CD packaging

Subject: CD packaging
From: scot <scot -at- HCI -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 10:52:52 +1000

I should add my $0.02 here because I have a great deal of experience in
desiging and packaging CDs. Not through my work, but through my main passion
in life, which is my music.

I've produced a couple of CDs, and we're working on several more right at
this moment. Normally I work with a graphic designer friend to get the art
work done. However, and I'm afraid you might not find this answer to be
helpful, being consumer product we put a lot of care and attention into the

The designer uses Photoshop and Quark. Usually your manufacturer can provide
the specs. (sizes, etc) necessary for artwork.

We usually go for four colour CMYK printing on the booklet and rear insert.
sometimes one side of the booklet only a pantone colour -- mostly to save on
FILM costs, not printing or plate costs.

We get the printing done by the manufacturer. We send them the master tapes
and the film for the booklet, rear insert and CD and they send back the
completed product. Manufacturing costs are usually quoted to us with the
different printing options. They include 4 colour printing (on everything
including the CD itself -- although I think you can't get CMYK four colour
on the CDs just pantones) usually by default. So when you go to
manufacturing CDs properly the printing can be (and is best) done by the

If you are talking about low volumes I assume you are burning your own
R-CDs? Why not go for colour laser printing and photocopying for the covers.
That's what we still do for small runs of cassettes and R-CD demos. You can
get the copying and cropping done at your local instant-print shop. A bureau
should be able to do the colour laser printing. Remember to be conciencious
about the cropping because if its cropped bad it looks shit (s'cuse the
french) -- so make sure the printer understands if they do a bad job you'll
demand they do it again.

Just get a music CD out and measure its booklet up. Do a couple of b&w test
runs. Don't forget the rear insert has the little bits that fold around for
the spine. If you are using completely clear CD jewel cases then you also
have to print the inside of the back insert.

You're not likely to be able to print anything on the R-CD itself. Just mark
the title on it as neat as you can with a felt tip marker. Make sure you
stick to the ink printed area. Maybe a -small- sticky label will be ok, but
I am not sure. Try putting a small label on a CD-rom demo that you have (and
don't mind sacrificing) and test to see if you can still read it in a drive.


>Does anybody know of a Windows software package that would be good for
>labels for both CDs (round) and jewel boxes (square)?

>One of our development teams is now issuing the product on CD-ROM, but the
>volumes are too low and the changes too frequent to consider having labels
>commercially printed at this time.

>Ironically, this task fell to me because in a software development meeting I
>mentioned new binders we had printed for our manuals. So now I'm considered
>packaging expert for the product <g>.

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