Licensed Design Artists: Mary Engelbreit and Susan Branch

©Licensed designs by Mary Engelbreit

Here are two licensed design artists whose work I love.

Their licensed designs are based on their illustration and writing projects sold to product manufacturers. By name, they are Mary Engelbreit and Susan Branch. In fact, you may likely be familiar with their work. If so, that would be from both their prolific past work and present activities as well. As I mentioned, from their start I have loved and continue to love their work.

The First Licensed Design Artist: Mary Engelbreit

These two women are very accomplished brand designers. In fact, they may be the most well known of their kind in the last half century. In other words, both have decades of branded designs to their names.(3)(3A)

Mary Engelbreit on Wikipedia
Mary Engelbreit
©Mary Engelbreit Facebook Page

The Second Licensed Design Artist: Susan Branch

Brand Designers are people who have created visual and/or verbal work that identifies a brand. For example, in the case of these two women, the brand is their own work. For instance, their story may have included luck as well as being in the right place at the right time. Above all, whatever it was, it worked.

Susan Branch on Wikipedia
©Susan Branch on Instagram

What is a licensed or branded design?

A brand is the means by which an entity is recognized across the board. The brand itself can be visual or verbal material. The entity can be a person, product or company as well. In fact, the brand can be the work of the designer him or herself.

In the cases of both Mary Engelbreit and Susan Branch, their design media that lead to their work being licensed was primarily their illustration and writing skills. For example, Mary Engelbreit’s licensed designs include greeting cards, books, and kitchen accessory designs.

Similarly, Susan Branch’s licensed designs actually also includes books, calendars, fabric and wallpaper patterns. In other words, all kinds of kitchen and eating accessories. After all that, Susan is also a cook and recipe writer. Otherwise, their work runs along very similar lines at times. But they still have unique, distinct styles.

NY Coliseum
Opening of the New York

My Story

In addition to admiring their successes, I yearned to become a licensed designer too. Actually, it was during the time I was doing my own illustration work. My work was making personal greeting cards for friends and family. After that, I tried my hand at commercial cards. However brand design was not meant to be for me. In conclusion, I did have the opportunity to have my work published. In fact, I did have a small portion of success at commercially available cards.
My Published Work This is a simple story. It came about as a result of my attending a class in greeting card design at the Parson School of Design in NYC. As a result, the students then received passes to the then famous Gift and Greeting Card Show at the New York Coliseum. It was the only arena of its type in NYC at the time.

branded designers
@Alison Gilbert for Family Line Greeting Cards. Two cards I designed and sold to Family Line Greeting Cards. I met them at the NY Coliseum Gift & Greeting Card Show. Both cards were published and sold in an upscale gift and card shop on the upper East Side of Manhattan.


There I met a company called Family Line Cards. Both of my commercial greeting card sales were through their company. I may not have become a licensed designer. But above all, I did sell two greeting cards design. Therefore I am very proud of my few moments of success.

Susan Branch
@Licensed Designs by Susan Branch


1.Family Line Greeting Cards
2.Susan Branch on Pinterest
2A.Mary Engelbreit on Pinterest
3.Mary Engelbreit on Wikipedia
3A.Susan Branch on Wikipedia
4.Mary Engelbreit on twitter
4A.Dear Susan Branch on Twitter
5.Mary Engelbreit on Instagram
5A.Susan Branch on Instagram
6.Mary Engelbreit on Facebook
6A.Susan Branch Fans Group on Facebook
6B.Friends of Susan Branch on Facebook
7.Mary Engelbreit on Shopify
7A.Susan Branch Blog
7B.Susan Branch Recipes
8.Mary Engelbreit: So Much More Than cute
8A.Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
9.Opening Ceremonies of the New York Coliseum
10.How to Become a Brand Designer in 5 Steps
11.Brand Design Definition (With Importance, Steps and Tips)
12.Definition-Branding Design
13.Mary Engelbreit on Amazon
14.Susan Branch Books on Amazon
15.Licensing Susan Branch artwork
15A.Licensing Mary Engelbreit artwork
15B.Mary Engelbreit: Artist and Entrepreneur

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Reclaiming Forgotten Treasures For Fun and Profit

label from a trashed treasure stamped on the bottom of the seat of a stool
Forgotten treasure abound in our consumer based culture. Do you know what forgotten treasures are? Have you ever watched the PBS show, ‘Antiques Roadshow’? If you have, you will know that the difference between a forgotten treasure, and what is not, can be a very fine line.

Here are some questions to ask and actions to take to determine what you have, a forgotten treasure, a collectible, an antique or just a piece of furniture.

• The first thing to do is to observe what kind of condition the item is in. Is it vintage (perfect) or is it in a degree of less than perfect. That will determine what its intrinsic value is. If something is vintage, it is best to keep it as is, not do anything to it other than gently clean it, keep it or try to sell it.

If a piece is obviously damaged, then one wants to find out if it is an antique or a collectible. That involves research either online, in books or in-person. An antique is something over 75 years old. A collectible is less than that but at least 50 years old.

There was an old Queen Anne dresser on ‘Antiques Roadshow’ once that seemed to need a repainting. So the owner repainted it. But because it was an antique several hundred years old, its value was diminished significantly by the facelift. So one must be diligent in the research stage.

• The second thing to do is to look for any identifying markings. The stamp under the seat portion in the featured image of our stool reveals its origin. This piece of furniture was made by the Burke Division of the Brunswick Corporation.

In looking for the piece online, I was not able to find a picture of it. But I was able to find a set of chairs that had the same ultra-modern leg style. That was at least a clue that the stool was made by a known company.

forgotten treasures or collectible
Burke Swivel Tulip Arm Chair © listing
forgotten treasures before
Forgotten treasures can have second chances. Photo credit: Phil Jacobs
forgotten treasures renewed
The stool reincarnated and looking great. Photo credit: Phil Jacobs

I also found the above chairs on a facebook page, Retro Luxe Home that specializes in retro furniture. This manufacturer’s work clearly had some collectible value.

But in the case of the stool in this story, the damaged condition of the seat part made it far from vintage. That was the sign that it could be given a new life and reincarnated. I chose not to restore it as another artisan, Shaun Guinan of Reworks Vintage, Pittsfield, MA had done with his table and chairs. I chose to reincarnate it with my own decorative flair, instead. Here is the stool, before and after.

I want to thank my dear friend, Michelle for lending me this stool to demonstrate one of Alison*s Heirloom Projects.

So don’t forget. The next time you come across forgotten treasures, don’t pass them by. They may be old friends that just need some TLC and a new life. If you are not sure how to do it, you can refer to, ‘The 5-Step Decorative Painting Process’ on YouTube.

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