May 21, 2009
CoverArts.com is a new site that lets visitors vote up cd and book cover designs. You can view covers by most recent additions or by highest rated. At least one new cover design is added every day. CD cover design has it's own unique design challenges - sometimes conceptual, other times it's creating a style for an artist photo or photos.
There is some excellent design work represented there. I check it out for inspiration (actually their rss feed sends me new covers as they are added). Each cover is tagged with genre or type, so you can search for just Rock or Hip/Hop covers with a simple click. Cool.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
April 06, 2009
Ever wonder how a cd cover design comes together? Check out this case study from a talented young designer who blogs at a vector art site.
It's pretty cool, he breaks down the elements, showing the use of stock photos to create several variations on a Christian rock cover design.
See the full cover design case study.
Here is the designer's other illustration blog
March 09, 2009
But fortunately still not small enough to climb into a vacuum cleaner. Old comedy reference for a new article by Steven Heller at Wired Magazine about the shrinking space of music album art. This quote sums up the design challenge nicely:
"The space allotted to album art may be a fraction of what it once was, but that just sets the bar higher. If musicians can continue to innovate in the digital age, then designers must take up the challenge of the minimalist thumbnail."
Exactly. Check out the article herePosted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
February 24, 2006
Independent musicians and videographers ready for a release are often faced with a dilemma when it comes to producing their final product: duplication or replication.
Replication (pressed disc) runs are more cost effective per unit, they look just like 'major' releases with silkscreened discs and offset printed inserts, but the minimum order is typically 1000 pieces. Duplication (burned discs) can be ordered in much smaller quantities, but you take your chances with the quality of the printing. Frankly speaking as a cd cover designer, laser prints in a standard jewel case will never have the same impact as its factory-fresh counterpart.
So how do you make that all important first impression if 1000 pieces is way too many? If you can burn you own discs, have a good printer and a desire for control (and what artist doesn't?), you should consider the Jewelboxing disc packaging system. It contains their unique cases for cds or dvds, and perforated sheets ready for your printer - no cutting necessary... and no suprises when it comes to the quality of the prints.
The Jewelboxing cases make all the difference - round corners, sturdy feel, modern design lines, quality construction. They really make standard cases feel cheap, flimsy and old fashioned. Since your audience has probably opened their fair share of the old cases, why not hit them with something new they may have never seen before. For DIYers, this is a great way to stand out.
Check out some completed projects using the Jewelboxing system.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
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
November 17, 2005
What is the value of design? How important is design in terms of marketing a.k.a in terms of dollars and cents? Design can be tangible or intangible - you can look at it or you can touch it. In the case of music cd cover design, you can "listen" to it, so to speak, because a look can be a motivator and entice someone to take an action i.e. buy a music album, or listen to a music cd, or attend a band’s music concert via the mediums of cover design, poster design, website design, and other forms of promotional collateral.
You don't have to be a graphic designer to understand the value of design- just take the following companies as a few examples: Nike, Apple, Target, McDonalds, MTV, and United Airlines. What all these companies have in common is that they recognize the value of design and they know how to use art as vehicle to produce sales.
Which brings us to the point of this article: do you think they just hand off art direction or graphic design responsibilities to their sales or accounting department? The answer is no - they understand that it takes professional artist to operate the medium of design. Now this doesn't go to say that you need be a huge corporation to utilize design. Design comes in many sizes, and can accommodate any budget from children working a lemonade stand to Bill Gate's working Microsoft. When applying this understanding to music, why would one spend so much time toiling over the way the music sounds just to sabotage all their hard work in the end by giving their album packaging no consideration, or by delegating the job to untrained relatives with a computer, or attempting to do it themselves having no artistic training? The reasoning is lopsided and a degenerate approach to the sum of the work done. Let us not work towards a music industry of unattractive visuals but towards one where there is equal thought placed on the look of an album cover as there is on the sound of the music. Professional designers are trained to help individuals translate their thoughts, emotions, words, and sounds into the global language that is design.
Todays designers are in a sense yesterdays Rembrants, DaVincis, and Michelangelos. Their art was also commissioned for then commercial reasons. In conclusion - don't do it, leave it to the pros.Posted by Nando | Permalink | Comments (1)
September 14, 2005
Toads - they swim, they eat and they make little toads... and they know a lot about cd packaging design. At least Marvin over at Mr Toad's does - he has a web site that is a fantastic source of design tips and strategies to get the best results for cd packaging design projects.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
July 21, 2005
Doing a short dvd or cd duplication run? Looking for your design to stand out from the ordinary jewel case crowd? Then the Jewelboxing system might be for you. They provide all the components for your cd or dvd design - perforated and scored super bright paper, adhesive disc labels, the sleek Super Jewel Boxes with their rounded corners, and templates for popular software packages.
Jewelboxing is the best solution we've seen for do-it-yourself cd packaging design that is truly unique.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink