The Design of Everyday Mix CDs

Squat CDMy contribution to the CD mix club of which I am a member is tardy yet again. I had burned thirty copies of my mix and handed out a small number to some friends, and one of them pointed out to me that the tracks on the disc don’t match the tracks listed on the sleeve. Somehow the master CD I burned was missing a track. Since my packaging this time is somewhat complex and pricey, it was easier and cheaper for me to throw away thirty CDs and burn thirty new ones. Ouch. Anyway, the whole act of got me thinking about what I actually enjoy about being a member of a CD swap club.(Before I go much further: if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, I encourage you to read this description.)

What I realized while creating my CD this round is that I was spending more time on designing the packaging than I was on compiling and sequencing the music. What most interested me was creating a nifty CD case (the thumbnail above is a small shot of the case, but I will post more detailed pictures of it when I ship them sometime next week) to share with a small group of people — it was the designer in me, rather than the DJ, that was having the most fun.

So that led me to think: what if there were a design swap club? Like, what if twenty designers each created a customized design for some designated object, and mailed nineteen copies of that object to each of the others? That could be some cool ass shit.

There is a question, of course, of what that object would be, and I have to admit that I haven’t yet figured that out. It’s got to be something that can be produced fairly inexpensively in a batch of twenty, fairly easily mailed, and useful enough to warrant more than just a cursory glance when it’s received — it must be more than just a novelty. A mix CD is actually an ideal object, but of course that’s redundant. I’m thinking more along the lines of a chap book or a something to that effect. Ack, I’m thinking out loud here. More to come when I’ve got this sorted out better.



  1. Nice CD packaging indeed.

    In any case, I like the idea of a design swap club. What if you had a different theme, say for one round you do 10 sketches, duplicate them and then make a chap book accordingly. Next time, you do ten photgraphs and then design the cover and book or whathaveyou accordingly. Would indeed be cool as hell.

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