Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CD Manufacturing Company Donates Books To Children

When Black Bond Books asked for assistance to help children in need this holiday season, the parent company of CDwest.ca (Precision Disc Manufacturing Corp.) was happy to answer the call!
We have teamed up with Black Bond Books to help put books directly into the hands of children who could benefit from them the most. For each CD or DVD order placed in December, CDwest.ca and Precision Disc will donate a new childrens book to help fill the book shelves at local Food Banks and community organizations.

The ability to help doesn’t end there. If you have ‘gently’ used childrens books, Black Bond Books will gladly accept them and forward them to their community partners to help fill the book shelves. To learn more about Black Bond Books and to find store locations please visit their website at http://www.blackbondbooks.com/

- - - - -     - - - - -     - - - - -

CDwest.ca provides factory-direct CD manufacturing with environmentally-friendly print and packaging solutions for clients throughout Canada. Based in the Greater Vancouver region of British Columbia (B.C.), CDwest.ca provides Western Canadians with a CD replication plant partner right in their own back yard!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

CDwest Continues CD Duplication Sponsorship Of Supernova

CDwest.ca is pleased to announce that we are continuing with our sponsorship of Supernova.

Supernova's latest series is a battle of the bands called "Break Your Band 2009" which provides indie bands from right across Canada with an opportunity to gig at top venues in front of loads and loads of potential new fans and industry judges alike, and then the band with the BEST breakout potential will win a music development deal, valued at $25,000!

The winning band gets a chance to break their band to the world with guidance from Supernova’s consultation panel. The total value of accumulated prizing once they’ve made it all the way is $25,000. CDwest.ca is providing bands with a choice of a CD duplication demo package or a promotional print package.

Supernova.com is a leader in showcasing new talent, giving rise to bands like Billy Talent, Sum 41, Down With Webster, and Three Days Grace – who all played the Supernova stage before gaining international fame.

- - - - -     - - - - -     - - - - -

CDwest.ca is factory-direct partner in Western Canada for performing artists, bands, record labels, management, and everyone in between who require professional CD duplication and CD manufacturing services along with eco-friendly print and packaging solutions.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Eco-Friendly CD Sleeve - October Special


Not only does CDwest.ca have a new eco-friendly CD sleeve to announce, but we've made it our Special Product Offer for October.

We've named our new eco CD Sleeve the "CS221".  It's six panel construction, so when it's die-cut, glued and assembled it's a two-fold sleeve and features two closed pockets. This is the perfect eco-friendly packaging solution for a double-disc set, or a single disc with a printed folder or booklet insert in the second pocket.

As with all of our standard eco-friendly CD Packaging alternatives, our minimum order requirement for replicated CD or DVD discs is only 300 units.

Our Monthly Special is a fully packaged offering, which includes all set-ups, pre-press, one round of .pdf proofs, assembly, wrap and even a free barcode if you require one. The only things that aren't included in the price are applicable tax and shipping.

Need a quote for a different packaging alternative? Not a problem, we have a host of other CD Sleeve, CD Digipak and CD Jewel Case options that you can quote online from our website.

Monday, September 28, 2009

CD Duplication Design Tip - Don't Use Photoshop For Typesetting

Adobe Photoshop is world class graphic design software for photo/image processing, but it's not the best design tool for typesetting and line-art graphics that are destined for commercial printing... especially silkscreen printing spot-colours.

At CDwest.ca we always recommend that clients process their photos/images in Photoshop and then place them into Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Indesign for assembly with design templates, line art graphics and text.

Why is that? The image shown below displays the problem:

The letter "A" on the left is line-art text from Illustrator... and the letter "A" on the right is from Photoshop. They were both created using the same font and point size, and the image was saved at 300dpi which is the most common resolution for commercial print in the CD manufacturing and DVD manufacturing world.

As you can see, the Photoshop generated letter is noticeably fuzzy... and this is because it is a bitmap image as opposed to line-art. Such fuzziness isn't as big a problem for the large bold text in your design, but it can become problematic in smaller text and finer styles of fonts.

The fuzziness of text and graphics created in Photoshop can play havoc with the visual quality of silkscreen printed designs. What appears to be sharp and smooth on your computer screen turns into jagged and rough edges in the final print. On the other hand, line-art does provide sharp edges and smooth curves or silkscreen printing spot colours as well as all types of CMYK print.

Due to this (as noted above) we always recommend that you perfect your photos in Photoshop, save them in high-resolution form (such as a 300dpi .TIF) and then place them into your Illustrator or Indesign design page where you can add your line art graphics and do your typesetting.

The result will be sharper and cleaner text and graphics, which equates to higher overall visual quality and legibility.

- - - - -     - - - - -     - - - - -

Based in Surrey, British Columbia (B.C.) Canada, CDwest.ca provides factory-direct CD manufacturing, CD duplication, print and eco-packaging solutions. Of particular interest to the music industry is our line of eco-friendly and green packaging products which include CD Sleeves and CD Digipak.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Silkscreen Printed CDs - Tutorial Number Three

Silkscreen Print Design 101 - Printing Without A White Flood

It's possible to use the shiny aluminum/silver disc surface colour in your design. Doing so can be very effective but it's important to understand how much room you actually have to work with. Regardless of whether you are creating a design with 'positive' print (solid lettering and/or graphics printing on the silver background) or a 'negative' print (printing a solid colour that utilizes the disc's surface as the colour for your lettering and/or graphics) be aware that there are actually three different parts of the disc that can be printed onto:

(A) The largest area is the aluminum/silver coloured area that holds the disc data/content.

(B) Closer to the middle there is the "mirror band" which is a very shiny/reflect silver colour.

(C) Surrounding the center hole there is an area which will either be clear plastic (as is generally the case with a CD disc) or additional shiny/reflective silver (which is generally the case with a DVD disc).

A replicated compact disc (CD) was used in the example shown above. In the left-hand column the example illustrates the process of printing a disc using a white flood (aka: white 'backprint') prior to printing the graphics. Most designers utilize the white flood print as it provides a clean white/neutral background for the graphics to be printed on as well as actually enhancing the colour of the printed graphics. This is much the same principle as painting the walls in your house... applying paint onto a white coloured wall provides a much better result than trying to apply paint to a dark coloured wall.

The example in the right-hand column shows what can happen if you create a design that utilizes the disc's surface as an element of your design (ie: no white flood) but not factoring in the three different components that make up the disc's surface. As you can see, the change in the background colour negatively affects the visual appeal and legibility of the design.

- - - - -     - - - - -     - - - - -

Avoiding The "Danger Area" In Your Disc Design

As noted above, there are actually three different parts of the disc that can be printed onto. If you'd like to utilize the aluminum/silver colour of the disc's surface in your design but avoid the hazards of any unsightly overlaps onto the mirror band and/or center section of the disc, the 'danger area' is within a 36mm diameter (18mm radius) of the center of the disc.

Important: By saying "center of the disc" it means measuring outward from the center of the center-hole in the middle of the disc... it does NOT mean measuring outward from the edge of the center-hole.

If you're creating a 'negative' print (printing a solid colour that utilizes the disc's surface as the colour for your lettering and/or graphics) the solid colour can still overlap the mirror band and center section of the disc... it's only the areas that knock-through to show the disc colouration that should be kept outside the 36mm diameter 'danger area'.

- - - - -     - - - - -     - - - - -

Getting The Best Of Both Worlds - Using A 'Custom' White Flood

It's possible to create a 'custom' white flood which allows you to be selective about what parts of your 'negative' print knock through to the silver of the disc and what parts knock through to the white flood. As shown in the example below, it doesn't matter that the "ABC123" lettering is inside the 'danger zone' because there's a white flood behind it, but the "@" symbol is well outside the danger zone so it can be knocked through to silver.

Depending on how many colours are in your design, your quoted price may not include a custom white flood should you require one. Please contact us to confirm.

Important: There are limitations to what can be effectively printed using a custom white flood. Small text/graphics, fine text/graphics, and very tight registration can pose problems and may not be printable. Additionally, when supplying your artwork that includes a custom white flood you must design the custom white as a distinctly separate colour (learn more about colour separations) and include a notation on your Order Forms that a custom white flood is required.

- - - - -     - - - - -     - - - - -

Additional design tutorials are also available on our website:
CDwest.ca provides factory-direct CD manufacturing and CD duplication services plus a wide range of the most popular print and eco-packaging alternatives on the market. Of particular interest are our eco-friendly CD Sleeves and CD Digipak.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Problem With The Music Industry....

Just read an article titled "The Problem With The Music Industry and Steps To Take To Improve It" which raised some really good points and spurred the following thoughts from me...

