The Guide to Pad Print Colours

Vampire Step-Dad pad print

We’ve been pad printing cassette shells since the 1990s, so we know the ins and outs of providing a quality print job just like you intended in your design. We use opaque ink for pad print, unlike offset pad printers which use a type of paste that is thinner and appears more transparent. Our pad print jobs are done individually by hand, allowing us to see the result of every print. This gives us a huge advantage in maintaining great quality assurance. Check out our pad print machine in action on YouTube.

Pad print colors

Our selection of pad print colours

That said, certain ink colours look better on certain shells. Black or dark ink will appear striking and vibrant on white or lighter colour shells, while the inverse not so much. The ink is opaque, but the plastic shell will still absorb some of the colouring. Take a look at this colour mixing diagram:

Pad print ink color mixing

Notice the color changes on the overlapped sections. Blue ink on a red shell may appear more purple, and will thus be a bit more difficult to read. Similarly, yellow is a lighter colour than red, so it may be absorbed by the red shell and appear more orange. It’ll look cool, but not exactly what you had in mind when designing.

If you insist on continuing with unconventional colour schemes like blue on red, there are a few solutions—

  1. Request double-hit with your pad print. This will give your colour a little extra oomph and emphasis against a darker shell colour. It may not solve the problem of a particularly light ink colour against a dark shell, but it will certainly look better than single-hit pad print.
  2. Upgrade to 2-colour pad print and use the bottom layer as a white base. Locking the shell into place for two separate ink stamps is extremely difficult and won’t always work, so you will want to make the white base larger than your design (like a stroke or outline filter), or slightly smaller than your design, that way it’s not off-register.
  3. Request a custom colour ink. We can add white ink to an ink colour for an extra fee to make it a bit more vibrant when placed against a darker colour shell.

If you’re not sure if a colour combination will be as vibrant as your design, ask your sales rep for their thoughts, we’ve seen it all over the years! You can add pad print to your cassette package through our cassette duplication calculator and receive free shipping to the United States and Canada.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Cassette Duplication

The cassette duplication calculator is an incredibly handy order form that allows you to customize your cassette packages while updating you on the price in real-time. However, as our option list grows, we understand newcomers may feel the calculator is a bit overwhelming. We’re always here to help, but this step-by-step guide should answer any questions you may have!

A Step-By-Step Guide to the Cassette Duplication Order Form

Duplication Speed

The duplication speed determines the recording quality of your cassette. Real-time is recorded at, well, real-time speed with your master. This is the higher quality option, with a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz. Even so, high-speed duplication sounds wonderful, capable of audio from 20Hz to 17kHz.

Length Per Side

Length per side is for you to let us know the length of the longest side of your master. So that is to say that if your sequence of tracks has a total length of 14:28 for side A, and 15:30 for side B, you’d round up to 16 minutes for the length per side.

But don’t fret, we won’t be adding 30 seconds of silence to Side B, we’ll actually be loading the cassette exactly to the length of your master (with a few additional seconds of lead-in time to avoid cutoffs.)

Copy

Let us know if there’s different audio on each side of the tape, audio on side A only, or if both sides have identical audio.

Tape Type

Like ‘Duplication Speed’, the tape type determines the quality of your audio. Our standard is super-ferro normal bias, which has excellent volume and fidelity. However, if you want even crisper bass and louder volume, our high-bias Maxell XLII-S is the choice for audiophiles. BASF 120 is needed for cassettes that are 120 minutes or longer in total length. Maxell XLII-S and BASF 120 are only available with real-time duplication.

Cassette Colour

Now we’re getting to the fun parts. We have dozens of shell colours for you to choose from, so you’re faced with the decision on which colour suits your music and artwork best. This list is divided into five sections: opaque, metallic foil, tinted and transparent, glitter shells, and chrome cassettes to pair with Maxell XLII-S tape.

If you want to quickly run through all our cassette shell options, pull up the cassette selection guide to see what we currently have in stock!

