When we design CD artwork, it seems like a very easy task but in fact, there are so many things you can do wrong which could make you start from scratch again, or worse…have really bad prints!
Before you create a huge mistake, here are some things you should bear in mind:
I. Thou shalt use our templates and our templates only. Never attempt to use the templates of other duplication companies because every duplication company has different sets of templates. Make sure you select the correct Unified template for your project to avoid issues and additional fees.
II. Thou shalt only submit images with 300 dpi. So your images look good but that’s because your monitor is usually around 72 dpi. We need a higher resolution in order to print nicely. We require 300dots per inch (DPI) for all images.
III. Thou shalt use CMYK. A computer monitor displays color using RGB mode whereas physical print is either CMYK or pantone color. All RGB, Lab and ICC-based colors must be converted to CMYK for accuracy.
IV. Thou shalt put bleed and safety margins. Our plant trims sheets in stacks. Bleed and safety margins will give our printers a margin of error when trimming the sheets. For bleed, make sure to add 1/8 inch extensions on all sides of the template. For safety margins, make sure NO essential element is placed 1/8″ inside the crop marks.
V. Thou shalt design CD label using pantone colors. Printing on paper is very different from printing on discs. For discs, it is advisable to do silkscreen printing using Pantone Solid Coated inks.
VI. Thou shalt not steal CD artwork. For replication orders, we require you to fill out our Intellectual Property Rights form. If some or all of the material is not owned by you, you need to supply us with a proof of licensing or permission.
VII. Thou shalt use vector- based programs for text. Use vector-based software for your text or logo so there’s no chance it would pixelate. Vector files are also much more versatile to work with. Photoshop is a raster-based program which makes the edges of some text less defined.
VIII. Thou shalt submit all the elements used. We need all of the elements used in your design, not just the layout files. Every image linked into your page layout must be sent to us. If you are linking an EPS file from Illustrator, into your page layout, make sure to collect all the images and fonts from the EPS file.
IX. Thou shalt save your files the Unified way. Create one main folder that contains 3 separate folders. Inside the main folder, name the 3 folders: Page Layout, Links, and Fonts. Place all the files in their corresponding folders. Please name the main folder this way: “Artwork”-Project name-date, Ex: Artwork-CarlosMencia-030512.
X. Thou shalt submit files that match your original quote. If not, your project will be put on hold until we have the proper talk and agreement of your updated order.
Image source: http://www.grandprofile.com/
Are you designing your CD artwork now? If you hit a wall, feel free to email us!
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.