It's not just character and entertainment properties which will be making the most of October's Brand Licensing Europe showcase - to date some 45 companies have signed up for the show's dedicated Art, Design and Image Licensing zone, and this number is growing.
The zone debuted last year; it launched with a unique identity and branding to more accurately reflect the breadth of properties exhibiting under the art and design umbrella.
It also mirrors the increasing importance of the category in the wider licensing market. Figures from Advanstar show that it is one of the fastest growing areas (at an accelerated rate of six per cent) and has worldwide retail sales of $19.3 billion.
In 2007, art, design and image licensors accounted for 32 per cent of all exhibitors at BLE and 36 per cent of all visitors came with a specific interest in art and design properties.
Out of the 45 companies which have signed up for 2008, there are 17 first time exhibitors. These include Adsett Design Studios, AKG Images, Andrea Jayne Illustrations, Ann Edwards, Blunt, Heidi Sturgess and Tracey Russell Greetings Cards.
A number are also returning including Christie's Images, Crush Licensing, Clare David, Kate Knight, Fun Crew, LoCoco, Malenda Trick, Santoro Licensing, Plus Licens AB and Tom n Ellie.
The zone is also a good place to spot new properties with the potential to translate well into multi-category merchandising programmes.
New property launches this year will include Hot Diggity Dog, Panda Days and Vanilla Sky (Andrea Jayne Illustrations), Percy and his Friends (David Severn), Yummie Mummies, Daniel's Friends (Pauline Alice Designs), Starfighter Academy, War Stars (Sublevel Studios), Halloween Spooks (Tony Fernandes) and Local Folk and Street Speak (Tosh Licensing).
"We have exhibited at Brand Licensing Europe for seven years," said Richard Horton, international licensing director at Rachael Hale. "Our repeat presence has enabled us to build our profile amongst visitors and strengthen our brand name on the show floor. We welcomed buyers from almost all of the High Street's biggest names onto the stand, and closed a number of new licensing deals in the weeks after the event as a direct result."
For more information on Brand Licensing Europe, click here.