The Art of Licensing

Creating breakthrough products, packaging and experiences via Licensing.

Trademark licensing has emerged as a major brand communications strategy across many categories of business…and it’s growing. It is a powerful marketing tool that effectively drives brand loyalty and value, increases engagement motivating consumers to invite a brand into their lives and to become brand loyalists.

Creating breakthrough products, packaging and experiences via licensing is far more than a matter of a legal agreement and coordination. It’s a nuanced design challenge that takes an experience creative team leading the process. One that understands how to successfully execute designs that optimize that ‘sweet spot’ of the relationship, brand equities and brand guidelines of both the brand and licensor.

Domo has over 20 years of expertise in licensing and custom character development including application to packaging, project leadership and comprehensive implementational management between brand and licensor. The possibilities are both exciting and endless!

The Logistics

If you are new to the concept, Licensing involves identifying a category of product and consumer behavior trends to inform your product extension strategies. If you believe licensing to be a viable avenue, identify best-fit brands for your products, packaging and services. A brand owner then grants you (third party) permission to create and manufacture a product using the brand’s logo, attributes, design elements and intellectual property typically in exchange for a percentage of sales or fee.

Once an agreement is signed, the development process begins from conceptual development through final sampling and manufacturing, and finally to market.

The Art:

A truly skilled, creative brand steward, is the magic behind a successful licensing opportunity.
Delivering beyond the low-hanging fruit of licensing applications requires historical perspective, cultural insights, cross-pollination of ideas from working across many categories of products and brands and tremendous imagination, thinking outside the box and chutzpah to put forth ideas that might be unexpected.

There’s not just one way to license a property. It can take several forms:

  • Association with a specific artist to modernize a well-established brand.
  • Association with and leveraging characters/properties that are popular with consumers.
  • Creating extensions of brand names to reach new audiences and categories of business.

1. Association with a specific artist to modernize a well-established brand:

A major current trend with vast social media opportunities, is the equity a brand can borrow from an influencer, artist, personality, etc IE: Sam Gilliam/African American Painter


2. Association with and leveraging characters/properties that are popular with consumers

Having had the opportunity to work with licensed properties like Hello Kitty, Lilly Pulitzer, Disney, Vineyard Vines, Nike, Paul & Joe, Marimekko, Nickelodeon, eOne, and more, we see well past the obvious solutions of cookie-cutter applications.

hello kitty razor

Hello Kitty gift packs.

3. Creating extensions of an established brand to reach new audiences.

In the case of Purina Pet Gear, we not only developed a unique and quirky brand extension of the Purina brand, but also developed the brand personality: pet-centric voice, wide-angled photography style and all product development.

Brand extension identity and pet-centric brand voice development.

Licensed product production with contemporary prints and patterns.

Final Thoughts

The art of developing strategic, on-brand products and packaging that strengthen, enhance and protect licensed brands – involves working with a skilled brand steward. Ensuring that products stand out and maximize powerful brands through licensing can only be well done – if the process is well-executed, both strategically and creatively.

Licensing is a unique niche of strategy and design that domo domo has honed for over 20+ years. Our Licensed Design partners and brands trust team domo to manage all creative development and execution as well as to serve as liaison with the licensor. Let us work our magic for you!

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