Artist Hack: Rules for On-Point CD Packaging

By: Lauren Royer img_2298

I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is CD’s are still around and are effective in spreading the word (sound) about yourself. The bad news is there are a lot of artists out there (not pointing to anyone in particular) that are f**king it up to the point it’s messing up the whole goal of making their CD to share. Come on guys! A lot of us still love a good mix CD behind some sick album art. You tell me to find a playlist on Spotify? I’ll probably get on that sometime. You hand me a CD that’s particularly well designed? I go out and throw it in the stereo of my junky old Mustang and bump it all the way home- even if it sucks. No lie.

I’m gonna share with you some BASICS to CD branding and packaging in hopes that you will promise to carry on the Compact Discs beautiful mission- to get tha PEOPLE goin’.

We’re going to use Gifted Gab as our golden girl in packaging/branding design to speak to those of you who learn visually. 😉


1. Put your artist name on everything- including your CD.
I don’t feel like I should have to say this as number one and yet, here it is. I’ve seen artists forget to do this and then it’s like… damn son, how am I going to know whose name to watch for if I don’t know it?
2. Social media is the new business card.
I’m going to repeat that statement often because it’s 100. Find a creative way to incorporate your contact info and profiles into the mix. That means that after I listen and I fucks with you, I can make this thing official by following you on everything. Waiting for every single new thing you drop. Gifted Gab slides her business cards into the CD case. Woa.
3. And on the topic of social media-
Does your handle work? If you’re reppin’ your site, InstaG, or your old ass AOL Aim account… make sure it actually leads to something. If the site is broken or your Twitter doesn’t have a single tweet or follower… how do we get in touch or I follow you? If there’s no sign of life it’s a dead end.


4. Quality over quantity?
I’d say both is coo if you can. But if that isn’t an option, spring for quality. The bigger impression you can make with something, the less you need to repeat yourself in your efforts. Get the plastic protective case or even an old-school hard CD case. Don’t forget quality paper for printing card stock inserts and graphics.
5. Graphics and branding make a H-U-G-E difference to those of us that appreciate design and aesthetics.
I know a lot of artists will feel me on this one. Have your album art represent you and what you’re about. Don’t get glamour shots at JC Penny and get the soft slighting special with your Cuz. Unless that’s what you’re about, in that case go for it and be about it.
6. Don’t your songs deserve titles?
Please, for the love of music include a track list. If you’re song obsessed you need this information to build your playlists and refer back to for repeats.


7. The number that matters most: quality sound.
If you’re unable to do any of 1-6, just make sure your sound backs you up. Quality studio work will take the sharpie titled, paper enveloped CD and turn it into the next big thing if your sound is truly on point.

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