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05 Nov 2003 by Jason Fried

Looking for an example of a great idea? A great idea that’s well executed? A great idea that’s well executed and useful? A great idea that’s well executed, useful, and affordable? Then take a look at Jewelboxing from our officemates at Coudal. Yeah, we wish we’d thought of that. Bastards.

BTW: Be sure to study the copywriting. Fantastic (although some quick bullets about what is included on the home page would be a welcomed addition). Finally, check out ” One Thing Leads to Another” from their Jewelboxing blog to read about the genesis of the idea.

20 comments so far (Post a Comment)

06 Nov 2003 | dave said...

No, it's not a good idea. It's a great idea, but why oh why does it have to be larger than a regular cd case?

06 Nov 2003 | mark said...

Another nice cd/dvd packaging is the Burgopack . I ordered a sample free and it works like a charm!

06 Nov 2003 | Jeff said...

I can't figure out for the life of me what exactly is being sold here. Surely some pictures might help. And much less copy.

Apparently CD size are available:

You would think CD size would be a better idea than DVD but I guess the DVD size offers a better presentation and experience.

I'm really not sure because I had a pretty difficult time understanding what the product is.

06 Nov 2003 | Louis said...

Cool idea. But I hope they're shatter and scratch-proof (resistant). Didn't see that in their copy. If they are, they'll sell like hotcakes.

06 Nov 2003 | Scrivs said...

I am more interested in the internal blog they we will use to document starting a company. Another great site done by the Coudal team. Oh the product is pretty good too.

06 Nov 2003 | jake said...

Hmm... this reminds me a lot of when I started sending out a digital portfolio after college. I actually went out and bought a package of white DVD cases from a distributor (since no one sold them) and now still have about 130 or so in my parents basement... :) It did help me to get a job though, using something other than a jewel case and designing the packaging went over very well with prospective interviews. :)

06 Nov 2003 | Darrel said...

Gotta agree with Jeff...I found the copywriting vague and full of marketing-ese.

After reading it all, I came to the conclusion that they are selling:

- DVD plastic cases
- software templates
- paper to print the labels on

A few bullets seem a lot more concise that all of those paragraphs. ;o)

06 Nov 2003 | JF said...

You know, I agree -- there should be a few quick bullets or highlights that explain exactly what's included on the home page. I modified my original post slightly to reflect that.

06 Nov 2003 | Coudal said...

Good point. We had a bullet list of included items in the right hand rail but it wasn't prominent enough nor titled correctly. Changed that for now. We're also looking at the home page copy as well. Thanks for the input.

06 Nov 2003 | qwerty said...

The case aspires to the high-brow format of a book for low-brow DVDs. It would be even more convincing when made out of cardbord (like some CD cases) but those are more difficult to customize.

06 Nov 2003 | Eamon said...

Okay, maybe I'm missing something, but this is just a cd/dvd case, right? Why the heck is everyone treating this like the second coming of the Segway?

06 Nov 2003 | Brad Hurley said...

I don't think the Segway falls into the category of a "great idea that is well-executed, useful, and affordable." Maybe it's well-executed, but it pretty much fails on every other account--even the "great idea" one. How many people do you know who own and use a Segway? Okay, now, how many people do you know who own a DVD? ;-)

Seriously, though, this looks like a well-thought-out product for people who have to produce short-run DVDs or CDs. I agree with qwerty about the cardboard alternative -- I have some very cool CDs from France that come in a large-format cardboard package that opens up, book-like, to reveal foldout pages inside that present all kinds of great design possibilities. I love those CDs, but it's impractical for printing them yourself because most printers won't handle cardboard of that thickness. A plastic jewelcase with printed inserts is really the answer.

Okay, here's what I want: A smaller, same-quality CD-sized jewelcase with printable inserts, and an Applescript that will print an iTunes playlist with attractive default fonts and a nice, clean design on the inserts. You'd think such a thing would be readily available, but it's not. Apple has a primitive one that interfaces with AppleWorks. Doug's Applescripts doesn't have anything in that department. OmniGraffle has one, but it seems pretty mediocre.

06 Nov 2003 | Darrel said...

Speaking of good ideas, I have to share this one...

We were at the mall the other day to play on the free indoor playground (it's cold up north here now).

Well, next to the play area is a Veggie Tales kiosk. Of course, our two year old spots Larry and has to go take a look.

