CD cover design, photography, artwork, type style… Just add the phrase "How do I get quality ______" and fill in the blank. These questions don't get asked enough. If you've invested hours in the studio on a project that you are really proud of, why would you have the cover just thrown together? We'll cover several basic areas in this post.
- Overall cover design.
- Type styles
OVERALL COVER DESIGN
When considering overall cover design, think in terms of your music or project. Is it dark and moody or bright and upbeat? If the project is on the dark side, like emo (a style of music), having a bright smiley face on the CD might seem contrary to the theme of the project. Likewise, if you have recorded a CD of funeral music, a smiley face would definitely not be appropriate. But by the same token, the CD of funeral music would be a bit morbid if the cover pictured a casket. In this case you might be better served by picturing a restful scene by a peaceful pond or stream, or even a photo of birds flying high in the sky. In general, a heavy metal CD wouldn't be pictured the same as a classical or even bluegrass CD.
The point being is that the overall cover design should present itself as representative of the content or the artist. Put a little thought into the overall design. It would be very wise to contact a professional in this field that can help you with some creative suggestions. Tammy Taylor Woolard of TaylorDesign would be an excellent source for some ideas. Her work is both professional and affordable. She is familiar with CD design and her ideas can take over objectively where your ideas might be limited to some pre-conceived notion that may or may not make good graphic sense.
Everyone with a camera is not a photographer. And, yes, I do understand that some of today's cameras can eliminate blurry photos, red eye, and make Uncle Jake look like Aunt Jane, but there is one critical component that is missing… the trained photographer's eye. Look at it this way, you could have a $50,000 Steinway piano in your home but you might only be able to play Chopsticks. Call a pro like Guy Livesay. You can see some of his photography at his site by clicking on his link. Incidentally, this is not a paid endorsement. This photographer knows his stuff. The difference could be as much as that between a toy piano from Walmart and that $50,000 Steinway piano mentioned earlier.
This is closely related to overall design, but get in more detail. Overall Design is the creative concept of the cover and inside packaging. The artwork is how you will define that concept and make it appealing to the general masses or your target audience.
Make it too radical, you may miss the point of your project, make it too bland or understated and you could be missing sales due to lack of pizzazz. Take time to look at the CD's that are on the market today. Don't be afraid to grab an idea from here and there and combine them into your own package. Everything we create is a direct result of all of our experiences, good and bad, visual, aural, physical or whatever. Put your ideas down on paper and then see a graphic artist such as Tammy Taylor (mentioned above). Then you can watch your ideas turn into reality.
If I were switch TYPE styles too often it could get DIFFIcult to READ. The accepted rule of thumb is use no more than three type styles. Also, do not use a script type for small type that provides details about the selections on the CD. DJ's want to be able to read them at a glance. Make it readable.
Any comments are always welcome.