So many companies offer similar products to the ones we offer, so why IMC Optical? Sure we offer great quality, competitive pricing, expert service, and guaranteed turnaround times. But the most important part of IMC Optical is our people and our process. Our staff is eager to help, and they have the professional expertise to handle your project. Your contact at IMC Optical has years of experience in this industry. You will not be dealing with just a salesperson. Your CSR will actually deal with you directly while producing your project. At IMC Optical, we do not have separate CSR's, salespeople, pre-press people, etc. Your CSR handles all aspects of your project because they understand what you want, and they have the experience to get it done for you. You won't experience communication errors through layers of staff at IMC Optical. On top of all that, IMC Optical has been in the disc business since 1996 and started in the VHS duplication industry in 1985
A better question would be, why do some companies charge so much? We don't know. At IMC Optical, we work hard to keep the prices low while offering the best possible product. We also don't spend a large amount of money sending you catalogs and flyers in the mail. In the end, the customer pays for these expenses through higher prices on products. Someone has to pay for all of that advertising. We also focus on what we are good at. There are a lot of things that we don't do, but what we do, allows us to concentrate our efforts on being the best. And because IMC Optical is the best, you will experience great quality and fast turnaround at a better price than at other companies.
Our quality is unmatched, and yes, we have a standard. We actually hold ourselves to multiple standards. Our printing is to SWOP standards, and our CD/DVD replication is to ISO standards. SWOP is a printing standard set by the printing industry to measure several aspects of printing quality on a press sheet. Things like ink density, slurring, offsetting, and other technical issues are reviewed to produce the best possible printed piece. Most people are aware of ISO. This is an industry association and standard used to ensure quality manufactured products. At IMC Optical, we won’t ever take shortcuts on quality.
There are several small things that happen when submitting a project that can really slow the process down. We have listed the most common problems below. Of course, you can always contact your CSR for help if you do not understand how to deal with any of these issues. Improper trim size and no allowance for bleed are very common mistakes. See our templates page for the proper sizing of your project. These should be reviewed before starting your design process. Another common error is to size images too small or low resolution. All images should be 300 dpi at 100% of the desired size for the project. Wrong project file format or fonts not included will slow the order down. We accept file formats that include PDF, TIFF, JPEG, and Photoshop. Please do not send us original program files such as Quark, In-Design, Publisher, etc. Convert these files to a PDF or TIFF. We are here to help if you have questions.
Yes, we do. Our hard copy proofs are press proofs. These are the same as printing your job on the press with the selected paper. This kind of proofing does cost extra, increasing the amount of time it takes to produce your project. Contact your CSR for more information about hard copy and PDF proofs.
A PDF proof is a medium resolution image displayed on your computer screen. Since all computer screens are different, you cannot rely on a PDF proof to represent accurate color and brightness. A PDF will show content such as type and trapping issues. It also shows trim and bleeds. The color of your final printed project will not match the PDF you receive from us for proofing. Your CSR would be happy to discuss any concerns you may have about this process and help you make the right decision for your project. Most of our customers (95% or more) choose PDF proofing.
If you choose to have a press proof, the color will match fairly closely. If you choose a PDF, it will not. Of course, blues will be blue, and reds will be red. Your CSR can help you with this if you have any questions.
No, you do not need to be an expert designer as long as you know how to make a pdf. If you have a question about your design or specifications, just ask! We are here to answer your questions. Let us help.
Bleed is extending any color, photo, or design elements past the trim line. Our plant trims printed pieces in stacks of hundreds of sheets at a time. This is much faster than trimming individual pieces. Bleed gives the print shop a margin of error when trimming so that if the cut is a little off, the white of the paper won't show along the edge. We request you add 1/8-inch of bleed to your layouts. For example, if you have an item trimmed to 4.75 x 4.75, you would want to add 1/8 to all sides for bleed, making the final art size approximately 5.0 x 5.0. Each template has guidelines set up so you can see exactly how much bleed you need to add to your layouts. These are generally the outermost guides. The safety margin is the opposite of bleed. If you put important information such as a song title or an important part of a photo right up against the crop line, some of it may get cut off. We recommend that you keep your type and other important elements 1/8-inch inside the trim line. Each template has guidelines set up so you can see exactly how much safety margin to allow. These are generally the innermost guides. In the example of an item trimmed to 4.75 x 4.75, the safety margin would be approximately 4.5 x 4.5.
CMYK and RGB are two different color models, and understanding the difference can mean producing a great-looking insert rather than a muddy, disappointing one. This has become more of an issue in recent years because so many people use the internet, and it uses the RGB color model, not CMYK. The RGB color model is used by monitors, televisions, scanners, and digital cameras. A monitor uses very small bands of red, green, and blue light to generate a color. RGB color is considered additive color because when you add all three colors together, you get white light; when you turn off all three lights, you get black. By mixing varying amounts of red, green, and blue light, you can create most other colors. The paper of a magazine, catalog, or CD booklet can't generate light like a computer monitor. It has to rely on reflected light and the subtractive color model CMYK. When you add cyan, magenta, and yellow together (CMY), you get a color close to black, and when you don't lay down any ink, you get white, that is, the white of the paper. A fourth color, black, is added for economic and practical reasons and is represented as the letter "K" so as not to be confused with blue. By mixing varying amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks, you can create most other colors, but CMYK does not have the same range of color that RGB does. All commercial, full-color printing uses CMYK inks.
Many colors created on your RGB monitor can be duplicated using CMYK inks, but not all. Your RGB monitor is generating light, so it can create some bright colors that can't be duplicated on any CMYK printing press. Paper can only reflect light, so if you print some RGB colors in CMYK, they get flat and dull. If you're designing artwork in an RGB color space, we'll have to convert it to CMYK to print.
Depending on your artwork, the colors might shift a little or a lot. If you are not certain about the whole color space issue, don't worry. Just ask your personal CSR to check it for you and make recommendations for corrective action if necessary.
Disc Replication & Duplication
Disc duplication refers to the process of taking an existing blank CD-R or DVD-R disc and burning information onto that disc much the same way you copy CDs on your computer. At IMC Optical, we use state of the art dedicated duplicating towers to manage the duplication process. These machines do a cursory evaluation of the disc to check for reading and write errors and then make an exact duplicate of the disc you send us. This is the best option if you have small quantities (up to 500 pcs) or need a quicker turnaround time to meet a deadline. The typical production time for duplication is 48 hours. We can produce your project in 24 hours if needed. Disc replication refers to the manufacturing process that starts with raw material to manufacture your discs from scratch. We evaluate your original disc for reading and write errors and then make a glass master of your disc. This glass master is then used to create a stamper. The stamper is mounted on the machine that uses heat and pressure to mold your discs one at a time. This is the highest quality of disc manufacturing but is only cost-effective for 500 discs or more. It takes as little as 1/2 of one second to mold one CD or DVD on this kind of equipment. The cost of creating both the glass master and stamper are already included in the quote shown in our prices. This is the best option if you want larger quantities (500 pcs or more) and you have enough time (an average of 10 business days) to produce your project.