Top 3 Tricks for Designing an Impressive CD Label

Today we wrapped up the first phase of a major document production and boy was it a treat! Instead of leaving the final stages of production up to the summer interns, this time I decided to oversee the process all the way to completion. That meant popping the CD-ROMs into my tangerine iMac and burning the docs to disc myself. Man, it took me back!

The nostalgia alone was enough to forego all those billable hours while waiting for the CDs.

As the CD-R was humming, I had plenty of time to think about why we’re doing E-Discovery productions the way we are. Particularly, why do we use the CD labels we use?

Let me tell you why, so that you too can design CD labels that will knock the socks off opposing counsel.

The first key is a solid graphic design program. I know, graphic design sounds like something your unemployed cousin does, not the stuff of lawyers. But there are label making design programs out there that really will help you (or your staff) put together an impressive CD label.

A quick Yahoo search will point you to the top contenders, but my favorite is Label Factory® Deluxe 4. It comes with a staggering 1,500 design formats, 50,000 free clip art images, and over six hundred fonts. Don’t download the program though, get the boxed version shipped to you. That way you’ll get the complimentary labeling applicator as well.

Once you’ve got your software, next comes the design. With so many options, it’s easy to go a bit overboard. But you don’t want your discovery production to arrive looking like a blinged-out MySpace page. Practice some restraint.

We find that keeping the matter name and number on the top half of the CD-ROM label is best. This is, after all, the first piece of information that your partners or adversaries will need to see. Below the “hole” you can state which Bates numbers are included on that particular disc. Finally, include the date the documents were burnt to CD beneath—for your reference and the other party’s.

CDLabel-1.pngBut we’re not robots. The whole point is to bring a bit of style to what could otherwise be a drab affair. To impress, we like to include our logo on the label as well, usually on the left-hand side, as most people are right handed and thus the label would be obscured when gripping a CD with one’s right hand.

We also recognize that a CD-ROM label is an important branding opportunity. Since we’re “The technology lawyers” we like to take that “tekno” feel into the font, using something futuristic and computer-feeling. Eurostile Bold conveys the feeling of being in a super-futuristic German train station, without being too heavy handed about it.

Here’s the biggest tip, though. When it comes time to print, make sure you load the label paper the right way. If you load your paper upside down or inside out, the whole sheet will be ruined. Your label will print on the back of the sheet and the ink will just run off, getting all over your hands and office. Getting it right takes some practice, so make sure you dedicate enough time to the process for your first few productions.

Once you’ve got it down, though, you’ll never want to go back to your old discovery processes—or forward to any more modern ones either.