Our prices are very, very low. We keep them low because we base our prices on your submitting Print Ready Files.
There is a learning curve to designing for print.
There are a lot of subtleties in designing for print. Bleeds, safety zones, RGB vs CMYK, image size and resolution, etc. We are going to attempt to cover as many of these things on this page to help you design your artwork.
There is a really good reason why people who do design charge a lot of money — they have invested in all of the right equipment and have spent years learning how to do what they do.
We have templates available for your the design of your CD or DVD disc face and the printed materials that go along with it.
These templates can be found here: Templates for CD and DVD design
Provide us with one artwork file for each of the pieces of artwork. If you are doing a project that consists of a disc, 4 panel insert and trayliner, we need artwork for the outside panels of the insert (pages 4 and 1), the inside of the insert (pages 2 and 3), the trayliner and the disc face.
It’s too easy to get confused with fractions of an inch, millimeters are far more exact. For example, the outside of a CD is 120mm, the print area starts at 118mm and the inner hub is 20mm. We’ll talk more about the disc face later.
Long Run Disc Production requires that you order 500 pieces or more. We create a glass master and a stamper for the manufacturing of the disc. All four color print work is done using CMYK technology.
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This is known as 4-color process printing. With these 4 colors, you can get almost every color in the rainbow. We have robotic 5 color presses that allow us to print CMYK or specific colors using the Pantone Matching System. (Also known as PMS colors).
Pantone Colors are specified by numbers, the ink is then mixed to a particular formula that gives you the exact color that you want. This is very exact and there is never a color shift. We do all of our offset paper printing on gloss paper, disc printing can be done either directly on the silver surface or we can print a white background on the disc)
Disc Printing Specifications – Offset and Silkscreen Printing:
Hard copy composite color proof recommended with every order.
Sans Serif type face recommended for all minimum font sizes.
Minimum line with is 0.5 pt. and font size is 6 pt. bold.
For knock out/reversed out form, minimum line width is 0.75 pt. and font size is 7 pt. bold.
Specify only CV ink color from the Pantone Matching System Formula Guide.
If printing inside mirror band and clear inner hub, color may vary.
Separations for screen printing use only ELLIPTICAL dots.
Separation tonal ranges should be no less than 15% and no greater than 85%.
Printing a halftone without a white solid base will alter the ink color.
Minimum font size reversed out of halftone print without a base is 7 pt. bold.
Choke/Spread of 0.5 pt. to be applied whenever conditions permit.
A solid white base is recommended below 4-color process print.
Inner diameter minimum Knockout area is 23.5mm, outer diameter maximum printable area is 116mm.
Line screen is 85 LPI or 100LPI with 300PPI bit-mapped resolution.
“Print to Center” printable area size: 116mm-23.5mm.
“Print to Stacking Ring” printable area size: 116mm-37mm
“Print to Mirror Band” printable area size: 116mm-46mm
“Print to Center with Knock out for Stacking Ring” printable area size: 32mm-20mm, 116mm-37mm
Disc Printing Examples – Silkscreen and Offset Printing Methods
Top Left: Print to Center – This gives you the most printable surface area and is really the easiest to design for. Your printable area is 116mm to 23.5mm
Top Right: Print to Mirror Band - This can be really cool with some graphics because the silver of the mirror band shows.
Bottom Left: Print to Hub (also known as Print to Stacking Ring)
Bottom Right: Print on Hub - This one is also pretty cool…the artwork stops at the hub ring (37mm) and then picks back up again at 32mm
Remember to tell us what you want.
Disc Design — making it easy for yourself.
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TRIMMING THE ARTWORK TO FIT to the circle.. Doing that is a pain and is not necessary. In fact, we would prefer that you don’t. Simply upload the artwork to us with all of the layers intact.
DO NOT FLATTEN THE LAYERS. If you feel that you need to send a high resolution jpg or tiff file, the image at the left is what it should look like.
Resolution and Page Size (or Image Size)
There are two variable – Image Size and Resolution – Artwork must be designed at 300dpi at the right size.
In the case of the disc face, we are looking at 120mm x 300 dpi.
There are more potential problems with Photoshop than Illustrator because Photoshop is typically used for web design, photographs, images, etc., not page layout. CHECK YOUR DOCUMENT SIZE AND RESOLUTION. Everything for print must be 300dpi and at the correct size.
If you design something that is supposed to be 120mm x 120 mm at 300 dpi, everything will be fine. If you design your artwork at 120mm x 120mm at a resolution of 72 dpi, when it prints, it will be roughly 25% of the correct size.
Before you send us the files, check out the Image Size…If it’s bigger than what we need, we can work with it. If it’s smaller, it’s not going to work.
