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CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover

GUEST,Claire 30 Nov 00 - 06:13 PM
Margo 30 Nov 00 - 06:18 PM
okthen 30 Nov 00 - 06:21 PM
Guy Wolff 30 Nov 00 - 06:37 PM
Cap't Bob 30 Nov 00 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,Sarah 30 Nov 00 - 06:38 PM
lamarca 30 Nov 00 - 06:42 PM
GUEST,Sarah 30 Nov 00 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,Sarah 30 Nov 00 - 07:10 PM
okthen 30 Nov 00 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Sarah 30 Nov 00 - 08:29 PM
MMario 30 Nov 00 - 08:37 PM
alison 30 Nov 00 - 08:48 PM
GUEST,Sarah 30 Nov 00 - 08:56 PM
Matt_R 30 Nov 00 - 10:02 PM
GUEST,Sarah 30 Nov 00 - 10:14 PM
Matt_R 30 Nov 00 - 10:17 PM
Lena 01 Dec 00 - 07:39 AM
LR Mole 01 Dec 00 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Matt_R 01 Dec 00 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,Russ 01 Dec 00 - 02:32 PM
MMario 01 Dec 00 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,guestRHJ 01 Dec 00 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Claire 01 Dec 00 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,Sarah 01 Dec 00 - 07:07 PM
Dave Swan 01 Dec 00 - 07:49 PM
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Subject: CD cover art, what makes it grab you
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 06:13 PM

Ok, my band has finished recording, mixing, writing liner notes and we are down to the last point of contention the CD cover. Actually, there has been almost no contention so far and we don't want to start here. I hope all you mudcatters have good opinions on this one. What attracts people to buy a cd or at least to stop and look as they flip manicly from one to the next in the store?

We think it helps a lot to have a photo of the band on the cover. CDs with just art work don't really grab my attention unless the art is very good, or it is a well known artist. It should have something to indicate the genre. Ours is an Irish Traditional music band so we will have some knot work or celtic lettering in the design.

Besides that, what makes you stop and look twice at a cd.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have.

Claire


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: Margo
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 06:18 PM

Somewhere on the cover, (Front or back) I like to see a photo of the performers. I suppose you could do that in liver notes, too. But I really like to see the performers. Margo


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: okthen
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 06:21 PM

my main bone of contention with cd's is that you can't read the credits without having to look it up on cdnow,or the words without a magnifying glass.

how i miss vinyl for these reasons,but i do love the quality

as for grabing attention, the obvious springs to mind, but let's not get tacky

cheers

bill


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 06:37 PM

Hi Are you doing an independent project??Usuallly they have a pacage that gives you a front cover and then on the back of that peice of paper some liner notes (1 page Or a fold out afair for all the info ) and then a back cover . I usually put the songs titles on the back with authers and time of peice. So this leaves lots of space for the front caover to set the mood of what you are protraying.. Simple is important for making an Inpact.. SImple information.. the name of the band or artist and the name of the cd.. This can get confusing.. Artist Name/Band name big and CD name abit smaller. and atrfully engaged into the photo that sets the mood. Two thirds of the page being the photo and then the writing over uninportant stuff is the idea.. You can go to Discmakers.com and get a set up to play with on your computer.. Look around at what you like and respond to and have some fun.. One very inportant thing though.. Do remember to put an adress and email and phone number on the back cover clearly to be seen so people can find you!!!!.. All the best Guy


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 06:37 PM

Pictures of the band are always good. I like to see the band in concert (actually playing) or the band with some really good background scenery such as: seascapes ~ warf ~ lighthouse ~ pub ~ coffee house ~ etc. Don't clutter up the picture with an overabundance of instruments.

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 06:38 PM

Claire,

I do this kind of thing for a living. Some simple, timeless rules are:

1) Remember that you're not selling to yourself. Try to think about how it will look to someone who's never heard you, or even of you. Don't try to sell to everyone, but don't be afraid to expand your graphic appeal to entice someone who might not have considered your genre before. Plenty of people have bought music because they liked the cover.

2) Photos are for grabbing attention. They work; use 'em when you can. Action photos get more attention than posed stills; don't use your studio photos for an CD cover.

3) Keep the front simple. Don't clutter it up with the titles of the songs. Put them on the back. The front cover should have one purpose, to get people to pick it up.A colorful piece of Celtic art will help attract people -- especially those always on the lookout for Celtic music, but again, don't get cluttered.

