Cover Art Requirements
Top 10 Check-List
by using one of our Summit Layout Templates to ensure proper
cover layout sizing.
All files and images must be in the CMYK (process color) format.
RGB images are unacceptable.
All photo Images must be cropped to finished size at 300dpi.
4. Keep all text a minimum of 1/8" (inside) from any finished edge, crop-mark or fold.
5. Add 1/8" bleed (to later be trimmed off edges) to all outside edges of your design.
6. Mac designers if supplying working files, be sure to include all images & fonts used in your QuarkXpress layout, then export final layouts to 300 dpi printable PDF.
7. PC designers must embed all text & flatten layers in Adobe Photoshop or In-Design and/or convert all text to curves in Adobe Illustrator, (vector format) then convert final layouts to 300 dpi printable PDF.
8. See Preferred, Alternate & Unacceptable Formats below.
9. Courier your completed digital design files to Summit Sound, 184 McAndrews Rd. Westport, ON K0G 1X0, on CDR or DVDR along with a printed color proof. You may also upload design and audio files to the Summit ftp site.
10. Be sure to include your CATALOGUE NUMBER and MADE IN CANADA on all cover & CD or DVD imprint graphics. UPC BAR CODES are available from Summit Sound at our cost of $50. each.
Summit Sound at: 1-800-403-9755 if you have any questions before
proceeding with your design
clear understanding of graphic color systems (CMYK, PMS, RGB
etc.) file formats (EPS,TIF, JPG, PSD etc) image resolution (72,
300, 600dpi) line screens (ie. 85, 133, 150 line) as well as
how computer programs deal with drawings/illustration and text
(vector) and photo images (raster) is critical to obtain optimum
results on your cover design.
it is possible to do a complete cover design in a program such
as Photoshop, you need to understand that because Photoshop rasterizes
(which is ideal for photo images) it is not the best choice for
text as it makes it less sharp. On the other hand, a program
such as Adobe Illustrator which creates vector images (and is
thus ideal for text) does not process photo images as well as
raster based programs like Photoshop. This is why professional
designers use page layout programs such as QuarkXPress for layout,
as it allows them (for example) to combine both raster (photo)
images from Photoshop and vector images (illustration/text) from
Illustrator ensuring the best possible end result.
have clients who provide complete designs in Photoshop, or Illustrator
with "reasonable" results, but you need to understand
that this is not going to yield the best result. Doing
your design entirely in Photoshop will optimize photos but compromise
(especially smaller) text. Conversely, doing a complete design
in Illustrator (or exporting to Illustrator) will optimize your
text/illustrations but compromise photos... This is why we recommend
you use our Summit design services or employ the services of
another professional designer who can create your design using
the correct software tools, with a full understanding of the
complexities involved, when files will be printed by a commercial
offset printer on a 4 color (CMYK) press. Doing your cover layout
in QuarkXPress so that you can combine any vector (Photoshop)
and raster (Illustrator) images is the proper way to create a
design for professional output.
The professional graphic design and print world uses Apple (Mac) computers with page layout in *QuarkXPress, photos or image manipulation in Adobe Photoshop and all drawings or illustration in Adobe Illustrator. When design is complete, these files are then converted to hi res printable PDF's. (*If using In-Design for page layout, be sure to note this in writing, so we can check files for errors before going to press)
This is the preferred format for all files supplied to Summit Sound, and the way we and the majority of other professional designers create their cover designs.
optimum results and to avoid cost over-runs, we highly recommend
that you create your design using these industry standards. Finally, convert files to Adobe Acrobat (PDF format) with colors converted to CMYK, fonts embedded, resolution set to 300 dpi and files printer (not screen) optimized.
In the event you intend to attempt your own design using a Windows based PC, it is critical that you provide your digital files in one of the 3 EXACT formats listed below:
Acrobat files with colors converted to CMYK, fonts and images embedded, resolution set to 300 dpi and files printer (not screen) optimized.
2. Adobe Photoshop or In-Design files with color converted to CMYK, images cropped to size at 300dpi and text embedded by flattening layers (rasterized) before saving in EPS or TIF format. Avoid text under 8 point for maximum legibility. When design is complete, these files are then converted to 300dpi printable PDF's. (If using In-Design for page layout, be sure to note this in writing, so we can check files for errors before going to press)
Illustrator files with color converted to CMYK and text embedded by converting all text to curves and flattening layers (vector format) before saving as EPS or TIF. Avoid very small or condensed fonts when converting text to curves for maximum legibility. When design is complete, these files are then converted to 300dpi printable PDF's.
Programs to Avoid
not recommend the use of programs such Corel Draw or Corel Photo
Paint as this software is not supported by most professional
printers and results can be unreliable.
must provide Corel files, convert all colors to CMYK and always
use "artistic text" so you can embed fonts and export
in a vector format such as Adobe Illustrator. You must provide
finished layouts as complete EPS, TIF or PDF (picture) images
that combine both text and any photos.
