My favourites. 10 awesome examples of licensing magic
In the wonderful world of licensing we get to work with really great brands every day, many of which are full of magic. As licensees, we are often given comprehensive styleguides that talented designers have poured over, for the express purpose of getting a final licensed product that’s true to brand. So why do we still see so many ‘badge slapped’ products which look as though little to no thought has been applied throughout the process? The answer is (sadly) usually cost related, but even the tightest budget should allow for a creative execution that does the brand justice.
Strong licensor/licensee relationships where creativity is valued on both sides go a great distance to create the right type of product. It is great to see the fruit of these relationships (these are the ones that bring the magic) and there are lots of great examples, here are ten of my favourites:
1. Lego Deathstar- by Lego
More of a collectible than a toy, the Lego Deathstar is a great piece of design work. Making something that is scaled at the size of a “small moon” into a multi roomed model that is actually still round is a feat of great toy engineering. I’m guessing the designers were tempted to cover the exhaust port?
2. Camper Van Tent- by themonsterfactory
A fantastic concept that works so well in real life. The designers at Monster Factory deserve all the praise they got for this award winning product.
3. Sponge Bob Phone Case- by Lazerbuilt
I had to put in one of our own products and I chose our Sponge Bob phone case. It’s simple but effective. Pull on his tongue and your phone will pop up out of the top of the case. It is fun and has great synergy with Sponge Bob humour.
4. Transformers: The Ultimate Pop-Up Universe – by Matthew Reinhart
This is surely more art than publishing. A beautifully designed pop-up book that works so perfectly with the Transformers primary attribute – they transform. This feat of paper engineering is a favourite of mine. If you haven’t seen Matthew Reinhart’s work, you should rectify that immediately he has many amazing creations based on other huge brands.
5. Breaking Bad Travel Mug – by Pyramid International
Who doesn’t like Breaking bad? I’m a big fan and I love what Pyramid did with this travel mug. Simple, clever and it didn’t add a ton of cost!
6. Hello Kitty Mac Collaboration – By Mac
Mac teamed up with San Rio and gave our favourite Kitty a stylish new look. Hello Kitty, who is actually quite the chameleon with her ability to pull off such varied collaborations and incarnations, became a bit of a beauty icon and the slightly edgy look was brilliantly executed.
7. Weight Watchers Cakes – by Finsbury foods
Let’s be honest, cakes and diets don’t automatically connect in our heads, but with this product, the ingredients literally make up the brand! Weight Watchers cakes epitomises the idea of “designing” something whose ingredients have synergy with the brand.
8. Hello Kitty Toaster – by Marino Andriani LLC
Not a completely new idea but I love the wackiness of Hello Kitty branded toast. This Marino Andriani version makes breakfast time that little bit more fun.
9. Disney Planes Wing Control Dusty Crophopper Radio Control Plane – By Mattel
Some of the most inventive concept designs never get anywhere near retailers. Not so with this product from Mattel. Dusty tips to match the child’s arm direction which adds an extra dimension to play. This investment paid off and toy awards followed.
10. Hello Kitty Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle – by DCT
It’s a Hello Kitty Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Need I say anymore? Available in Japan of course.