This page will attempt to list and describe all the various packaging encountered. The list may be used in various way at a later date, but for the moment it should be presumed to be a reference for the definition and naming of the various packaging types.

(Please note, the existing RSG Formats List, with "Format Field" - followed by the "Description Field" - here: Formats List) The following also attempts to provide guidance to the use of Packaging terms in submissions - so it is currently a 'one-stop-shop' with helpful links, that may later be separated to respective pages.

Manufacturing Terminologies

Term Description Image
Pagination (Booklets, Librettos, Gatefolds, Digipaks, etc) It is beneficial to note how a booklet, paged insert, or similar informative presentation is 'paginated'; Normally, paper & press/guillotine processes govern booklet assembly. Pages will be in multiples of 4. Take a sheet and fold it once - you have 4 pages. Now fold it in the opposite direction, trim one fold- you have 8 pages. Repeat process- you have 16 pages, and so on. This is worth noting, because if you have, say a 20-page Booklet, then it is likely to have an additional 4-page cover affixed to a 16-page inner. This suggests the cover may be of different material, weight, or is color printed -whilst content may be monochrome. Although not produced in the same manner as a book, 'pagination' terms are also applied to Gatefold & Fold-out forms of vinyl sleeves & carded CD containers. Rule of thumb: Cover is 1st 'physical' page, irrespective of numbering within. (Numbering is irrelevant to actual physical pages. Numbering may begin at inside front cover, or inside facing page, for example)
8-page cassette insert example (4 pages to view)
Paper Sizes (Dimensions) Paper sizes in manufacture follow traditional formats. It can help to identify the source of a release by checking items, such as Lyric Inserts or other paper inclusions. (ie UK vs USA, which have different standard dimensions). The subject is vast, but guides can be found here: International standard, and here: American paper sizes
Paper Folds There are a number of useful folding expressions which help describe how a release's package may be presented. Single-fold. e.g. Taking a rectangle of paper, landscape, and folding it once vertically. (This creates 4-pages).2xParallel folds. e.g. This would create a 6-page (3-to-view), for example; a cover, spine & back page.Roll-fold. e.g. If you take the above example - but with 3 equal-sized pages, it can be 'closed' by 'rolling' the left page to the center and then that closed page to the right page - thus 'rolling' it closed.Accordion Fold. Literally, like the 'pleats' on an accordion, a series of parallel folds enables the sheet to close like a 'concertina' - which is another term by which it is known.Diagonal fold. Perhaps obvious, but a fold that is at an angle to the actual vertical or horizontal orientation of the sheet.
An 'Accordion' fold
Binding (Staples, Glue, Stitching) Pages can be 'bound' together by various means. Glued, Stapled (also known as 'wires') or Stitched. The expressions "2-wires" or 4-wires" would be 2 & 4 'staples' respectively.
Portrait & Landscape 'Portrait' and 'landscape' are terms applied to the visual orientation of a rectangular sheet. Portrait has the shortest horizontal dimension. Landscape has the longest horizontal dimension. A booklet insert in a CD is usually 'landscape', as is a jewel case. A 'gatefold' when opened out is 'landscape'. A DVD snap case usually has a movie-picture cover & text oriented 'portrait'. Example (right) of 'landscape' and 'portrait' being useful expressions to describe 2 cassettes.
Orientation examples
Openings (various) When describing how content may be accessed within a package it is useful to use understandable terms. A sleeve, for example, could be 'top-opening', or 'side-opening'. Applying a direction can also be helpful, e.g. 'front-opening', 'right-opening', 'left-opening', etc. Other terms, like 'hinged-opening', or 'cover opens upward' all help to clarify how a product is packaged and operates.
Print Processes The history and methods of the 'print process' is a vast subject. Color printing However, it is useful to have a broad understanding and to employ some common 'process terms' if they will assist in identifying otherwise similar submissions. See below.
Monochrome / Single Color One color, or various shades of that color. For simplicity this can be referred to as "Single-color", as can 'Spot-color', below.
Full-color (or 4-color) A process, using Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black - also known as "cmyk", to achieve a 'fully colored' image, such as a color photo reproduction. Color model. In most cases, if a printed item appears to the layman to be 'Full-color' then this is the easiest term to employ. e.g. "Title in yellow text on a full-color picture of the band"
Half-tone An effect created by a fine screen of dots, enabling a color to appear in a number of tones. Typical of a black and white 'photo' reproduction. Half-tone example.
A 'Half-tone', in single color (black)
Spot-color A "single color", applied in isolation from the normal range of color attainable in the cmyk process (including Metallic Colors). A 'one-off' or specially-created color. This can be the 'solid' color, and/or a half-tone of it - as example on right. Also see: All about 'Spot-color.
Metallic Colors Silver and gold, for example, are 'metallic' colors - applied as 'spot-color'. Such metallic effect may not always be 'printed'. The card employed could be self-color (silver, for example), and overprinted by a half-tone or 4-color process - or solid color, as example (overprinted 'black') on right. Alternatively, the effect can be achieved by 'foil-blocking' which is a foil material applied by heat-transfer stamping (This normally leaves a very fine 'edge' to the foil imagery, which can be felt with the fingers).
Self-color An object - case, card, plastic etc., that is imbued with its own color in manufacture. A sheet of silver or gold card, for example, is 'self-colored' - as is a yellow plastic case, etc. You could have a 'pink' self-color label with printed blue text - which could appear, at first glance, to be 2 printed colors. Example: The case (shown right) is clear 'self-color' on left, and black 'self-color' on right
