Disc Packaging Templates, CD + DVD Logos

  • What exactly ARE Templates?

    Die cutting knife fixture for CD and DVD packaging
    Knife fixture for a tall lined slipcase

    The "die", or "knife" fixture is a custom-made apparatus that is used to cut and score the packaging the same way every time. Overall size, panel configuration and folding, pocket style, any slits or slots, must all be carefully laid out in creating the die.

    CD / DVD Packaging Template Example
    Template for a tall, 6-pp jacket

    Templates are vector art files that specify a die fixture design, and help you lay out your artwork correctly to that design. They have some predefined boundaries and measurements so you know what goes where. A template can be as simple as a rectangular box in Adobe Illustrator that you use to build your booklet cover, to extremely complex designs for a multi-disc jacket, with literature pockets, custom cutout windows and tear-off postcards.

    Let us know what you need at the start of the project, and we can find either an existing template design, or we can build a new one. If you are on a tight budget, the most economical way to go is to find a design that we've already used (we obviously have many!), that won't require a new template and new tooling. But we do LOTS of custom designs, and it's usually not a bank breaker - don't be afraid to ask.

    Disc templates are simply guides to show where the disc printing boundaries are, and what parts of the disc surface is where. There is no knife, no scoring or folding—just the inside, outside, the mirror area, and the data area. If you plan to knock out through the inks and white basecoat to the disc (yes, you can do that with no penalty!), or you are not planning on using any overall flood, those inner dimensions will be very important

  • When are Templates Sent?

    Templates are sent to you once we have definitely established the project spec and we have the order form back from you. It is part of the ordering process. What we create for you is much more customized than a catalog part number. You have the ability to customize styles, sizes, paper stocks, finishes, components, inserts, cards - every single feature you can thing of. Even the simplest packaging has many options with us. That's why our projects look so much better and varied than anywhere else!

    A simplified project specification that involves items that affect cost, used for quoting, will look something like this:
    Disc Type or USB Media:
    Paper Stock:
    Our standard proofing (pdf softproof followed by glass mastered test disc and color matchprint print out) doesn't have to be addressed too much as this comes-with and is normal procedure, but if you need special press proofs or production pieces, it's helpful for us to get that in your spec right away.

    We also generate a much more complete Printing and Packaging Spec, that is tied to your template. We send this to you to make sure ALL the details are covered. And that looks something like this:
    DISC = xxxxxxx
    Disc Printing: xxxxxxx
    Disc Art Notes:
    Disc Colors: xxxxxxx
    White Basecoat: xxxxxxx

    PRINTED PACKAGING = xxxxxxxxxx
    Paper stock / weight: xxxxxxxxx
    Colors: xxxxxxxx
    Reverse Inside Printing: Yes_or_No
    Foam Hub Color?: xxxxxxxx
    Clear tray type?: xxxxxxxx
    Velcro color?: xxxxxxxx
    Other components:
    Finish: xxxxxxxx
    Special Effects:
    Special Finishes:
    Special Instructions:

    Paper stock/ weight: xxxxxxxxx
    Colors: xxxxxxxx
    Finish: xxxxxxxx
    Special Effects:
    Special Finishes:
    Special Instructions:

    Proofset Needed:
    Matchprint Type:
    Production Piece?:

    Special Art Notes:

  • Disc Templates — CD, DVD, Recordable, Mini

    They're all similar. Our favorite way to go is for you to do your layout with our inside and outside print lines in mind, then just let the art "bleed" past the lines. We will place your art into the template here that does the the cropping to spec, plus adds the white flood to the project (all our projects feature standard 4C color over a white flood, but spot white and Pantone colors are also an option).

  • Disc Logos — CD-ROM, Audio CD, Enhanced, DVD, etc.

    We have a lot of these for you to add to your artwork. Let us know if you need any once your project with us is underway and we'll see if we have one handy for you in the size and color you need. Here is a very brief sampling....

  • Format of Packaging Templates

    All of our standard disc packaging templates are provided as PDF files, which you can open directly or place in your layout program. Keep it on a separate layer from your regular art and no one gets hurt, see? (haha)

    In the file, you'll see red lines that we call "dielines" (as in "die cut" along "dielines.") The dielines are made in a custom ink of the same name, set to overprint any color beneath. This is how the red dielines and be seen on the layout but don't appear in actual ink on paper.

    If you need it for your booklet, we can build a custom InDesign template for you. We'll build you a Quark template if you really need one, although we might fuss about it a bit.

  • Layout Tips — Software

    Raster Software - Native Photoshop is the preferred format for raster graphics. It okay to leave your file layered, in RGB mode. We do prefer, however, that you delete unused layers.

    If you are planning to knock out through the white basecoat of a disc, put the knocking out items in a separate layer or layers, clearly named so that we know what they're for.

    If you're specifying where the white goes, rather than where it doesn't go, Don't use white pixels, or at least make a copy of your white

    Generally, if you supply a layout in InDesign or Illustrator, we prefer that any graphics be linked and not embedded (lots easier to work with). That's why we recommend against using Illustrator EPS files as the main layout file, because the EPS format uses embedded graphics. Quark doesn't embed, so that's not a problem. However, if you're working with Photoshop exclusively, a PSD file at 300 dpi resolution will not be a problem to work with (as long as it's still in layers, and all font files are sent along with the PSD). You can send PDF's, but they should be set for Illustrator compatibility, and should be saved with layers intact. Also, don't forget the fonts if you're sending us PDF's Although the format supports font embedding, we will still need the font files.

