Since CD and DVD inserts can visually convey the story of your media project before it ever hits a disc drive or player, it’s important that your printed materials tell the right message. In this case, looks do matter. Here are some printing tips that will help you achieve your professional potential. Whether you DIY or use a CD insert printing service, these are tips to help you get the most out of your project.
- Free design templates or specialized label design software can be downloaded from various online resources that take most of the guesswork out of creating inserts from scratch. Not only do they provide layouts, but they also allow you to create, save, and print customized CD inserts. Sometimes you just have to add in some simple text and click print.
- Make sure your insert design matches your overall project’s mood, theme, and message. Make sure it’s clearly describing what its about and why a viewer should pick it up and look closer. Try things like printing on both sides of the insert with instructions on how to use your disc or include contact information or a website address.
- Use an “artwork safe zone”. A “safe zone” is a term used by the print industry to describe the recommended 1/8” gap you should keep between important content and text and the edges of the piece’s print area. The safe zone ensures that the text and important graphics will not be lost or cut off in printing due to possible printer shifts or margins of error. This relates to our next tip:
- When creating artwork, don’t forget to take bleeds into account. Bleeds are what the printing world recognizes as 1/8” of background artwork or block of color that should extend past the edges of the art space’s boundaries or page. The bleeds will allow compensation for shifting of margins or errors in printing. Without artwork bleeds, unprinted spaces of white may appear on the insert’s edges.
- Save money on your CD insert printing by doing a test run on a sheet of plain copy paper. Align the printed sheet with the perforated insert sheet to determine if the template design will fit into the allotted space. This will prevent you from wasting insert sheets on botched print jobs.
- The more instructions you give to the printer (both the machine and the company!), the better your results will be. Being as specific as possible about print options like paper finish, size, or type of paper will result in a product you like. The printer will be able to provide the best product possible with the most accurate specifications you provide.
- Place the insert sheets into the manual printer tray. This will provide the most direct route to print and reduce the possibility of paper jams and curling.
- Carefully consider whether you need glossy or a matte finish. Depending on your project, gloss may be an unnecessary expense. Matte is more economical and when using full edge to edge artwork on matte paper, you can still achieve the same visual appeal as a gloss. Additionally, since some inserts are placed behind outer entrapment covers, the already existing clear vinyl cover serves as the gloss layer.