Compact discs are used these days for artists’ albums, movies, presentations, documentaries and many others. It is one of the most convenient ways to promote one’s music or movie and to relay information to millions of people worldwide. CDs are indeed widely use and they are always presented with a packaging. Although, the CD packaging may be less important than the CD it carries, we cannot deny the fact that it is relevant.

Aside from telling and showing the people what CD is inside it, the packaging also protects the CD. It also helps in the promotion and advertisement of the CD. Some people even opt to buy a CD because of its great packaging. Well, no one would like to purchase something which is dull and doesn’t even have a label as to what is inside it.

Graphic designers give life to CDs. They make it stand out and add a different creative touch to every project they do in order to jive with the client’s taste. CD package designing is also challenging for it should be able to catch the attention of the buyers and should also relay the right message. If you are a graphic designer who would like to make a name in CD package designing, here are some tips for you:

1. Design should be eye-catching.

Design should be eye-catching
Image: darioberardi

There are lots of CDs on display and one best way to get the attention of the people is by having an attention grabbing design. It should stand out in the CD display racks. Also, aside from being picked up by buyers, it can also drive people to buy the original CD and not the pirated one because of the great design of the packaging. Pirated CDs cannot imitate the beauty of the original CD especially if you used a different material for it.

2. Show your creativity.

Show your creativity

If you use your imagination and you think out of the box, your CD packaging is a sure hit like the CD itself. You can use a different material for the cover like cloth and you can decorate it with various items and elements to make it unique. Some even put freebies inside like posters, calendars, bookmarks, and others. People love things that are free and some also love to collect items that are uniquely decorated. So, be creative and go beyond the limits of mere board or plastic coverings.

3. Create a design that protects the CD.

design that protects the CD
Image: Beck 8 Bit Variations

Above all, the most important thing is the CD inside the packaging. It would be useless to have a great design if your CD will not be protected. After all, it is the reason why people will buy it. The primary aim of a packaging is to protect the CD from dust, scratches, and anything that could damage it. Bear in mind that functionality is the most important thing to consider. You can still be creative while making the cover a good protection for the CD.

4. Make a design that can be easily shipped.

design that can be easily shipped
Image: silocult

Aside from functionality, you should also see to it that the CD can easily be transported. It should not consume a lot of space and can be placed inside regular shaped boxes. Do not make it too bulky and too heavy. Weight of the CD packaging matters for it could mean additional shipping costs for the client. Make sure your design won’t cause hassle in the shipping.

5. Know the latest trends on CD packaging.

latest trends on CD packaging
Image: ruthnella

People usually stick with the trend and as a designer; it could be wise if you are always updated with the latest trends in CD packaging. Despite your busy schedule, do have time to know what is in and out for the particular field you are designing for. You can do this by reading magazines, blog posts, and looking for design inspirations every day. This could pave way to a steadier career in CD packaging design. But it is not really that necessary to follow the trends. Some designers opt to be unique and still make a huge difference for their clients through the impressive design.

6. Consider the clients design preferences.

 clients design preferences

Remember that the CD is owned by your client. Whatever type of CD it is, may it be an album, a movie, a documentary or a presentation, you still need to consider what the client wants to see in their CD packaging. But you should also suggest some ideas that could make the design better. Suggesting is different from insisting. Merely suggest and do not insist to use your ideas for the client might feel that you have totally disregarded their design preferences on a CD they actually own. If you insist on using your design without the approval of the client, for sure you’ll have to make some major revisions in the end.

7. Adhere to the agreed design.

Adhere to the agreed design

After you have a meeting with your client about the design, you have to stick on what you have agreed upon most especially the design. If you don’t follow what you have agreed on, you will surely be wasting time in designing for there will surely be many revisions. The maxim, “the customer is always right” could be applied to this. Although, your ideas could still be used but always make sure it is the client’s idea that comes out. Also, do not forget to communicate well with your client so that everything will be smooth sailing.

8. Make design variations.

Make design variations
Image: hayasaproductions

Your client will surely appreciate it if there are different designs they can choose from. You can make 3 to 5 options. But in doing this, be sure that the ideas of the client are integrated in every design. Your client could choose from your designs or might ask you to combine some elements from two or three different designs. This gives your client a greater chance for much attractive CD design cover.

9. For an album, reflect the artist’s personality in the packaging.

reflect the artist’s personality
Image: Princess-of-shadows

In making your design, allow the artist to choose the style for it so that it could reflect his or her personality. This is important so that one glimpse of the CD, the people will already know who owns it. One can build a name through the packaging of their albums which could be one of the reasons why people will purchase it.

10. Think green.

Think green
Image: kamphausendesign

In being creative, you can also be eco-friendly by using materials that are good for the environment. Since CDs and their artists have a great impact to the people, they could also influence them to “think green”. This way, you are not just creating something for your client but you are also advocating for a good cause. There are so many ways to do this like using recycled paper and soy-based ink. Or you can have an eco-friendly theme for your CD packaging design. Although, this might cost a bit higher but you could suggest this to your client as well. Some people even opt to donate a part of their earnings to an organization or foundation that aims to help save the environment.

The appeal of a CD packaging truly lies in the creative mind of a graphic designer. Hence, it is indeed a big challenge and responsibility to come up with a design that will not only impress the client but will also help in the promotion of the CD. Have you tried designing for a CD? What were the things you considered in the design?

Marvi Ocampo

About the author: Founder of a Despite her busy schedule, she always find time to read books, Photography and write articles during her spare time.


  1. Thanks for the idea in designing a Cd, getting started for my new business.

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