Let's face it, none of us have enough room, if I just wanted the music it would be far more practical to get it digitally, but i don't. I want the THING cos it's beautiful, the grooves, the labels, the 12" mailers on the doormat, the 7" bag in the pub... and the SLEEVES
I've lost track of the unlistenable records I have bought cos they look fantastic, and more importantly the hits I haven't cos they look dreadful.
A well designed sleeve in a shop or on a record stall makes me want a record I have never heard.
Is it the same for you?
In which case (obviously) use your imagination to design a sleeve that will stand out on a shelf load of its peers - have a chat with your art college and photographer mates who, I assure you, are itching to design a record sleeve. Money is always going to be tight so think of alternatives to the regular card sleeves, talk to local printers, think about hand making, invite all your chums round when you have the parts and have a put-it-all-together party.
If you decide to hand over the sleeve with the record to the manufacturer, talk to them, make sure you have the right templates, resolution and bleeds.
Perhaps also think about coloured vinyl or picture discs, although they will put the unit cost up considerably.
If you're putting together a number of different releases, think about a standard label sleeve you can use for all of them (these can all be printed in one go, and so end up much cheaper per unit), or a theme (if I have part four of a seven-single set I'm going to find it hard to walk past the other six) but remember NEVER to trust a band with a logo (metal excluded).
While you’re working on the pictures think very carefully about the WORDS - have you credited everyone? Is the catalogue number correct? Is the tracklisting in the right order? have you thanked the guitarist’s previous boyfriend by mistake? Have you called the producer the engineer? is the band name spelt correctly? Have you included website and social media details? For you AND the band?
Are you including sleevenotes too?... perhaps a guide to releasing your own records?
Read, re-read, re-re-read and re-re-re-read, give it to a friend to read a few times too, and then leave the corrected copy for a weekend, and re-re-re-re-read it before sending it off to print.
A good cover will help, but won't guarantee, you sell your records - at the very least you will have a handsome pile of unsold pop sleeves to wallpaper your pad.