The author writes, "...the music industry is being flooded with sub-par product. Unfortunately for the music-buying public, the level of artistic quality inherent in the overall group of artists signed to major labels appears to be in a steep decline."

I agree with the author's statement, and in my eyes a lot of it comes down to "music"  being changed from an art-form into a "commodity" over the course of the last couple of decades. In the commercial sense, songs have always been crafted to fit a particular commercial model (length, appropriate subject matter, style, etc.) but now, well, things just seem out of control.

These days, more than ever before, the commercial success of a song has to do with a lot more than the quality of the song itself...the song has become a commodity... a trinket... and it's existence is no longer the sole purpose or point of being an 'artist'.

As jaded as this may sound, commercially speaking, a song isn't as valuable as it used to be.

The author writes, "...it is imperative that the major labels focus on customer service and give music consumers more options." 

...and then he writes, "The Record labels should move away from the CD format. The labels should move to an 80% digital distribution format, which will eliminate manufacturing costs. And as a result, they can pass the savings on to the consumers in terms of lower prices... Theoretically, as many of these costs go away, they should no longer be charged to the consumer - or the artist."

I grant you that I am biased due to the fact I'm in the CD manufacturing industry, but there's such a huge contradiction in what the author writes, it has to be pointed out.

He is saying that it's imperative that the consumers be given more choice, but he's advocating restricting the choice when it comes to the type of music media the consumers can choose from. This is based on the author's belief that reducing costs (ie: eliminating CD manufacturing costs) will translate into savings for the end-user. Is it naive to think that record labels are going to pass along savings instead of sticking the money in their own pockets, especially considering how far their sales and profits have fallen in the last ten years???

His first statement is absolutely correct... let the consumer be King, so give them the media they desire. I have always been an advocate of artists treating their careers more like a business... and rule #1 in business is to "know your customers". Some people prefer CDs, and some prefer to go a strictly digital route which can be achieved with Digital Download Cards or using a service such as iTunes. So, give them what they want.

The savvy modern performing artist (be that indie or otherwise) can easily and cost-effectively keep relatively small inventories of 'product' and replenish them as needed... as a lot has changed in the last few years on the CD manufacturing side of things, including short-run eco-friendly packaging such as Eco-Sleeves and Digipak.

It was a good article a well worth the read... definitely some food for thought!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September Special CD Digipak and DVD Digipak

September has arrived, people are back from vacation, school is getting back in, and CDwest.ca has a great new special offer for this month!

There's more to CDwest.ca than just CDs, as our parent company (Precision Disc Manufacturing Corp.) replicates a full range of CD, DVD and even CD Business Card and Mini CD discs.

So... this month's special is kind of a combo featuring your choice of style CS1000 CD Digipak or style CS2000 DVD Digipak. Our package pricing includes all set-ups, assembly, pre-press and one round of .pdf proofs, barcode and shrinkwrap.

Minimum order is only 100 units for duplicated discs in Digipak, and minimum order is just 300 units for replicated discs in Digipak.

Visit our website for all the information and pricing and don't hesitate to give us a shout if you have any questions!

(September already... does this mean summer is over???)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August Special CDs in Eco CD Sleeves

Due to the overwhelming popularity of July's Special Offer, it has been HELD OVER for August!

Place your order in August to get a great deal of CDs packaged in our CS100 style eco-friendly CD Sleeve.

For quantities of up to 200 units, pricing is based on CD duplication with full colour inkjet disc print. For quantities of 300 or greater, pricing is based on top quality CD replication with full colour offset (CMYK) disc print. Our CS100 eco-friendly CD Sleeves are printed full colour on 15pt stock containing recycled content, and they are 100% recyclable.

Our package pricing includes all set-ups, wrap and even a free barcode if you need one. Standard turn-time is 15 business days after all approvals - but no rush orders please! :)

Give us a call with any questions you may have. Next month's special product offer will definitely be a new product, so if you're wanting the CS100 package you need to get your order in this month!

Join us on Facebook!
Follow us on Twitter!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Eco-Friendly CD Sleeve

We've got a new CD sleeve in the works - an addition to our line of eco-friendly CD packaging. It's called the CS220 and is a variation of our CS215 eco-sleeve.

The CS220 is a 6 panel (two fold) eco-friendly sleeve that features one closed pocket to place the CD into and then an open-ended tube pocket for the inclusion of a printed folder or booklet.

We expect to have the design template and pricing confirmed within the week... stay tuned!

In the meantime, join us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter


Monday, July 13, 2009

Graphic Design Tips on Colour Accuracy

A new page has just been added to the website. It deals with colour accuracy issues that are quite commonly experienced when designing for CD duplication and CD manufacturing.

Three areas are touched on:

1. Different Colour Modes - RGB and CMYK
2. What You See On Your Computer Monitor
3. Rich and Vibrant Colour

Visit www.CDwest.ca/graphic-design-tutorial-colour-accuracy.html to read the complete article.

Don't forget to...
Follow us on Twitter!
Join us on Facebook!

CDwest.ca on Twitter

CDwest.ca is now on Twitter! If you're ready to follow along we'd be happy to have you link up with us!


Friday, July 10, 2009

Graphic Design Logo

A new page has just been added to the CDwest.ca site... don't know why I never thought of it before.

It's a page of the most common graphic design logos that are used for CD manufacturing and CD duplication use. You know... CD audio logo, MAPL, recycled, explicit lyrics, etc.

Hope that's of some use for you!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Join CDwest.ca on Facebook

Okay... okay... we weren't the quickest off the mark in getting hooked up on Facebook but 'better late than never'.

So, to try and make up for lost time we're offering up a prize that will be awarded to one of our Facebook friends. Link up with us on Facebook and you'll be in-line to win!!!

July Special - CDs in Eco-Sleeves

CDs in Eco-Sleeves are always a favorite of our music industry clients so July's Special should be right on the mark!

Order in July to receive special pricing on CDs packaged in our CS100 style Eco-Sleeve. Order as few as 100 units or as many as you require.

Quantities of less than 300 units are duplicated CDR media with full colour inkjet disc print, and quantities of 300 or greater are top-quality replicated CD audio discs with your choice of either CMYK Offset print or up to 5 colour silkscreen print. All set-ups, film, pre-press, electronic proofs, assembly, barcode and shrinkwrap are inlcuded in the price!

If our July Special isn't quite what you're looking for we still have great pricing on our other Eco-Sleeve packages such as CD Digipak, other styles of eco-friendly CD Sleeves and CD Jackets and even Short-run CD Eco-Packaging!

Questions, comments? Give us a shout!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Silkscreen Printed CDs - Tutorial Number Two

We've gotten some pretty good feedback on our initial Tutorial for Silkscreen Printed discs on how to create colour separations, so we have followed up with Tutorial Number Two: Using Less Than 100% Solid Colour.

We find a lot of todays do-it-yourself designers (as well as a good number of professional designers) that we come into contact with aren't experienced in designing for commercial print, and don't realize that designing for multimedia or the internet has a whole different set of rules than commercial print.

For those designers, Silkscreen printing must seem like some sinister plot to drive them mad.

One of the greatest things about designing for computer-screen viewing is "what you see is what you get" (aka: WYSIWYG) ... you get to proof your designs on the very same display device that the finished design will be viewed on (we will conveniently ignore the fact that the colours may look different when viewed on other monitors).

With commercial print, what you see on your monitor may very well NOT be what you get and Silkscreen printing could be the biggest offender. Proof-in-point is when you use less than 100% solid colours in your design but, rather than re-hash it all here in this post, it's better to check out the tutorial which shows images of the difference between what you see on your monitor and what will actually print.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Graphic Design Tutorial - Silkscreen Printing CDs

CD manufacturing, print and packaging involves a lot of technology and complicated equipment, so it does seem kind of unusual that such an ‘old school’ method like Silkscreen Printing is still so viable for CD printing.

At CDwest.ca we offer both CMYK Offset Printing and Silkscreen Printing for our CDs, and there’s no doubt that Silkscreen Printing is still the best choice for *some* types of CD designs. Unfortunately there is an inherent difficulty with using such an old school style of print, in the fact that so very few graphic designers are experienced with it and know (A) what the limitations of Silkscreen Printing CDs are, and (B) how to properly set-up their design files for Silkscreen Printing CDs.

The largest single issue we experience is colour separations… or lack thereof… so we have created a very simple tutorial to get your graphic design started in the right direction.

Additional aspects of graphic design for Silkscreen Printing CDs will be covered in later installments, which will include the use of bitmap images, designing using colours that are less than 100% solid, and specifying the correct colour values for Silkscreen Printing on CDs.

As always, before beginning the graphic design for your CD duplication or CD replication project, follow our artwork specifications and use our design templates - that on its own will help you avoid the most commonly made mistakes!


Friday, June 12, 2009

Graphic Design for CD Packaging

Making a good first impression is always important, and it's no different for your CD or DVD project. Long before your disc ever gets played it actually gets judged on the quality and design of the CD packaging, so a professional image is very important.

If you need assistance with graphic design for your discs and CD packaging the professionals at CDwest.ca can help you.

  • Standard Design Services: In many instances, our clients already know what they want their disc and packaging graphics to look like, but they don't have the ability of experience to create the design to commercial printing standards. Our answer is this: Send us your design idea, images, graphics, text and then we take it from there. Proofs are provided for your review so we can make sure you're happy with the work that's taking place. Price List for "Standard Design Services" [.PDF format]
  • Concept & Design Services: If you don't know what you want your disc and CD packaging or DVD packaging graphics to look like, we can still help you. Our designers can consult with you and then the vision for the graphic design can be decided upon collaboratively with you. Our standard rate is $60 per hour.
  • Content Creation: Sometimes clients don't have suitable imagery or copy for their discs and CD packaging or DVD packaging designs, but at Precision Disc we can help you with content creation and copy writing as well. Our standard rate is $60 per hour. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs.

Happy Graphic Design Clients

It's always nice to be complemented on a job well done. Here are a few recent comments from clients who came to us for graphic design assistance on their discs and CD packaging or DVD packaging:

  • "Just a note to thank you very much for the great job you did on the discs and sleeves! I am more than pleased with all your work! Thanks again!" - Robert K.

  • "Wowee! You're a damn genius! I love, love, love it!" - Troy K.

  • "I really appreciate the great job you have done." - Rick V.

  • "Everything looks good. It's a go on all fronts...Great Job." - Bill W.

  • "We are good to go - looks fantastic!" - Norine B.

  • "We think your artwork is FABULOUS. Better than we hoped for!" - Robert R.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Music Download Service Just Launched!

CDwest.ca (and our parent company Precision Disc) is very pleased to announce our new Music Download Service that's available to all of our clients! We've just launched a new brand called BigBangTunes.com and we're excited to enter into the world of pay-per-download music distribution!

What's The "Big" Deal?

The "big" deal about our service is that your tunes are distributed to over 100 of the industry-leading music download services... this includes the heavyweights such as iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Napster, MySpace, Puretracks and dozens more. In addition, there are some really great features that we don't see being offered by anyone else - like selling your music downloads right from your own website. With BigBangTunes.com you can!

You Can Sign Up For Free!

When you order at least 100 packaged CDs from CDwest.ca we will get you started by waiving the $35 set-up fee for the basic service which is called our "BIG Distribution" package. There are no monthly subscription fees, so if you don't end up selling any downloads it won't cost you any money.

Questions? Comments? Check out the website or give us a shout and we'd be happy to help!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

CD duplication - Summer Special Pricing

With all the economic doom and gloom these days it feels good to offer up some economic good news! Namely, all of our CD duplication in eco-packaging has just been reduced in price.

We're calling it "Summer Special Pricing"... even though it's no quite summer yet!

Our short-run CD duplication in eco-packaging begins at a quantity of just 100 units, while most competitors still have a minimum order requirement of 500 or 1,000 units. Being able to order in such low quantities is good news and makes good economic sense for clients who simply don't need (or cannot afford) larger quantities.

Now, because of such eco-friendly choices, you don't have to commit to buying a quantity of product that you don't need and cannot use. Environmentally-speaking this is a very good thing as it will produce a lot less waste - as the best way to keep un-wanted and unused product from ending up in the land-fill is to only produce as much as people need and can use.

Our "Summer Special Pricing" on short-run CD duplication in eco-packaging products includes all of the following:

1. CS100 CD sleeve - simple pocket sleeve.
2. CS200 CD jacket - a CD jacket that folds in half and features one closed pocket.
3. CS1000 CD digipak - the standard CD digipak that folds in half.
4. CS1020 CD digipak - a two-fold version with the tray being on the center or right panel.

Our package pricing includes CD duplication, full colour inkjet print, colour printed eco-packaging, all set-ups, one round of PDF proofs, barcode and wrap. You can get an instant on-line quote for all of these products from our website.

If you prefer CD replication, please know that we offer CD replication for all of our packaged products (whether they are in CD cases, digipak or eco-sleeves) at a quantity of just 300 units. You can also get an instant on-line quote for all of these product from our website.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Short-Run CD Digipak - Summer Special Pricing!

Ahhh... summer is coming so what better reason to offer up some great pricing on short-run CD Digipak! Here are the details:

Duplicated CDR media with full colour inkjet print.
*CD style digipak with clear or black tray, colour printed (4/0).
All set-ups, assembly, wrap and barcode included.
Pre-press and one round of PDF proofs included.

Quantity of 100: $3.99 each
Quantity of 200: $3.50 each

*Style CS1000 and CS1020 are the styles available.
Applicable tax extra. Shipping extra.
Standard turn-time approx 7-10 days after proof approvals.

CD Digipak is definitely the #1 choice for independent musicians, bands and performing artists who want to boost their image up a notch or two. With its contemporary and more organic visual appearance than traditional plastic cases, CD Digipak will create some visual separation between your CD and all of those in plastic jewel cases. Our Digipak also scores points on an environmentally-friendly level as it's a completely recyclable package. Printed on FSC certified boardstock, printed on waterless printing technology and featuring a completely recyclable tray; our CD Digipak makes a great eco-friendly product you can be proud of.

Looking for more than 200 units? No problem! We provide replicated discs in CD Digipak starting at just 300 units.

Questions? Comments? Give us a shout!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

DVD duplication - Indie-Musicians Are Missing Out!

At the present time very few of our independent-music clients have pushed into the realm of DVD duplication as to release live performance footage. Some very talented performers come to us for CD work so it seems a shame that the idea of live performances aren't being promoted in this fashion.

When you think about it, some very creative things could be done with a hand-held video camera, a basic video editing program (hey... almost every computer's operating system includes a video editing program these days), a couple of hours of time at the computer, and some short-run DVD duplication.

A while back I did that very thing for a friend of mine who sent me a bunch of video he had taken at 2 or 3 different performances. As you can imagine, the video quality was pretty good but the sound quality was just awful (those built-in microphones in hand-held video cameras cannot handle the volume levels at a live show very well) so I ended up using a song from his CD as the audio track and cut video on-top of it.

It wasn't possible to synch up the audio with the video performance (do you notice how a lot of bands always play the songs faster at a show?) so I grabbed a lot of short clips from the footage of the different shows and purposely selected anything that looked energetic, because energetic images would tie-in well with the energy of the song I chose.

The end result was pretty good (if I must say so myself). He put it on his website and got lots of favorable comments including some who said they wanted to check out an upcoming gig because (from the video) it looked like he put on an entertaining and energetic performance.

In addition to putting it on his website we also got some DVD duplication of the video done so he could include them as a bonus in his CDs. Because DVD duplication is cost-effective and quick for small runs of DVDs he still gets DVDs done from time to time and uses them for promotional and marketing purposes, sells them at shows and even gives them away to fans via his website.

I think indie-artists could get some good mileage out of DVD duplication. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!!


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Graphic Design Issues

Back in January I wrote an entry about a particular "do-it-yourself" issue that was on the rise. This time I'm going to write about the undisputed heavy-weight champion of "do-it-yourself" issues:

----- Customer supplied artwork -----

In the last month I had the opportunity to jump back in to our pre-press department to cover for a colleague who was on holiday. Yikes! It had been a couple of years since I had been involved in pre-press of client supplied artwork, and things had definitely changed - but unfortunately, not for the better.

Having said that, issues with customer supplied artwork are not specific just to our company, as everyone in the industry has to deal with them, but graphic design issues can impact the timing and cost of the finished product.

With graphic design issues it's generally the 80/20 rule, whereby 80% of the design "issues" we see are caused by the same small group of mistakes. We've added plenty of good information on our website to help steer clients/designers down the right path, but we cannot force people to do the reading in advance of designing.

Unfortunately, if we cannot work with the supplied artwork the delay may impact the delivery date of the project. There is also the possiblity of incurring extra costs if our graphics team have to re-work your files and submit additional proofs. We always try to minimize these types of things but each order is unique.

Now time for my personal beef:

It's really disappointing to see projects that feature terrific music get spoiled by really amateurish graphic design. I see it happening far too often. I fully realize that budget is often a pressing issue, but there comes a point where people need to see that the harm done by going the "do-it-yourself" route can be greater than the cash you saved by designing it yourself.

Just one example of how the design can hurt your music:

Countless programmers, reviewers and booking agents have said, from their experience, amateurish packaging generally means amateurish music - so most times they never bother to listen to those amateurish-looking CDs. Why? Because of how busy they are, so they just want to deal with the pro stuff. The professional looking stuff goes in the "A" pile for further review and everything else goes in the "B" pile... and you know where the "B" pile ends up, right?

Just my $0.02 worth... I hope this didn't turn into a rant... I'll get off my soap-box now.


Friday, March 27, 2009

April Special – CD Digipak!

March’s CD Digipak special offer was so popular we decided to have another CD Digipak special for April!

Order in April to get a great deal on our CS1020 style Digipak which includes CDs with full colour print, all set-ups, .pdf proofs, wrap and even a free barcode if you need one.

Order as few as 100 units or as many as you like. Our CS1020 Digipaks are eco-friendly, printed 4/0 (CMYK), are available with clear or black disc trays and, yes, the trays are completely recyclable.

For full details and pricing please visit www.CDwest.ca/special.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Examine it first… then sign for it.

If your order is being shipped to you via a courier or freight company, make sure you examine the boxes BEFORE you sign for them.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Just so you know… when we ship an order it is inspected to make sure it is packed properly, in suitable boxes for the weight, is closed securely, and is damage free.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Have you ever taken the time to read a Bill Of Lading? Right next to where you sign your name there will be a little declaration stating “Received in good condition” or something very similar to that. By signing the Bill Of Lading you are in fact agreeing with the declaration that the shipment you received was in good condition.

So, what happens when you sign for the shipment (without examining it first) and then realize that some of the goods were damaged? Well… you may well have a fight on your hands with the courier.

To avoid this situation the very least you should do is carefully inspect the exterior of the boxes for signs of damage… dented corners, gouges in the sides, etc. It also wouldn’t hurt to open the boxes and examine some of the product inside.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

We don’t own the courier company so we have absolutely no control over the way they handle a shipment after it leaves our facility. If they were to damage the goods while in transit please don’t blame (and yell at) us.  :-)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Monday, March 23, 2009

Just installed Windows Live Writer

I’ve downloaded/installed Windows Live Writer with the hope it will make it easier and more practical for me to update our blog. I’m hoping so - it’s often very difficult to find a moment during busy work days.

I guess it’ll be pretty easy to figure out if I’ve been successful!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What's The Diff? CD Duplication vs. CD Replication

When you're in a particular industry it's pretty easy to take what you know for granted, and to assume that other people also know what you know.

Despite that little nugget of truth, I'm often surprised how many people use "CD duplication" as a very broad term covering all manner of CD manufacturing... and... how many people have no idea what "CD replication" is.

Having said that, there's absolutely no judgement being passed of any kind on that matter... it's just one of those 'things'. But I digress.

CD duplication is easy and quick to do, and it's best suited for small quantities of discs. It's the very same process of 'burning' CDs that you would do in your own computer except the duplication of CDs is done on a larger scale using duplication 'towers' that can burn several discs at the same time to make it more time efficient and cost effective than duplicating one at a time.

CD replication is the actual creation of CDs from scratch - also referred to as 'pressed' CDs or 'stamped' CDs - and is the highest quality and most durable method to produce your discs. Each disc is custom made, being injection-molded from polycarbonate pellets with the data physically added as an integral part of molding process. Because of the set-up costs and time involved to replicate discs, this process is best suited for larger orders and orders not required in a super-super rush.

At the end of the day I think that most people want the higher quality and durability of the CD replication but, when only a few discs are needed or a super fast turn-time is required, CD duplication is the way to go.

Additional info is on our website about this topic.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

March Special - CD Digipak

Our special product offer for March is CD Digipak... because so many people have asked for it!!

CDs with full colour print, packaged in our CS1000 style Digipak (printed 4/0 on 15pt boardstock) with all set-up costs, wrap and barcode included. Order as few as 100 units or as many as you need!

For complete details and pricing please visit www.CDwest.ca/special

Our CD Digipak is a low-plastic eco-friendly packaging option, using FSC certified boardstock, vegetable based inks and waterless printing technology, so it's 100% recyclable. Even the plastic Digipak tray is 100% recyclable.

