what it means to be an art brand: a few thoughts


Hey, all!  Betsy here. Today we’re taking a little break from the “we” and the nerding out over copyright that Chuck and I love to do. Instead, I’m gonna delve into this idea of being an “art brand.” It’s something you’ll find us talking about a lot here at F13, so I thought it would be helpful to start the conversation early. I’m excited to hear your thoughts about it. Here are a few of mine.

Most of us are familiar with “brand” in the sense of a visual identity (logo, colors, typefaces, etc.) that represent a business. Many are also familiar with the idea that “brand” includes things like voice (the way a business’s purpose and activities are described in words) and even that a brand might represent certain values (principles that guide the mission of the business).

When I talk about an “art brand,” I take all those things as given, a baseline. So it’s about something more than that.

For starters, I think an art brand is a business that’s built not just around the art of a particular human being, but around that being's heart and soul. It’s more than talent and a great portfolio. It’s about an attitude toward life. It’s about a way of being in the world. It’s about wanting to tell a story.

We could say that about lots of artists, right? So what else is it?

I believe the art brand artist is inspired by feedback from customers and fans. It’s about an exchange and she likes the direct connection she can have through an Etsy shop, or a blog, or a social media platform—the sense of finding her tribe. One art brand artist might be super comfortable in the spotlight while another may be more introverted. What they have in common is a desire to put art in the world that says something about who they are and what they care about. It's about sharing art in an unmediated way.

For that reason and others, I find that the art brand artist gets a huge amount of satisfaction from putting her art out into the world just so. She’s a bit of a control freak (and I mean that in the best possible way). As a consequence, the art brand artist is probably going to be more comfortable turning down an opportunity to sell or license her work if it just doesn’t feel like a good fit. It's about being thoughtful and deliberate about how and where the art shows up.

OK. I could talk about this for a loooong time, but those feel like good ideas to get the ball rolling. I’m super curious to know what you think. Do you think of your business model as an art brand? If not, is it inspiring to you to think about it that way? What questions does it raise?