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Preparing Artwork

When Preparing Artwork for CDI


What is a PDF proof?

A PDF proof is a medium resolution image displayed on your computer screen.  Since all computer screens are different you cannot rely on a PDF proof to represent accurate color and brightness.  A PDF will show content such as type and trapping issues.  It also shows trim and bleed.  The color of your final printed project will not match the PDF you receive from us for proofing.  Your CSR would be happy to discuss any concerns you may have about this process and help you make the right decision for your project.

What are the most common problems with designed jobs?

There are several small things that happen when submitting a project that can really slow the process down.  Improper trim size and no allowance for bleed are very common mistakes.  See our templates for proper sizing of your project.  These should be reviewed before starting your design process.  Another common error is to size images too small or low resolution.  All images should be 300 dpi at 100% of the desired size for the project.  Wrong project file format or fonts not included, will slow the order down. We accept file formats that include PDF, TIFF, JPEG, and Photoshop.  Please do not send us original program files such as Quark, In Design, Publisher, etc.  Convert these file s to a PDF or TIFF.  We are here to help if you have any questions.


What is bleed and is there a safety margin around the trim on printed materials?

Bleed is extending any color, photo, or design elements past the trim line.  Our plant trims printed pieces in stacks of hundreds of sheets at a time.  This is much faster than trimming individual pieces.  Bleed gives the print shop a margin of error when trimming, so that if the cut is a little off, the white of the paper won’t show along the edge.  We request you add 1/8-inch of bleed to your layouts.  For example if you have an item that will be trimmed to 4.75 x 4.75 then you would want to add 1/8 to all sides for bleed, making the final art size approximately 5 x 5.  Each template has guidelines set up so you can see exactly how much bleed you need to add to your layouts.  These are generally the outermost guides.  Safety margin is the opposite of bleed.  If you put important information such as a song title or an important part of a photo right up against the crop line, some of it may get cut off.  We recommend that you keep your type and other important elements 1/8-inch inside the trim line.  Each template has guidelines set up so you can see exactly how much safety margin to allow.  These are generally the innermost guides.  In the example of an item trimmed to 4.75 x 4.75 the safety margin would be approximately 4.5 x 4.5.

What are CMYK files?

CMYK and RGB are two different color models, and understanding the difference can mean producing a great-looking insert rather than a muddy, disappointing one.  This has become more of an issue in recent years because the internet is used by so many people and it uses the RGB color model, not CMYK.  The RGV color model is used by monitors, televisions, scanners, and digital cameras.  A monitor uses very small bands of red, green, and blue light to generate color.  RGB color is considered additive color because when you add all three colors together, you get white light; when you turn off all three lights, you get black.  By mixing varying amounts of red, green, and blue light, you can create most other colors.;  The paper of a magazine, catalog, or DC booklet can’t generate light like a computer monitor.  It has to rely on reflected light, and the subtractive color model CMYK.  When you add cyan, magenta, and yellow together (CMY), you get a color close to black, and when you don’t lay down any ink, you get white that is, the white of the paper.  A fourth color, black, is added for economical and practical reasons, and is represented as the letter “K” so as not to be confused with blue.  By mixing varying amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks, you can create most other colors, but CMYK does not have the same range of color RGB does.  All commercial, full-color printing uses CMYK inks.

Why is the difference between RGB and CMYK important?

Many colors created on your RGB monitor can be duplicated using CMYK inks, but not all.  Your RGB monitor is generating light, so it can create some bright colors that can’t ve duplicated on any CMYK printing press.  Paper can only reflect light, so if you print the same RGB colors in CMYK they get flat and dull.  If you’re designing artwork in an RGB color space, we’ll have to convert it to CMYK to print.

Depending on your artwork, the colors might shift a little or a lot.  If you are not certain about the whole color space issue, don’t worry.  Just ask your CSR to check it for you and make recommendations for corrective action if necessary.

What resolution and file format is best for artwork?

For best results, save your pictures at 300 dpi (dots per inch) and your other artwork at the highest resolution available (600 dpi is ok but our equipment will utilize up to 2400 dpi).  Do not save pictures at resolutions higher than 300 dpi because this just slows down the process and does not improve the image quality.  We recommend the following formats PDF, TIFF, JPEG, and Photoshop EPS.  Please be certain to include all fonts in your files.  All artwork whould be CMYK not RGB or anything else.  Convert fonts to curves.

What is FTP?

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is the simplest and most secure way to exchange files over the Internet. Whether you know it or not, you most likely use FTP all the time.

For more information on FTP visit:

For a great FTP tutorial visit:

Is there a font size limitation for printing on the face of the disc?

The recommended font size is 7-8 point or larger on the face of the disc.  You should also try to use readable type that does not have tiny lines or curls on the font face.  Also, it is important to keep the type at least 3/16 away from the edge of the disc.

What options are there for disc face printing for CDs, DVDs, and BDs?

The options for printing on the face of a disc being duplicated are:

1.  All black

2.  Full Color Silk Screen

3.  Full Color Offset

What options are there for disc face printing for CDRs, DVDRs, and BDRs?

1.  All black

2.  Full Color Silk Screen

3.  Full Color Offset

4.  Full Color Ink Jet

5.  Clear Coat on Ink Jet