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


      Lego Deathstar, out of this world


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

            Puts the camp in camper van


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

    The magic conch of mobile cases


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

                                                                                                         Robots in disguise


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

breaking-bad cup
        Pyramid cooked up the perfect recipe with this Walter                     White cup


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

kitty-mac collaboration
                        Who’s a pretty Kitty?


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

weightwatchers cake
                                  Let them eat cake


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

hello kitty-toaster
             Hello Kitty – it’s what’s for dinner


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

disney planes
                               Come fly with me


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

TNMT hello kitty mash up
        Hello Kitty TNMT mash-up? Meowabunga


It’s a Hello Kitty Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Need I say anymore? Available in Japan of course.