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CD Packaging: How to Come up With a Creative CD Packaging

The CD packaging is mainly used to store and protect CDs and DVDs but it has lots of other functions aside from the obvious. CD packaging can also be used to increase product sales, to define the band’s image and style, and to convince the consumers to buy the album instead of downloading songs on the Internet.  Needless to say, CD packaging plays a very vital role in the music retail industry.

If you are a graphic designer venturing in the CD packaging industry or if you are a musician who wants to do his own CD Packaging, here is a step-by-step guide in conceptualizing CD Packaging.

Get to know the musicians
Before you even start to think of ideas for the CD packaging, you must first get to know the musicians. Do a quick online research about them before you have your first meeting. And during the meeting, casually ask the musicians some questions that could help you define their personality. Ask them about their simple and not-so-simple life philosophies, about their music icons, about their influences. For new musicians, it would be helpful if you ask them straight out on what kind of image they want to portray. Do they want to be the cool psychedelic nerds or the intellectual hippies?

Ask the musicians what they want to see in the CD packaging
Most likely the artist already has a concept running around his head before he contacted you. You need to weed it out from him so you two can come up with one solid concept.

Aside from the concept, you should also ask him what he wants to include inside the CD packaging. Does he want to include a brief bio, a picture gallery, or the song lyrics? Does he want to include freebies or coupons? Ask all the necessary details and specifications so you can consider them when conceptualizing CD packaging.

Listen to the album and write down adjectives
Some designers really listen through the whole album while thinking of a concept to get the overall feel of it. A simpler way is to ask the musician of one song that he thinks defines the personality of the whole album. While brainstorming, listen to it on loop and write down adjectives, movies, pegs, and images that pop on your head. Of course, do not forget to consider the musician’s personality and his concept as well.

Find pegs of your design
You already have creative ideas in your head about the CD packaging design. But sometimes, it is difficult to articulate our visual ideas succinctly to our clients. The easiest way to express these abstract ideas is by presenting pegs. These are pictures, movies, or sources of inspiration that more or less resembles your concept.

Create at least 3 variations of your design
After you and the client have clearly agreed on a concept, it’s now time to do the actual designs. Make at least 3 variations so you would know what looks best. A simple detail or color change could have a huge impact on the overall CD Packaging design.

Make necessary revisions
After presenting your designs, expect some minor revisions and suggestions from the client.  A good communication skill is a must if you are in this industry. The better your communication skills, the less likely you’ll make major revisions. Do not put up with a client who demands too many revisions. If you’ve clearly agreed on a concept beforehand, then both of you should respect that.

It’s ready for reproduction
Once the client is happy with his CD Packaging, it is now time to send the design over to his CD manufacturing company for mass reproduction.


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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