What Software Should I Use to Create My CD or DVD Artwork?

After recording your album, having it mastered and pressed, you head over to your disc duplication facility’s website to place your order. Reading up on the ordering process you notice that you have the option to have artwork printed on the disc face, and can also have tray card and insert artwork printed. This is a great idea, as it allows you to give your project a more professional look and feel. You can either hire a print designer, who will hopefully already know all of the proceeding information. Or you can have a go at it yourself, utilizing one of the many different graphics creation programs available. If you are choosing to create your own artwork, read on.

There are many different programs out there that can be used to create print artwork. One of the more popular programs is Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator is a vector based drawing program, available for both PC and Macintosh computers. You could also use, CorelDRAW, Paint Shop Pro, or even Adobe Photoshop. I will go into a little bit more detail about what the differences are between some of these programs later on in this article, and why some of them are better suited for print design. Here is a list of 3 terms you should be familiar with before starting your artwork project.

1. Raster Graphics

Raster graphics are also known as bitmap graphics. This form of graphics image is a data file or structure representing a generally rectangular grid of pixels, or blocks of color, on a computer monitor, or other display device. Think of a raster images as a checkers board, with each square (pixel) on the board displaying a different color. This collection of colored dots (pixels), in turn form the full picture. The quality of a raster image is determined by the total number of pixels (resolution), and the amount of information in each pixel. Raster graphics are practical for photographs and photo-realistic images because of the way that they display images. Pretty much all photos you will find on the internet, and all photos you take with your digital camera will be raster images. You may want to use photographs for your CD or DVD’s artwork, but you must mind a few certain things:

A. DPI –
I will go into this a bit further in the “DPI” section of this article. In a nutshell, any photograph that you would like to use for print must be 300 DPI (dots per inch) or higher. DPI refers to the density of pixel information in a photograph.

B. Color Mode –
There are two basic modes of color: RGB and CMYK. All you need to know really is that all print artwork must be created as a CMYK document, as this refers to the colors of ink that a printer uses to recreate your artwork. If you create your artwork as an RGB document, the printed document will most likely shift in color. For more info on this, please refer to my last article. What do you need to start a CD duplication project?

2. Vector Graphics

Also known as geometric modeling, this form of graphic uses geometrical primitives such as points, curves, and lines to represent images. Instead of displaying blocks of color to represent a photo vector images rely on set points to determine the outline of an object, using mathematical formulas to determine the curve of the lines between said set points. Vector graphics are ideal for simple or composite drawings that do not need to achieve photo-realism. I suggest that you used vector objects for all of your artwork’s areas that are not photos.

3. DPI

Dots per inch, (DPI) is the number of individual dots of ink a printer can produce within a one-inch space. This translates as, the higher the DPI, the sharper the image. Although, most commercial printers will tell you that anything over 300DPI would be considered “print-quality”. I recommend that you make sure that your artwork is at least 300DPI, with 600DPI being the optimal setting for your artwork.

After all this technical mumbo-jumbo, you’re probably scratching your head, still unsure of what program to use to create your artwork. The truth is you can use pretty much any graphics program to create your artwork, providing that you correctly set the DPI and color mode of your document. Personally, I usually use a combination of Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator to do all of my print artwork. I edit all bitmap images in Photoshop and create all of my vector content in Illustrator, combining the two in Illustrator. My advice is now that you have the basic background knowledge, experiment to figure out what works best for you!

How Closing Accounts Can Kill Your Credit Score

One of the major factors of how your credit score is calculated is your capacity. This is the ratio of credit used to the amount of credit that is available. This accounts for 30 percent (almost a third!) of your credit score. For example if you have 5 credit cards with a $1000 limit and you have 3 of them maxed out and 2 of them inactive your capacity would be at 60 percent, $3000 of your $5000 total credit limit. This is not good in the eyes of the lenders and your credit score would suffer because its ideal to be at 10 percent of your capacity.

Remember a credit score is a formula measuring your ability to pay back your debts and obligations. If you have a high capacity and little room left for your maximum then your ability to pay back your obligations is viewed as more limited.

So in the example above, lets say you decide to close the 2 inactive cards for whatever reason. Nowadays, the credit card companies will charge a fee to inactive cards so a lot of people are now closing their inactive accounts. Well unfortunately, they are killing their credit score. If you are maxed out on three cards and you close the other 2, guess what, you are now at 100 percent capacity because your total credit limit is now $3000 instead of $5000. I know from personal experience this will cause your credit score to plummet.

My advice? Don’t close your inactive cards. Use them once a month, maybe for gas, or treat yourself to a latte from Starbucks. Then pay them off immediately so you don’t incur any interest. Do what you can to pay off the cards that are maxed out, or at least get them down to where your balance is under 10 percent of the limit. If you can, try to transfer the balance to a lower interest card, so it can save you a few bucks on the interest. This strategy is sure to improve your credit score because capacity is a major factor, and if your capacity improves, your score improves.