Please note that choosing to use Corel software may result in extra set-up costs unless you can output as a fully completed 300dpi printable PDF with all bleed, crop and registration marks.
Programs That Absolutely Cannot Be Used
Any layout created in programs such as Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Word or CD Creator etc. does not have CMYK output capability and as such is not acceptable except as a "rough mock-up of your intended design (unless it allows you to convert to CMYK and output as a hi-res PDF).
supplied in any "non-standard” format may need to
be totally re-created by our staff designers at additional cost.
To Plate CD Cover Print
CD cover designs printed today, bypass the traditional CMYK film/color
key stage, by going "direct-to-plate" using a new pre-press
format that allows CMYK plates to be formatted directly from
the designers printable PDF files. (This is instead of requiring
the traditional film separations and metal plates that were "burned"
from CMYK negatives for this process.)
The PDF - direct-to-plate process has reduced production costs (due to the elimination of expensive CMYK films and metal plates) and replaces CMYK color key or color laminate proofs with electronic PDF proofs that can be emailed or printed for client approval. (Always open your final PDF file in "Adobe Acrobat Reader" to check it's integrity before submitting it.)
As CD or DVD surface imprints are usually done using Pantone or PMS colors applied in a high quality silkscreen process, films are still required for each color (plus any white backgrounds if needed). Our standard pricing includes up to 4 color CD imprinting although 5 & 6 color printing is available at additional cost. Films are generated as right reading positives, emulsion side up, 2550 dpi using a 100 line screen with elliptical dots for any halftones. See Summit CD Layout templates for complete specifications and dimensions. NOTE: Summit Sound also provides complete disc imprint design services, but these may be at additional cost on some packages.
on Background or Text Color Creation & Image Scanning
To ensure optimum
color matching (and avoid being fooled by your
computer screen) ALWAYS generate
any colors using a CMYK color chart that shows a printed color
swatch with values you can manually enter in your design program
for each of the CMYK color values. Here
is an example: If you wish to create
bright red in your design and find a suitable red on your CMYK
color chart (such as Pantone's process color S 73-1) in your
design software, create a new color and enter the individual
color values as listed on the process color guide such as: C=0,
M=100, Y=100, K=0 Once you have done this, when you look at this
new color on your screen, if it looks different than the printed
sample on your color guide (ignore your screen and believe
the color guide) you may also wish to recalibrate
your monitor to avoid confusion. Never
create important colors at random on screen, as you will have
no way to accurately estimate what they will look like when printed.
covers or any important photos, to ensure the highest photo image
quality and color balance, hi res digital camera images or use
of a service bureau who will provide you quality hi resolution
scans of your prints or transparencies using a "Drum Scanner"
are recommended. This is in contrast to the lower quality and
less reliable scans you will get from a "Flat-bed"
desk-top scanner or a lower -res digital camera. Drum scanners
can cost several hundred thousand dollars so they differ from
the $150. flatbed scanners most of us are familiar with. If you
plan to use images from a digital camera use the highest possible
resolution (minimum 300dpi to size) and consider having Summit
Sound (or the service bureau of your choice) "tweak"
the color on these images, as digital images tend to be be very
of the items above can't be over-stated, to ensure that your
cover turns out as you expect it to, and in the colors you had
originally envisioned.... Never trust your monitor or even your
printer for critical color decisions, as most printers use color
management software to match your print-outs to your screen -
a process that will not be implemented when you go to press.
Cool Stuff to Include on Your Cover
Bar Codes: Most packaging today currently includes
UPC or bar codes for scanning at point of sale. Summit Sound
can create your bar code to meet all regulations for a fee of
$50. Keep in mind that a separate bar code is required for CD,
DVD, VHS or Cassette of the same project so the point of sale
register can differentiate between each. Call us for more information.
the Country of Manufacture On Packaging: It
is required by law that your product be clearly marked with the
country where it is manufactured or printed. If you are supplying
your own design files, it is your responsibility to include this
information. Products to be produced by Summit Sound must include
PRINTED / MADE IN CANADA on the packaging (usually at the bottom of the CD
tray card on back of CD package and also on the disc imprint)
The type font used for MADE IN
CANADA must be equal in size and weight to any contact or distribution
information, address and other information listed along with
it. Products without this information will
be refused by import/export authorities.
You may want to include your website,
a telephone number, address, or other contact information on
your cover. Other items that are often included are MAPL
logos to indicate Canadian content, performance rights affiliation
for songs you've written, as well as serving notice of copyright
for any original material and/or the entire project.(ie. ©
2003 John Doe/SOCAN)
If designing your
own CD cover be sure to visit this link: Design