'Day-Glo' / Fluorescent Day-Glo is a trademark name often used as a generic term for fluorescent print, dye or paint application See also "Day-Glo". Some Fluorescent effects may include an element of Phosphorescence - thus enabling the application to 'glow in the dark'. The substrate itself may be a self-color 'Day-glo' card, for example, overprinted with a design.
Silkscreen White, or any color/s, can be applied by means of the Silkscreen process, employing 'mask' shapes through which the ink is applied to a surface. Common for print onto plastics & metals. See Screen process No image
Injection-print In relation to 'label printing' process: See "Paper Labels vs Injection Print" further below No image
Die-cut (or cut-out) The term given to a material that is cut to shape by means of a stamping die. See Die-cutting. A Die-cut can thus create a Cut-out shape to Sleeves, or a 'Punch-hole', or complex shapes as found on recordings such as "The Soft Machine" (portion shown right), or "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" example
Punch-hole The die-cut circular hole normally seen on a singles sleeve or an LP liner, through which the label can be viewed.
Liner Usually referring to the inner 'wallet' of a sleeve, in which the vinyl is contained. Liners can be 'poly-lined' and may have 'punch-holes'. A liner can be plain or have printed matter on it. This may be in the form of the lyrics / artist photos, or even promotion of other releases by the Label. A liner, with lyrics for example, should not be referred to as an "Insert" (see next item). No image (example to follow)
Insert: (Lyric Sheet, Booklet or Libretto) Term for a loose item, inserted into the package. Usually referring to a lyric sheet or a booklet. A Libretto differs from a simple lyric sheet, in that it will describe 'actions' or 'contexts' within a piece for the performers involved. See Libretto. A vinyl liner with printed lyrics is NOT an insert! No image (example to follow)
Cut-out Release* or 'Notched', 'Saw-cut', 'Drilled', etc. (*Note: Not to be confused with an intentional 'Die-cut' aka 'Cut-out' of the design of a packaging)A sleeve of a release which has an intentional 'distress' cut or hole made in it - sometimes into the liner as well. This is made to signify the issue is of no further 'marketable value'. Thus, such a cut can evade potential 'tax duties'. Example (right) shows a 'saw-cut' sleeve & its liner.
Embossed The process of creating a 'raised' or three-dimensional image upon a surface, usually card such as on an LP sleeve. However, it may be on a light metallic or plastic surface of a recorded package, such as a "W" Warner logo on a CD case for example.Here is an album logo example on the right, for "Clear Spot", embossed upon its clear plastic sleeve.About embossing.
Paper Label vs Injection-print (7" Vinyl) Two forms of labeling 7" centers are Paper Labels or Injection-print, the latter directly onto the disc and using the disc's self-color as a '2nd color' for the display e.g. usually Black vinyl. This would achieve black lettering on a colored ground. This method also lent itself to the use of Metallic Colors in the print, such as silver or bronze.See Injection-molded for some tech details. The example shows a Paper Label (left) & an Injection-print center (right).
Wide Spindle (or Jukebox) Note:'Hand-Dinked for a wide spindle' is not an official item A single with a wide spindle center-hole created in manufacture. Some owners of other disc forms may 'stamp out' the center to this diameter. The process is known as 'hand-dinking'. 'Hand-dinking' does not make an issue 'unique' - it should remain cataloged in its original intent. 'Hand-dinking' is usually evidenced by tearing of a paper label around the circumference, or a distinct 'lip' of substrate on the reverse side to where the dink-die was punched or cut.
Knock-out Center (4 or 3 lugs) A single with a die-cut form around the small center spindle-hole. This can be 'knocked-out' to achieve a wide hole - say, for 'jukebox' play. Common to Gt Britain releases. The 'lugs' which hold the knock-out section in place can be 4-lug [as shown] or 3-lug. 3-lug issues may have a circular or triangular center section. If such a release has been 'knocked-out' then the lug recesses will reveal this has happened - opposed to a clean circumference of an official wide spindle release.
Knock-out Identity Tips The 'Knock-out' is predominantly a UK feature on singles. The 'lugs' which hold in the centerpiece can be a useful guide to manufacture source. The 4-lug strongly suggests an EMI-sourced pressing, whilst a 3-lug suggests a Philips-sourced pressing. There are various web-sites to be found which provide the intricacies relating to these features, including vinyl run-out identities, etc. No image (one 3 & 4-lug example pic to follow)
Solid Center A center as opposed to a 'Knock-out', with a small spindle-hole.
Adapter (for 7" discs) A plastic device which fits into a wide spindle-hole of a 7" vinyl, converting it to a small spindle-hole.This item may be included with some releases, or can be purchased retail.
Adapter (for 3" Minidiscs/CDs) A plastic 5" diameter device which fits around a 3" Minidisc, enabling it to fit/locate within the tray of a standard CD-player.This item may be included with some releases, or can be purchased retail.
Covermount Term for a recorded work included with a publication - and usually 'mounted' on its cover.Usually a 'sampler' of style works, or promo 'taster' of a band etc. However, it may be an educational item, or other work, which inter-relates to the publication content. A 'Part-work' for example.This is one such example: The Blues Collection
'J' Profiles In packaging of some recorded work the prefix term 'J' can often be used. Here is an example, showing the 'J'-shaped profile of a container, which provides the prefix term 'J', such as 'J-Case'.It is simply applied to a section with a 'short-cut' or 'waisted' front, in relation to the height of the back facing.
"Enhanced" Format A disc containing media of various technologies, combining audio with audio-visual output.Early CDs with 'multimedia' additions using some outmoded visualization programs may cause playing difficulties on modern CD players. A fuller explanation of 'Enhancement' can be found here Enhanced CD infoA typical 'Enhanced' logo found on such releases, shown right.

