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Top 10 most common pitfalls for do-it-yourself CD/DVD designs

1. Low-resolution images and photos

For printing a minimum of 300 dpi is required. This means when scanning an image scan it at least 300 dpi, and when using a digital camera use the largest photo size option. You can always size it down when necessary.

2. No bleed

Bleed is an extension of the die line to ensure that there is no white line around your artwork when the product is cut. All our templates have lines indicated as bleed so your artwork should be extended to the bleed line.

3. Text too close to die line

All our paper products are machine cut, therefore, there will be a slight tolerance where it is actually cut. Therefore if the text is aligned too close to the die line it might be cut off. It is safer to place all text and images at least 5mm from the die line.

4. Missing or corrupt fonts

Fonts are tricky because of the different versions of operating systems. So we suggest outlining all the text before you submit us the files. If for some reason you cannot, please ensure that all fonts are included.

5. Not using template

Graphic templates basically outline the size of the finish products, plus bleed. So it is a good idea to layout the final design on the template to ensure everything fits perfectly. Templates from other printers might work, but there are always slight variations between each printer.

6. Wrong colour mode

CMYK colours are used in the printing world, while all scanned images and digital photographs are in RGB mode. Therefore all images have to be converted to CMYK mode. You might find slight variations in colours when you do so and the image can then be adjusted to your liking. To maintain the best quality create your artwork in CMYK from the very beginning.

7. Colour matching

It is a common misconception that you can take a printout from your home printer and have the finished product matched exactly to it. A commercial press is calibrated differently from inkjet or laser printer. Therefore it is impossible to match colours exactly like it. The best practice is to have a hard copy proof produced from the press and subsequently the artist can adjust the colours on the art files.

8. Colour matching between On-Disc and booklets

Even if you use the same colour on both the disc and booklet, they will never come out exactly the same. It is because the materials on the booklet (paper) and disc (plastic) cause the same colour to reflect differently. The best you can do to ensure the highest level of accuracy is to use a Pantone colour on both disc print and booklet.

9. Silkscreen vs Offset printing on disc

With offset printing on discs becoming more common these days, many would think offset is the best way to do printing. But the answer is dependent on the type of artwork. If your artwork consists of mostly solid shapes, lines, text and no graduate fade of colours, silkscreen will give you crisp and sharp disc labels. On the other hand, photographic images look best with offset printing. Keep in mind that silkscreen artwork requires the use of spot colours, which is mostly set up on Illustrator and Quark. Process colors on silkscreen results in a poor look on the disc label. It is recommended that if you are not familiar with spot colour setup to solicit help from a professional graphic designer.

10. Not allowing enough time to proof and check the artwork

Many projects have been let down because the artwork was rushed or the proof was not checked thoroughly enough. Allow plenty of time to check your artwork before sending off to production.

Ready to proceed? Artwork templates can be found at http://www.diskbank.com.au/templates/, or contact your account manager.

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