A Snapshot of 1988…

This is a picture of me many moons a go with some of my fine art student friends, out and about (a.k.a. on the loose) near Skipton in North Yorkshire. An extremely long time ago, in the midst of time,  before the digital age was even imagined. At that time photography was a tricky, extremely slow and expensive business. Also getting about in Nick’s ancient car was another adventure, which we all took rather too lightly, …’er Alison, ah, oh don’t move the foot mats…yes, that is moving road you see underneath there…don’t panic, just keep still and under no circumstances put your feet down.’

You might recall I’ve written a couple of books the main one being ‘The Essential Guide to Business for Artists & Designers’ now revised and updated for 2014.

1I often wonder what my dizzy latter teenage self would have made of this book if it was thrust upon me on Christmas Day, I think I would have been curious…but I can’t be sure. After chatting to art students this week there is still a great deal of fuzziness about their futures. Despite this new super informed age we all live in, artists and designers are still learning by their mistakes, which they don’t need to do any more. If you are a recent graduate, are still studying or have a creative friend who has recently graduated, this book, (though they may not view it as an #idealgift) will help them avoid the master-by-error route and be able to make more informed judgements about their next steps.

Don’t spent your 20s in the wilderness…open up page one…keep reading and de-fuzz the future.

Happy Christmas Everyone!


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Changes to UK Design Right & Copyright

Hello Everyone!

I would like to alert artists, designers, photographers & bloggers to a small number of, but significant changes in UK Design Right & Copyright this month. There are a large number of changes outlined in the useful guides embedded above, however here is a brief summary for the bewildered.

You might be shocked to know if you are a blogger and be consumed by utter glee if a photographer that the law on ‘Quotation’ under ‘news’ & ‘fair dealing’ has changed’. So bloggers beware, the taking of photographs e.g. from Vogue for instance to use on your blog to illustrate news of a recent fashion show for example is no longer regarded as fair dealing. The change is if using a photograph without the consent of the copyright holder could be regarded as conflicting with the copyright owner’s e.g. the original photographer or magazine’s right to exploit that work, e.g. make some more money from selling or licensing that image. If your use of that image, (especially reproducing whole images, or numbers of images from another businesses website) should cause the owner to lose potential income then its now likely to be viewed not as ‘fair use’.

This is a most welcome change in the law as photographers are having their ability to make money from official licensing squashed by copycat style bloggers who just think they can re-publish other photographer’s images carte blanche. This frankly has quite incensed me for years. Yes that’s right, if you can’t be bothered to try to take or commission your own photographs then original photography costs. However it also depends on the original copyright owner’s ability to spot this and take action against infringers, so its likely we might have to wait for a test case, to see how this new law will fully benefit photographers in the future.

Regarding Design Right, there have been a number of important new rights in this revision of Intellectual Property Law, I really advise you to read the full guide in the link above. But in short, some key changes are, when a designer is now commissioned to create a design it is the designer who will now holds the rights, and not the client, unless the contract agreed should state otherwise. It is now also illegal to intentionally copy and reproduce a registered design commercially.

If you are new to the subject of Intellectual Property then I suggest (shamelessly recommending my own book) The Essential Guide to Business for Artists & Designers – Revised and Updated. I also offer one to one business advice an guidance on copyright, design right, protecting your IP, and trademark, feel free to contact me on alison@alisonbranagan.com though it is quite possible if your situation is quite serious I will point you in the right direction to a friendly IP solicitor. By the way this is me at the lovely New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham talking on this very subject!

Please feel free to quote from this blog, but please remember to credit me as the author and link back.


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Entrepreneurship for Creatives

Hello and welcome to my new shiny website which has been designed by one of my fantastic entrepreneurship students Alana Biviano of BVN Creative who I met last year. Over the last couple of days I’ve been beavering away on my own, polishing and tweaking links. The image above is of the fine set of individuals who came together from all over the world on the Entrepreneurship Summer School, at Central Saint Martins in July.

I have always had total faith in any of my courses whether at Granary Square or online that a group can form a community. Which is a resource, that can, even if for a short time contribute to launching or moving your arts practice or design business on to the next level. When aspiring creatives form a group, for a couple of hours or weeks, e.g. a workshop, exhibition or conference much is learned which can be intelligently applied to their next project. With the advent of social media, free real time global communication and payment systems it is possible for the first time in history to network and trade on an international footing from the first few minutes of setting up in business.

If you wish to strike out on your own or with others, as the old African proverb goes…

 ‘If you want to move quickly, go alone…If you wish to go far go together’

Avoid the old trap that you can do it all on your own…you can’t. Its only possible with the support and involvement of others*. This new website won’t exist I think if I had not met Alana for instance.

*Scottish Referendum, voted no and the Scots have decided to maintain the union by staying together.

Copyright 2014 Alison Branagan (Please feel free to quote, put remember to credit & link back)


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Business Start-up for Creatives Online

Ahoy there shipmates! This is my second post, please excuse the formatting, its early days in these uncharted virtual seas of the blogosphere!

So why not launch yourself and set sail with the winds of good fortune in blowing in your sails this month?

If you’ve recently graduated from a visual or applied arts degree, or perhaps you have just started your business as a freelancer, design business or arts practice and feel very confused about what is going on, then this online course will help you formulate a plan, understanding some marketing basics,  networks, business planning, money management, costing and pricing, fund raising, legal matters and tax. A very useful course for anyone based in the UK, EU or elsewhere in the world who seek to trade with or in Europe.

Its very easy to make mistakes in business, and making too many can drain you of time, funds and resources. Often its about spotting problems and putting them right that will aid  your route to success, leading to financial stability or a profitable enterprise.

This course is broadcast live, but its recorded so if you miss a class you can catch up during the week, there will also be time to discuss your plans and extensive handouts are also provided along with these exclusive course extras:

As part of the course students have a free one hour consultation with specialist design accountant Dean Shepherd of Tax By Design and a Business name and  a free UK/EU trade mark search undertaken by city the law firm Silverman Sherliker LLP.

For more information and to enrol please view the new Central Saint Martins website.


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Wild-goose Chase Anyone? Entrepreneurship for Creatives Online at Central Saint Martins

Apologies for the continual generally poor format of this blog, which I plan to sort out in the next couple of days. Contrary to public opinion Alison Branagan is not an large plush office staffed with loads of slightly plump ginger haired ladies and gentlemen continually nibbling biscuits and making cups of herbal tea for one another, though one hopes it is only a matter of time.

The trouble with wild goose chases is no one really wants to go on one, its not really top of anyone’s list of desirable activities. You don’t wake up and think hell what I really want to do today is waste a load of time, money and energy. Alas at the moment we are in difficult times and extraordinary changes are occurring daily to the way we not only run our art practices or design businesses but in our personal lives.

It’s really difficult to know if you are just starting out or have been going awhile and find a brick wall has been hit or you find you’ve been talking to one for sometime. Often its a matter of persisting with something until a break through occurs or you just have to realise…look this isn’t going anywhere any more is it? Change is never easy, but shoving yourself in another direction might prove more fruitful.

My course ‘Entrepreneurship for Creatives Online‘ hosted by Central Saint Martins, is designed to help you think differently about where you are now and what other options there might be out there for you. The course is broadcast live, but if you miss a class they are all recorded so you can catch up during the week. Handouts are provided and the course includes a special course extra in the form of a probono UK/EU business and trade mark search by city law firm Silverman & Sherliker

For more information about the course and enrolment please visit the new Central Saint Martins website.

Cheerio for now…working on a blog post for Arts Thread at the moment…so stay tuned!


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A 7 Step Guide to Protecting Your Brand: Asos Market Sellers Blog

An illustration by Tim Bradford from ‘The Essential Guide to Business for Artists & Designers’ Revised and Updated. All Rights Reserved.

I venture out into the blogosphere with tentative tiny steps, please excuse the formatting, as I’ve just set up this account!

I launch with a recent post I wrote for Asos…just out 25th September 2013

A 7 Step Guide to Protecting Your Brand

When you start out as a fashion designer, maker or seller like all other creative enterprises you have to decide on what to call yourself. You might for example use your own personal name or trade under a business name. Some of you may have started trading using an eye-catching name, phrase or motif but what you might not realise is that without sufficient checks and seeking to register a trade mark, your brand isn’t safe in the commercial marketplace.

When you officially register as a sole-trader (aka self-employed) a partnership or a company, the following seven step guide helps you to avoid costly mistakes with your label name or logo often referred to in legalese as your ‘mark’.

When you see the â next to your favourite label or store name it means they have registered their name, possibly the graphic representation of their mark and logo as a registered trade mark. When you see ä this means that the business founders are stating this is our ‘trademark’ either before or whist waiting for official registration to come through. Trademarks are registered by ‘territory’ which usually means by country.

1.     Go out and check the world
You might not be aware but it is now a legal requirement for anyone setting up as self-employed, partnership or a limited company to make sure they’re not using the same business name as another enterprise. You might not have officially registered yourself as a business, by-the-way if you haven’t and you have started to make sales you need to get this done. So even if you’re using a name and you haven’t officially registered as a business you can still run into problems. The best thing to do is….(To read more please visit Asos)


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