Especially useful and highly recommended for applying a matt finish to darker coloured sleeves where scuffs and scratches would otherwise tend to show.
A variety of paper grades manufactured especially for offset lithography printing. Standard art paper is either gloss or matt coated, and then can have either a gloss or matt finish applied after printing, to protect the inks.
BIEM is the international organisation representing mechanical rights societies. Mechanical rights societies exist in most countries. In the UK for example your organisations would be MCPS/PRS/PPL. They license the reproduction of songs (including musical, literary and dramatic works). Their members are composers, authors and publishers and their clients are record companies and other users of recorded music. Every time a CD, audio cassette or vinyl record containing protected musical works is made, the producers require a license from the owner of the works and they must pay royalties for each copy they manufacture and sell.
The bleed area is a designated section that will be trimmed away to leave the final product with a continuous print right up to the edge of the product. The background colour or image of your artwork should be extended past the trim lines, all the way to the outer bleed line which is shown as a red line on our templates. This is necessary as it allows our print team a small amount of space to account for movement of paper, printing plates or any slight movement during the cutting/folding stage. This is all part of the print tolerances.
Catalogue numbers are used as standard within the music industry to track and identify orders. CD and record manufacturers, labels, retailers and distributors use them to give every release a unique identifying code. Generally speaking catalogue numbers use a combination of standard unicode characters. If you're pressing for the first time or starting up a new project, please feel free to get creative with your catalogue number. Our account managers will happily assign you with something sensible if not.
CMYK is a traditional printing method that combines four separate colour plates - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black – this is a professional industry standard method and colour model for full colour offset printing. CMYK printing is also referred to as four colour process printing.
This relates to the number of colour plates required to print to each side of the stock. For example, 4/1 would print full colour CMYK; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black), on the front with Black only (K) on the rear, where 4/4 would be full colour on both sides of the stock.
Digital printing is the method of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media using laser or inkjet printers, allowing for short turnaround times and printing of variable data sets. We occasionally utilise digital printing methods for vinyl production, but prefer to opt for more traditional and high end processes like screen and litho printing whenever possible.
Discobags are card sleeves that require no inner sleeve to protect the record. These can be printed or unprinted, and can feature none, one or two label holes as desired.
DMM is a comparatively new vinyl cutting method. Instead of engraving the groove into a soft metal lacquer-coated aluminium disc, a DMM lathe engraves the audio signal directly onto a hard metal copper-plated master disc, bypassing the first stage of electroplating and resulting in cleaner processing with less surface noise and less chance of error during processing.
DMS are Disc Manufacturing Services; the friendliest team around - producing quality discs, vinyl records and custom printed packaging for happy clients worldwide since the turn of the century. Also known in some circles as DMS Vinyl because, you know...
Download cards are printed cards with unique download codes allowing you to physically sell your digital release, or feature a free or bonus download as part of your vinyl package.
Embossing and debossing are two techniques used to raise ink from or stamp ink to the print surface respectively.
Simply; estimated shipping date. This is when your order will leave the plant. We will be in touch at this point to provide a firm delivery date.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) are sites used to transfer large files and sets of data such as music and artwork files from one computer to another. These were commonly used by those with the know-how and correct software, but thankfully today there are many reliable, advert free FTP sites available for the general public to use. Many of these sites offer free to use options as well as premium accounts with lots of extra features such as security, editing and long-term hosting. DMS recommend but are not endorsed or affiliated with WeTransfer.com, Dropbox.com, Hightail.com or filemail.com.
Popular since the mid-60s, gatefold sleeves are a folded cover providing a means of including artwork, liner notes, and/or song lyrics which would otherwise not fit on a standard record cover. These are also perfect for double LPs, as a record can insert into either side of the sleeve.
A thin polypropylene film is heat-fused to the printed surface forming a layer of protective coating while also improving its sturdiness and water resistance. Gloss lamination is more reflective than a gloss varnish, making it particularly perfect for bringing out the vibrancy of colours.
Gloss machine Varnish is our default option for printed parts. A liquid gloss varnish layer seals the ink and adds impact to your print as the coating reflects back the light, making colours appear richer and more vivid.
Gloss UV is an eco-friendly option. Ultraviolet-cured coatings are applied over the printed surface and dried by exposure to UV light. Due to the normally high solids content of UV coating, the surface of the cured film can be extremely reflective and glossy, deepening and enriching the ink colours.
Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem-solving using typography, photography and illustration. Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages to appeal to certain tastes or trends. DMS have an in-house team of designers who process and check all artwork before your order enters production. Should you wish to utilise their design skills for your release, please check out our Graphic Design section.
An acronym for grams per square metre. An industry standardised measurement of paper and card quality. The higher the GSM number, the heavier the stock.
