Tips for Designing a Beautiful Disc

CD, DVD and Blu-ray graphics provide two distinct challenges for designers: the graphics area is round and it has a big hole in the center. By following these five solid design strategies, however, you can create a beautiful disc.

1. Start with the insert. CD cases are square and therefore are easier to design. Since you want your CD graphics and the case graphics to compliment each other, start with the easiest element first. Then pick a few elements from your insert design to use on your CD.

2. The "eyes" have it. When using pictures of people on your disc, pay attention to which direction the model is looking. If the subject of your photo appears to be looking at your hub, it makes the hub the focus of your disc graphics.

3. Remember your purpose. Keep in mind how your customer will be using your disc. A medical imaging clinic providing MRI results on CD will want to ensure the label contains all pertinent contact information in case the patient or primary care physician has questions. A church that sells CDs of their Sunday services would want to include times of its services, as well as the church's address. (When members of your congregation share your recorded message with their family and friends, they will know where to go to learn more.)

4. Think about distribution and packaging together. If a band member's significant other has a table set up for disc sales during and after a show, jewel cases are just fine (they're probably taking very good care of the discs). Sending discs via the mail, you'll want something light-weight and rugged (polypropylene is best).

5. Artwork should be high resolution — a minimum of 300dpi at the exact printing size (5 in. by 5 in. square.) Even if you are using a lower-resolution printing method, like silk screening, use the highest resolution possible in your artwork. While reducing file sizes at the time of printing is very easy, increasing file size usually results in fuzzy images.

We have disc templates available for download: .psd file, .tif file or .pdf file. Remember to make the template layer invisible before you send your design.

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