Packaging

Here you can choose the type and colour of your cassette case. We have tons of Norelco cassette case colours in stock, so you can match them with your cassette shell colour if you so desire. We can also add special packaging to your Norelco cases, such as laser engraving designs to the case, or an outer O-Card which wraps around the cassette case, giving you an extra layer of artwork.

If you’re searching for deluxe packages, check out our cassette vinyl albums. They open like an audio book with enough additional space for a booklet, pins, or patches.

Cover Type

Here is where you’ll choose the format for your printed artwork. JP0 J-cards are standard three panels (front, spine, back), and you can add additional panels for liner notes, lyrics, or artwork. You may also choose between single or double-sided printing.

You can also choose your printed trapsheet artwork for cassette vinyl albums. 4/0 refers to single-sided printing, and 4/4 would be double-sided printing, though you’d want to combine the 4/4 trapsheets with our transparent cassette vinyl albums for the sake of visibility. You can add panel foldovers as inserts for your trapsheets as well.

Label Type

Now we’re at the customization stage! The label type is how you’d like to decorate the cassette itself. Paper labels are printed stickers that we place on the cassette, whereas pad print is an ink design that we stamp directly to the cassette and cannot be peeled off. Finally, laser etching is a laser-created engraving to the face of the cassette, permanently carving in your design. You can choose to have these label types on either one side or both sides of the cassette.

When you choose your label type you will receive a new set of options. Printed labels will ask you which label shape you’d like. We wrote a blog post that will give you visual examples of each label, so take a look before deciding!

Pad print will ask you which colour you’d like. Pad print is one colour only, though by special request we can print up to two colours on the cassette. ‘Pad print type’ depends on the size of your artwork. For simple text and a small logo choose ‘standard design’, but for halftone artwork, large solid areas, or extended print areas, choose ‘floods or halftones’. Finally, ‘single or double hit’ depends on how vibrant you’d like your pad print. If you’re printing a black image on a white shell, single hit will do. However, if you’re printing a light colour on a dark shell (such as yellow ink on a black cassette), we highly recommend double hit.

Download Codes

Download codes are absolutely essential for when you want the benefits and tangibility of physical media and not lose the convenience of digital files. We can host the album for you (max 250MB) and print digital download codes. Alternatively, you can supply us with codes to print if you have your own hosting, or even a list of Bandcamp download codes!

Obi-Strips

Obi-strips follow the Japanese aesthetic of album packaging, adding a printed strip of artwork and text to your case. Traditionally these included album descriptions and prices, but it’s your design, you do whatever you want with it! Choose between vertical or horizontal obi-strip orientations.

Test Tape

We sent you a newsletter about test tapes just last week, but to summarize, if you want to approve the audio quality of your cassette before mass production then you can add a test tape to your order. Keep in mind that it does not include printing and packaging, and it adds another 1 to 2 weeks to your order turntime.

Overwrap

If you want your cassette to arrive in mint condition, or if you’re planning on selling them in-store, we suggest adding overwrap to your order. An alternative option is our resealable clear bags which have an adhesive strip for multi-use and keeping your cassette immaculate.

Rush

We recently reinstated rush options! Our turntime is currently 5 to 8 weeks, but if you need your album with the quickness you can turn your quote into a rush order. Please note rush orders are measured in business days.

Quantity

This one’s easy. How many copies do you want?

UPS Shipping Option

UPS Standard Shipping is FREE for orders shipping to the United States and Canada! If you need your album immediately, we’d recommend the 2-day or overnight shipping options.

UPS Signature Delivery

We highly recommend choosing this option. This will ensure that your package arrives not just to your door, but to your hands. That way no mail carrier will leave it on your front porch for it to be stolen, or hand it over to negligent neighbours who immediately leave for vacation.

And that’s it!

