CD & DVD Disc Packaging Basics


Creating Your Printed Packaging Specification

  • The choices are nearly endless

    BBrucato1 5disc cross shape jacket spot matte gloss
    5-disc cross shape jacket
    spot matte

    Creating printed packaging at Megalodon is a very unique experience, unlike doing a printing run at any other replication firm. You have virtually unlimited choices that you can make to create something truly your own. You do not have to pick model #12XY-A and suffer the pains (and great expense) of wanting to change something here or there. Say goodbye to cookie cutter packaging that looks like everyone else’s, and say hello to Megalodon—your source for custom CD and DVD packaging and manufacturing. Looking for something a little out of the ordinary? No problem. If you can describe it, we can build it!

    Here are some of the things we'll ask to get us started, and a sample specification:
    Quantity: (minimum is usually 500 to 1000): 1000 sets
    Disc Replication : 4 DVD5 set
    Packaging: 6pp mega tall digipak, 4 clear midheight trays, one tube literature pocket, die cut windows
    Printing: 4C + PIPS (Printed Inside Pockets and Spine)
    Spot Gloss & Matte Lamination
    Stock: coated recycled (20-30% recycled content)
    Insert: 4pp tall booklet, 4C/4C, matte aqueous finish
    Slipcase: 4C, side loading, single wall with die cuts
    Assembly: insertion of discs, booklet, and shrinkwrap
    Shipping: split shipping, 500 per location, within US Continental

    Our quotes will include the following items, so we generally won't go over them while building a spec:
    Disc Printing: up to 5C, offset or silkscreening
    Test Disc: printed and glass mastered
    Color Matchprint for printed packaging (note this is cmyk on standard white paper, so special inks or stock would need an additional proof if you wanted to see those effects)
    BarCodes: these are at no charge and we will discuss during art. Be sure to let us know you want one and make sure it is in your final softproof!

  • Printing 4C CMYK Process, or Pantone Colors


    CHRLX2 4pp digipak pantone
    4pp digipak
    Pantone orange

    Printed packaging is generally in full color, 4C CMYK Process—if you are using a standard paper stock, you will have a white background. You can also use Pantone colors (Pantone Matching System or PMS colors, also referred to as "spot" color) if you want an exact color. For example, businesses will often specify for their brand a Pantone or a custom color formula, rather than process color, because a custom formula, along with reference swatches, can be utilized to ensure that printed material conforms to their brand. Depending on the number of Pantone colors (and if the printer has to special order them), there may be extra charges for Pantone color printing. Keep in mind that our standard matchprints are in CMYK. Should you need to check a pantone color on a proof (usually not needed), you would want to order a Special Press Proof - see Proofing Page.

    If you are using fiberboard paper stock in your project, keep in mind that this stock is unbleached and is an organic, brownish color. Your colors are going to be a bit muted, as it’s printing on brownish paper instead of white. If you want your colors to remain true, it might be best to choose a different stock. Alternatively, for an added cost, we can add a white spot area underneath your art to help the colors to be closer to true—although there will still be a difference between ink placed on a spot white area on fiberboard to printing directly to white paper. Keep in mind that when using the spot white area, knockout areas will be brownish rather than white. You can have some fun using this to your advantage. Ask us if you’d like to see some photos of fiberboard projects—we have lots. Kraft paper is a good option for your booklet if you want a brownish background and edges.

    Send us your art if you have any questions on the best way to proceed. Sometimes, the best way is achieve a look is quite different than what you might have spec'd!

    See Special Paper Stocks, and Fiberboard Jackets

  • Soy Inks

    Soy Inks are one of our favorite add ons! To add it to your spec, simply let us know you want them:
    Printing: 4C soy inks
    Patagonia jacket, Soy InksPatagonia Mountain of Storms, Soy Ink Printing on Disc JacketUncoated Stock, 18py, Soy Ink digipak

    Don't forget some of the special eco stocks we have to go with them such as Truly Eco 70-80% recycled Content, Uncoated, and Fiberboard
    See Eco Jackets for some great pictures

  • Metallic Ink Printing- Spot and Flood

    Metallic Inks are a special type of Pantone Ink, such as metallic silver, gold, copper, etc. We can either do a flood, or do spot colors. They can be use don any stock, and combined with other effects such as spot gloss or embossing. Here are a few examples....
    Metallic ink printing on film reel, 4pp tall digipakDisc & Silver metallic Ink on packagingInside of 4pp tall digipak, silver metallic ink outside, 1C black inside with slot pocket & insert
    Silver Metallic Flood- industrial look packaging, dvdSilver metalic ink with 4C color, dvd packagingIndustrial look created by silver metallic ink printing on dvd packagingPhoto of gold metallic ink flood printing, cd digipakImage of gold metallic ink printing on cd packagingGold Metallic Ink Printing on cd packagingMetallic Ink on 6pp digipakSilver metallic Ink, with spot gloss and matte laminationSilver Metallic Ink on fiberboard stock, cd jacketmetallic Ink with Spot Gloss on 4pp cd jacketCopper metallic ink on 8pp Tall digipakMetallic Ink- Embossed letters on cd jacket

  • Pocket Styles

    EMarketing3 thirdfloor 4pp landscape tall digipak straight pkt CauseAndEffect3 4pp tall fiberboard hub jacket horiz pocket bizcard slots hmanley hbd4 6pp jacket foamhub booklet tube pocket aqueous
    backontrack2 4pp tall digipak diagonal literature pocket booklet CAVU1 tall jacket pinch pocket DVD recycled tinamalia5 6pp jacket custom diecut tube pocket

    Pockets can be used in jackets to hold the disc itself, or to hold a booklet or insert in a jacket or digipak. Over the years we have created many, many different pocket styles and we may have something that is exactly what you want. If we don't, don't worry, we don't mind creating one for you. Pricing wise, we'll go by if we have an existing die or if we need to make one, and how the pocket is made.

