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Licensing Versus Selling Your Designs Outright

If you are wanting to sell your designs you’ve probably heard about licensing and outright selling your designs. So what are the differences of licensing your designs versus selling them outright?

Licensing your designs

Licensing your designs is essentially the leasing out of your designs for a client to use under set conditions. You can either choose to license your designs exclusively, which means that for example, if you licensed your design exclusively to women’s wear, you wouldn’t be able to license that same design to another women’s wear designer at the same time. However, if you licensed a design non-exclusively, you would be able to license that design to multiple companies at the same time. When you are licensing your designs it’s really important to contract in place that outlines exactly what the design can be used for, where it can be used, and what the licensing conditions are eg. the length of the license

In terms of the exclusivity, you and your client can decide what the exclusivity clause is e.g. exclusive to a particular country, to a particular category etc. You need to make sure that the contract that you set in place clearly outlines what the design can and can’t be used for so both you and your client understand exactly what is what you’ve agreed upon. You do want to seek legal advice when you’re creating contracts, to make sure that they are compliant and that you have made sure that you have covered yourself.

Selling your designs outright

On the other hand, if you are selling a design outright, you’re essentially selling over all of the Copywrite of that design over to the client so they can then use any part of the design in any way that they like at any time. You no longer have any rights to use any part of that design because you’ve sold the full copyright over to that person.

So essentially the difference between licensing or selling your design outright is that you retain the copyright of your designs when you’re licensing them versus giving away full rights to the design when you’re selling it outright. If you do license your design, once the licensing contract is finished even if it’s an exclusive contract, you’re free to use that design in any way, shape, or form that you want because you retain the copyright.

I know sometimes designers are really reluctant to sell designs outright, but I highly recommend and encourage you to think about being able to do both as it will open up your scope as a designer.

Licensing Versus Selling Your Designs Outright

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