Gatefolds for vinyl - Construction Tips

The Gatefold Understanding Construction Methods Can Be Helpful Image
Gatefolds: Take A Peek Inside The history of vinyl gatefold print & construction is too complex for here, but it is worth noting a few points that may assist in identifying a sleeve as 'original', or of later issue. Especially useful if 'distance purchasing' an unseen item by 'phone or e-mail. American gatefolds in the 60s & 70s were usually heavyweight card, the outer & inner spread simply held together by the printed paper laminate. Usually referred to as a 'Pasted Sleeve'. A peek inside the 'disk wallets' will evidence there are no glue-tabs. Whilst looking in the 'wallets', the color and/or texture of the card substrate used may also be a guide. Some gatefolds took on a 'book-like' construction. Effectively 2 gatefolds, held together by another sheet of substrate glued to the front & back of the respective 2 gatefolds - thus creating 6 internal 'pages' & 2 external 'pages'. UK & Euro gatefolds were usually of a normal-weight card. Again in two sections, but held together by internal glue-tabs at top & bottom. These tabs were usually folded from the outer & internally affixed to the inner spread. Earlier issues may even have the glue-tabs affixed externally (which, like single sleeves, is known as a 'flipback'). 'Flipbacks' can also be found on USA gatefold sleeves. As print & press technologies advanced, the handling of paper sizes became easier. Some later gatefolds are 'one piece', creased & folded in such a manner as to only require one internal glue-tab - usually at the foot, plus a tab at the spine. Modern card substrates will also be 'cleaner' and less like 'strawboard' in their appearance when looking inside a 'wallet'. No image (some breakdown pix to follow)
Flipback Sleeve There are 2 kinds (Looking at the back, as follows); 3 glue-tabs, top, right & bottom - indicating 2 workings of print (with 2 separate pieces of card, held together / enclosed by the glue-tabs). 2 glue-tabs, indicating 1 working of print, with two vertical creases to form spine at right (any front laminate may cease there, or continue across the back). (This construction principle is effectively the same for Internally Glue-tabbed Sleeves)
Flipback construction. (Click for bigger pic)

Cylinder & Vinyl (Acetate, Flexi-disc, Lathe Cut, Shellac)


Format name Description Image
Cylinder The earliest form of commercial recording as a wax-engraved cylinder. This was housed in a cylindrical cardboard carton with artwork painted, printed, or applied as a label. See Cylinder history
Shellac No description No image
Lathe-cut No description No image
Acetate Disc An acetate disc is normally used to test the quality of the transfer of an original recording from tape-to-disc. A master acetate (the approved disc) then provides the means for mass-production. Acetate discs usually have a simple hand-written label, with date, artist, title, duration, etc. Full details here Acetate Disc
Picture Disc A playable disc 'impregnated' with a photo-image. The very nature of 'cutting grooves' to such a surface usually results in low-quality audio in comparison to the work on a normal vinyl. Example of an early 'rock album' Picture Disc. See also Wikipedia article.
Shaped Picture Disc A playable disc, cut to an 'organic outline shape', usually 'impregnated' with a photo-image. The very nature of 'cutting grooves' to such a surface usually results in low-quality audio in comparison to the work on a normal vinyl. The impracticality & audio-quality of these kind of discs usually makes them a novelty, or of promotional use and thus collectible items. Such discs are normally housed in a clear plasticized sleeve. See also Wikipedia article.
Self-Colored, Clear or Marbled Disc A vinyl disc that deviates from the default of 'Black'. A colored disc can be opaque or transparent (also referred to as 'see-through'). Colored discs can be a composite of 2 or more colors - 'speckled', 'striped', 'spattered' or (normally) 'marbled' effect. Colorless discs are simply 'Clear'.
Flexi-Disc (or Sound Sheet/Sono Shito) The 'Flexi-disc' provides an ultra-thin flexible vinyl format, making it ideal for inclusion in promotional packaging or magazine publications. The manufacturer 'Lyntone' is typical of the medium. Flexis can be contained upon their original 'square' area (which can allow them to be 'bound into' a publication), or be trimmed into the round. Clear versions can be adhered to card - sometimes referred to as 'Polish Postcards'. The Flexi is also known as a Sound-sheet (or 'Sono Shito'), an alternative term in the Eastern Pacific market, which does not translate well into Japanese. Sound Sheet is the resultant translation, or Sono Shito in Japanese. - See: Full detail on Flexi-discs

Sleeves (& Other Vinyl Housings)

