Entries will be accepted until Aug. 26.

License Global

July 18, 2022

4 Min Read
Wallace & Gromit, who will serve as inspiration for concepts in the product design category.
Wallace & Gromit, who will serve as inspiration for concepts in the product design category.Aardman Animation

Entries are now open for Brand Licensing Europe’s Kelvyn Gardner License This! competition, which boosts the profile of new brands, illustrators, inventors and product designers and helps them to successfully break into the $300 billion global licensing market.   

Entrants are invited to enter one of three categories.  

The first two are aimed at unlicensed brands and properties – often with a focus on illustration, publishing or animation – who are keen to secure a licensing deal or agency representation. They are:   

  • Kelvyn Gardner License This! Character & Animation  

  • Kelvyn Gardner License This! Brand & Design  

When judging, the panel looks for new creative concepts that have the potential to inspire multiple product categories. The winners receive a free exhibition stand at BLE 2023. This year, 2021 winners, Sophie Jonas-Hill with Tea for Tattoo and Joel Mercer with SeedFolk, will return to the show as exhibitors.   

“Winning License This! has been literally life-changing for me and my business – it’s amazing,” says Jonas-Hill. “I had just graduated from an MA and was starting from scratch in a new career, and I’d never really considered licensing or how it worked; now I’ve met industry heavyweights and already signed a deal with Trademark Products Ltd. and HMV. I’ve had the best advice and guidance you really couldn’t buy from all the panel, who have introduced me to so many new contacts and opportunities I wouldn’t have had a clue about otherwise. I’ve learned so much so fast! I nearly didn’t enter as I thought I wasn’t established enough to get through, but everyone has been so excited by my art and brands, it’s been really positive and supportive, and I feel like I’m doing my best work ever! If you’re not sure if you should enter, don’t be! It might take you further than you could imagine too!”   

Related:Sophie Jonas-Hill, Trade Mark Products Create HMV T-Shirts

Additionally, student designers and inventors are invited to enter a third award category, which made its debut in 2021:    

  • Product Design in partnership with Mojo Nation  

From 2022, the Product Design category will open to students from further education or university level to enter. Working alongside local universities and schools, students will be competing with one another to showcase innovation in toy design.   

BLE will partner with animation studio, Aardman, once again and students will be asked to use the studio’s Wallace & Gromit IP as inspiration. Applicants will be asked to submit concepts based around the following entry guidelines:  

  • Concept must be a Wallace & Gromit-branded toy with an emphasis on STEM learning

  • Entry must focus on technology and engineering, which are strong themes from the Wallace & Gromit adventures

  • Careful consideration must be given to sustainable materials and manufacturing processes

  • The toy must have an RRP below £30 

“We are so excited to be able to open doors to students, not only to highlight the best in innovation and fresh concepts but also to give a platform to new talent into the licensing industry,” says Anna Knight, senior vice president, licensing, Informa Markets.  

Last year, entrants to this category were asked to design concepts for desk accessories based around Aardman's Morph IP. The winner was Wayne Lindsay from Imaginnovation.   

“The famous phrase, ‘It’s the taking part that counts,’ is so true when it comes to the License This! Competition,” says Lindsay. “Having the opportunity to present your ideas to highly respected industry professionals is an invaluable way to begin making a name in the brand licensing space. I would highly recommend entering the competition and investing as much creative energy as you possibly can since the results are directly connected to the effort, regardless of who wins. For me, winning the Product Design category represented so much more than the chance to develop a concept with Aardman and Start Licensing – which of course is amazing – it genuinely fuels creative confidence, and it has opened up lots of other conversations and potential projects. I especially encourage entrants to listen carefully to the questions and feedback from the judges, across all categories, as you just learn so much and the commendation is so beneficial. It reminds me of something I heard just recently: ‘A pat on the back can propel someone a long way.’”   

All three categories are asked to take sustainability into consideration and the finalists will pitch to the judges in a live final at BLE on Sept. 22.   


About the Author(s)

License Global

License Global is the leading news source for the brand licensing industry, delivering award-winning editorial content including news, trends, analysis, and special reports about the global consumer product and retail marketplace.

Through its print edition, website, daily e-newsletter and event publications, License Global reaches more than 150,000 executives and professionals in all major markets. The magazine also serves as the official publication for the sector’s trade events, which include Licensing Expo, Brand Licensing Europe, Licensing Expo Japan, Licensing Expo Shanghai and the Licensing Leadership Summit.

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