People usually, myself included, judge graphic design and art for albums based on the front cover. However we need to remember just how important part also is the actual back cover of a physical CD. It is not just an information based space for song list, instead it can play major role for the design of the album. It also works like back side of a book, people are used to take a look at it after seeing the front. In a book you can read a synopsis of the book and in a CD you get the song list and other potential information.
When designing a back side there are few things you need to remember:
- Use a template provided by the printing house. Usually the record label has the information you need to know. Even though most of the templates uses the same measurements it is a good advice to ask for the templates. You can usually download them via their website. As an example here’s one page from Duplication.ca.
- Back cover has a 5 cm area where you need to insert all the record label info, barcodes etc.
- On the left and right side flips remember to type the information on a right angle. I really hate when people miss this one.
- You need to use pretty small font size so make sure your font is readable!
- Typographic hierarchy plays a major role here, especially if you need to type more than a song name. You might also need to type down song number, artist name, length of the song, producer, name, composer name… They all need to stand out properly so use your contrasts correctly.
- Remember that the back side is a visual continuance of the front side and they need to speak the same language.
- Most of the time you don’t need the album name and the artist logo anymore.
In this image you can view the regular measurements for the back cover:
Remember the visual hierarchy when typing the list:
Here’s some examples from various back covers. This is not a ‘best of’ list, there are just many different versions to show: