How to create CD graphics in Photoshop?

1. Download and open the template


First find and download the template you need from our website. We’re going to be using the Standard Digipack for this tutorial.

Double-clicking on the .zip will open the file and give you multiple options. In Photoshop go to 'File' > 'Open...' and navigate to where on your computer the downloaded template file is. You may choose between the .pdf or .psd files.

Downloads Folder


If you chose PDF:

Make sure you have the settings as follows:

  • Crop to: Media Box
  • Anti-aliased: Checked
  • Width and Height: (don't change from what comes up)
  • Constrain Proportions: Checked
  • Resolution: 300 pixels/inch or higher
  • Mode: CMYK Color
  • Bit Depth: 8 bit
Import PDF


 If you chose PSD:

A layered Photoshop file will open. You’ll see some layers, those are as follows:

  • TEMPLATE: This displays the template lines. Do NOT edit the template layer.
  • YOUR ARTWORK: This layer displays your artwork. You may begin building graphics on this layer.
  • HEADER: This displays the information at the top of the template.
Layers Palette


Yay! Template!


Digipack Template for Photoshop


There are a couple of things to keep in mind before you start building your graphics. 

  • Your files should be built in CMYK. You can check this by going to Image > Mode > and selecting CMYK.
  • To ensure that everything prints clearly, you need to work in 300dpi. You can check this by going to Image > Image Size... and making sure your template has the correct document size and that Resolution is set for 300 Pixels/Inch or higher.
  • Some templates require panels to be upside down or rotated. The orientation of the text on your template is a clue to how your images should be laid out.


There are several colored lines on the template.

  • The pink dashed line is BLEED. All graphics need to go to this line to make sure we get full coverage when we print.
  • The solid green line is the TRIM line. Anything outside of this line will get trimmed off in assembly.
  • The dotted pink line is the SAFETY line. Make sure all of your text or important elements stay INSIDE this line.
Template guides


2. Start building your graphics

You can either place graphics you’ve already created directly into the template or build them from scratch. To place a file, go to File > Place… Then select the file you want to add.

Place image
front cover selected


marquee tool

You can use the Marquee tool to make a selection of specific parts of your images.





selection tool

You can use the Selection tool to move things around. Make sure you pay attention to where each panel meets another.

Panels placed

Now that all your images are placed where you want them, you can start adding text.


type tool

Select the Type tool from the Toolbar, then click and drag to create a text box. You can also just click if you want to add a single line of text. Add your band name, song titles, credits, whatever you want to say.

layers palette selection

You might have noticed the eye icons on each layer. They indicate which layers are visible or turned off. For example, in this picture the TEMPLATE layer is off, and the ARTWORK layer is visible. This is important later!


barcode placement

If you would like a barcode you can either specify a space, or our designers will find a good spot for it. The minimum size for a barcode is 1.2” wide x .45” tall. 


3. Save your file

Remember to SAVE YOUR FILE as you go, in case your computer crashes. When you're done with your graphics we recommend saving two copies. One that saves all the layers (just in case you have to go back and change something) and a second flattened version that you send to us for printing.

finished file


To save a layered file:

Go to File > Save As... Name your file, and select where you want to save it. Make sure the Layers box is checked and click Save. If given the choice, you also want to Maximize Compatibility.


save as
choose location to save to
maximize compatibility


To flatten your file for printing

  • First turn OFF the TEMPLATE layer by clicking on the eye icon in the Layers palette. If you leave it on, all those colored lines and text will be printed over your artwork!
  • Flatten your image by using the drop down menu in the Layers palette and selecting Flatten Image. You can also go to Layer > Flatten Image from the top of your screen.
  • Go to File > Save As... and select Photoshop PDF under Format.
  • Click Save to save your flattened file.

The Settings should be as follows:

  • Select Adobe PDF Preset '[PDF/X-4:2008]'
  • Select Standard 'PDF/X-4:2010'
  • Select Compatibility 'Acrobat 7 (PDF 1.6)'
pdf settings


4. Upload your files

That’s it! You’ve created your graphics! Now you are ready to upload them to our website using the upload link provided in your order confirmation email. If you have any further questions, you can contact as by emailing or calling (503) 610-2929.