Disc Face Design Instructions

Creating artwork for disc requires different techniques than creating artwork for paper printing.

Furthermore, manufactured and Short Run disc templates are different.

Duplicated Discs

Download template or

Create your own template.

Software: I recommend using Photoshop or Illustrator.

  1. Set your page size to 120 mm (4.72″) square – do not alter this size – The duplicator will try to resize your image if you change this and it may not size correctly.
  2. color mode: CMYK or Greyscale – discs are printed in either full color or black only. No spot color with duplicated discs.
  3. Resolution (raster effects) High (300 ppi)
  4. Outer circle is at 116 mm
  5. Inner circle is at 24 mm

Create your artwork

  • Use high res images – DO NOT USE AT 72 AND THEN INCREASE!
  • Do not use copyrighted images
  • Allow enough margin inside the inner and outer circles.
  • Type: No smaller than 6 points. Serif type faces for small text is not recommended. Consider using bold type to increase the legibility of small text. Use bolded 8pt or larger for reversed text (light on dark).
  • Note: The ink may appear differently on the clear inner hub, the mirror hub, and the silver surface of the disc.
  • Note: Colors can shift from how they look printed on paper because of being printed on a reflective surface (plastic).

Create production file

  1. DO NOT MASK or knock out the inside or outside – your artwork should bleed past.
  2. Hide anything you don’t want to print (crop marks, template elements, notes, etc.). What you see will print.
  3. Save as a PDF, using High Quality or Press Quality settings.

Upload / email file

  • Name file with artist name, project title and “label” (example: “Beatles Abbey Road CD Label.PDF”)
  • ZIP files before uploading.

Manufactured Discs

Download template or
Create your own template

  1. Set your page size to 120 mm (4.72″) square
  2. color mode: CMYK
  3. Resolution (raster effects) High (300 ppi)
  4. The inside print diameter is 24 mm. The outside diameter of the disc is at 116 mm.
  5. Allow enough margin inside
  6. Create a small cross hair registration mark in the exact center in a small white circle no bigger than 15 mm.
  7. The mirror band runs from 36-46 mm.
Disc-design-mirror-band-stacking-ring

Do NOT knock out the inside or outside – your artwork should bleed past.

For Spot color discs: Use standard PANTONE (PMS) numbered colors only. Use a PANTONE “solid coated” chip guide. Be sure to notify me of what spot colors you use.

File submission:

For Manufacturing:
  • if disc print will be CMYK: TIF, PSD, PDF
  • if disc print will be SPOT: AI with all text converted to curves and attach all linked files.
    Warning: TIF and JPG files cannot maintain spot colors. If you don’t know what I’m talking about please call Diana for assistance in preparing your files.
  • Name files with artist name, project title and “label”
  • ZIP files before uploading.

Determine whether you will use CMYK or SPOT colors.

Shortrun (duplicated) discs are printed with CMYK (or black). CMYK printing is the way magazines are printed.

Manufactured discs can be printed with either CMYK or SPOT. Spot color disc printing is similar to how T-shirts are printed. Each color gets printed one color at a time like painting a wall – you only get the colors you indicate.

CMYK disc printing

  • Create your disc art as you would for paper printing using Photoshop and/or Illustrator.
  • Colors can shift from how they look printed on paper because of being printed on a reflective surface (plastic/silver).
  • Using a white flood fill underneath is standard to help reduce color shifts and effects from the silver beneath. You do not have to indicate this in your file, but please let me know if you want a white flood fill.or

Spot Color Disc Printing

  • Use standard PANTONE (PMS) numbered colors only. Use a PANTONE “solid coated” chip guide – this is not something you can just run out and buy. It is an expensive swatch book ($70-100), which you can usually ask to see at a local service bureau or printer. It looks a lot like a paint chip book at your paint store.
  • Please alert us if you choose Metallic, Flourescent or Pastel PMS colors.
  • Do not use RGB or CMYK or hexachrome colors.
  • Be sure to tell us what PMS color numbers you use.
  • Tif and Jpg files cannot maintain spot colors.
  • Spot color process is best chosen when you have solid backgrounds or other simple designs. Spot color printing is more even and solid than CMYK.
  • Do NOT rely on a screen or inkjet printer representation of PMS spot colors, as your results will vary. That’s why they make the swatch books.

MORE DISC DESIGN GUIDELINES

  • Avoid thin fonts or fine lines and detail.
  • Lines: minimum thickness for lines within positive images is .25 pt; and for reverse or negative images, .5 pt.
  • Type: No smaller than 6 points. The use of serif type faces for small text is not recommended. Consider using bold type to increase the legibility of small text. Use bolded 8pt or larger for reversed text (light on dark).
  • Screens: Keep screened areas between 20-80%. Lower values will not be visible, higher values will fill in. Screen printing is a relatively coarse output. Complex designs are possible, but the simpler designs tend to look better. Avoid gradients.
  • Trapping: Multiple spot-color designs are printed in order of lightest to darkest tonal value. We recommend that wherever two colors meet, you provide a .5 pt. stroke. This will guarantee that no silver disc (or under-color layer) is visible between colors. A final black layer may always be overprinted.
  • The ink appears differently on the clear inner hub, the mirror hub, and the main silver surface of the disc.
  • Flood fills: All images will be printed on the silver reflective disc unless indicated that a flood fill background needs to be printed first. Whatever is white on your computer screen or printout will be the silver background of the disc. If you want a solid color background, just request a flood fillĀ and tell us the PMS color number. You do NOT need to create a layer for this color since no film will be output (as long as you use one of our standard template sizes). A flood fill does count as a color. Use caution with colors other than white, since it can alter the shade and tone of other colors printed on top of it (because the inks are slightly transparent). If you are concerned about this, then don’t use a flood fill – create a new layer under so that it separates and knocks out.
  • Design Tip: Request a clear matte finish over the top of a coated ink to achieve the look of uncoated ink. Not recommended for small or highly detailed imagery. (Matte finish is considered an additional color for additional charge.) Get fancy and apply the Matte Finish over only parts of your design for a two toned effect. Varnish counts as an additional color and will have additional charges.
  • REMOVE ALL EXCESS GUIDELINES, TEMPLATE MARKINGS AND MEASUREMENTS. The only thing that should be visible is what will print on the disc, the registration marks, the center cross hair, and any identifying text such as release number, color names, etc, (set outside the image of course).

PREPARING DISC PRINT FILES

Delete unused layers and colors.

Save Illustrator file for submission

1. Make a backup of the finished layout. Once you create outlines there is no going back to re-type words and sentences. Save a version of the non outlined layout before proceeding. You’ll need the original file with text as text in case you need to go back to fix something.

Save the file, then Save As and call same name plus “curves” at the end of the name.

2. Convert all text to curves:

Select, Objects, Text Objects

Type, Create Outlines

3. Remove all circle guidelines in the template – Leave center cross hair.

4. Save File (with the “curves” in the name)

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