Frequently Asked Questions
What is the aim of The Authorities Inc.?
We thought brand and licensed merchandise was pretty stale and we weren’t buying merchandise at games or concerts anymore. We talked to friends and they weren’t buying merchandise either. So we took a closer look and noticed that the common theme was that the designs lacked creativity, originality, and passion. So we set out to create a service that lets the more passionate audience create the designs, the fans.
The Authorities is an interactive experience that brings together fans and big brands.
For the designer:
- Design for their favorite team, player, band, musician, movie, actor, etc.
- Get their design in front of the audiences who will appreciate and buy their work
- Sell their design and be compensated fairly
- Increase visibility and respect for their talent
For the fan:
- Show their pride with a unique design, created by a fan
- Have dialog with designers to create designs that truly mirror their passion
- Have the designs easily discoverable
- Purchase high-quality merchandise
Why do I have to apply to join The Authorities Designer Community?
The Authorities Designer Community is by invitation only. We limit the number of designers allowed into the community to ensure quality and that each design is given the best chance to be approved by a brand and sold to fans.
What do you look for in the portfolios of the designer applicants?
Passion. Originality. Tastefulness. Fun. And, most importantly, that you have a specific set of properties that you would love to design. That you are, most importantly, a fan.
What brands do you work with?
We are in constant discussions with the top movie, TV, gaming, sports, music and pop culture brands that you know, follow and love. The Authorities works hard to get top brands to open up the design process to the The Authorities Designer Community. And we aren’t just a one hit wonder - we don’t stop with just one design opportunity, but rather push to establish a multiple design collection. Have a brand you would love to design for? Let us know! We'll do the legwork to see if we can make it happen.
How do collections work?
After securing an official license, The Authorities announces a brand collection and hand selects the designers from the community to submit to the collection. A number of submissions are selected from the group and presented to the brand for approval. Once approval is received, the designs are scheduled for production and they go up for sale online, in stores, and/or at special events. Brands cna then renew collections and go back to the designers for even more designs.
Is there kind of a competition between designers on the same collection?
A collection has camaraderie and is not adversarial. By limiting the number of designers into a collection, each designer's work has the same chance of being picked up by the brand and distributed for sale. These opportunities are meant to be a collective, not a contest.
How do I submit designs?
Once you are invited to a collection, you'll get a project breif outlining all the details of the collection. On this same page is a submit button which will bring you to a form to submit your design(s). If you have a collection idea or specific design that you'd like to be considered separately from a collection, email us at email@example.com.
How am I compensated?
Each collection can have different compensation so make sure to read the collection guidelines in the project brief. Generally, a design for a large brand will go through a design review and if selected you will be compensated on a per unit basis, which includes an advance to help get you started. Basically, you make money every time someone buys your design. The cooler your design, the more fans that love it, the more you make.
How do design reviews work?
Each collection has a design review period with the brand. The design review can be once or on a rolling basis. Read the collection guidelines for specific details on the collection design review. Also, each brand has it’s own method for reviewing designs and sometimes requires a long line of sign-offs which may take awhile.
Usually, you’ll first just need to submit a sketch or mockup along with your inspiration to show the initial direction of your design. This way you can submit and get feedback without spending too much time on finalizing. Then once it gets approved and we get feedback from the brand, you can work on the final.
Also, we work directly with lots of different brands, and each has it’s own method for reviewing designs and sometimes requires a long line of sign-offs which may take awhile. We’ll make sure to keep you up to date about what’s going on.
If I’m busy, can I submit just an idea for a design?
Yes, you may submit an idea. Submit your design to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you with any feedback. We are always around to provide feedback during any point in the process.
What if I have a question about a specific collection?
To answer specific questions regarding a collection please use the contact us form or send us an email to email@example.com with the name of the collection in the subject title.
How often do you have new collections?
The goal is for new collections to open to designers every week.
How do I hear about the new collection announcements?
To hear about new collection announcements make sure you sign-up for the designer newsletter. If the collection requires a curated group of designers then you’ll hear from us directly.
Can you explain the difference between a “Design Submission” and “Selected Design”?
A submission is a design that is uploaded to a collection. The terms for a submission state that by uploading a design it gives us the non-exclusive, royalty-free right to display your artwork on our website and to the brand partners for 120 days.
A selected design means that the design has been selected to be printed and sold.
Is there any way I can be paid a flat fee instead of royalties?
Compensation changes based on the collection. If a collection has a flat fee option you will see this in the collection page guidelines.
Sounds cool, but why is this spec work?
The Authorities business model is by no means an attempt at free labor. The Authorities Designer Community is a hand selected group of hobbyist designers who for the first time get access to design for their favorite brands.
Top brands require sign-off on all designs that are printed and sold using their brand’s intellectual property or likeness. This approval process makes it near impossible to pay a designer upfront for their submission.
To bring together the designers and brands we are do the following
- The Authorities is paying the brands to provide designers these design opportunities.
- The Authorities is limiting the number of designers and designs submitted to a collection to ensure each design has the highest chance of being accepted by the brand.
- The Authorities professionally packages and presents each design submitted for approval from the brand. Every design has an audience who views it
- The Authorities asks for sketches and proposals of the design concepts to reduce time commitment.
The Authorities is committed to fairly compensating The Authorities Designer Community while also bringing these once in a lifetime opportunities to design for other fans at such a large scale.
Do I keep the rights to my artwork?
A Design Submission is owned by its author. Be sure to check the collection guidelines for specific details on the rights for when it becomes a Selected Design. Once it is accepted by the brand and the design is monetized, sometimes the brand's licensing policy will apply. All of this will be clearly outline in each collection's brief.
Your terms say I have to check for updates on the terms of service on your website, is that correct?
All changes to The Authorities terms of service will be posted to the website and each community member will be notified of the changes.
Does The Authorities make international payments?
The Authorities accepts design submissions from around the world, and will provide the paperwork as appropriate. In terms of currency, all payments will be made in USD.
Can my designs have been used on other websites, contests, companies, etc.?
During the 120 day approval period or until the design becomes a Selected Design, you may still use the design in other sites and situations. Once it becomes a Selected Design, the rights may change based on the brand’s licensing terms. All this will be clarified in each collection’s project brief.
What if I’m not accepted?
Each month we offer open community collections for all members of The Authorities Designer Community.