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How Important is Presentation?

This one’s a no-brainer: a good presentation is key to success.

First impressions may not be the absolute be-all, end-all, but a first impression lasts, and a bad one certainly stinks. No interviewer in his or her right mind is going to hire the sloppy Joe with grease stains covering his slacks, that is, unless he happens to have a genius IQ or just invented a time machine. But even if he fits both of those criteria, he may not even get the chance to make his case since he might be dismissed based on an unprofessional appearance. Initial judgments may not always be correct, but few busy people have time to waste looking at something that seems like it was thrown together at the last minute. Professional folders, packages, resumes and portfolios all endure a higher likelihood of survival on the cutting block when presented neatly, thoughtfully and professionally.

A professional-looking disc label is sure to impress.

When presenting a CD or DVD (which may contain anything from a resume to statistical data to music and videos) to a high-level executive, a job interviewer, potential clients or even possible fans, it is vital to spend a little extra time and money on its appearance. Once the CD changes hands, its first task is to entice the receiver to open it and give it her full attention.

Nothing labeled in Sharpie is going to impress anyone. There are many options for professional disc labeling, such as using specialized software, specialized disc labelers or contracting professionals to mass-produce a design of your choice. Because the options for customizing are many, it is important to keep in mind a few things when designing a professional CD label:

•    Be succinct and descriptive – CDs have limited space, so the title should be clear and explicitly about the topic at hand, i.e. the company’s name and project, artist’s name and album, etc.
•    Use enticing language – If, after including the name and title, there is a good amount of space leftover on the CD, consider including a snappy tagline, quote or list of items that might arouse interest in the receiver
•    Use easy to read fonts – Don’t make your audience work hard to uncover the secrets of the CD, especially if you are trying to sell something or persuade someone to open the files. Also, make it easy to read so that later on down the road, the receiver doesn’t forget the relevance of the file and toss it out
•    Use high-quality pictures – If customizing the CD with artwork, make the sure the picture chosen is not pixilated, blurry or otherwise indistinguishable. Keep it simple. Doing a sloppy job with artwork may even be worse than not using any at all. That being said, appropriate, original and topical artwork may be the very thing to grab your receiver’s attention

If using any sort of disc publishing software or online publisher, make sure to test the design before printing hundreds of copies. There are many templates online, or included in purchased software, that can assist in the design process.

Also, including a disc sleeve or sturdy case is highly recommended. Don’t let your CD flop about!

With these simple tips in mind, your professional CD or DVD is sure to be a hit, and at least impress the receiver enough to slide it into their computer. Keeping their attention after that is up to you.

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