3) Type face is important! As important as the name of the CD, in fact, is the art that draws people in to look further. Get something that stands out on the cover, and name your CD something intriguing. Again, people sometimes buy on the strength of the title.

4) Inside, outside, but especially on liner notes, be careful about readability. While serif types are usually easier on the eyes, if you get too small with them, and use a thick-and-thin typeface, you're going to make your readers blind and they won't love you anymore. Also, and THIS IS IMPORTANT: if you're reversing type out of a dark background, use bold or demibold face type, either san serif or with small serifs and even strokes -- no thick-and-thin fonts. Those serifs and thin strokes can dissappear into the photo and be virtually unreadable.

5) If you know a commercial artist, use him/her shamelessly. He/She should know all of the above and a lot more. And most of us love doing album covers!

Sarah


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: lamarca
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 06:42 PM

A soapbox! A soapbox! (Warning: diatribe follows)

When you're designing your CD cover and insert, design elements are not the only thing to consider. Remember that if you are printing lyrics, song titles and info, musician's names, etc., it does the buyer of the CD NO GOOD if those pieces of information are buried in a graphic designer's idea of "art".

Too many CDs these days have the above info printed in mauve lettering on a violet background, or overlaid with a Celtic knotwork design airbrushed in in Photoshop at 60% transparency, or printed in fragmented, refracted panels going every which way, or using 25 different computerized fonts on a page because "I've got them on my computer and they're really neat", etc, etc, etc...

Determine what information you would like your listeners to have, and build the album design around that info in such a way that the information is clearly communicated in a graphically pleasing form. If the CD artwork is more prominant than the info, you might as well leave the text out, because no-one will be able to read it anyway!

It IS possible to design an aesthetically pleasing and artistic CD cover and booklet that also conveys information, but only if you recognize the need for both!


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 06:54 PM

Right on, lamarca! I get so weary of folks wanting to get the great American novel on a business card.

And your point on mixing fonts -- I second the motion!

Sarah


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 07:10 PM

Claire,

One more thing: 4/C (four color, or full color)is nice, but a good artist can get plenty of appeal and punch out of a 2/color design. And save you a bundle in printing costs. Don't be afraid to ask for both.

Me, I love doing 2/color -- high challenge to get just the right balance so it stands out among all the 4/C stuff around it!

Sarah


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: okthen
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 07:23 PM

Sarah, any good at calenders?

cheers

bill


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 08:29 PM

I do all that stuff, bill. Are we talking about the nude Mudcat calendar?

Gawd, I'd LOVE TO!!!

Sarah


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: MMario
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 08:37 PM

yee-haW!!!! a sucke volunteer!


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: alison
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 08:48 PM

well "recruited" guys.... hahahaha

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 08:56 PM

Alison, Mmario and bill:

Why do I have this feeling I've been had?

(moving this drift of the above discussion to the new caledar thread...okay?)

Sarah


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: Matt_R
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 10:02 PM

CD Cover Art---that's what I want to be doing when I graduate with my degree in Image Design.I can tell you from first hand experience--watch out for those fonts! They can kill you if you don't watch out. Next semester I'm taking Typography...what fun! ;-o


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 10:14 PM

Matt,

Hey, get into the Typography -- words and fonts can make powerful pictures! And poor use can destroy your design, so play around with those headline fonts -- and FEEL THE POWER!

Sarah


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: Matt_R
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 10:17 PM

I know---I'm just got done with some type experiments in my CA class. I use a few fonts as possible. But from looking at posters and flyers on the bulletin boards, I can tell you all the names of the fonts they use. Word of advice--DON'T use Algerian--it's a kiss of death!


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: Lena
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 07:39 AM

As a buyer,i can tell you what i'll use to help me to choose between two cd's:I'll definitely choose for the cover,if they both sound good. First of all,i don't like photos on the cover.I'm going against the tendency here,but i like to have the performers on the back and a nice artwork on the front.Not that I'm craving to see four smiling faces,you see...and photos can be pretty boring. if the artwork is original,nice,and tasteful,I 'll pick the cd,happy to score both nice music and a visually appealling object.It means to me,that the musicians come from a good melting pot.You always assume the artwork has been created from some friendly collaboration. Good ,likeable photos are difficult to find.Usually you have low-level photos coming from concert shots- all musicians look the same in those photos.With the same frowny expression and shiny face.I always go for the artistic,black and white or re-elaborated picture.Otherwise,it looks horribly home-made to me.

