Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) has unveiled the nine finalists who will battle it out to win one of three Kelvyn Gardner License This! awards.

BLE takes place in person from 17 November to 19 November at ExCeL London followed, by an online event from 30 November to 1 December. It’s free to register at

There are three categories for 2021, including a brand-new Product Design award launched in partnership with Mojo Nation, where designers have been tasked to invent a desktop accessory inspired by Aardman’s Morph IP. The Character & Animation and Brand & Design categories are both aimed at unlicensed brands and properties and judges will be looking for new creative concepts which have the potential to spread across multiple product categories.

Chair of the judging panel Ian Downes, who is director of Start Licensing, said: “The standard of entries this year for the Kelvyn Gardner License This! competition was very high. It was encouraging to see so many original ideas and concepts. Entrants put a lot of effort into the competition, crafting some compelling entries, and it was tough to draw up a shortlist. Based on the quality of entries, it’s clear that there is no shortage of creativity in and around licensing at the moment, and the industry can be assured there is plenty of fresh thinking going on.”

“The standard of entries this year for the Kelvyn Gardner License This! competition was very high. It was encouraging to see so many original ideas and concepts”

Chair of the judging panel Ian Downes,
Brand Licensing Europe-Honours Kelyvn Gardner
The late Kelvyn Gardner with the 2019 License This! winners, Rosie Brooks and Drew Bristow

The nine finalists are:

  1. Brand & Design Category:
  2. Pencil & TIE are the best of friends who live in Shibuya, Tokyo. Pencil is a graphic designer, who is never seen without his pencil. Tie is his one-footed cheeky friend (and a tie). Designer Mark creates onefold and witty stationery, which manifests itself in the (paper) product design and/or the illustration(s) used. With a lifelong passion for stationery, years of design experience for A-list brands, and an attachment to Japanese culture, Pencil & TIE produces lovable and sustainable stationery products in its lab in the Netherlands.

  3. Sophie Jonas-Hill and Tea for Tattoo brings together two great British passions – drinking tea and getting tattooed! Tea for tattoo is a series of hand-drawn motifs which combine the colour palette and style of traditional blue and white ceramics, with the aesthetic and cheeky edge of old school tattoos. It’s distinctive because it carries Sophie’s unique hand drawn stamp, created by drawing separate parts of each image on tracing paper and then layering them together to create the look of glazed ceramic.

  4. Aline Cervo – Aline Bea is a surface pattern designer and illustrator. Inspired by nature, the simple things in life, and her own journey, she draws everything from flowers to buildings and abstract compositions. The stories embedded in her designs talk about bravery, courage, love and connection. The beauty of being alive and enjoying every moment is what she expects to imprint on the world with her designs and products.
  5. Character & Animation Category:
  6. Els Morris – Els Doodles: Rosie Roars’ is an illustrated little one’s story book. Rosie is three and her favourite animal is a lion – she even wants to be one when she grows up. Her family helps her to discover different animals and she decides that being a ‘buzzy, hopping, rainbow roaring me’ is the perfect person to be. This book teaches youngsters that it’s good to celebrate who we are, while learning about others along the way.
  7. Stacy Moore – Eat Dirt: Eat Dirt is a series of humorous stories and poems for children aged two to five, which are designed to inspire a love of veggies, gardening, and outdoor play, served up with a big dose of pure silliness. It is rich with bright colour and pint-sized humour to help foster creativity, inspire movement, encourage play and garden activity, and stimulate little brains for healthy growth. The main characters include Grumpy Bean and his seven vegetable friends, plus the Green Thumb Chums and Toad.
  8. Joel Mercer – Seeding Cards & Gifts. SeedFolk has been developed by the creative team behind Seedlings Cards & Gifts; a lovable range of characters, who care for our native habitats and wildflower seeds.
  • Product Design Category
  • Jon Morse – Tomato Source
  • Chris de Junien – Imagine8
  • Wayne Lindsay – Imaginnovation

The three designers in this category will pitch their concepts to the judges during the live final, which takes place in-person at BLE on 19 November.

Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) has paid tribute to licensing legend Kelvyn Gardner, who passed away at the start of this year by renaming the License This! Competition as the Kelvyn Gardner License This! Competition and nominating day two of the event as Colour for Kelvyn day. The Kelvyn Gardner License This! Competition has been helping brands and designers break into the licensing industry for over a decade

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