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Design Process Walkthrough

How I work

I approach every project as a unique creation with its own life, its own message, its own soul- namely yours.

What I do for you should be something you can be proud of years from now. I treat all projects the same. I want you to look good, no matter how much you paid to record it. No extra charge.

I have designed hundreds of CDs and DVDs. It is my specialty. My priorities are a) to make you look good b) readability (if you can’t read the text, what’s the point?) and c) affordability.

Time Frame

Start to finish, a typical CD or DVD package takes from 3-7 days. A lot depends on how prepared you are. Planning, proofing and organization on your end will keep things moving smoothly and avoid additional charges and delays. If you provide me with final and complete text, high quality images, and a general idea of what you want, I can often deliver a finished design in just a few days. But there are sometimes other factors that will determine the time frame, such as waiting for extra source content, or working with a group of people who may need to proof it.

I find that most projects do not require any face to face meeting – good communication on the phone and by email will usually be enough to get a great result.

First Meeting/Phone Consultation

Discuss concept, schedule, review your materials, discuss and look at images, colors and fonts.

Most of my clients come to me with a concept in mind. Others have no idea and ask me to come up with something.
Don’t worry if you don’t have an idea of what the cover and insert should be. I’ll help you with that. If you have samples of other inserts or images you like, show them to me and I’ll use that as a guide.

I will ask that you provide me with all or at least most of the materials (text and images) to start the process. If you are still gathering or deciding on a lot of stuff (especially the cover image), it is usually better to wait to submit when you have most of it.


  • CONTENT: Provide me with content (images and text).  Click here for more information about what to provide me and how.
    • Send me FINAL proofed text only, preferably in a single email or file. Limit the number of optional pictures.
    • Be sure all people involved have had a chance to review everything before submitting.
    • Only one person should submit text and changes.
  • TEMPLATES: If another factory is manufacturing your project you must provide me with the correct templates. You should be able to provide your rep with my email address and ask them to send the correct templates directly to me.


  • I will place, format and design the text and images you have given me into the correct templates and then email you a First Draft.
  • If I’m still working out the concept, sometimes I will send you a preliminary Rough Draft of one or more concepts to allow you to see the direction I’m going and get your feedback. Rough drafts are in addition to your included proofs and I provide them free of charge to help me during the design process.
  • I usually will only send you one cover concept at a time with your set-price project based on what we have discussed. Up to 3 distinct cover concepts are included in the fixed price. Additional cover concepts can be requested for an additional charge. Projects charged by the hour can include unlimited concepts.
  • I design the cover first, and the disc face only after the cover has been settled on.

First Draft

The first draft can take up to 5 days depending on complexity, how clear you are about what you want, and whether I have everything. I will email you a PDF file.


Review the PDF files and email me your feedback and changes.
Please read Proofing Checklist to help you avoid embarrassing and costly oversights. Also, please don’t assume I am perfect either – proof everything I do with a critical eye. You won’t hurt my feelings.

  • No replacement files will be accepted for text already placed and formatted without extra charge to re-place/re-format.
  • Only individual changes and additions should be sent (unless you need drastic changes).
  • Send all changes together in one email once everyone involved has reviewed the proofs.
  • Do not allow more than one person to send changes.


I will make the requested changes and email you Proof 2, usually within 1-4 days.

Second Proof


  • Note changes (hopefully only few by now).
  • You are looking to be sure I made all your requested changes and that things didn’t inadvertently shift during editing.
  • Look one more time for spelling. You are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the content of the files regardless of who made the error.
  • Again, send all changes together in one email once everyone involved has reviewed the proofs.


I will make the final changes and send you your Final Proof.

Final Proof

YOU: Review final proof.

At this stage you are mostly checking to be sure:

  • I have not accidentally deleted something
  • text hasn’t shifted during the editing process.
  • Look one more time for spelling. You are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the content of the files regardless of who made the error.
  • all author alterations should have been caught by now.

When everything is good to go

Email me your “approval to go to print.”

Author’s Alterations (changes not due to my error) at this point may incur additional charges. I will correct any errors I made at no charge.

Once I receive your approval

  • I will prepare the files for printing (called Prepress) and
  • upload them to the printer to start printing.
  • If you request changes after this point you will incur additional charges regardless of who made the error.

Finished Files

I will send you a high resolution JPG of your cover for you to use for marketing. If you need custom renderings or specific elements from your project graphics (such as web banners, logos, flyers, posters, custom sized web graphics, etc.), I can create any other designs and files you need at my regular hourly design rate.

I will archive your original files for future reorders.

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