How to Get Your Original Character Design Licensed

By Marianne Luke
Cartoon characters are licensed to businesses for a fee

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If you have designed your own character and a business would like to use it in advertising, blogging or other media, you will want to license your character to that business. Licensing you character means that you still maintain the rights to that character, but a business has been given limited rights to use it. In most cases the business will pay you to use your design. Before you begin trying to license your character, make sure to trademark it and/or register its design so that your intellectual property cannot be stolen. The most efficient way to license a character is to hire a licensing agent who specializes in marketing characters and designs to companies. Even so, it may take several years before any company chooses to use your character.

Write a brief synopsis of your character including his name, how he reacts in different situations, his personality, his strengths and weaknesses, and any other information you feel is important to your character's being.

Create a turnaround sheet. This will include views of the character from all sides, including frontal, behind, left and right side and angled views. This is helpful for businesses so that they can get a feel for what the character would look like and how the character would move on screen.

Write a brief synopsis of your character's basic anatomy: what colors your character is, how tall your character is, how thick your character is and other elements such as hand, feet and head sizes. If your character is an unusual size, explain how the character's size affects her personality.

Design a logo for your character. This will be the brand your character is associated with. You can think of it like the Disney logo for Mickey Mouse or the Warner Brothers logo for Bugs Bunny.

Design scenery that would be associated with your character. Does your character reside in the rain forest, the desert, a city or a fantasy land? Background information on your character will help companies understand how your character is meant to be used in marketing.

Design some merchandise your character could be associated with: you could put his face on a shirt, a mug or a sticker. It will be helpful for businesses to see the different ways your character could sell.

Hire a licensing agent to market your character now that you have a detailed presentation of her. If you choose not to hire an agent, you will have to travel to businesses and market the idea yourself. If a business likes your character, it will agree on a payment for use and you will have successfully licensed your character.

About the Author

Marianne Luke has been writing professionally since 2005. She has experience writing instruction manuals, research, fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and she also reviews Orlando local music for "Orange Ave Lab" magazine. Luke earned a Bachelor of Arts in technical communications and creative writing from the University of Central Florida in 2010.

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