    Keep the template on a separate layer, so they can be kept out of the way or locked separately. The dielines are supposed to sit on top of the other art, in a "dieline" spot color, set to overprint.

    If you have done your disc layout in something other than our template, please don't make your own center hole (knockout) and outer disc edge. Better to mark the center of your disc very clearly and let the art be oversized and with little or no center hole. For instance, if you've done a big background graphic in Illustrator, don't make it round like the disc, just make it "bleed" beyond the inner and outer disc edges. When placed in the template, the outer and inner knockouts will cleanly crop the art.

    Be sure to package all the fonts you're using in the layout--even common ones like Times or Helvetica come in several versions, so include them all.

    Please contact us if you have any questions in regards to your layout and art setup.

  • Photoshop Hints

    Your photoshop file should have a resolution of 300 dpi minimum, at the final print size. If your art is sharp-edged, you might want to go a bit higher—450 dpi, perhaps, to capture the detail needed.

    If you are creating flat art to be used in a layout program, consider converting it to a high-resolution bitmap. You can easily save a bitmap at 600 dpi and greater, and still have a small file to work with. In the layout program, you can apply any color ink you want to your bitmap, with perfect masking to the background. You can even specify overprinting. This is a great trick for logos and similar items. Use the same bitmap file for multiple colored versions, for spot gloss, and embossing, with no return trips to Photoshop for another color. LOTS easier!

    Import the PDF template to a layer in your photoshop file and KEEP THE LAYER SEPARATE FROM YOUR ART! There is not a point size too big to emphasize this point.
    Speaking of those red template lines. Make sure when you lay out your photoshop files that you occasionally turn of the template layer, so you check that the panels all actually touch in the middle. Photoshop files are VERY difficult to fix.
    Once your art is finalized, tidy up by trimming art to the standard bleed or maybe double the standard bleed. Do this on any layer-masked art you can think of. Don't drop a 25 inch square raster on there, just to use 2x2 inches of it, without trimming out the excess. Erase the part you don't need. The file will compress a lot smaller.

    Oh, and speaking of layers, it's best for everybody if you make your panels live on separate layers, too, and just use layer masks to reveal the part needed. If anything needs adjusting, the pain factor is reduced (even if the file size isn't).

    We prefer that you convert your art to CMYK before you send it to us. Make sure when you're converting that you have set the "U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2" profile as your CMYK working space. You can leave your photoshop files in RGB mode, if there are only a few of them, but please tell us about it. Don't forget that the printing is going to be in 4-color process, so you should be periodically checking the CMYK preview—One more tip to keep your project's adventure factor low.

  • Illustrator Hints

    As with Photoshop, please do NOT mix the template up with the art. Keep it on a separate layer.

    In illustrator, be careful with transparency effects. Try printing color separations and get a sanity check.

    Check for leftover Pantone colors. They won't show up on the CMYK plates. The best way to find them is to tidy up your color swatches by doing a "Select all unused" in the Swatches palette, hit "delete" swatches, and then look for any spot colors left over. If you do find some, hunt them down and convert as needed.

  • InDesign Hints

    Be sure to add bleed to your document (in the Bleed section of the Document Setup).

    A big one for booklets in InDesign -- make your booklet with FACING PAGES! You should have a single first and last page (your covers for a saddle stitch booklet, or the top and bottom page of your text block for the perfect bound version). Also, remember that every printing spread has two sides, and each of those sides has two panels, even if they're blank ones. So, make sure your file has an even multiple of 4 pages.

    Avoid the "book" feature - Try to make your booklet using one file. CD and DVD booklets are rarely long enough to justify the extra trouble. Remember that you can make as many master pages as you want.

  • How to set up white ink

    White ink is used in our projects in two ways—adding white to fiberboard or transparent material, and knocking out white on a disc.

    If you're creating art for white ink, make a copy of the art in 100% of some process color and put it on its own layer. If you feel adventurous, you can make a spot channel and use that, but really, just a layer is fine and easier for everybody.

    Why, if "white" is the "absence of all color," are we saying to use 100% of a color to make something white? Well, it's like this—the ink "white" won't be "white" unless you use 100% of it.

    Now, you don't really have to use 100% of white. Use halftones if you want. Use a monochrome image with a white fill. Knock it out to silver(that means paper white!). Want to do some weird duotone with PMS 32 Red and White Ink? Whatever you want to try is fair game. Whatever you do, test it out as you go.

    Oh, now, here's the funny part. If you want to knock out of the white, THEN you use paper white! Now, the white pixels ON THEIR OWN LAYER can be used to knock out of the "white ink" plate (usually coded black or some off-white spot color). This is usually the case with disc printing, where by default you get a white background. You knock out to silver disc surface with the "paper white" that comes with the program. We will take your file into InDesign and on a "white ink" page will use the "Override Layer Visibility" feature to bring out just those knockouts, and, well, knock out of the white donut.