characters who care for our native habitats and wildflower seeds.

Brand & Design Category

Pencil & TIE: Best friends who live in Shibuya, Tokyo. Pencil, a graphic designer, is never seen without his pencil. Tie is his one-footed, cheeky friend (and a tie). Designer Mark creates onefold witty, sustainable stationery products in his lab in the Netherlands.

Above: Some of the product concepts from Pencil & TIE.
Above: Some of the product concepts from Pencil & TIE.

Sophie Jonas-Hill and Tea for Tattoo, brings together two great British passions – drinking tea and getting tattooed – featuring Sophie’s unique hand drawn stamp to create the look of glazed ceramic.

Aline Cervo – Aline Bea is a surface pattern designer, illustrator and digital nomad. Inspired by nature, simple things in life, and her own journey. She draws everything from flowers to buildings and abstract compositions with the stories embedded in her designs, talking about bravery, courage, love and connection, about noticing the details, and abundance and presence.

Product Design Category

Jon Morse: Tomato Source

Chris de Junien: Imagine8

Wayne Lindsay: Imaginnovation

BLE takes place in person from 17-19 November at ExCeL London followed by an online event running from 30 November to 1 December. It’s free to register at

Top: Stacy Moore’s Eat Dirt brand is in the finals in the Character & Animation category.

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