Format name Description Image
Cylinder Carton Early wax-engraved cylinders were housed in cylindrical cardboard cartons with artwork painted, printed, or applied as a label. See Cylinder history
Picture sleeve A printed cardboard or paper sleeve used to house vinyl that bears half-tone or full-color pictorial images. ie a photo of the artist or 'commissioned design' other than a simple logo. On singles a 'picture sleeve' does not usually have 'punch-holes' to show the label, as do normal/regular sleeves. The expression is normally used in relation to singles sleeves. It is assumed an LP sleeve is a 'picture sleeve' by default.
Gatefold (single) A picture sleeve, 3-pages, that opens like the cover of a book, usually presenting more artwork in the middle. The disc is contained in the right-hand pages, with open edges.
Gatefold (double) A picture sleeve, 4-pages, that opens out like a book, usually presenting more artwork in the middle. The discs are contained in the left & right-hand pages respectively, with open edges. Gatefold sleeves are sometimes referred to as 'fold-out' sleeves, although this can be a 'nebulous' expression and easily confused with other forms of sleeve-folding.
Gatefold (roll-fold) Usually referred to as a Tri-fold A picture sleeve, 6-pages, that 'rolls open'. i.e. The facing page opens to the left, the inner facing page opens to the right - resulting in a center-page view of 3 pages. (You can then 'roll-fold' this closed, which leaves you viewing the back page/back cover).
Triptych Sleeve A picture sleeve, 6-pages. When opened out, the left & right pages are half the width of the center page. They fold in to meet at the center - usually (but not always) 'locking' together in some manner by means of die-cut edges. For background to the expression, see "Triptych.
Laminated This is a printed sleeve that has been covered or heat-sealed with a clear 'plasticized' or 'cellophane-type' coating, usually gloss, but occasionally semi-matt or matt. Older & abused sleeves often show signs of de-lamination, where 'bubbling' of the laminate occurs at creases or similar sleeve damage.Example (right) shows a clear Laminate not meeting sleeve edges - showing the matt print surface.
Un-laminated This is a sleeve that has simply been printed onto its substrate without any form of 'protection' to the print, as found on a laminated sleeve. No image
Laminated on front only Typical of what is referred to as a 'Flipback' sleeve - but can be found on Gatefold forms. No image
Flipback Sleeve Normally a single LP sleeve, laminated on the front (usually full-color) & unlaminated on back (Usually one color). The back is held in place by 3 (or 2) overlapped external glue-tabs.
Varnish-print Sleeve Not to be confused with a 'Laminated Sleeve'. A Varnish-print sleeve is one which has been either printed with 'gloss-finish' inks, or has been 'finished' with a varnish gloss. This kind of sleeve will not show signs of de-lamination in aging & does not have the 'Polyurethane feel' of a laminated sleeve. No image
Board sleeve A sleeve normally manufactured from strawboard or a 'natural finish' card. Most common with 78rpm or early disc releases. Usually glued, but some early board sleeves can be stitched together. The 7" poly-lined singles sleeves used by disc-jockeys are normally 'board sleeves' (one shown right).
Poster sleeve A sleeve that folds out into a poster. Example: "Ptoof!" by The Deviants. This is a sheet, folded 3 times. The sheet is folded once in one direction, then twice in opposite direction - creating a '12-page' (6 front, 6 back) gatefold (3xPages-to-view gatefold), open at the top for vinyl.
Fly-out Sleeve No description
Leporello Sleeve A 'Leporello' is effectively a term for a folded sheet, usually paper or light card, which opens to display the entirety of an image. It is normally printed on one side only. The folding is usually accordion (aka concertina), but can be 'roll-fold'. The term is derived from Leporello, the manservant in Don Giovanni, who transcribed his master's works into a book, which then 'spread open' concertina-wise to reveal all his notations.A 'Roll-fold' packaged release, described as being in a 'Leporello' sleeve, is shown right.
See: release detail
Shaped sleeve (die-cut) A 'Shaped' sleeve is a sleeve that doesn't conform to the regular 'square' shape. For example: Round, Octagonal, Hexagonal, etc. Such a sleeve, usually card, is typically die-cut to shape.
Slipcase A 5-faced outer carded box including a spine, open on the 6th face, into which the remainder of the package then 'slips'. Such a slipcase can be seen in use to hold VHS Cassettes, but more modern or elaborate slipcases now exist for holding LP sets, etc. The spine usually detailing the release. Should not be confused with a carded 'Sleeve' which has no spine, like an 'Obi' banding. Some common sense also needs to be applied if a release is simply in a wide-spined sleeve. Pic to follow
Over-sized cover No description - (Comment; This may be an erroneous thought - as all manner of sleeves can be 'oversize'?) No image
Book cover No description No image
Metallic foil-card sleeve(Or metallic printed sleeve) See 'Metallic Colors' in foil sleeve production; Manufacturing Terminologies, in addition to 'Self-color' materials in "Terminologies".
Metal sleeve Perhaps this should be moved to 'Gimmick Sleeve' section? No image
Cloth sleeve Perhaps this should be moved to 'Gimmick Sleeve' section? It would probably need to be an 'Assemblage Sleeve' of some form to retain some rigidity...? No image
Transparent cover This needs to be in 'plastics' sleeve types, as does 'Plastic Bag' below - although latter may be a 'Gimmick'? No image
Plastic bag See above 'Transparent Cover' - maybe needs to be in 'Gimmick Sleeve' section? No image
Paper bag No description No image
3D sleeve Is this suggestion a 3D image? eg a hologram - or simply 3-dimensional? As in an 'Assemblage' sleeve, or perhaps simply embossed? No image
Envelope sleeve What is an 'Envelope Sleeve'? Does it have a 'glued flap'? Anybody seen one?Is it not a 'Picture Sleeve' or 'Punch-hole Sleeve' type, used for singles & simply with a 'flap'? No image
Braille sleeve This suggestion should perhaps be in 'Gimmick Sleeve' section? No image

Gimmick Sleeves

Format name Description Image
Movable (Interactive) Sleeve A sleeve with die-cut cutaway sections (usually card-weight), providing elements that are interactive - such as wheels, 'cogs' or sliding sections. The "Soft Machine" 1st album [portion shown on right] & Bonzo Dog's "Tadpoles" are typical examples. (When the insert of "Tadpoles" is pulled out, a series of musical notes visually 'pass through' the head of the artist on the cover)
"Scratch n' Sniff" Sleeve A sleeve with an odour impregnated into the surface (or a section of surface). When the impregnation is disturbed (ie by scratching with a finger-nail) the odour is released. Scratch n Sniff technology.
Playable sleeve"Polish Postcard"(Pictorial or Promotional, Using Flexi-disc) Flexi-disc technology enabled discs to be printed with a simple message. As the technology advanced clear flexis could be adhered to such items as greetings cards and sample record promotional material. Also known as a "Polish Postcard" Dick Clark exampleAlso: A Flexi collection
Pop-up sleeve / Pop-up Package A 'Pop-up' is literally a packaging item, usually shaped card, which 'pops up' when a sleeve (or lid of a box) is opened. This is achieved by means of integral 'hinges' designed, or fitted, into the package.A typical pop-up example, shown right.
Hologram sleeve No description No image
'Assemblage' Sleeve (or Assemblage 3-D Package) Sleeves & packaging of recorded work can deviate from the 'norm' in many respects, using all manner of media in 'gimmick' presentation.(Such as leather, silk, hessian, glued-on items, mixed-media etc)The term "Assemblage" is useful in describing such items that take on a 'three-dimensional' aspect. This 'catch-all' term is appropriate for 'Collage', 'Objet Trouvé', 'Diorama', 'Sculpture' & other such media included as a composite package. e.g. Assemblage Sleeve, or Assemblage Box Set (an example on right).