Now... what might April bring??

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Short-run eco-friendly CD Sleeves and CD Digipak

We're happy to say that short-run quantities of our eco-friendly CD Sleeves and CD Digipak have officially been approved for release. Starting with as few as 50 units, the quantity breaks then come at 100 and 200 units.

They're eco-friendly because: They are printed using FSC certified stock (15 pt. weight) with 40% post-consumer waste content, and are 100% recyclable.

Of course if you require more than 200 units we also provide professionally replicated CDs in our eco-friendly packaging starting at just 300 units. But what's the difference between short-run CD duplication and larger-run CD replication? There's a good explanation on our website.

Friday, January 30, 2009

February Special... CDs in Eco-Sleeves!

Our February Special is for CDs packaged in our ever-popular CS100 Eco-Sleeves!

Visit www.CDwest.ca/special for all the details and pricing on this month's special offer. If you have any questions or comments please contact us and we'll be happy to help you!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Audio CD Master - do-it-yourself issues

While it's great that people are becoming more empowered to take direct control over their CD project, it can lead to problems caused by inexperience.

Here's an issue I thought I would share with you - because we're beginning to see it more frequently these days: Audio masters that are not formatted properly.

Before you begin burning your Master:

1. Formatting a CD for music/audio is different than formatting a CD for data (aka: CDROM). Any reasonably good disc copying software program should ask you what type of disc you're trying to make (music or data), so be sure you check the various default settings before you create your master.

2. Make sure that your disc is finalized (ie: single session - disc at once) because supplying an 'open session' disc will lead to problems when we try to make the glass master and replication stamper from it. Again, check the default settings on your disc copying software program to make sure your disc will be finalized.

4. Only use high-quality name-brand blank CDR media. Going with a cheap 'no name' brand isn't worth it.

5. Burn your Master at the slowest possible speed to ensure the best possible image on the CDR.

6. Test your Master on all sorts of different play-back units (home stereo, car stereo, portable CD player, etc.), both old and new, just to make sure your files are formatted properly for the widest possible compatibility.

7. Make sure you listen to your Master from beginning to end - all the way through - to ensure it performs EXACTLY as intended with no errors, skips, pops, etc. Remember - the CDs that you are getting manufactured will be exact clones of your Master, so whatever is on your Master will be on the finished product.

8. Don't include any other files (like artwork) on your Master unless you actually want them on your finished product.

Hope these tips help!

Short-run eco-friendly CD packaging

In the last year our eco-friendly CD sleeves, CD jackets and CD digipak orders have out-sold the more traditional plastic CD case orders.

Based on that, we are upgrading our print/packaging department with new equipment that will allow us to provide short-run quantities of all of our eco-friendly products.

The upgrade is taking place right now and, because of the learning-curve with the equipment involved, we'll be rolling out a couple of products at a time. All going well, it shouldn't take very long to have all of our current product line available in short-run quantities, as well as NEW product types being announced.

Exact details will be announced as we progress, but we have already planned to offer these products in quantities as low as 100 units... and perhaps even lower.

Stay tuned to CDwest.ca for more details!

CDwest.ca sponsors Supernova's "Band On The Run" competition.

CDwest.ca is proud to be entering into a sponsorship agreement for the Supernova.com "Band On The Run 2009" battle-of-the-band series in Western Canada.

We're very excited to be a part of Supernova's 2009 series as this fits perfectly with our mandate to provide a local partner for Western Canadians who would like a factory-direct source for their CD duplication and CD manufacturing, print and packaging needs.

The Western Canadian leg of Supernova's "Band On The Run 2009" series is already booked to take place in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, and we will be providing merchandise and CD duplication prizes for the qualifying and city-final rounds of the competition.

It's great to see Supernova providing this type of live performance opportunity for independent bands as it's a huge boost for the independent scene on many different levels. Check them out online at http://www.supernova.com/

Welcome to the CDwest.ca blog!

Hello and welcome to the CDwest.ca blog.

I hope this blog is able to provide you with some useful information and updates about who we are, what's new with us, pointers, tips, and all manner of things.

Due to the sometimes hectic nature of business, one thing I'm already anticipating is that the blog postings may come in 'bunches' instead of being a steady day-by-day thing. We'll just have to see how that plays out.

If you ever have any questions or comments we encourage you to contact us... because your feedback is always welcomed and appreciated!