License This! competition now open for entries

Can greeting card industry keep up its track record in licensing challenge?


The broader greeting card community has historically fared well in the Kelvyn Gardner License This! competition, held as part of the Brand Licensing Europe trade show.

And entries are now open for this year’s License This! competition – aimed at giving young brands and designers a much-needed leg up into the multi-billion-dollar world of licensing and brand extension

A winner in last year’s License This! was Joel Mercer, co-owner of Seedlings Cards & Gifts, with his Seedfolk brand. The previous year it was Ginger Betty and founder Tracey Colliston with her cute Owl’s Nest concept while in 2019 artist Rosie Brooks romped home with her Opera Little brand, designs from which are published on greeting cards by Holy Mackerel.

So, the pressure is on for the industry to come up trumps by presenting their new licensable concepts, and the competition finale will be at BLE 2022, forming part of a packed agenda of experiential, educational and networking events.

Europe’s leading event for licensing and brand extension, Brand Licensing Europe takes place at an earlier dateline this year, 20-22 September, at ExCel London.

Above: Kelvyn Gardner License This! 2022 is open for entries
Above: Kelvyn Gardner License This! 2022 is open for entries

To be in with a chance to break into the £245billion ($300bn) global licensing market, designers and companies can now the three categories in the Kelvyn Gardner License This! competition – click here for more info and to enter – with the first two areas aimed at currently unlicensed brands and properties keen to secure a licensing deal or agency representation.

Running through to the closing date of 5pm on 26 August, the judges will be looking for new creative concepts which have the potential to inspire multiple product categories in the Brand & Design, and Character & Animation categories.

Above: Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit are part of the Product Design category specs
Above: Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit are part of the Product Design category specs

The third area is Product Design, in partnership with Mojo Nation, where entrants are being asked to design a STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering and maths) Wallace & Gromit toy and, for the first time, students are allowed to participate too.

All three categories are asked to take sustainability into consideration with the finalists then having to pitch to the judges in a live finale at BLE on Thursday, 22 September.

The winners will receive a free exhibition stand at BLE 2023 – for this year’s show, 2021 Brand & Design victor Sophie Jonas-Hill returns as an exhibitor with Tea For Tattoo, alongside Character & Animation winner Joel Mercer with SeedFolk. Wayne Lindsay and Imaginnovation won the debut Product Design category.

Above: Character & Animation 2021 winner Joel Mercer (right)
Above: Character & Animation 2021 winner Joel Mercer (right)

Adding greeting card nous to the judging, the panel will include Danilo licensing director Dan Grant and Moonpig’s senior design manager Dale Boreham.

Last year’s License This! chairman and Start Licensing director Ian Downes said: “The Character & Animation and Brand & Design finalists presented very strong, well-thought-through and commercially-mindful concepts. Lots of thought had gone into where the brands fit the market and the licensing potential of them.”

Welcoming thousands of European retailers, manufacturers and brand owners, BLE22 will present the latest brand collaborations, inspire future product ranges, display the hottest product design innovation, showcase new and emerging IPs, and highlight the endless opportunities for brands to extend into new categories and markets.

Attendees to the show can register for free to join Danilo and Moonpig along with Amazon, Aykroyd & Sons, Tesco, Panini France, Jakks Pacific, HMV, Paladone Products, Clementoni Spa, Spin Master, Ravensburger and more, who are already registered to visit.

Top: The character parade is a winner at BLE

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