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CD Packaging: Time, Money and Creativity -What to do with these 3 limitations

There are no hard rules in designing a creative CD packaging but there are definitely some limitations in the actual production. You have to know each one of them so you would know how to work around them and still make a kick ass CD packaging out of your great concept. The most common limitations are money and time. You are lucky if you have big money and lots of time with you. It is likely that you’ll produce something beautiful if you just put your heart to it. But that is just the ideal situation and not most of us are that fortunate. It could be that we have no budget but we have plenty of time, it could be that we have a big budget but we are running out of time, or it could be that we have little budget and little time.

Small Budget, Plenty of time

If you only have a small budget but you still have plenty of time, you might want to consider doing DIY meticulous artwork that costs less. Because you have the luxury of time, you can make items using your very own hands instead of mass-producing glamorous album art in big, expensive, machines.  For example, you can silk-screen your own sleeves, you can make paper mache cardboard cases, you can even sew CD pouches if you want to include something perky in your CD packaging.  So you see, it is much better to have a small budget and plenty of time than the other way around. Besides, many people now prefer original hand-made items because they are authentic, more eco-friendly, and unique.

Big budget, no time

This is a bad equation but it is not the worst. You are very fortunate to have money for production so even if your concept is not remarkable, it would not look cheap because you can afford to use good equipment. You can still buy a very great concept and make it work. However, be warned that the ugliest stuff usually comes from those who can afford to produce half-baked ideas. My suggestion is that if you still do not have a concept in mind, try to spend a big chunk of your CD packaging fund to a very great graphic designer or conceptual artist.

Small budget, no time

You are doomed! Just kidding. This could be really challenging but you can pull off a great packaging by not being too ambitious with your design. If you have less than 2 weeks, it is a wise idea if you just work on something simple but very solid. Do not attempt to materialize a huge concept when deep inside you know it’s difficult to pull off, and especially when you have less than 2 weeks to finish everything.  Another tip is that you should be true to your material. If you do not have funds to achieve a cinematic, high-resolution pictorial, do not attempt to do it by using cheap camera and lighting. It would only look, well…cheap. You can also buy CD cover designs online. Many designers like Duncan Long sell their designs over the internet.


Unified Manufacturing is an L.A. -based one-stop-shop that offers very affordable CD/DVD/USB replication, custom printing, promotional products, warehousing and fulfillment and many more. If you need an Instant Quote on a project and you want FREE SHIPPING, simply CLICK HERE.

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