CD Artwork for First-timers

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Once youíve already chosen a CD packaging company for your album artwork, the first thing you should do is ask for their templates. It is very important that you use your CD packaging companyís template because every company has different discs with slightly different dimensions. A few millimeterís difference matters a lot during production. And you want your album to be perfect, donít you?
Template and template layers. Download your CD packaging companyís template before executing the actual design because itís more difficult to work backwards. When you have the correct template, forward it to your CD packaging designer (if you have one) so he can start working. And oh, make sure you remove all template layers before submitting artwork. Some CD packaging companies charge a few dollars if you donít because thatís additional labor for them.
Bleed and Safety Margins. In the template, you will see bleed and safety margins. What are these? Bleed is the extension of artwork beyond the cut line which gives the printers a margin of error when trimming the sheets while Safety Margins are required to prevent cutting off some important parts of your artwork (text, images,logos). Make sure all essential elements are within the safety margins.

Why simply grabbing a photo in Google wonít work. If youíre doing this on your own, it would be quite challenging if youíre a first-timer. Itís not as easy as grabbing a photo in Google and placing your band name on the picture. Aside from possible lawsuit for stealing photographs, the quality is also not assured. Your CD packaging company will require that your artwork have a resolution not less than 300dpi. This is a must if you want your album artwork to look decent. You must remember that itís almost impossible to increase the dpi of photos. This may mean you have to shoot with a professional camera. My tip is this simple: Do not DIY unless youíre willing to lose dollars and time. Go hire a graphic artist to design your artwork. These designers also know the right people to contact and the reliable CD packaging companies.
Do you know how o choose fonts? One thing that separates a pro from the newbie is the choice of fonts. If youíre new to design, chances are your eyes are not yet that sophisticated especially in choosing fonts. Once again, make sure you consult with designers and other people. When submitting artwork to your CD packaging company, donít forget to send in files of the fonts that you used.

What you see in not always what you get. If the artwork is sent to you for approval via email, there is a big chance that the colors would look different from the actual print. A computer monitor displays color using RGB mode whereas physical print is either CMYK or pantone color. Ask for sample prints before you give your CD packaging company the green light to start manufacturing.
So, you see? Itís not that easy. There are still lots of important things that are not included in this article. If you want to know more about CD manufacturing and CD packaging, visit The blog is dedicated to CD/DVD/Vinyl manufacturing. You can also call James Hill, the CEO of Unified Manufacturing at 310-999-4493 for consultation.

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