A couple of months ago I wrote an article for my Creative Closeup blog about 20 Irresistible Gadgets You´d Love to Own. One of those gadgets that caught my attention was a cute little CD printer: DYMO DiscPainter. The article was a hit and generated a lot of traffic, specially from Reddit and StumbleUpon.
The nice people at Dymo were so pleased with this mention that they sent me one to try it. I was instantly hooked on it. The ease of setup and use of this printer is amazing. Believe me, the installation was a breeze and within minutes I had my first CD colorful label printed.
Since my experience was so positive, I decided to write a simple tutorial about designing and printing a CD label in Photoshop and Dymo DiscPainter. This tutorial is about the process of designing a label template for a collection of CDs. Although it is very basic, you should have at least a minimum knowledge of Photoshop layer management and a couple of other tools. This time I will not explain in fully detail the basic functions such as creating new layers, copying and pasting from one file to another, or typing text on the image. That would result in an endless tutorial.
If you are completely stuck at using layers in Photoshop, just read this tutorial by my friend Steve from Photoshop Essentials, Working with layers in Photoshop
The Dymo DiscPainter has a 600 dpi printing resolution. Open this 600 dpi PSD format CD template to start creating your CD labels in Photoshop. Printable CDs come in two flavors: printable hub and non printable hub. In the PSD template file you will see two layers, one for each kind of CD. We will work considering a printable hub CD. Just hide the HUB NOT PRINTABLE layer.
The design of this template is very basic but effective and good looking at the same time. We are going to use the upper half of the label to show the contents (a texture collection in this case) and the lower half to show the title and other information. Let´s download and open the Beach towels texture by Haris Ferizovic (the second one) from this Smashing Magazine texture gallery.
Create a new layer just below the HUB PRINTABLE layer and paste the Beach towels texture. Move it to the top of the label. Remember that through this whole project, the HUB PRINTABLE layer should be located on top just to use it as a guide.
Create a new layer just above the Beach texture layer. Then, using the MARQUEE SELECTION TOOL select the lower half of the CD label and fill it with any color you want. In this case we used a bright orange #fF6C00:
Create, again, a new layer just above the Beach texture layer. Then, using the MARQUEE SELECTION TOOL draw an horizontal band to divide both the upper and lower halves of the CD label and paint it black, just like the image below.
We are going to type the title of the CD. In this case I chose Arial rounded but any font would be fine. Take into consideration that this is a somewhat minimalist design, so sans serif fonts will do better. But that´s up to you.
Check the image below and you will see that I wrote the collection title in white. On the other hand, I wrote the volume title using a smaller size and in black color. This helps to keep the design minimal without the use of more graphical elements.
Create a new layer, above the orange layer, draw a circle and paint it black:
Using the same font as before, type a big number in white. This will be the volume number.
Since we’ve just finished the label design, we don´t need the guides anymore. Go to the layers palette and hide the HUB PRINTABLE layer.
As I stated at the beginning of the article, installing the printer was a breeze. The DYMO DiscPainter comes with a very useful bundled software that will help you create your own CD labels faster by using a text editor and one of the many bundled templates.
Anyway, since this is a Photoshop tutorial, we are going to print the label directly from Photoshop.
Go to FILE > PRINT… and select DYMO DiscPainter from the printer pull down menu. Then, click on the PAGE SETUP… button.
Choose BEST as the print quality. In this case I will print the label on a Standard 120 mm Hub Printable CD with a 23mm inner diameter and a 120mm Outer diameter: Now click on the PRINT button.
Depending on your OS and system setup some other printing windows may pop up. Most of those windows will ask for settings you’ve already defined. Just click OK on all of them.
The mosaic below shows the process of inserting and printing the disc:
Here’s a small introductory video about the DYMO DiscPainter. If you want to learn more about this printer, just go to the DYMO DiscPainter product page.