Fan art is a unique resource that businesses and brands often times find difficult to tap into.
When you think of fan art you might picture drawings or paintings exclusive to film, television, and video games. In actual fact, fan art encompasses a whole variety of content including videos, sculptures, craftwork, and culinary art. All of which can be applied to more than just narrative or character driven brands. With a little creativity, fans can even create wonderful artwork based on abstract concepts like this personification of popular web browsers by artist ROSEL-D.
There’s no right or wrong way to engage with fan content and most artists will appreciate a nod of recognition. However, ambiguities surrounding image rights and accreditation can leave businesses wondering to what extent they can utilise fan content in their marketing strategies. We’d like to take this opportunity to explore the pros and cons of using fan art in promotional material.
Using fan art in promotional material can be mutually beneficial for both business and artist.
The public recognition of fan art shows community members that their favourite brands are keen to engage with them and gives artists something to aspire to. One of the knock-on effects of this is that it can encourage community members to engage with your brand via other creative mediums. This, in turn, has the benefit of increasing a brand’s presence within their own industry as this demonstrates a strong and nurtiting brand/community relationship
Using fan art in promotional material can also help brands cut costs in a number of different areas. Responsible business owners will always negotiate payment for an artist when the use of their work generates a direct income for the brand. However, using fan art to support creative campaigns can often work out as more time and cost effective than devising something from the ground-up.
Many of the cons associated with the use of fan art in promotional material can be avoided by practicing good etiquette. It’s a well-known fact that using an artist’s work without their consent is poor form but one of the most common problems brands can run in to is simply establishing contact with the artist in the first place.
Once a dialogue is established, it’s likely that business and artist will have to go through a period of negotiation regarding how and when the artwork can be used. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that not all fan artists are dedicated community members and some won’t appreciate their artwork being used promotionally at all.
In addition to this, it can be difficult to find fan art that follows brand guidelines and is capable of being used across a variety of platforms. Fan content is usually created with a specific purpose in mind and this can struggle to translate from one medium to the other.
It takes a creative approach to use fan art in promotional material but doing so can boost a brand’s reputation; not only within their own community but within their industry as well. Fan art has the potential to breathe new life into a business’ marketing strategy but these campaigns most definitely have a shelf life and have a lessening impact over time. When in doubt we advise that fan art should never be the basis of an entire campaign but, rather, applied to supporting/complimentary promotional material within a campaign.
Remember: always credit your artist; make sure you know where you stand with regards to image rights; and don’t fall into the trap of overusing fan art in campaigns that don’t call for it.
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