Card-based Packaging

Format name Description Image
CD Long-box See Box Set Expression, or term, for a CD 'double case-height x width' carded package. Normally containing 2 CDs, but can have additional depth to accommodate futher CDs and/or Booklets, etc. Typical Long-box, Box Set
"Digipak" (or similar proprietary brand) "Digipak" is a brand, imprinted on pack. 'Digipak style' may be used as a generic term for proprietary packaging that follows the same design form. Primary design consists of printed heavy card, with a plastic container-tray glued into the packaging. There are several types of packaging that use this design, usually a cardboard gate-fold of 4, 6 or more pages, with a spine to accomodate. Example shows a 6-page 'roll-fold' containment, with center fixation for disc. -
Eco-pak Digicase Similar to "Digipak" design, except all materials are eco-friendly and bereft of any un-recyclable plastics - such as a 'CD tray'. - Hanna Elmquist - Dream A Little Dream Of Me - CD Packaging
Digifile Thin card gatefold package, with one or more 'pockets' into which disc/s (and any booklet etc) can be inserted.
Digibook A book version of a digipack or a traditional book with a cd built in. Usually the CDs are housed in envelopes that make out one or more of the pages of the book, or in a regular plastic tray (like the ones you'll find in a digipack). No image
Compac A cardboard gatefold package formed from 4 folds, fully glued, to create 4 printed faces, and a narrow spine. One of the inner faces has a circular hole and a small plastic hub of teeth glued inside the package allows the CD to be gripped. Compac patent 8813420 from the CMCS Group refers to this packaging. Also known as "hubpak" or "hub-pak", and similar to the use of 'digipak-style', 'compac-style' can refer to a generic version and not a Compac brand package. Also see Compac Plus.
Jakebox Not to be confused with (and in competition with) forms of "Digipak" -
Slipcase A 5-faced outer carded box including a spine, open on the 6th face, into which the remainder of the package then 'slips'. Such a slipcase can be seen in use to hold VHS Cassettes, but more modern or elaborate slipcases now exist for holding CD sets, etc. The spine usually detailing the release. Should not be confused with a carded 'Sleeve' which has no spine, similar to an 'Obi' banding [see below]. Image to follow
Carded Sleeve - Jewel Case banding, 'O-card' or 'O-case' A 4-faced outer carded box without a spine, open on the 5th and 6th faces, into which the remainder of the package then 'slips'. Such a slipcase is uncommonly seen in use to hold VHS Cassettes.
Card Sleeve or Card Wallet A card-weight or heavy card sleeve, folded & glued internally (sometimes 2 sheets, glued on 3 edges) so that one side or the top is open. Often bereft of artwork, with a plain paper finish or varnish/gloss with minimal print, maybe a sticker or stamp, and on rare occasions die-cut to reveal some of the disc face inside. Alternatively, it may have full artwork and an optional spine. Also comes in multi-panel configurations, in which case Card Wallet or DigiSleeve are common names; these variations may be 4-panel gatefold or double gatefold, or tri-fold with 6 or 8 panels. The full-artwork configurations are sometimes marketed as 'Mini Vinyl'-style packaging.
Paper Sleeve Normal paper-weight container, folded & glued internally top & bottom (sometimes 2 sheets, glued on 3 edges). Usually bereft of artwork, plain paper finish or varnish/gloss with minimal print.
Paper Sleeve with Window Same as paper sleeve except that there is a 'Punch-hole' window in the front face. Usually for CDROMs and promotional acetate releases. Most have a flap on top that tucks in to secure disc. One brand is "Tyvek".
Gopak A normal 7" paper sleeve with a plastic tray that holds the CD inside.
Snap Case/FLP Case Snap case has a plastic tray mounted to cardboard with a plastic device that snaps open and closes like a hinge. The hinge is simply created by the thinness of the plastic along the back right corner. There are protective, plastic edges at the top and bottom. Sometimes also referred as "flip-top case" and "flip case". Also used for DVDs. Wikipedia Most of the snap cases are branded as FLP (brand owned by Ivy Hill Corporation, NY., later renamed to Warner Media Services). No image
Q-Pack By Queens Group, Inc. A part cardboard, part plastic case, constructed similarly to a jewel case. No image

Plastic-based Packaging

Format name Description Image
Standard Jewel Case A 4-page hinged clear plastic case, consisting of three parts: Left page (with male hinge) & Right page (with female hinge) with inserted disc-tray. The tray is usually a self-color, e.g. black or white - locked into right page. Paper artwork for back cover display is retained under tray. This "tray liner" or "tray card" can be printed both sides, but is usually blank on the tray side if the tray is not clear. A cover display artwork is retained in the left page. This may simply be a single card, printed both sides, or a complex fold-out or booklet, etc. Crystal trays were introduced somewhere in the early 1990s. Billboard Magazine in Febr. 1994 has an advert recommending the crystal cd tray as "an elegant new way to display the finest graphic designs". Before, trays were usually opaque and black.
Plastic Case Identities Cases, such as Standard Jewel Case, may carry manufactured identities. In later years, many labels embossed their logos onto cases - such as the embossed 'W' Warner logo. Others used a distinct color, such as Rykodisc's green-tinted cases. These little subtleties may help identify time-lines in recorded issues. (It should be noted that such cases may have their content 'swapped' over the course of time)
Blister Pack A disposable, sealed, semi-rigid plastic outer container which houses a Standard Jewel Case. It has the same dimensions and purpose as a longbox. The only way to open it is to cut into it with a sharp blade. The jewel case resides in the bottom half of the pack. In one kind of blister pack, the top half holds the booklet that would normally be in the jewel case. In another type, a custom artwork card spans the entire front and also sometimes the top edge. Some CDs came from the factory in this kind of packaging, but many shops and distributors also unpacked longboxes and put the CDs into generic blister packs (sometimes called clamshells) for extra theft protection or aesthetics.
J-Card Case Standard for CD singles / Maxi-singles. Folded inlay in the shape of a "J", CD visible on back. Most common in Europe (consisting of two parts: top and bottom [7 mm thick]) with a three toothed hub to hold disc.
Slimline Jewel Case Sometimes known as "Super Slim Jewel Case" - primarily used for for retail blank CDr and promotional releases. Exactly half thick the standard case, quadratic front inlay only (consists of two parts and is 5.2mm thick).
Lenticular Jewel Case Lenticular printing is a technology in which a lenticular lens is used to produce images with an illusion of depth, or the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles. The jewel case serves as the lens and the insert underneath is ridged to interact.
[Double/Triple/Quadruple] Thick Jewel Case Sometimes called a "Fatboy". Fits two or more CDs, double the thickness of a standard jewel case (consists of five parts, provides ample space for a thick booklet). Externally identical, other variations exist that fit up to six CDs. Tray are also made in clear plastic. Not very common for double CD releases currently and largely replaced by Slim Double Jewel Case.
[Double/Triple/Quadruple] Slim Double Jewel Case Same size as a standard jewel case & made of three parts, fits two CDs. (Variations of the same fitting three CDs also exist).
Poly-Flex Box A 5-sided clear plastic case with grooves inside for holding a CD, plus an outer O-card slipcase containing the artwork. This was only used in 1990 for a small number of Warner CD maxi-singles in the USA.
Super Jewel Box aka, The Super Jewel Box Standard, has the same dimensions of a regular jewel case, but with rounded corners instead of ninety degree angles as in regular jewel cases. However, the SJB Standard comes with a unique design layout for the rear tray card, that includes four spines, and particular shapes and cuts. See the website of the brand. Older SJB's have the booklet insert held in place by tabs above and below, with no locking clasp. Newer SJB's have tabs left and right, plus a locking clasp. Also see below, Super Jewel Box Plus, and the Super Jewel Box King.
Compac Plus The "Compac Plus" is a disc packaging which is similar in style to a digipak. However, it consists of two plastic CD trays which clip together like a normal slipcase. The packaging was introduced in the early 1990s. It was originally a brand which had their own logo, but as years progressed, many other artists started to use their own version of the packaging. The packaging is also known as Compact Plus. No image
Lift-lock case Designed originally for the high-fidelity gold CDs, the lift-lock design continued into several releases, primarily CD singles.
e-slimcase Square, plastic clear case with a locking mechanism. Most are produced for blank media.
Plastic Sleeve / Polybag Same as paper sleeve just made from clear vinyl, mylar or other plastics.
Keep Case / Snap Case / Amaray (Square) / PVC wallet / PVC case A one-piece rectangular case with a flexible hinge and snap-lock mechanism molded or scored in the plastic. Often translucent and not much bigger than a CD, and with little room for artwork. An opaque, larger type of keep case is standard for DVDs and supports artwork (see the DVD section), and is sometimes used for CD/CDr packaging.
Clamshell Keep case (Shaped) A clear or transulucent PVC wallet, but in a circular shape and very thin. Usually for CDr and promo releases without inserts.


