CD DVD Colour Accuracy

A big graphic design challenge for CD duplication and DVD duplication is colour accuracy… the colours you see on your computer monitor can be different than what actually prints. This isn’t uncommon and has caused problems for designers regardless of their experience.

Computer Monitor Display

Have you ever gone into an electronics store where they have a row of televisions on display all lined up side-by-side, and all displaying the same channel? Even though they are all displaying the same channel, did you notice that the colouration of each television’s display was slightly different… or even a lot different?
The same holds true for computer monitors – most computer monitors don’t display true colour. The result of that means (a) the colouration of your finished print may look different than what you view on your computer monitor, and (b) the colour of your CD duplication or DVD duplication design may look different when viewed on different monitors.
This can help: To improve the colour accuracy of your computer monitor you can have it colour calibrated (“calibration” means having the monitor’s display optimized for colour accuracy). Mechanical calibration using a sensor is a popular way of calibrating a monitor, but, while calibration can ‘improve’ your colour display you cannot rely on it to be completely accurate. You should be able to buy a mechanical calibration kit from an electronic store that carries a good range of software titles.

RGB versus CMYK

Computer monitors display imagery in the RGB colour mode (red, green, blue) yet commercial print is produced using the CMYK colour mode (cyan, magenta, yellow, black).
Because RGB has a larger ‘gamut’ (ie: range) of colours than CMYK, it’s possible to design using RGB colours that are outside the range of what CMYK can reproduce. When converting an RGB design to CMYK, any RGB colours that are outside of the CMYK gamut will be automatically converted within the CMYK gamut and the visual result will be a less vibrant colour.
This can help: Always set your design page properties to CMYK before you begin designing your CD duplication or DVD duplication design, and then only work with CMYK colours.

Richness Of Colour

All of the colours you view on your computer monitor are created through the generation of light, thus you’re able to achieve very vibrant and rich colours in your designs. When it comes time to print those colours, the application of ink onto paper (or plastic, in the case of the CD or DVD disc) is not going to be able to produce the same vibrancy and richness of colour that your monitor was able to display. The result is typically a flatter or duller appearance on the finished print than what you viewed on your monitor.
This can help: If you have any concerns about colouration of the final print, hard-copy printed proofs are recommended. It is important that the hard-copy proofs come from the same company that will be producing your finished CD duplication or DVD duplication product because different printing equipment, calibration, inks and substrates can produce different results.