Nice Paper Toys

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I just wanted to open a discussion on the idea of selling paper toys, I'd love to know what people think about it. One of the beautiful things about what we all do is that we're offering people pieces of art/design/toys, for free, via the internet.

But! Has anyone successfully sold paper toys, has anyone used their paper toys to bring in some cash and support their online projects, does anyone agree or disagree with selling paper toys? I just got an email from a cool paper toy designer who is considering something along these lines, and thought it would be interesting to get some views from you all.

My wife and I have been running the Speakerdog Paper Toys project for almost two years now, we've given weeks or months of our time to bring it all together, we've had hundreds of thousands of downloads, we've worked with over 100 artists on different designs, we've exhibited all over the place, yet we've never taken a penny from the paper toys, and because of that it will always be no more than a 'sideline' to the commissioned illustration work and Speakerdog posters and art prints that we produce, since that's what pays the rent, that's our proper job and the main focus.

I know one awesome paper toy designer who sells his models, but the flat templates he sells are all A3, so that's a little bit more than you can offer for free via the net (since 99% of people would only have an A4 printer).

So, the discussion is open, what does anyone think?

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I think another way you could charge for a download without feeling guilty is by providing an exclusive version. People can get a normal speakerdog, design their own template or Pay to download a special/exclusive version done by Shin or Ben or Nicebunny. Limit the exclusive version (number it or something... ) and you'll have something people do not mind paying 5 or 10$ for.
hi every body i think we spend a lot of time for create some toys and time is money isn't it but if we sell papertoys that will open the door to abusive people too...
that is not a bad idea to sell papertoys when you make an exhibition like that you can control qhat is selling and witch size you want...etc
a community of sellers not a bad idea too...
sorry for my english hope everybody understood me
hey there, are vinyls free?...I remember when they first started up, the were raw whole days work can't buy some of them.
sorry to let the niceness in deep frenzy...but there is a huge market here people.
lets just see what happens to it....if you keep it tight knit, time will tell it's fortune, and there is a fortune to be made here....whats the difference between vinyl's and paper?....the medium, not the work, the same work is applied here, so don't be so negative about what your heart is fond, I should've been a writer, maybe next life.
tanaka sells them, and let me tell you, there are a handfull of creators here worth buying from, we just gotta get it started, create a website like cafepress so artists can upload there work, ran by someone who's familiar with marketing and retail, make it so we can even ship out templates, a product that supplies great services to creative's and fanatics is a success. think of your favorite sandwich of the week. limited ed, and really make them limited!....there's so much potential here it's pathetic to not have it...and the same way the vinyl makers judge tightly, we need to do the same thing....remember, in a world full of toxic waste, and filthy germs, we have the knowledge to makes things fresh to restore a whole enviroment......with............paper!
by the way this is why I talk so much about copyright, because if your templates where for sale, and copyrighted, they can't rip you off, you own your creation and have the right to sue, cease and desist anyone who tries.
what would think would happen if you released a munny, qee, brickbear?=sued!
they got it "UNDER CONTROL".
you want to get serious with paper toys, then start taking yourself and work serious.
I mentioned it earlier in the discussion, but it still seems a good idea if anyone would be interested in coordinating it...

I think there would be a market for a papertoy "Co-op" service or site where papertoy artists could put special editions or artworks out, for a price. Perhaps a centralized place where, apart from our free online work, we could collect some of the "high points" of paper art for a minimal fee. It could be anything from pre-built paper models, to particular high grade paper templates (sent thru mail), to cheap template download rights. Hopefully the individual artist would see a great portion of the income, and a site maintainer would get a "cut" of profit for organizing it and maintaining sales and supplies.

I myself cannot coordinate this sort of thing, but I think we could maintain all the "niceness" of the community, and reward good design and art efforts at the same time...I would certainly like to help with this but cannot put my focus on it...
Wow there has been a lot of good feedback so far, so I'll keep mine short.

I pretty much agree with everything Marshall said (right down to the day job).

If you want to keep things free and earn some money you have to look at alternative business models. (Donation, ads, sponsored models, commissions...)

I have been looking around as well. I am not looking to quit my day job, but I get e-mails about people selling my work in Thailand and there is even a site that has ripped of my designs for T-Shirts at $15 a pop - so I feel a little used when other people are making money off of my art which I'm giving away for free.
This trend of people ripping off artists and putting their work onto tees etc is terrible, frequently in Thailand etc, catching the international tourists who are low on ethics or awareness. Check out Huck Gee's 'copyright infringement' set on Flickr, this is all products he knows about that people are selling with his art on, having ripped him off...
Wow, he has quite the range of people ripping him off! Even a chemical company. That is ridiculous.
Yeah! And people often question Huck Gee for charging a lot for his custom vinyls, but the guy works hard to produce good stuff, and other people are making money out of him, why shouldn't he make some ca$h for himself out of his own skills!
I agree with Shin. We have only considered selling paper toys if we're really giving the buyer a good package for their money, like a deluxe edition. But to be honest we're perfectly happy keeping them all free, like Shin said, for everyone. I don't think many of us would have got into paper toys in the first place if we'd had to pay for them.

We've all put in a lot of time and effort and our own money to help build up the paper toy world, it's already something we can be proud of, let's ensure, even if we sell toys, that most of it stays as free, creative and full of heart as it always has been.
Agreed, most of us just like the fact that we can make something that people like.

That said, I will be offering one of my toys for sale. It will be a special edition (Limited to 50) printed on quality paper.
The most beautiful thing about paper toys is that they are free, available at any moment anywhere on the world (if you have internet connection, of course), they involve the 'spectator' in the process of creating, and it's art, as they are made with creative intention.
It is one of the few mediums where art can reach the public without any mediator, gallery or shop, for free and it's discriminating only because you need computer, access to internet and printer.
I think paper toy is an product, just like any artwork, doesn't meter whether is it for sale or not.
Anyway, after a year of creating paper toys, i put myself a few toys for sale on my page. One of the reasons is that i really like them and i'm a little bit jealous of them, so i feel i could try to charge them. Another thing is that after a while i had so many downloads that i almost reached my monthly bandwidth limit and had to upgrade my account. (I have all my templates on my host server).
It's not making money with paper toys, but the feeling is great when somebody buys your paper toy.
I also have few models that are my personal work and i don't give them, nether sell them.

On the other hand, if you make YOUR paper toy, print it and construct it, it's cool if you mange to sell it.

I'm an artist and i make my living by selling my paintings and other artwork. I have a small studio in Rovinj, touristic fisherman village on Croatian coast, where i work during the summer.
This year i put some of my paper toys in one part of the studio. The people like them and i even sold few.
I always tell to the people that they can have them for free from my websites, but usually they prefer them ready-made.
(i print them on photo mat paper, and i don't sale customs i do for other people)

Hope i explained myself clearly about the different approaches i have to some of my creations.

But the point of the Paper Toy still remains in it's free spirit, made with love.


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