Asking your bank for a credit limit increase on some of your cards isn’t suggested nowadays, this is a strategy that old credit repair people recommended but in today’s economy with the credit crunch, it prompts an account review, which for some quirky reason, may cause the banks to LOWER your credit limit. This would damage your capacity as well.

You are already disciplined enough to not spend on two cards. You are unique in today’s credit crunch world, use your discipline to your advantage, don’t close your accounts. You will be doing more harm to your credit score than good.

Long Lasting Outcomes of Business Gifts

Business gifts are employed by commercial organisations in order to promote their company identity and establish it as a brand name. The motive is not of creating a shallow appeal but a long lasting impact that is persistent in maintaining its presence in the minds of the audience. . Among the numerous promotional item companies that already exist and those that are upcoming, online stores are the place that comes foremost to the mind. They have carved a niche for themselves in the domain of corporate gifts only because their products show the potential of rendering advantageous long lasting outcomes.

Investing in business gifts is extremely beneficial. Unlike the much tested print, electronic and cyber media, purchasing corporate merchandise acts as a one-time expenditure. Once distributed to the intended set of audience, they spread brand awareness to more and more audience groups in a gradual and natural process. The business gifts continue to create brand exposure in the respective business and social network of the first hand recipients. This phenomena rolls over to a wide audience arena and to an extensive geographical periphery. The time till the promotional gifts are extant among the first hand users, they persistently make the brand presence felt among both the existing as well as the prospective clients.

The second long lasting output is that of a well positioned brand image in the memory of the target audience. The business gifts are so crafted that they can be brought into everyday application. The regularity and frequency of usage of these promotional articles repeatedly strikes the visual concentration of the users thereby getting the brand image embedded in the memory of the audience. The resultant effect is that the brand name occupies a major share of their consciousness which leads them to ask for the brand when they go for purchasing similar products.

The third outcome of business gifting is making a loyal set of existing consumers and a wide base of prospective clients. The business gifts act as the source of appreciation to the present consumers for their association with the brand for a long period of time. This would further make them loyal to the brand. On the other hand, the promotional products also motivate the potential clients in initiating a rapport with the brand and thereby gain new audience for the brand. The overall effect is that of a heightened brand prospect in terms of its awareness and sales.

For more information on business gifts, visit online stores.

The Impact of Technology on Marketing and How Brands Can Use Technology in Marketing

The virtual realm ranges from the daily humdrum to some of the most astonishing and complex utilities that have changed the way we live our lives. Today, each one of us have become a creator and designer, which was not very appreciated a decade ago. In 2008, Nike got recognized as the World’s Most Innovative Company, all credit going to Nike iD, which helped the customers to imprint personalized designs onto Nike sneakers. We are living in the age of technology and creativity, where latest and easy to use tech tools accessible on our phones through apps are available. You talk of any sector or industry, technology has not only enabled, but also encouraged a unique customer experience.

Let’s see some examples:

Real Estate: Real Estate professionals are leveraging VR to allow home buyers to visualize, interact with, design and experience their homes in immersive 3D. You can now design your interiors even before the house is constructed. You can now view every corner of your house and see what it looks like in real life, rather than relying solely on 2D models and other people’s advice. To the builders, it helps them is giving confidence to the customer in terms of designing, purchasing decisions and above all saves a lot of time.

Retailers’: Technology has changed the way people explore a store. Now if you want to buy furniture or even a car, you can make your selection sitting on your couch. The pricing and other relevant details are made available just in few clicks and your order gets placed. Also so many technologies, including VR have come up where the customers can take part in an experience where they can design their wardrobes, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. and even share it ahead with their friends through various social media channels.

Advertising: Advertising houses are making big time use of VR and related technologies and are designing their campaigns in context of the brand culture. Mountain Dew for example, created content and videos using Samsung’s Gear VR. Industry players and experts believe that if there is anything that is going to inspire mass consumer adoption, it will be Virtual Reality. It has also been observed that commercials with an interactive experience holds on the visitors for a longer time, in comparison to others!

Entertainment: You can now enjoy the music of your favourite artist anytime and anywhere. Music companies, specially are already exploring the role the technology can play in live music experiences.

Health care: With a 3-D model, doctors can now explore a 360-degree view of the patient’s body or a particular part before the surgery and thus spot and work on some critical issues that need to be addressed. Moreover, it also helps patients get a better sense of what will occur during the procedure, which can help put them at ease.

Travel: A lot of airways have found a new way of entertaining the customers while waiting for their flight. Airports now have public VR kiosks, where they can virtually visit a place even before they board. Experts have shared these experiences are not only a wonderful source of in-flight entertainment, but also drives the customers’ attention towards things like services, etc.

Thus technology is helping the brands to create a unique and memorable experience. While every sector and industry is becoming competitive; creation of a viral and immersive customer experience is something that the marketers will have to think of. Being ‘tech forward’ has a lot of importance these days, but at the same time, not many brands and agencies are well-versed with it. So think smartly about how will you use technology to create an engaging and memorable experience for your customers!