KEEP IN MIND, our turnaround times begin the minute that you have approved the proofs back from us and tell us everything is okay to print. If you are doing a short run project with is and you expect your project back in 4 or 5 days, the clock doesn’t start ticking until we have resolved any artwork issues.
The Templates – Paper Printing
When you are working with Illustrator or Photoshop, there are several things to keep in mind.
1. Save often — be sure you save all of your changes
2. Work in layers – Don’t design on the same layer as the template.
2. The Bleed. The graphic to the left is the template for a 4-panel insert. Once the insert is printed, cut and folded, the final size will be 121mm x 121mm. We will print this on a larger sheet of paper and will cut this down to get the correct final printed piece size.
The dotted line represents where your artwork extends. There should be a 3mm difference between the desired cut area and where your artwork extends. In the case of the 4 panel template, your actual image size becomes 127mm x 248 mm.
Height: Top Bleed 3mm + Finished Print Size 121mm + Bottom Bleed 3mm (3+121+3=127)
Keep your text and important images 3mm away from the edge of the paper.
During the printing process paper shifts slightly and this will insure that nothing important gets cut off that is important.
The red dotted line in the image to the right indicates where your type should stop. Although we don’t indicate a red line where the fold is, you should keep your type away from that area as well.
CMYK vs RGB vs Spot Colors (Pantone Matching System)
RGB should never be used for design. RGB stands for Red – Green – Blue and is the way that our eyes, computer monitors, Television and Video work. It is subtractive color. If you add 100% Red, 100% Green and 100% Blue, you get white light….when you close your eyes, you see black. You take away all of the colors…you add all of them together, you get white. With printing, it’s the opposite. If you add all colors together, you get black, and if you take away all of the colors, you have nothing, or white.
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.
What you see on your screen is going to be different than what the printing will look.
Monitors have different settings that allow you to change how you view the image on your screen that have nothing to do with the way something will really look. A laptop screen is different than a standard monitor. You can take the same file and view it on several different monitors and it will look different
Design, then print (often)
Our eyes play tricks on us, especially when viewing a computer screen. When it comes to color. Our eyes compensate for things that are not really there, especially when transparency modes are used. Look at the two color swatches below.
The first swatch was designed using Adobe Illustrator. We created gray using Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black and then changing the transparency levels to get this color gray.
On the screen, it looks great, however, when printing it, it comes out more on the Magenta side. Magenta is a very strong color and will dominate print.
After creating this swatch, we printed it using our Digital Printer, the result was a swatch that was light purple. It is very important to print often when designing your artwork, there are many combinations that will come out different in print than what you see on the computer screen.
Rich black is a term used in printing to refer to a mixture containing all four of the cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) colors. Less frequently it could be a mixture of black and some other ink. A typical rich black mixture might be 100% black ink and 80% of each of the other 3 inks. This is necessary because no black ink is truly black and the mixture helps to make the black even more black. While in theory an even richer black can be made by using 100% of each of the four inks, in practice the amount of non-black ink added is limited by the wetness that the paper and printing process can handle. Wetness is not a problem with laser printers, however, and “400% black” (as it is also known) produces very striking results in laser prints. Interesting effects can also be achieved with a laser printer by combining 100% black and 100% of cyan, magenta, or yellow. Rich black is often regarded as a color that is “blacker than black”. While this is nonsense from the point of view of color theory, the difference can often be seen in the printed piece. The difference can also be apparent in backlit (also known as “translite”) pieces, where rich black more thoroughly blocks the light from coming through. The use of rich black has to be based on a full understanding of the printing conditions, including the inks, printing press and especially the paper. If too much ink is used on poor quality paper such as newsprint it may simply fall apart. In addition, excessive amounts of ink may not have a chance to dry before the printed result comes into contact with other pages. Finally, rich black, because it uses more ink, will have higher costs. Care must be taken when using electronic design programs. Photoshop’s “default” black (the color used when the ‘D’ key on the keyboard is pressed) is not typically 100K. (Though in RGB documents, 00-00-00 is used.) The value chosen for black in CMYK mode depends on the CMYK profile chosen in color settings. If you make a document in Photoshop with various blacks, Photoshop will actually use different not-quite-black RGB values to draw them on the screen. Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, on the other hand, default to 100K. Another reason to use rich black for small areas of black is to avoid trapping issues. Rich black is often used for text printed over a picture or colored background, because otherwise any slight mis-registration between printing plates would produce a white or colored halo around the text, making it much harder to read. In some cases the process of preparing a work to print may include conversions to CMYK from RGB or other color spaces. The amount of black mixed with C,M,Y inks can be expressed as a process of under color removal or under color addition, though increasingly the entire conversion process is done using an ICC profile which expresses both the conversion and the under color handling.
The article on Rich Black is from From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_black This section on Rich Black has been used through the Open Source Agreement and all text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.