This a black colour that is made from one or more of the printing plates so it contains a percentage of cyan, magenta and or yellow as well black, at different levels which result in the final appearance of the colour black. A standard heavy rich black which is commonly used has the following colour values; Cyan 75, Magenta 68, Yellow 67, Black (K) 90. There are different black colours that you can achieve by varying the levels of each colour (e.g. a warm black with 40% M and 100% K, a cold black 40% C and 100% K etc.). Please contact our design team for further information if required.
Our recommended maximum ink coverage is 320%. Anything over this is referred to by DMS as high ink levels. This basically means that when the artwork is printed, the ink will be laid down too thickly and require longer drying times. The easiest way to amend this is to take the background images into Photoshop or Illustrator, covert them from CMYK to RGB, and back to CMYK again. You can then link these back into your output programme such as InDesign and prepare as normal. Please note that any images made up of multiple layers using layer styles should be merged first.
Hot-foiling is the process in which metallic foil is bonded to the print surface using heat and pressure, often with striking results. Gold and silver are the most popular foils, but there are many other shades and effects too, including glitter, pearlescent, and iridescent.
Knockout is the opposite of overprinting, whereby the top element literally knocks out (deletes) any artwork underneath. This helps to ensure it stays true to its colour by printing directly to the surface of the material being applied to. For example, using blue text on a yellow background, you would want it to knock out so it prints to the white of the paper, otherwise the yellow might cause the blue to turn green.
A soft acetate-coated aluminium disc that contains all of the grooves that represent the final mastered sound of your recording. The exact same grooves that will end up on each and every record that is pressed.
Also known as turnaround times, lead times are simply the amount of time between the initiation and completion of the production process. Lead times can vary as production demand fluctuates, so serve only as a rough guide. For current lead times please give us a call or drop us an email.
Low contrast refers to adjacent colours within a design, where the colour values are very similar to the background colour. For example, this could be a dark grey pattern with ink levels that are just a few percent lower than that of the background such as a rich black. When viewed on screen there is a subtle but visible difference. However, print often appears darker than it does on screen, so that subtle difference could be lost. It occurs most often with darker colours. We recommend at least 20% difference between total ink levels to help avoid the risk.
The minimum recommended colour values to ensure the print registers the colours is 5% for cyan, magenta and black, and 10% for yellow. Any parts for the design which fall below these levels may not register and is something to consider when setting up your artwork/deciding on colours. If the colour does not register/print then the card stock may be visible.
A thin polypropylene film is heat-fused to the printed surface forming a layer of protective coating while also improving its sturdiness and water resistance. Matt lamination also improves the tactile feel of the printed surface, lending it a smooth finish.
This is our standard matt varnish and the most cost effective. A matt varnish gives the printed surfaces a non-glossy, smooth look. Darker colours can look more subdued in comparison to a gloss varnish due to the reduced amount of reflected light, but used correctly matt finishes can really hone that subtle, classy look.
Another eco-friendly option, ultraviolet-cured coatings are applied over the printed surface and dried by exposure to UV light. Matt printing enhances artwork contrast and provides a more subdued colour set.
Moiré is a visual effect that commonly occurs when litho printing designs which feature a scanned image that has been previously printed, or a series of closely sitting lines. Each of the colour screens are set at a different angle and printed as microscopic dots, known as halftone printing. The alignment of these dots can cause interference patterns when two patterns of similar wavelength overlap. Our design team always keep a keen eye out for potential moiré risks within your artwork and will warn you if they identify a potential risk.
Offset printing is a method of mass-production printing in which the images on metal plates are transferred (offset) to rubber blankets or rollers and then to the print media.
An outer sleeve is a single pocket sleeve constructed from a single piece of folded card and comprising a front and back panel, it is also possible to include the addition of a spine. These sleeves can also come with a variety of die-cut holes if you wish to expose the product within.
Overprinting is opting to print one colour on top of another. For example, if you have a shape or text that is a black on a background that does not contain any black (k) such as a pale yellow, then we would recommend setting the black to (k only) to overprint that black shape on top of the yellow.
This refers to the booklet pages being arranged in an order so that once the printed sheets are folded, bound and trimmed, the pages will appear in the correct order. The correct pagination is listed on our multi page booklet templates here or if you have any further questions please contact us.
There is a general rule you can apply, with both page numbers added up being 1 more than the total number of pages and the even number always on the left, odd pages on the right. For example, an 8-page stapled booklet will be 8-1, 2-1. 6-3 and 4-5.
Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a standardised colour reproduction system, recognised globally as an industry printing standard for accurate colour reproduction. Pantone colours are printed as a single solid layer, as opposite to multiple CMYK plates, thus providing a more exact colour match and a more crisp and accurate edge.
The protective record sleeve that the majority of vinyl records are inserted to after pressing. White or black paper inners are most popular, although there are a variety of options and finishes for printed inners too, as well as poly-lined options.
