Bridgeman Studio Award: Tips from the Experts

Want to get ahead in art licensing? We asked industry experts to give their insights into which elements are important when selecting licensed artwork. More than just a pretty picture.



Album cover design by Cass Cassidy. Image: Design for a dirigible, French, c.1785 (engraving), French School / Bridgeman
Album cover design by Cass Cassidy. Image: Design for a dirigible, French, c.1785 (engraving), French School / Bridgeman


To coincide with the launch of our new online artist's platform, Bridgeman Studio, we're holding a competition in partnership with Creative Review to find the next generation of emerging talent.
For the Bridgeman Studio Award entrants will be assessed on their ability to translate up to five images on the theme of ‘joy’ to an album cover, a book cover and fine art print, ensuring they reflect the demands within the global image-licensing industry. 
To help designers and artists with their submissions, we  asked our clients and the Bridgeman team to provide insights into what elements are most important when selecting licensed artwork.
Have you got what it takes?
NOW CALLING FOR ENTRIES / Deadline: 20 May 2014
Results will be announced in Creative Review July Issue


Bridgeman Client: CD/Album Cover
'Selecting the right image for an album/CD cover involves more than simply choosing an image that meets your clients' brief.  You must ensure your chosen image will fit within the confines of a square. Another vital factor is choosing an image that allows enough room for text. Some CDs require a lot of text on the cover which needs to be both highly visible and readable. That can be tough when you have a classical painting and the ‘free areas’ where text might go are minimal. So, in summary, when choosing the perfect image for your CD cover, don’t forget to consider the physical and practical confines as well as the purely aesthetic impression that it creates.'
Cass Cassidy is designer/director of Cassidy Rayne Creative and has been working in CD design since 1997.


Cass Cassidy, designer/director of Cassidy Rayne Creative
Cass Cassidy, designer/director of Cassidy Rayne Creative



Image: Bacchus Standing Before Vesuvius, from the House of the Centenary, Pompeii, Fourth Style, 1st century AD, fresco (detail)
Image: Bacchus Standing Before Vesuvius, from the House of the Centenary, Pompeii, Fourth Style, 1st century AD, fresco (detail)






Bridgeman Client: Book Cover

'Book covers need to lead a reader to want to pick the book up in the first place, so a bold image with strong composition is essential.
The image needs to say something about the book, the mood of the work, period and genre, but remain intriguing so you want to know more – certainly for fiction it should not give away everything. There needs to be space for the author and title and I like an image to be able to breathe on the cover. The artwork is essential to the design.'
Lily Richards is Picture Researcher for Vintage, at Penguin Random House, one of the largest book publishing companies in the world.
Bridgeman Account Manager: Fine Art Print
‘There is seemingly an unlimited number of images of varying styles (and quality!) uploaded daily to an ever-growing number of online print sites and it can be tough to stand out from the burgeoning crowd.
Rather than trying to appeal to lots of different demographics I often find that simplicity is key. Focus on your strengths and what you enjoy about your artwork. Consider who has purchased your artwork in the past, their tastes and what it is about your work that appeals to them. Envisage where a buyer would hang your work and who is likely to view it. Letting these considerations inform your work will enhance the chances of a buyer viewing your work, feeling a connection with it, buying it and never growing tired of it.’
Tom Haggerty, New York office,






Bridgeman Account Manager: Fine Art Print

'Often images are chosen by the consumer as fine art prints because of their relationship to the home in terms of location and history, as well as the mood they create. 

Images depicting gardens, flowers and seascapes and British wildlife are enduringly popular and suit many rooms.  I have also noticed more demand for graphic art and illustration recently.' 

Georgina Angless, London office

Bridgeman Digital Marketing Director
'With Book Cover design, Album artwork and a stand- alone piece of art you are looking at very different formats. My advice would be to craft your idea into its simplest form. Look to what your idea is and remove all the clutter that deviates from the message you are trying to convey.  
'An emotional response is what you are trying to gain from the audience, and in the case of the Studio competition, it is the very specific emotion of ‘Joy’ so the brief is quite clear. However, there are many different ways to portray joy in your own unique style.
'My advice would be to be true to yourself rather than trying to create something you think people will like. I remember a quote by Fairfax Cone (a legend in the advertising world) who was once quoted as saying, “Speak to millions and you reach no one. Speak to one individual and you reach millions.”

Alan Firmin, London office





Bridgeman Studio Team
1. Look at what is trending in the licensing world For top tips visit our monthly Studio wish list of subjects/areas which our Sales team have identified as being 'in demand'.
2. Consider anniversaries and annual celebrations - There will always be a licensing demand around celebrations like Easter, Christmas and sporting events etc. 
3. Clear use of colour and medium - A clear, bold image has more chance of working across multiple types of licensing deals.
4. A good number and range of works within your portfolio  You never know...A client may be struck by an image they see of yours, and then, on visiting your artist page, decide to license multiple images or 'book mark' you for future use. We therefore encourage our artists to submit work with a good range.
Charlotte Proctor Smith, London office 


Bridgeman Studio Team

'When designing artwork for a competition, it is important to remember two things: first, you don’t have to be the best artist in the world and second, you shouldn’t create for the sole purpose of fulfilling the brief.

The most popular images in the Bridgeman archive are not necessarily the most skillful or flawless, but emotive, timeless and universally relatable. The most successful art we license are always first and foremost, strong images – and after that they fit the brief.

Working solely to fulfil a competition entry will leave you with a generic, soulless work that you’ll no longer connect with, or be proud of, once the contest is over.'

Hongmiao Shi, London office





Bridgeman Studio Team
'Our specific focus for Studio is good illustration, graphic art and printmaking of all varieties.'
Lucy Innes Williams, Bridgeman Studio Manager, London office
Find out more
What does Joy mean to you? Join the #StudioJoy conversation on Facebook and Twitter


Yellow Major Taylor, 2014 (screenprint) by Eliza Southwood / Bridgeman Studio Artist
Yellow Major Taylor, 2014 (screenprint) by Eliza Southwood / Bridgeman Studio Artist


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