December 26, 2005
WTUL, Tulane University's radio station is accepting cd cover design submissions for their Marathon CD, Songs from the Basement. Proceeds from the album will help the radio station and the Maxwell Music Library relocate after their building was heavily damaged by hurricane Katrina.
Not much time left, design entries can be submitted until January 1, 2006. The winning cover will be selected January 10.
For specifics, check out the WTUL website.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
December 19, 2005
As far as cd packaging design goes, the 90s was the decade in which the 'box set' made its award-winning debut at the Grammys. Further, non-standard sized multidisc cases accounted for 3 of the 10 awards given for Best Recording Package. CD Designers in the major label and the independent music industry had started thinking beyond the standard jewel case packaging design.
Posted by Eric Fritz
Kevin Reagan (art director) for Ray of Light performed by Madonna
Grammy Award Winning CD Packaging Design 2000-2009
December 12, 2005
TUNiPOP prints album and cd cover designs on shirts and premium art paper. Basically, you send them an album jacket or cd insert design that you own, they scan the cover, make a shirt and/or art print, and send it all back to you. They can only make one copy of either a shirt or print design for any one customer due to copyright restrictions. The only reason they can do this at all (legally), is that they are acting as a transformation service only - as such they don't duplicate or archive anything - hence their strict single copy restriction.
Personally I don't think every album cover design makes for a great looking t-shirt. Having a big square shape in the middle of a shirt, even if it's great cover design always looks a little cheap to me.
The art prints on the other hand, particularly when framed, have a nice vintage look, similar to old movie posters. If the cover is a little beat up, it can even add to the vintage effect. I think the right album art would be great in an office, a themed bar or restaurant, or in a room used for entertaining. TUNiPOP can print covers in 3 sizes - 19x19, 24x24 and 31x31, each with different prices for different paper qualities.
The service may not appeal to a mass audience, but TUNiPOP shows that classic album art is suitable for wearing, and suitable for framing.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink | Comments (2)
December 08, 2005
In this article we dissect a compact disc and analyze how the individual parts provide unique challenges for design and printing on a CD. Knowing the medium you're designing for helps prevent unwelcome surprises in the final product.
Main printable area: The main section of the disc. This is where the audio or data is encoded. Colors printed on this surface will tend to appear darker than they would on white paper. Depending on the ink coverage, differing amounts of the silver surface will show through. Higher ink coverage (darker colors, in general) means you'll see less of the reflective surface showing through. Less ink coverage, with print dots more spaced apart (lighter colors, in general), will reveal more of the underlying disc surface. The only way to have something appear white anywhere on the disc surface is to print with white ink (see "white base coat" below).
Mirror band: This is the ring area just inside of the main print area. The mirror band is not encoded with data so it has a different reflective quality, appearing darker than any other part of the disc. Generally the mirror band is etched with the name of the manufacturer, as well as a number or barcode identification associated with the client master. The effect of printing on the mirror band is a darkening of the text or images as compared to that of the main print area. Just inside of the mirror band is the stacking ring.
Stacking ring: On the underside of each disc, this thin ring of raised plastic is used to keep a small amount of space between each disc when stacked up for boxing and/or shipping. It prevents the flat surfaces from scraping against each other, which could scratch either the printed tops or the readable bottoms of the discs. Even though it is on the underside, some manufacturers are unable to print over the stacking ring area due to a small "trough" created on the top surface when they mold their discs. Other manufacturers mold discs that are smooth on the top and can print over the area.
Hub: This is the innermost portion of the disc, made of clear plastic, which includes the stacking ring. Printing over the hub area is similar to the effect of printing on transparency media. The lighter the color - the more the transparency effect is present, due to the small, widely spaced print dots that are used to produce light colors. With heavy ink coverage over the hub, the transparency is far less noticeable. However, all colors will appear different when printed over the clear plastic hub as compared to the other opaque surfaces of the disc.
White base coat: Applying a white base coat over the disc's entire print area before printing the design lessens the darkening effect of the mirror band, and also lessens the transparency effect of the plastic hub. The white base (sometimes termed "white flood") acts like a primer coat, so the final design more closely resembles printing on the white paper of standard jewel case inserts, wallets or Digipacks. If your disc design includes photos, particularly faces, a white flood will make them look more natural. Most manufacturers will NOT automatically suggest a white flood, and they may charge for it as they would any other ink.
True design encompasses much more than manipulating images, text and colors with computer programs. Even the most carefully chosen typeface won't communicate effectively if it is hard to read over the different areas of the disc surface. Clouds or snow on a cd design will only be white if you use white as one of your printed colors. The characteristics of the tangible item you are designing for play a critical role in the overall design process.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
December 05, 2005
Got vinyl? No record collection is complete without Albums, a definitive look at over 300 of the most important albums of the past 50 years--the best sellers as well as the critic's darlings. This infinitely entertaining, informative book chronicles the popular music album in all genres, from pop and rock to jazz and hip-hop. More than just a 'best of' collection, Albums showcases individual recordings and presents them in a wider, more historical context, complete with timelines, more than 800 color photographs, album art, liner notes, studio stories and much more. Anyone who likes music is sure to agree, this book rocks.