Plastic & Card-based Packaging

Format name Description Image
DVD Card Sleeve Same as CD Card Sleeve. See above.
DVD DigiFile DigiFile is another variation on the standard card wallet with one or more additional panels or flaps. The discs can be held in place with either a die cut slit or a sponge button. The Digifiles can also incorporate booklets with a booklet slit or pocket.
6-panel Double Disc
6-panel Double Disc
DVD DigiPak™ The DVD digipak follows the same style guide as a CD digipaks. DVD digipaks are the same width and height as a DVD case and have a 7mm spine. They are made of cardboard. Comes with a clear tray placed on the inside right panel. There are a few variances in the style of tray such as disc holder in the centre or off-centre, trays that can hold 1 or 2 discs. The mount for the disc can be a spider or hub such as in a CD digipacks, or newer versions include a spring mounted DVD flexi tray. Digipacks also come in 4, 6, 8 and 10 panel layouts.
6-panel layout
6-panel layout
Keep Case / Amaray Standard for DVDs. Rectangular plastic case with a transparent plastic outer covering, into which the artwork is slipped via top-opening. Inside has clips on left to retain artwork and a hub on the opposite face retains the disc. A standard DVD case has a 14mm spine, but also comes in "slim" and "super slim" DVD cases which have 9mm and 7mm spines respectively. A single DVD case can hold 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 discs. DVD Booklets almost A5 in size, can hold up-to a 100 pages. More info:
Transparent Keep Case / Amaray Same as regular Keep Case, except the casing is see-through and only one artwork insert required - printed on both sides, enabling external & inside display & information.
Multi Keep Case Same as regular Keep Case, except that there is a hinged leaf at inner spine to hold (one or more) additional discs.
Super Jewel Box Plus The Super Jewel Box Plus - SJB Plus - Sits in between the Standard SJB used for CD's, and the SJB King (See Below) used for DVD's. The SJB Plus was developed specifically for the DVD Audio format. The SJB Plus is one inch taller than the SJB Standard or an original CD jewel case. The SJB Plus is available as a one or two disc package, making it ideal for releasing CD/DVD-Audio combo sets.
3 Types of SJB side by side
3 Types of SJB side by side
Super Jewel Box King Larger than the CD version, having the dimensions of a standard DVD case. The SJB King was developed as packaging for DVD Home Video and ROM. And comes in one or two discs. It is exactly as tall as a VHS cassette case and as wide as a CD jewel case. -

Metal Cases (Iron Packs, Metal Paks, Tins)

Format name Description Image
SteelBook® A registered brand, and the most popular one. Steelbook consists of a metal exterior and an inner core of plastic with the same dimensions of a standard DVD or Blu Ray style case. Steelbook uses 0.21mm tinplate, steelbook consists of an inlay that is made entirely of plastic with a metal artwork strip overlay. A metal front and back are attached to this inlay. Similar to a book, the Steelbook has a spine that is firm and therefore not closed by the front and back of the packaging. For this purpose, an additional strip of metal is attached to the plastic inlay, which completes the metal shell.
MetalPak™ aka "Star Metal Paks" The size and shape looks exactly the same as SteelBooks, but the thickness is thicker than SteelBook's spine as it uses hinges. Like the Steelbook , the Star Metal Pak is also a special packaging. It also consists of a plastic inlay on which sleeves made of metal are attached. The main difference is the way the back of the packaging is made. For the Steelbook , an ornament made entirely of metal must be attached. The back of the Star Metal Pak is formed by the front and back of the packaging. In the closed state, the inside of the packaging lies on top of each other. Here is a side view, as for the inside, see image on the right
MetalBox™ Is the newest & latest to join the metal case market, cheaper to produce, and looks similar to SteelBook & IronPack. MetalBox is not a true Steelbook form because of huge difference in spine and 3 corners. MetalBox & SteelBook's size and shape looks exactly the same, but the plastic cases are barely visible and the metal cases aren't complete shut.
IronPack™ IronPack is similar to SteelBook minus the inner spine plasticholder & trademark logo. The Ironpack Spine is made of Metal. The Ironpacks are slightly shorter and wider than steelbooks, it lays flat and is made out of iron, as a result they are slightly heavier.
SteelTin™ It is the oldest metal cases before MetalPak™ & SteelBook™ were introduced. SteelTin is a slipcover which is made of metal with emtpy space inside. Meaning, you get the SteelTin and Standard cases, whereas, MetalPak & SteelBook cases are standalone without the Standard cases. The size are very thick and bigger than Blu-ray cases. Cases are not strong enough because it hard to put in and out of the standard cases. Steel Tin™ like some others seem to be limited to a certain region, and Steel Tin in not available outside of Australia. See an example on the righ of a SteelTin(Slipcover)
FuturePak™ While similar to Steelbooks in dimensions, it has a thicker 0.25mm tinplate, and the hinges and flush hidden internally, allowing the 2 sides of the tin cover to open flat and flush making for more creative designs.


Format name Description Image
Keep Case / Amaray The 11mm HD-DVD Case is shorter and slightly thinner than a standard 14mm single dvd box, and just like the BluRay (see below), it has it's trademark Red color plastic case cover. Amaray HD-DVD Disc Cases - Typically come as a Standard Single-Disc-Transparent Red. Dimension: 5 1/4" x 6 3/4" x 7/8" (11mm). Inside the front cover there are clips to hold a booklet (can accommodate a booklet up to 3mm thick). The hub type is a push button hub.

Blu-ray (3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray Audio, BD-R)

Format name Description Image
Keep Case / Amaray The 11mm is the Standard for Blu-ray. However, The 15mm European Blu-ray™ case can accommodate upto a 3mm booklet, or a second disc tray.
Transparent Keep Case / Amaray Designed specifically for the 3D Blu-ray market, as well as the Audiophile Blu-ray Audio market 3D immersive sound, with the release of a similar transparent Keepcase carrying the letterings High Fidelity & Pure Audio , on either side of the Blu-ray™ Logo. The Case is Produced in super clear polypropylene, having a metallic blue blocked Blu-ray logo & a Gold one for the Pure Audio Blu-rays See example here Janine Janson Vivaldi's 4 Seasons and for more information about Pure Audio visit link. With a large capacity spine, it comes in the European Blu-ray™ form size.
Alt text
Alt text
Multibox Keep Case / Amaray Similar in description to the regular Keep Case, but with a larger capacity to hold 4-6 discs.
Megapack Keep Case / Amaray Similar in description to the regular Keep Case, the Blu-ray Megapack holds between 6-12 discs securely.

4k UltraHD

Format name Description Image
Keep Case / Amaray The 14.5mm Ultra HD case comes in 2 configurations: Either a 3 discs Internal clips for single or double tray insert, Or 2 discs through Face-on-Face storage without the need for a tray.

8-Track Cartridge

Stereo 8

Quad 8 (Q8)

  • See 'Reel-to-Reel' for 8-track tape (Sometimes referred to as "8-track").
Format name Description Image
Stereo 8 Comment/descript
Stereo8Card SlipcaseOr sleeve/box Carded casement, usually glued on longest edge & flap-opening at top.These examples are full-color.
Quad 8(or Q8) 4-channel tape cartridge format, introduced in 1970 & phased-out by 1978.Physically identical to Stereo 8, except for a 'sensing slot' in the top-left of the case.Comparison picture shows cartriges for Quad 8 (left) & Stereo 8 (right).

Cassette (& Elcaset)

Format name Description Image
Plastic Hard Case Two pieces in hard plastic. Top part in J shape for insert. Similar to the original VHS cassette tape cases. Discontinued for clear plastic cases. No image
Plastic Clear Case A 4-page hinged plastic case, usually presented portrait. Left page (with female hinge) is a 'J' profile, recessed closed into right page (male-hinged) open box. The box may have two prongs over which the cassette becomes inserted.An art insert is retained in the left page, folded twice parallel to create front, spine & back display respectively. (This insert may have additional folds, when extracted, to provide further info). These clear cases were originally issued with solid self-color right pages, until 'clear' became the standard.
Slipsleeve Cover Thin cardboard, 4xParallel folds & glue-tabbed internally. Usually open at both ends - sometimes just one end. Design can be oriented landscape or portrait. Mostly produced for promotional releases and singles. Usually containing only the cassette, but such items may exist that include the cassette's plastic outer case.
Elcaset FormatCarded Slipcase (or plastic?) An open-sided carded case with display on 5 faces. Used for the short-lived audio cassette format of Sony, introduced in 1976, employing quarter-inch tape. Approx double the dimensions of the later eighth-inch cassette that would become a standard.


Format name Description Image
Clear Plastic Case Same as audio cassettes, just sized down to fit DAT tape size.


Format name Description Image
Plastic Case Primarily, the DCC's outer shell was its "case" much like cassette tapes. The clear cases that were slightly different from DAT cases in size but very similar to cassette tapes. No image


Format name Description Image
Clear Plastic Case Same as audio cassettes, just sized down to fit microcassette size. No image


Format name Description Image
Cardboard Box Standard, a square heavy outer cardboard box that flips open to reveal the plastic reel of the tape. No image


Format name Description Image
Betamax Cassette Body A half-inch tape encased format, introduced by Sony, May 10 1975. Despite its many qualities over that of its following competitor VHS from JVC, the VHS format caused the eventual demise of Betamax. The case body is usually black, but several proprietary brands introduced various colors, including 2-color (body color, with a different color hinged section).

