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Exclusive license vs non-exclusive license

Updated: May 22

Exclusive License vs Non-exclusive License

I need artwork for my products but I don't know where to start! And what does "Licensing" mean?

Art licensing refers to the process by which artists grant permission to third parties to use their artwork for various commercial purposes in exchange for a fee or royalty. This practice allows businesses to legally use artwork in their products or marketing materials without having to create original artwork themselves.

Licensing is an agreement between the artist or designer (Licensor) and the client (Licensee). The agreement allows the Licensee to use the artwork in a commercial capacity. The terms of the License and associated costs are negotiable and will depend on several factors such as:

  •  Duration of the license - how long the artwork will be used for?

  •  Location - where will the artwork be used?

  •  Type of license - Is this being used for 10 T-shirts or 50,000 T-shirts? Will the artwork be used in a large department store or a small, local business?

  •  Exclusivity - Is it an Exclusive License or a Non-exclusive License? (More information on this is below)

Exclusive License:

Only you and you alone (Licensee) will be able to purchase the artwork for the manufacturing of your products for sale.

All prints from my Print Library and offered as an Exclusive License which means once you purchase the artwork, it is immediately removed from the website and no one else can purchase or commercialize the artwork. There are also no time restrictions, so the artwork can be used for an indefinite time period.

This is beneficial for any product-based business, as it guarantees that the same artwork will not be seen elsewhere, which gives you a competitive edge.

You can view it as purchasing the artwork outright. It is yours to keep and use however you wish. However, you cannot resell the rights to the artwork or give it away for free online.

Non-exclusive License:

To put it simply, this is like leasing an artwork. You (Licensee) will pay a fee to use the artwork on your products - but the artist or designer (Licensor) can license it to other people at the same time too. The artist or designer can also manufacture his or her own products using the same artwork.

Usually, there are time and product category restrictions for these types of licenses. For example, an artwork can only be used for up to two years and on one type of product only, for a particular number of units.

This is great for small businesses who wish to go for a more budget-friendly option - but risk the chance of having the art used by a competitor.

Currently, I offer both Exclusive and Non-exclusive to my clients.

If you like one of my designs but prefer to license it non-exclusively, just ask! Please note that each project is different and so the agreement varies according to the client’s needs.

For more information, why not check out the following links below?

Hope that helps! If you have any questions or would like to learn about my licensing fees, email me at:




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