Poly overbags are a durable clear polyethylene (PE) bag that are used to house vinyl records. They are often preferred to their shrink-wrap counterpart they are reusable for collectors / the end customer, and also offer an alternative way to pack mail orders that can reduce damage to the sleeves during transit. See also PVC bags.
A PQ sheet is a report containing information about a CD master. This includes track lengths, timings, gaps and any metadata such as CD text, IRSC and details of the disc.
Raster graphics, also called bitmap graphics, a type of digital image that uses rectangular pixels arranged in a grid formation to represent an image. Because the format can support a wide range of colours and depict subtle graduated tones, it is well-suited for displaying continuous-tone images such as photographs or shaded drawings, along with other detailed images. Raster graphics typically have larger file sizes than their vector counterparts.
Printing to the reverse (uncoated) side of the board. The texture of the card fibre often lends a raw and rustic feel. Due to its uncoated nature, colours in general are more muted as more ink is absorbed into the printable media.
The safety area is shown as a blue zone on the template. This is a 3mm area inside of any trim or fold line that we advise you keep free of important information such as text or logos. This is recommended to allow for any slight movement during the cutting/folding stage. This allowance is referred to as print tolerances. Anything important that is left within the safety area could be at risk of trimming or being on a fold line.
This is the process of pressing ink through a stencilled mesh screen to create a printed design according to your artwork.
All our discs are screen or litho printed giving the best possible finish and quality, this is the industry standard method used and ensures your discs have that professional touch.
Shrink-wrapping is applied loosely around a product and shrinks tightly when heat is applied. We always recommend shrink-wrap or overbags to reduce the risk of split spines and damages in transit to your end customers.
Often a single sheet that fits into the outer sleeve, inserts are a great way of including extra information, such as lyrics or additional images, without compromising the sleeve design.
This is the physical action of packing one part of a product to another. This is mostly done by hand by the packing teams at the plant, and thus often carries a small charge per unit.
Spines are generally recommended, especially for albums, LPs or if you'd like to print the band name and release title on the side of the sleeve.
Split spines can occur in transit when boxes are mishandled. We always recommend shipping orders with shrink-wrap or with the vinyl outside of the printed sleeves, both packed into a poly overbag as this helps reduce the risk of damage in transit due to the movement of the vinyl within the sleeve.
Sometimes a varnish isn't applied to the entire surface but only used to make certain elements stand out. This is called a spot gloss UV varnish.
A guide detailing the dimensions, fold and cut lines required for each printed part. We have downloadable templates for all of our most common vinyl packaging configurations.
Test pressings are the first records pressed from the metalwork, and are used to evaluate the quality, volume levels and listen for any untoward pops, clicks or excessive hiss prior to mass production. We always recommend opting for test pressings for final checks and peace of mind before the main vinyl run is pressed.
Trapping is the technique used to compensate for registration/misalignment issues of successive/adjacent colours by adding a small overlap. It ensures that there are no ugly gaps, white hairlines where the paper shows through or overlaps in the final printed result. We recommend trapping of 0.05mm.
Uncoated paper stocks are variety of paper grades manufactured especially for offset lithography printing with a rough textured feel, similar to copy paper.
Vector-based images are comprised of paths, which are defined by a start and end point, along with other points, curves, and angles along the way. These paths are essentially mathematical shapes that can be scaled to a larger size and not lose any image quality. This makes vector graphics ideal for logos and text, which can be small enough to appear on a business card or increased to billboard size without pixilation.
Vector graphics are best suited to solid areas of colours and for use in screen printing.
We would recommend keeping all of your text as ‘live text’ (not flattening the layer or rasterizing it) so that it retains its vector quality and prints clearly with sharp corners/edges.
Our smallest recommended text size is 6pt Arial or the equivalent.
Audio mastering is the final step of audio post-production, balancing the sonic elements of the stereo mix and optimising playback across all systems and media formats. For the best results when pressing vinyl, audio should be specifically mastered for vinyl. This process, also known as vinyl pre-mastering, is a key step in optimising your audio files to obtain the best possible cut. A pre-master is created with minimal processing, leaving the rest of the mastering to the cutting engineers who have the experience and knowledge to achieve a great sounding cut every time.
Mastering was traditionally an analogue process requiring specific studio equipment, nowadays there are also many digital solutions available. We offer full CD and vinyl mastering services, please get in contact with us for more details and competitive pricing.
Overbags are a clear poly or PVC plastic bag that helps to protect the record sleeve from scratches, moisture and some UV damage. Overbags are often favoured over shrink-wrap for vinyl packaging as they are reusable and can even be screen printed.
Vinyl pressing is the physical process of manufacturing vinyl records. A pre-heated vinyl 'puck' is closed between two nickel stampers, which are negative impressions of a master disc, under a pressure of about 150 tonnes. The process of compression moulding forces the hot vinyl wax to fill the grooves in the stampers, and take the form of the finished record.