The Bright Group International

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The Bright Group International's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The Bright Group International is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director and Founder
Vicki Willden-Lebrecht
Realising artists’
Illustrators are some of the most exploited contributors within
the creative industry. Managing Director and Founder of The
Bright Agency, Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, has been determined
since she set up Bright 15 years ago to champion the rights
of authors and artists, especially those who previously may
not have been fairly rewarded or fully acknowledged for the
enormous contribution they make nor fulfilled their creative, as
well as financial, potential. The agency is large, both in terms of
their work opportunities and their international presence. Vicki
The Parliamentary Review
more about this undertaking.
Getting artists and authors noticed
As an innovative illustration and literary agency, Bright represents the best in
global talent. We are a collective of specialist agents, working across all areas of
children’s publishing, art licensing, and illustration for design and advertising. Our
commitment to innovation and best practice has resulted in Bright representing
the very best in global talent, delivering outstanding results. It is often the case that
artists, having focused so heavily on developing their creative skills, have not gained
the necessary commercial acumen to have any financial security at all. Agencies
such as ours are, therefore, a crucial part of the picture, figuratively and literally.
By also developing our own integrated systems for marketing, contracts and
accounting, our company, which has 25 members of staff between our London
and New York offices, can ably look after 500 illustrators.
Artists thrive when they feel supported, listened to, receive feedback and know that
their ambitions and concerns are reflected by their agency. It is inherent to the ethos
»Managing Director and Founder:
Vicki Willden-Lebrecht
»Established in 2003
»Based in London and New
»Services: Illustration and
literary agency
»No. of employees: 25
The Bright Group
Highlighting best practice
at Bright that we nurture talent; we
don’t just manage it. This aspect of our
service has resulted in the incredible
results and many awards won by our
initially unknown roster of talent who
are now established and thriving within
the industries in which Bright operates.
In addition, forging the best possible
collaborations between artists and
clients has helped sustain long-term
success on an international basis
and working globally is ever more
important – both in terms of budgets
and reach of an artist’s work.
“The Bright Way”
Bright has two main areas of focus, the
first being new commissioned work. This
is the area of expertise that we began
the company with. We furnish, develop
and bring to prominence creative talent
in children’s publishing across trade,
commercial and educational titles.
Our second area is the division in which
rights are retained. This may range from
licensing artwork, to picture books by
best-selling authors and illustrators,
through to debut titles by new talent
whom we can guide through the
publishing process. Our film and TV
division reflects our ambition to drive
discoverability. With increased desire
for content and series from subscription
channels, we can explore all routes
for the artists’ work to reach the
widest possible audience, and with our
involvement, ensure the outcome will be
more closely aligned to the artist’s vision.
The licensing of character brands
developed by our artists is an
additional growth area for the agency
and therefore our artists. The route
from book to screen to licence is
not always an easy one and, again,
protecting the rights, and therefore the
creative, is an area that Bright focuses
on, rather than diluting its influence by
using external agencies.
Within our licensing division, we also
proudly represent artists under the
Bright Art Licensing banner, combining
a professional, trend-led service with
boutique appeal. Clients can choose
to license from our extensive portfolio
of designs or they can commission
exclusive, bespoke artwork from our
roster of talented artists. Our well-
established presence in this market
means that our knowledge is detailed
and that processes are refined, and for
our artists, offering a full portfolio of
opportunity is appreciated.
Bright Illustration focuses on smart,
inventive illustration and concepts for
projects, encompassing everything
from fiction and non-fiction cover
art, high-end product packaging,
brand identity and logos, advertorials
and fashion illustration, through to
promotional materials. We are always
extending the creative scope of Bright’s
diversely talented artists to meet the
needs of our growing clientlist.
The Storm Whale in
, by Benji Davies,
Simon & Schuster UK
The Bear and the Piano
by David Litchfield,
Lincoln Books
Our well-
presence in
this market
means that
knowledge is
detailed and
that processes
are refined
Challenges in the industry
Despite our success in finding our
artists good work, there are a number
of issues plaguing the wider industry.
As a board member of the Association
of Illustrators, I have taken a personal
interest in protecting the rights of
artists, many of whom find themselves
unwittingly in the position of working
on projects for minimal return, with
no rights retained, or expected to do
development for free. Often contracts
aren’t received until after the work
has begun, and the brief to which
the artist was first working changes
dramatically, with a far greater volume
of work demanded than first discussed
or changes to the contract made, often
to the artist’s detriment, and they
may feel it is too late to renegotiate.
Late payments can cause very real
At Bright, our role as agent is to ensure
that work that has been commissioned
is fairly used and credited. Legally
binding agreements do of course
work for both sides, and it is our
responsibility to make sure the artist
understands what is required of
them. However, it’s also necessary for
companies themselves to respect the
whole process of commissioning and
take greater care of the authors and
artists with whom they are working.
Pressures on schedules changing, late
payment and delayed response times
can also lead to feelings of isolation
and burn-out, which many artists can
suffer from. Mental health issues are,
sadly, too common within the industry.
I and my company work very hard to
give our artists a sense of community,
as does the AOI and a number of other
professional bodies. At The Bright
Agency, we have an annual artists’
picnic, a Christmas party, newsletters
and social media feeds, but in a fiercely
competitive industry, we know how
hard our artists are working and often
at very low pay.
The common thread here is that
we want to be our artists’ fiercest
advocates, whether that’s helping them
get their work recognised, to enjoy
their work or to be fairly rewarded.
As a board
member of the
Association of
Illustrators, I
have taken a
personal interest
in protecting the
rights of artists
, by Sue
Hendra & Paul Linnet,
Simon & Schuster UK
Ensuring our artists are
seen and heard

This article was sponsored by The Bright Group International. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy