6 Common DVD Cover Designer Mistakes To Avoid

in Strategic-planning

A common problem in industries where independent films, training programs, or other special videos are created is that many mistakes are made by even the most experienced DVD cover designer trying to promote the DVD. There are many covers that are created by DVD cover designers that were made poorly. In fact, the mistakes made on the cover can be so hurtful that they may have a very negative impact the potential progress that a DVD can have.

Overall, cover design for all products is crucial for every product. It doesn't matter whether you sell your cover as a hard copy at a tangible store to be handled by customers or sold online as a digital product. Covers give your product not only an identity, but it also has a major influence on your product's overall growth as well as the impression that customers have on it. Unfortunately, there are too many cover designers that simply do not understand this. It is more tempting to just want to hire any type of DVD cover designer that offers the cheapest pricing available, which can be a mistake in the long run.

To remind people of why shopping for the lowest price can be a dangerous idea, I'm going to highlight a number of mistakes that even experienced designers make & why it is so important to be very careful on who you trust your design projects to.

Mistake #1: The designer fails to reach customers with their design.

This is the biggest mistake that a designer can possibly make. Designers can create a great cover that does not make any of the mistakes that are highlighted below, but fails to make it noticeable. The cover's text is often made too small for customers to see it, which is a mistake that amateur designers often make. Designers of all levels have to remember that customers are usually in the center of an aisle. The cover of a DVD, for example, needs to be able to reach those customers when they are shopping in movie stores. Failing to do this means that customers have to come directly to the DVD, pick it up, & read it before they know what it is about. This mistake means that your DVD cover will collect a lot of dust on the store shelf as it gets ignored by customers who otherwise would have bought it if it worked harder to catch their attention.

The same applies to digital products as well. If you want your cover to appear on iBooks, Amazon, Google, & other stores, your product will be competing with a bunch of other covers in an online directory. While text is easier to read online, many customers are looking only at the covers. It is dangerous to assume that customers will look at both your description & cover. That means that if your cover fails to emphasize its point to customers directly, you just lost a potential buyer.

Mistake #2: The designer fails to be original.

The size of this mistake depends on how unoriginal the cover is. You do not want a cover that looks exactly like another popular movie, or you'll be living in the shadow of someone else's work. This is something that is considered tracing, which is an often unscrupulous method that designers resort to while hoping they will not be caught. They simply trace over existing DVDs, make very small changes, & then give it to you in an attempt to take credit for a design that they actually never designed in the first place. You want to be able to depend on a designer that has a much more original approach.

Remember, this designer is going to be working on your product's overall identity - which will define your product for the rest of its life. You want them to make it unique.

Mistake #3: The designer fails to emphasize the call-to-action feature that all covers need to have.

Simply put, this means that the cover fails to make its point. It does not matter whether you sell your cover online or on store shelves. You're responsible for giving customers a justifiable reason why they should pull out their wallet & buy that DVD. If you or the designer fails to make a direct point that tells them to take action, it will compromise your relationship with customers.

Mistake #4: The designer fails to keep it simple.

Simplicity is an important element of your cover's overall success. You normally want your cover to be as plain as possible. You do not want it to be too complicated. Avoid cover designs that have unnecessary pictures, meaning they have no point other than to fill up space that the designer was too insecure to leave alone. Of course, you don't want it to be too simple (e.g. making a box that only has the word "crackers" on it is not recommended).

It is recommended to make sure image use on covers is kept to a minimum & use only what is relevant. If you use too many irrelevant pictures, customers may consider your entire product irrelevant.

Mistake #5: The designer creates a cover that can get you into legal trouble.

Many cover designs are incredible & get a lot of popularity. They get noticed by the media. They make substantial sales progress.  Everything is going according to plan & the product has a very bright future. Then one day, they owner of the product receives a notice from an unfamiliar law office ordering you to cease & desist your product. This is an example of a product owner who hired a designer that cheated a bit.

The problem is that many cover designers like to go on Google or other websites & take a few pictures that do not belong to them. Now that your product has become so popular, it seems that someone noticed your product has an image used without their permission. Now they are threatening to sue you for copyright infringement. Unfortunately, some people hire freelance designers in countries like India because it was more affordable. If you ever face legal trouble as a result of that service, it will be nearly impossible to find that designer & consult with them. This means that the one who will suffer the consequences for copyright infringement is you. This is why it is safer to trust a designer that understands legal implications.

Needless to say at this point, designers should never steal images & vectors that do not belong to them. A qualified designer ensures that their stock is licensed properly to be used for the purposes intended by their client. An even better designer creates all of the designs from scratch to ensure you are cleared of legal troubles.

Mistake #6:  The designer creates a cover with colors that should not be used.

I have seen flash animated covers that shine colors that could actually cause seizures. The idea was made by those who create flash banners. This is referring to those flash banners that shine all of these bright colors because the advertiser is trying to get your attention in any way possible. This controversial practice has migrated to covers in many cases.

An experienced designer uses more friendly color schemes where the cover uses no more than 3 main colors that work as the defining theme of the cover. Large text is much more important than bright colors. As text can emphasize a selling point to customers that may want to buy it. Bright colors cannot accomplish this.

You may not consider cover design a big deal, but it actually can shape the entire future of the product that it represents. This is something that needs to be taken seriously on many levels. Make sure the designer you trust is aware of these mistakes and is experienced enough to avoid them. If not, you may find yourself sitting on the wrong side of a courtroom in the worst case scenario.

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Bruce McCloud has 6 articles online

is a DVD Cover Designer that specializes in the professional branding of digital & tangible products.

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6 Common DVD Cover Designer Mistakes To Avoid

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This article was published on 2012/04/20