It turns out it is a company that has licensed the music from Veggie Tales and has then inserted a child's name into the songs (surprisingly well, actually). It appears that it was done via a slick bit of audio editing software. Anyways, they had our son's name and, of course, we had to buy it. $25 for a CDR.

Anyways, it was one of those 'why didn't I think of this?' ideas. They're obviously going to make a haul from that one little kiosk (and I'm sure there are other's strategically placed at other malls).

06 Nov 2003 | mal said...

Am I underwhelmed because I just don't get it, or is this just a DVD case? Ok, so it might be good value for money, but this post makes it sound revolutionary. Aren't jewel cases passé? And just how "ingenious" can a hinge mechanism be?

Sorry to be so negative - no doubt it is a great product, as I trust 37signals' judgement - but I would have to hold it and try it out for myself before deciding whether it's the best the market has to offer. I'd expect lots of manufacturers make the same claim.

06 Nov 2003 | mal said...

P.S. Providing the software and paper templates was a nice touch, though. :)

06 Nov 2003 | JF said...

The other thing the site needs is a picture of all the components (cases, paper templates, and CD/DVD labels) spread out on a table. That will surely help people get it.

06 Nov 2003 | f5 said...

Who is the intended customer for this?


I know that as a designer, I've already pretty much created this for myself, or do when I see a new stock case or jewel box I'd like to use. I have a perf tool also. But, I see the value in not having to cut, score, and perf everything by hand if I needed to do more than 2 or 3 of something...

Average Consumers?

Is this type of product (cases/templates/papers) new for the consumer? Is a person looking for CD insert printing templates going to spend the time on the site do sift through all the copy and distill down that it's just ‘another CD printing template’ package? This seems like a product that someone would rather pick up at office depot or find on online stores, rather than order straight from (and yes, I saw the blurb about possible future distribution options).

My overall impression is that the mass of copy is not communicating briefly enough -- it's heralding this as something much more than it really is. K.I.S.S.

08 Nov 2003 | Arthur said...

Late coming to the subject, but here are my 2˘.

I think the CD jewel case is one of the worst, most reprehensible designs of the modern world.

In the first place I can't get the plastic wrapping off without resorting to using my teeth or some sharp instrument that will inevitably scratch the case. And no - I don't have fingernails long enough to fiddle with the wrapping that way either. I have one of those sliding blade cd opener thingies somewhere - but why the hell did such a thing need to be invented in the first place?

Secondly, after cursing the morons who came up with this design, and everyone involved in making it a world standard (I do this every single time) I cannot open the case without taking great care not to break the hinges. So naturally the hinges break about three times out of ten.

I also hate the technique one has to employ to open a jewel case: it can only be opened one way - with one's two hands positioned in a certain manner - and almost no other that works without a virtual certainty that the hinges break (if they haven't already). What about people with arthritis, or kids, or people with something less than the apparent high degree of manual dexterity it takes NOT to damage these stupid cases just by merely using them?
Other containers are often less than optimum too, but in most cases one can use alternative methods to get to the contents inside; a milk carton for example could probably be opened by a person with one arm holding a baby while the other hand improvises *ingress* somehow or another. I contend that it is almost physically impossible to open a cd case with just one hand. (Unless, once again, you want to risk breaking the hinges.)

And of course - once those silly little hinges go - then the jewel case has catastrophically failed and is really no good at all as a container anymore. Drop a CD case from a height of perhaps only two feet and at least one of the hinges will commit suicide. (In other words it's a fragile design - as if I needed to point that out.)

Conclusion: The original designer(s) of the CD jewel case should be found and shot. The execution should be videoed - and by law should be shown to all first year industrial design students in an attempt to discourage shoddy craftsmanship.
And I'd pay to see the video myself - just as long as it doesn't come on DVD, wrapped in a jewel case.

08 Nov 2003 | coudal said...

Exactly. It's a shame that such a poorly designed product has become the standard. While it is difficult to open our new Jewelboxing case with one hand, everything else you mention has been addressed. The hinges won't break. The surface doesn't get dusty looking or develop that all-too-common diagonal stress fracture. And it can take some punishment. For designers, another common complaint is that there's just not enough room to display art properly on a standard case. We've used a larger format. I'm starting to think maybe it was a mistake to use the word "jewel" in the brand name.

08 Nov 2003 | coudal said...

The above post looks a lot like an ad for the product. Sorry if that seems outta place. Couldn't help myself.

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