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Using Our Graphic Design Templates  CD MANUFACTURING

One of the leading causes for order delays and extra charges throughout the CD and DVD industry is artwork that isn't supplied correctly. This issue can be split into two separate areas: The first of which being the actual design components of the artwork and then, secondly, the physical dimensions of the design (ie: length x width). Contrary to the popular saying, size it would appear, actually matters, and a graphic design template will help you on your way to successfully submitting your artwork.

One of the most common misconceptions about designing for CD or DVD manufacturing or duplication, is that there is an industry standard whereby all suppliers of discs and related packaging use the same sizing guidelines and have the same requirements. This couldnt be further from the truth as it is very common to find variations between different vendors.

Therefore, choosing which vendor you are going to use should take priority over finalizing your artwork. Once youve decided on the company who will manufacture your discs, download the applicable graphic design template for your needs and then finish off your design.

A good template should show you a number of visual references:

Crop marks: These are fine black lines generally located at the corners of the template and they will actually print, so dont move them, removed them or change their colour values. The crop marks are used to line-up the cutting blade that will trim the print down to its finished size.

Keylines: These are used as guidelines to provide you with a visual reference of where the page will be cut, folded, perforated, etc. Keylines are for visual reference only and will not actually print but they are much easier to use as reference points than the crop marks.

Bleed: If your design is supposed to touch the edge of the finished product (as represented by the keylines and crop marks) you must extend, or bleed, your design 1/8 past that finished edge. Your graphic design template may provide you with a separate keyline to give you a visual reference of how far to bleed the design. Due to variances and tolerances in the cutting process, bleed ensures you wont see white unprinted paper or board-stock running along the edge of your print.

Gutter: A common design mistake is to crowd the finished edges or folds with text and graphics - the result of which negatively affects the visual appeal and legibility of your design. If you look at a book or magazine you will notice that there is a significant border that frames any non-bleeding text and imagery from the edge of the page and folds. This border is called gutter. In the CD and DVD manufacturing industry an absolute minimum gutter of 1/8 is generally advised but you may want to experiment and increase it to 3/16 or 1/4" or greater.

Using the correct graphic design template will help you to create a design thats right, but before you finalize your design its always recommended to create a printed mock-up of your artwork. Print it and use the crop marks to trim it to size, then fold it or assemble it using tape or staples as required. This is the best way to determine if your design really works as intended. Is the text large enough to read? Have you used enough gutter? Did you create bleed in all the appropriate areas? Does the design look right?

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