That's it.I must confess that the visual aspect of the package is what gets me to buy the cd...otherwise,I can spend the money going to the concert.


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: LR Mole
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 07:52 AM

I suggest high-contrast portraits of band members, wearing turtleneck sweaters. You could call it "Meet the...) oh.


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: GUEST,Matt_R
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 09:59 AM

Right, Lena. I think pictures of the band should be either on the back, or on the inside. As folk musicians, don't your hold the MUSIC above the performer? So who cares what you look like, as long as the music is good? For instance, Hootie & The Blowfish's first album Cracked Rear View was a huge success...but the album never featured a single picture of the band...only a small blurry picture of their silhouettes. Come to think of it, their second album Fairweather Johnson had no picture either. And there was one small one on their third, Musical Chairs. You gotta remember, you're marketing your MUSIC, not your face. Personally, I LOVE Radiohead album covers---completely covered with art, and absolutely no pictures of the band ever. The Art compliments, reflects, and enhances the music.


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 02:32 PM

When I am browsing and I come across a CD from a person/group I am not familiar with, I want to know two things immediately. 1. Genre 2. Selection list.

I prefer the genre to be easily readable and on the front. I prefer specificity (e.g., "Scottish traditional") to vagueness (e.g., "Celtic").

If the genre is one I am interested in, I want to know as quickly and easily as possible what exactly is on the CD. I don't really care where the selection list is or how it is formatted as long as it is easy (for a geezer) to read. All you have to do is pique my curiousity with one item in the selection list and I will probably buy the CD.

To be honest, I have made the decision to buy the CD or not even before I get around to paying attention to the artwork.


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: MMario
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 02:43 PM

Ditto the above. Cover art really has NO influence on whether or not I buy a CD - Not having at least a partial tunelist somewhere visable means automatic "no sale" however

and the best means of selling it to me is to have an Item in the tune list.

Now for people I know and like - a single new track is probably enough to get me to buy it.

which is part of the reason I never have any money .


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: GUEST,guestRHJ
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 03:02 PM

Make your cover and spine easy to read. Whatever art work you use, leave enough light space so you have room to sign the cover. Folkies like to have their CD packages signed. Shades of black tend to be dramatic, but hard to read, and hard to sign. Bright reds and yellows, and greens will attract the eye. I also like it when all the words are included in the package, but that can get expensive.


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 03:10 PM

Thank you, thank you.

All of your comments have given us so much to think about. I wish we had more time to work on this, but the crunch of recording etc. plus busy lives with children, etc. has meant we left ourselves in a bind. We would like to get the cd out by mid-January because we have a big show (450 seat auditorium) and we hope to pay for much of the cd by selling them there. We don't have any wonderful celtic artwork, so we will go with a front conver photo, but simple is the overwhelming suggestion.

I sympathize with your problems on small text, but the one revalation of putting a cd together is the difficulty of balancing content and the cost of printing more cover material.

We are producing this through the studio where we recorded, Cavern Studios in Tucson. Fortunately, we have a lot of confidence in them and their contacts.

How about any thoughts on liner notes, should they show humour or be fact filled, or say something about how people found the tunes and what they mean to them. I think the words are really important (ok I am the singer and am biased). Do you guys have thoughts on words to songs, or no words.

I actually have a lot of opinions on liner notes, but I am really interested to hear other ideas. This has been a very good discussion.

Claire


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 07:07 PM

Claire,

I personally think liner notes are usually superfluous, and would rather have lyrics included -- especially if you've got original songs on the CD. On the other hand, if they're all recognizable traditional tunes, most folks already know the lyrics, and then I would probably prefer a new bit of trivia about the song or your rendition of it. But I always want to know who played what instrument on the cuts. That's how I fell in love with A. Barty -- listening to "Two for the Early Dew" with Makem and Clancy. (He's probably four-foot-two and has a hunch, but oh, that mandolin!)

Sarah


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Subject: RE: CD cover art, what makes a good cd cover
From: Dave Swan
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 07:49 PM

Sarah,

Feel welcome to join us as a member, we could use the likes of you.

Also, drop me an e-mail, please. We're looking for an artist for our upcoming CD, and I'd like to talk with you about hiring your services. I'm at Dave@oakashthorn.com.

Thanks,

Dave


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