Plastic-based Packaging

Format name Description Image
Vac-formedVinyl/Plastic Case Case consisting of vinyl cover (laminated over card padding) usually black, but also self-colors such as red or blue. Inner consists of 2 vacuum-formed case sections, one male, one female, each trapped inside the outer vinyl wrap. When closed the two inner case sections press-fit together.The outer front, spine, back has a single transparent wrap, heat-sealed on 3 sides & open at top for insertion of printed artwork display. (Female section may have an embossed logo of distributor)Closed dimensions: H224 x W143 x D32mm
Plastic Snapcase Same as VHS Plastic Snapcase made to fit the Betamax tape size. No image
Plastic Slipcase Same as VHS Plastic Slipcase made to fit the Betamax tape size. No image

Card-based Packaging

Format name Description Image
Card Slipcase Open-sided card box, with content display on 5 faces. Cassette inserts to leave its spine label content displayed.
Any Other Card Slipcase Style?eg book front, etc. Comment. Image here


Format name Description Image
Cardboard Standard Sleeve Rectangular portrait carded box, with one open side in the form of a Slipcase. Often has Die-cut 'thumb' recesses to open edge for withdrawal of content.(Any spine print traditionally reads top-to-bottom on left edge, when reading front - which is normally presented 'portrait').
Windowed Cardboard Sleeve As Standard Sleeve, except there is a window on one face to show the label stuck on content.Mostly used for promotional videos.
Plastic Snapcase Original design for first generation video cassettes, then phased out by the cardboard cases. Most were clear for video rental stores, while most retail versions were not. 'Snaps' closed.
Plastic Slipcase Thinner than normal plastic cases. Open on one edge to slide cassette in.Promotional cases have a window for the label.
Clamshell Case Solid plastic molded case. Most "Disney" and children's films continued to use this design, in white or colored plastic.

Video 2000


Format name Description Image
Cardboard Sleeve Standard for most single disc releases.
Gatefold Cardboard Sleeve Standard for most double disc releases. No image


Format name Description Image
Cardboard Sleeve Similar to Videodisc sleeves but were 20% narrower, a 1/4" thicker and the bottom corners were rounded off. The disc was housed in a slide-out tray.


Format name Description Image
See CD (CDr, CDV) All DualDiscs are physically the same in dimension and the cases are no different. They do not produce cases specifically for the DualDisc format. No image


Format name Description Image
Clear Case Clear plastic case, 1/4" thick in a J-Card design.
Keep Case A tighter, clear plastic sleeve to tuck the minidisc into with an exposed top for easy access.
Studio Case Larger than the commercial Minidiscs, these case came in a clear plastic top and black plastic bottom with raised corners to lodge the Minidisc into safely.



Format name Description Image
Plastic Case Similar to DVD cases in shape, the UMD case is rectangular, half the size of the DVD dimensions, clear and have a transparent outer sleeve to house the artwork.


Floppy Disk [8" / 5" / 3"]

Format name Description Image
Floppy Disk Sleeve Carded or heavy paper 'pocket' sleeve, glue-tabbed left & right, with 'waisted' front (cut short) to display disk's label.
3" Floppy Disk Case Clear plastic cases 3/4" thick with a J-card design.


Format name Description Image
File Format The 'File format' covers media of MP3, ogg-vorbis and other 'File-Based' Formats.Entering File data in Discogs

Memory Stick

Format name Description Image
Memory Stick A Format that is a small removable 'plastic-enclosed stick', containing a flash memory card. Depending on brand, locality and formats they may alternatively be also known as flash drives, thumb drives or memory cards. There are many proprietary brands of this format - some as small as the card itself. Their very form factor allows numerous inventive functions (let alone content) and packaging concepts, such as this jar of "pills"). See more about 'Memory Sticks'

All Media

Format name Description Image
All Media "All Media" (or "Mixed Media"?) is a term used to apply an overall description (or descriptions) to disparate Formats packaged collectively within another Format Term (that is not simply a "Box Set" of the same format). For example: An "Album" could be composed of a 12", 2x10" and 3x7" recordings = "All Media", "Album". No image (Ideally a watertight image of elements comprising an All Media release)

Box Set

Format name Description Image
Box Set This is a term for an 'additional collective presentation packaging' of recorded work. The works within it may be of similar media, or of mixed media, within their own Formats. For example, it may be "5xLP", "Album", Box Set" - 5xLPs contained in a box.However, the additional package may be other than a box. It may be a plasticized wallet, A slipcase around a bound book, or other variant. The examples below show some of the possibilities. No image
Box Set (Card Lid & Base) A simple straight forward Cardboard box with a lid and base.
Box Set (Tin Metal Lid & Base) Similar to above, Here is an example of the same in Metal Tin.
Box Set (Card Slipcase) A Boxset made from Cardboard, designed to hold 2 or more individual CD albums, each housed in their own media packaging, typically all similar in type of packaging (Jewel Case, Cardsleeve/Wallet, Digipak, etc) Intended as part of Discography or a special edition release. See example on the right
Box Set (Wallet) Is a box made of cardboard, thin ply or cidar wood, but most commonly metal tin boxes (See also MetalBox™ & MetalPak™ above). whereby the lid is attached via hinge to the other half.
Box Set (Carry-box) Some box sets may be extensively designed & produced in a unique format to suit or reflect the work. This is one example by "The Smashing Pumpkins" - a 60s-style 45's carry-case, but containing 5xCDs & a booklet.
Box Set (Y) No description No image
Box Set (Z, etc) No description No image
Box Set (CD Long-box) See CD PackagingLong-box Expression, or term, for a CD 'double case-height x width' carded package.Normally containing 2 CDs, but can have additional depth to accommodate futher CDs and/or Booklets, etc. Typical Long-box, Box Set
Box Set ('Assemblage')(or Assemblage 3-D Package) Packaging of recorded work can deviate from the 'norm' in many respects, using all manner of media in 'gimmick' presentation. The term "Assemblage" is useful in describing such items that take on a 'three-dimensional' aspect.A leather casement with CD example This 'catch-all' term is appropriate for 'Collage', 'Objet Trouvé', 'Diorama', 'Sculpture' & other such media included as a composite package. e.g. Assemblage Sleeve, or Assemblage Box Set (an example on right).


Format name Description Image
Anti-record A potential candidate for a Format - currently using FTF for listing.A record which has been treated (melted, drilled, painted, etc.) to become a noise record. A term first used by LAYLAH Records on conventional vinyl releases by "Current 93", "Nurse With Wound" and others, Anti-records can also feature strange configurations or pressings, such as extra or unusually sized holes, locked grooves, or parallel grooves. Some may be of File formats with embedded interference. See Anti-record data, Example 1 LP in Discogs, Example 2 LP in Discogs, or a fully 'distressed' release (Cut in half).