Copyright © 2000 Marvin Humphrey

All rights reserved.

Printing 101

Halftones - how to make gray using tiny dots of black ink

CMYK Process Printing - how to approximate full color using tiny dots of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK ink

Linescreens - the linescreen determines how tiny the tiny dots of ink are

Color Separations and Film - what is film? is it like the film in my camera?

Offset Lithography - the printing technology typically used for printing the insert and traycard

Screen Printing - the printing technology typically used for on-disc printing

Gang Run Printing - how grouping several jobs on a single press sheet makes printing affordable

How To Use Mr. Toad's Templates

Disc template - an explanation of the EPS mask, the mirror band, the clear inner hub, etc.

All other templates - a few words about the templates for our paper products

Why you should use our templates - Try them! You'll like them!

Why we only supply templates in Quark Xpress - sorry, no Illustrator templates available

Where to find Mr. Toad's Templates...

Strategies For Effective Disc Design

Spot Colors Inks - Spot color = mixing inks in a bucket; CMYK process = mixing colors with the eye

The Clear Inner Hub - near the center, the metal stops and severe color variation starts

The Mirror Band - a slender, highly reflective ring that can interfere with type

Printing on Silver - several ways to use the CD's reflective surface to your advantage

Limitations of Screen Printing - dot gain, tonal jump, and other gremlins

Flood Coats - like using primer before painting

Managing tonal range - when to limit ink percentages, when to clip them

Two Ink Greyscale - a trick for making a screened back image print properly on disc

Stylize! - effective artistic disc design through aggressive tweaking

Technical Critiques Of Professional Disc Designs

Elvis Costello - a white undercoat would have made life so much simpler

Los Lobos - minimalists, in more than one sense

Ani DiFranco - learns from her mistakes

Windham Hill Compilation - the peril of knocking out serif type through multiple inks

Flaco Jimenez - you'll have to take my word for it that it's Flaco's disc, since his name isn't on it

Shawn Colvin - shocking new lows in legibility

Vaughan Williams - type in the mirror band on a classical CD layout?!

Designing For Ink, Not Light

RGB vs. CMYK- two very different ways of representing color

Registration Nightmare #1 - printing fine rules with multiple inks

Registration Nightmare #2 - tiny type colored with a CMYK build

Registration Nightmare #3 - don't worry, trapping can help

Registration Nightmare #4 - tiny white type knocked out through several inks

Rich Black vs. Plain Black - on the computer screen, all blacks look the same; in print, they can look very different from each other

Overprinting Black - the easiest way to make type look great, every time

Resolution Requirements - how much is enough?  what's effective resolution? is it possible for the resolution to be too high?

Proof Early, Proof Often

Mockups and Folding Dummies - no CD layout should ever go to press unless a rough proof has been printed out, cut up, folded, and placed in a jewel case

Proofreading - there's a right way and a wrong way

Paper Separations - taking responsibility for where ink goes down, rather than leaving it up to someone else

Formatting and Layout

Bleeds and Safety Margins - living on the edge

Registration Targets and Crop Marks - if you're using our templates, all you have to do is avoid moving, deleting, obscuring or otherwise adulterating them; if not, read this

Spine Design - make them read like a book on a shelf would

Minimizing film costs - using our templates is the most important first step

For The Novice

Disecting the Basic Package - what's a 4 panel folder? what's 4/K mean?

DIY Design Tips - I don't have Quark - what do I do?

File Management

Acceptable File Formats for Placed Images - to sum up: TIFF and EPS are good, everything else is bad

How to supply files to us - what we need from you and how it should be organized

Fonts, Fonts, Fonts - make sure we've got everything we need, including every last piece of every last font

Menu Styled Fonts - avoid using the style keys, unless you have read and understood this complicated explanation of how they work

Efficient Printing - how to avoid getting charged extra because you've submitted files that take forever to print


Bar codes - how to use them, how to get one free from us

Backing up your files - be aware of standard practice in the graphics industry

Clean the scanner bed - 'nuff said.

Quark Bugs - the infamous "TIFF over background: none"

Graph-oops - a laundry list of technical flaws that we've encountered; if you understand all of these, you're an expert

Further Study

Web Links - online design resources

Recommended Reading - books and magazines... remember them?

Discussion Forums - usenet

About This Site

Special Thanks

Contacting The Author

Copyright and Linking Information

Welcome to Marvin's Corner!

This site is intended to benefit creative people in search of the practical knowledge to take their ideas smoothly from imagination to computer screen to tangible reality. The material draws primarily on my experience in CD and multimedia package design and prepress, but many or most of the underlying concepts apply easily to desktop print design in general.

Happy browsing,

-- Marvin Humphrey

Mr. Toad's Mastering Engineer and Graphic Designer, Emeritus