Cash Out on Graphic Design Licenses

by Doug Farrick

Learn how you can make great profits by licensing your graphic designs. Licensing is a fascinating and little-known area for exploiting the profit potential of your firms work (or work you would like to create).

As a graphic artist, you need to know how to license your graphic designs for big profits. As a graphic artist of unique work, you can sell the license for your graphic design to interested buyers. Graphic design customers use graphic designs for communications, marketing, multimedia projects, print publications, online publications and for inspiration.

Many Customers for Graphic Design

Business customers want images for advertising, promotional purposes and publishing. Examples of customers include publishers, website designers, marketing professionals, art directors, retailers, manufacturers and advertising agencies. Potential customers will buy graphic images in many formats to accommodate different personal needs for creative works, video, transfers, stencils, schools, community, office clipart and niche graphic design customers.

Register Image, Sell Image License

Each graphic design needs a title, brief description, keyword list and suitable categories. You can update your work to attract new customers and keep current customers. After the graphic work is done, you will need to register your work before you can begin marketing and promoting your work.

You can register your images with the copyright office and include information such as the image data, your name, title for the image, copyright owner, terms of transferring use of the image to another person and any other agreement information pertinent to licensing. You can sell license types related to how a customer can use or change your work.

You can offer royalty free graphics, rights managed files and amateur images. Royalty free rights can be sold for ongoing use and the sale is based on the image qualities, not the use of the work. The royalty free buyer may wish to extend a license to include the use of a graphic for a trademark or a logo, resale merchandise, sharing the image or use for a public work of art. Royalty free graphics are generally cheaper than rights managed works.

Graphic designers with a great reputation or excellent works that are difficult to re-create can have elevated prices. Prestigious and exclusive graphic works may involve a rights managed sale, which is for a one-time use or ongoing use that is determined on the purpose, placement of the image, how long the image is required, circulation and the size of the image.

Fill That Niche with Stock Work

You can sell your images for low prices at many stock graphic image sites or you can sell stock graphics from your own website. Stock images are convenient, inexpensive and offer variety for customers. You can fulfill a niche with your graphic design to attract targeted buyers. Look for a category that is underrepresented in stock galleries.

The trick to having successful stock work is display your work in large gallery with a searchable site. Users must be able to draw up images with different keyword approaches.


Selling stock images online is an option that can bring constant revenue built upon small payments from online customers. You could make more money selling hundreds of copies of an image at a small price than you could from the one buyer who wants one graphic. Selling your work at a small price gives all your customers the encouragement to buy more work from you. Your graphics will make a profit as your work and the websites attract more attention.

Membership Sites

Selling one image two-hundred and fifty times for a price of 50¢ will make a profit of $125. If numerous small payments are too much trouble, you could consider a one-time payment for entry into your membership site. A paid subscriber is allowed so many downloads a day based on their paid membership fee. You can use different websites to cater to the tastes of different clientele. You can make a collection of your graphic images and put them on a CD. This would work well for selling to target groups who visit your websites. Some graphic designers will offer some work for free to attract paying customers.

Customers will be attracted to a website with your graphics because of several reasons. It could be the size of image collection, types of graphics, fast search capabilities and an excellent category system. High quality images and a large volume of graphic images will bring in more potential customers.

When you know how to license your graphics for big profits, you will be able to create different streams of revenue with your work. You can sell copies of your work to customers who have a limited use of their copy based on your decision about the licenses for your work.


Before Licensing (Creative Commons) -

Licensing Course -

International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association:

Sell Your Pattern Designs -

Greeting Card Licensing -