    "Standard pockets" are closed on the outside edge and open to the spine, with some sort of thumbhole - deep, half moon, wide, etc, etc, etc. There are a zillion variations of thumbhole types.
    "LP pockets" tend to open to the outside. See Secret Chiefs Featured Product or check out our LP page.
    "Tube pockets" are open on both ends
    "Pinch pockets" are generally used on tall or wide packaging and used to center the disc.
    "Slit pockets" or "Slot pockets" are made by a cut in the panel
    "Diagonal literature pockets" are created by an extra panel folding in - these are very popular with tall digipaks, but also a little on the expensive side as far as pockets go, because it does take an extra panel of paper to create. They can be made for the midheight size as well.
    "Swinging pockets" are yet another fun twist, these are free standing pockets attached by it's side so it wings freely. See Oria Featured Product.
    "Glued on Pockets" are a good option for digi-books and book binding. Generally we use a colored paper, unprinted. These are also great options for cross folding digipaks and folders - that center panel always requires something special.
    "Bus Card Slots" - and lastly, one other type of slot is one made especially for business cards (which we can make and insert as well!!).

    Standard jacket pockets and tube pockets can both have thumbholes, and a lot of thumbhole styles are available. The most commonly used thumbhole styles are the standard thumbhole, deep thumbhole, half-moon thumbhole, wide thumbhole, hourglass thumbhole, or no thumbhole at all. We can also create wonderful custom thumbholes using vector images—as long as the vector image is not too complex for the knife to cut.

  • Booklets, Inserts, Posters, and Perfect Bound Books

    We have all kinds of options for booklets and inserts. Whether you’re looking for a saddle-stitched booklet (stapled, up to about 60 pages), a perfect bound book (glued, square-spine style, 24 page minimum), gatefold-style folder (usually 8 panels), accordion-style folder (from 6 to about 10 or 12 panels), or a roll up folder (from 6 to about 10 or 12 panels) or fold out poster—we’ve got you covered. We can do any height (typical cd 5inch, taller 7inch, even taller, or even smaller like for mini discs), special cover thickness, and paper stocks. Don't be afraid to ask.

    Smaller booklets are generally placed in a pocket, or glued. Larger books can either be companion booklets alongside the packaging in a slipcase, or glued like in a digi book.

    If you are setting up your booklet in InDesign, please set up your page size to the exact size you want the page to be, with facing pages, and place the pages in the spreads in Reader's Order with the covers on the first and last pages separate. If you intend to submit individual pages, please send the inside and outside cover art as separate files and the rest of the pages in Reader's Order spreads (also including page numbers helps).

    If your booklet is to be perfect bound (square backed), then the inside and outside cover art will usually be in a different file, since the covers will need a spine. Keep us in the loop when you're planning your art. We're happy to help!

  • Business Cards, Stationary, Envelopes, Notepads

    We frequently make business cards to go with the discs and packaging, and can customize them to match. Something we do especially for film reels is to do a 1C black plate spine printing change to match the sets.

    Consider also, coloring booklets,note pads, envelopes or company stationary.

  • USB, MP3 Players & Download Cards

    USB Manufacturing is a hot item on the market now, and another great way to distribute data. Let us know the size you need, the design (custom or existing mold and type of casing), colors printed, and if you want preloaded data - and we can take it from there.

    Check out our USB manufacturing page for more options.

    These can be made with custom USB packaging, or as stand alone items with lanyards or gift boxes.

  • Magnetic Closures, Velcro Tabs- Special Ways to Seal

    To make a package resealable, you may want to consider a special type on closure mechanism such as magnetic closures, or velcro tabs. Take a look!

  • Stickers & Retail Items

    Have a custom sticker you'd like on your packaging? We can do it! Just supply the art as you would any other component of your project. These don't have to be some "standard" shape - the shape is totally up to you.

    We can also research other retails items and have them made, such as stencils and 3D glasses - or you can supply your own and we'll do the insertion.

  • Barcodes

    Megalodon is happy to provide you with a complimentary barcode. You will need to ask us to place it in the art for you, or request to have the barcode sent to you so that you can place it yourself. Be sure to look for it in the PDF softproof you get back (the first proof), and the hardcopy proofsets that follow.

    Clients often ask us about the barcodes we provide, and if it would be better if they provided their own. The answer is – it’s probably not worth the expense to purchase your own. When we purchase barcodes from the United Bar Code Council, we buy them in a large lot and get about one thousand at a time. Our cost is something around $900. We can then distribute the barcodes to our clients, one per title. The barcode initially has our information (the replicator & purchaser) associated with it. The purpose of a barcode is to give a title a unique number—a number designated by the UBC that no one else will have. When you give your title to a distributor or retailer, say for example Amazon or Walmart, they are going to ask you to fill out forms and assign the correct information to this title. What they want and need is a unique UBC number to have in their database, which is what they get. You can purchase a barcode directly from the UBC and it will have your own information associated with it. You will probably still have to fill out the same form and input the information. Your cost to purchase a single barcode is around $800. If you have your own barcode, we can place it in the art for you, or you can do it yourself.

  • Inkjet addresses on offset printed packaging

    We are capable of printing inkjet addresses on offset printed packaging for mailers and other purposes. This is great if you want to include some sort of individualized information on your packaging—different from unit to unit. To do this directly on the offset would require a new plate to be generated for each change—inkjet is a much more economical way to perform this.

    For larger runs that need presort and bulk mailing, we'll refer you to a mailing house we like to work with and coordinate the drop shipping of the discs & mailers there for you.