Licensing a marbled Design
- A design local company has asked me to reproduce a design for a
booklet they are preparing. They plan to print 800-1000 copies, and
use the marbling for the entire cover, so 10 1/4 " H x 14 1/4 " W.
They want to know if they can reprint it again next year, possibly in
a different color.
Iris, you had written the following back in 2005:
>I charge either $400 for an off the shelf paper or $550 if custom,but if that
>goes beyond reason, like they want eight million changes, after apoint I will
>charge extra. It also depends on the budget and use though....this isa generic
>fee. If it's a major huge company with international distribution youmay get up
>to $4000 per use. Make sure you make it clear that YOU retain thecopyright.
>They can copyright their edition or whatever, but you hold a priorcopyright to
>the artwork. So they cannot think that because they purchased usageand it's >in their project that they can sell your design to someone
else now. This has
>happened to me and it got very ugly. Make sure they are licensing notbuying >out your artwork, and it's a one time use. I thing the Graphic
Artists Guild will
>have something you can copy in their guidelines book.I looked at the 2001 GAG guidbook "Pricing and Ethical Guidelines"
yesterday, and found that it has changed a great deal from earlier
versions. Gone are the guidelines on prices for the size and top of
run, and ensuing royalty fees for subsequent reprints. I knew that
the prices listed in the past had been considered high by other
marblers anyways, but those guidelines were useful.
- Hello Again,
Here is the text from the section on marbling Graphic Artists Guild
Handbook : Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, 10th edition (2001). pp 300-302.
Marbling (Marbled Printing)
Marblers are artists who create unique contact prints by floating
paints and inks on a liquid size, manipulating the colors with special
combs and tools to form designs, and applying paper, fabric, or other
materials to pick up the design. Although no two pieces of marbling
are exactly alike, mastery of technical variables can enable a marbler
to produce designs that are quite similar to each other or to
centuries old patterns. Many marblers concentrate on creating images
based on classical designs that are traditionally used to decorate
covers or endpapers of hand bound books. Other artists produce more
contemporary images with oils, watercolors, or Japanese suminagashi
The immense popularity of marbling accompanying a renaissance of this
long neglected art has heightened the demand for marbled images.
Marbled designs are sought by ad agencies, graphic designers, magazine
and book publishers, and clothing, home furnishing, stationery, and
various other manufacturers for reproduction on everything from
promotional brochures and package design to backdrops for television
Illustration Prices & Trade Customs
Because the expense of operating a marbling business is similar to
that incurred by other graphic artists, and because the marbler's
creations enhance the value of the client's product or service, recent
survey data indicate that marblers are routinely paid reproduction
fees. Most marblers protect their copyrights by registering their
designs with the Library of Congress and by stamping a copyright
notice that includes their name, address, and phone number on the back
of papers offered for sale in art supply and paper stores. Because
many papers are cut after purchase, some artists stamp their work in
several places so that even small sections of their work can be
identified. Despite these precautions, some users wrongfully assume
that purchasing a marbled paper authorizes them to reproduce the
design. For this reason, marblers must vigilantly protect their work
against copyright infringement.
Recent Guild research has found that factors affecting the pricing of
custom work most often include setup and actual printing time;
complexity of design; when different, specific coloring is desired;
number of samples required; altering pattern scale; matching ink
specifications; and cost of materials.
Usual and customary considerations of fees for reproduction rights may
include consultation time, intended use, extent of use (border, full
page, spread), length of time for the specified use, and the number of
The following trade practices have been used historically, and through
such tradition are accepted as standard:
1. The intended use of the art must be stated clearly in a contract,
purchase order, or letter of agreement stating the price and terms of
2. The artwork cannot be altered in any way, except for what occurs
during the normal printing process, without the written consent of the
artist. Since it is very easy to alter art electronically these days,
the client should inform the artist if he or she wishes to alter the
artwork and then do so only with the permission and supervision of the
illustrator. Anything less is a violation of professional good faith
and ethical practice.
3. Return of original artwork to the artist is automatic unless
otherwise negotiated. Clients are usually expected to make their
selection of marbled papers for use within 14 days.
4. Samples of the finished product are customarily sent to the marbler
upon completion; this is usually specified in the contract.
5. Artists normally sell only first reproduction rights unless
6. Fees for custom work are normally charged separately from any
reproduction rights sold. Current data indicate that higher fees are
charged for creating an unusually large number of custom samples.
Additional payments are routinely made by the client for changes or
alterations requested after the original assignment is agreed upon.
7. Surveys show that fees for multiples of a marbled pattern(s) are
often discounted below the per pattern fee.
8. Payment is expected upon delivery of the assignment, not upon its
9. If the artwork is to be used for other than its original purpose,
the price is usually negotiated as soon as possible. Note that the
secondary use of an illustration may be of greater value than the
primary use. Although there is no set formula for reuse fees, current
surveys indicate that artists add a reuse fee ranging from 20 to 100
percent of the fee that would have been charged had the illus¬tration
been commissioned for the new use.
10. Illustrators should negotiate reuse arrange¬ments with the
original commissioning party with speed, efficiency, and all due
respect to the client's position.
11. Historically, artists have charged higher fees for rush work than
those listed here, often by an additional 20 to 150 percent.
12. If the illustrator satisfies the client's requirements and the
finished work in still not used, full compensation should be made.
However, historically, if a job is canceled after the work is begun,
through no fault of the artist, a cancellation or kill fee is often
provided. If a custom job is canceled, current data indicate that 100
percent of the fee is expected. Cancellation fees for reproduction
rights after the contract is signed but prior to execution of finished
art have been found to be 50 percent of the negotiated fee.
13. Historically, a rejection fee has been agreed upon if the
assignment is terminated because the preliminary or finished work is
found to be not reasonably satisfactory and steps to correct the
problem have been exhausted. The rejection fee for finished work has
often been more than 50 percent of the full price, depending upon the
reason for rejection and the complexity of the job. When the job is
rejected at the sketch stage, current surveys indicate that the
customary fee is 20 to 50 percent of the original price. This fee may
be lens for quick, rough sketches and more for highly rendered, time
14. Artists considering working on speculation assume all risks, and
should evaluate them carefully when offered such arrangements. For a
thorough discussion of the rinks, see the Speculation section in
Chapter 3, Professional Issues. However, the creation of work
initiated by a marbler for presentation and sale is commonly accepted
in the textile and greeting card industries. Recent surveys have found
that it is also standard practice to obtain a written guarantee of
payment for creating any new work specifically requested by clients.
15. The Graphic Artists Guild is unalterably opposed to the use of
work for hire contracts, in which authorship and all rights that go
with it are transferred to the commissioning party and the independent
artist is treated as an employee for copyright purposes only. The
independent artist receives no employee benefits and loses the right
to claim authorship or to profit from future use of the work forever.
Additional information on work for hire can be found in Chapter 2,
Legal Rights and Issues.