Oh my God, did you read all of that? Well if you did, by now you surely know your way around our cassette duplication order form. All you have to do is ready your audio and artwork for upload (artwork templates here!), and visualize which packaging combination will look best on your merch table and checkout page.

Order cassette duplication today and receive FREE SHIPPING to the United States and Canada!

Get Higher-Resolution Pad Print Using Vector Artwork!

 

In the past couple of months we began experimenting with creating pad print plates using vector artwork. The results were astounding! Sharper text and images with an even quicker workflow. It’s time we got the word out— send us vector artwork for pad print!

How can you do that? When you’re designing pad print artwork in Photoshop or Illustrator and you’re entering a line of text, don’t rasterize said text, and don’t flatten the file. Turn the text and objects into work paths when using Photoshop, or turn them into outlines in Adobe Illustrator. This way when we print we won’t be using a bitmapped layer with resolution loss. Instead we’ll have sharp lines without the fuzziness you’d find in bitmap text. It will also help us print thinner lines that wouldn’t be possible otherwise, as our new laser engraver has 10x finer resolution, equal in quality to lithograph film.

If you don’t have the graphic design savvy to turn into work paths or outlines, another thing you could do is to keep the text layer as a text layer. That is to say do not rasterize the text, and do not flatten the file. We’ll do our best to turn the text into outlines on our end. Once you see the final results, you’ll be happy we did!

Black Dresses cassette

You can still submit the pad print files the old fashioned way, with rasterized text or bitmapped images. We have always prided ourselves in our excellent pad print quality, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive for even greater resolution. Just make sure to supply using the proper template based on your cassette shell. Vector artwork should be submitted using PDF, whereas bitmapped resolution can be supplied in PSD, PDF, TIFF, or PNG.

Pad print is available using our cassette duplication quote calculator. This is where you get your fully packaged album on cassette in one simple order. You’ll receive an instant quote on the page, so you can play around with the print and packaging options until you find the perfect package at a great price. FREE SHIPPING is included on orders to the United States and Canada!

Upgrade your J-cards to linen cardstock!

 

Looking to add some texture and style to your full-colour printed J-cards? We’ve added a new option to your cassette duplication orders that are sure to dazzle your fans: 100lb linen cover J-cards!

The difference in texture between these linen J-cards and our regular J-cards is immediately recognizable. Linen J-cards look and feel like an aged piece of art, appearing like dried paint on a canvas, while their uncoated finishing leaves them textured to the touch. Our linen J-cards are printed on “Solar White” cardstock. These have a brightness of 97% (read: blindingly bright) which makes all CMYK colours pop right off the page. They’re thicker than regular J-card stock, a whopping 11pt thickness as opposed to 7.5pt. We can print JP0s and JP1s using the linen stock.


“Humanity is a Sinking Ship” by Bricks (Flag Day Recordings)

You can add linen J-cards to your order by special request, just mention it in the ‘notes’ section of your cassette duplication order and we’ll hit you back with a modified quote.

We have other specialty J-card stock available by request. Mention them in the ‘notes’ section and we’ll revise your quote. If you’d like to order only printed J-cards using special paper, send us an email.

• 100lb smooth uncoated text
• 80lb White Enviro uncoated cover
• 12pt white C2S (coated both sides)
• 14pt white C2S (coated both sides )
• 100lb cover stock, smooth finish
• 20lb pink (photocopy paper)
• 20lb blue (photocopy paper)

We’re always looking to help and innovate, so if you have a particular paper stock in mind, or a wild packaging idea, just give us a shout and we’ll figure out the logistics with you!

Order cassette duplication and receive FREE SHIPPING to the United States and Canada

Calendar Cases for Art Prints

Need ways to sell your art prints online or at the merch table? Calendar Cases are a unique solution to storing printed material, allowing you to sell your artwork in durable packaging!

Calendar Cases from Duplication.ca

Calendar Cases are the same size as a CD jewel case, with a slot which holds up to 12 cards or prints. The maximum dimensions for the insert cards are approximately 137mm x 121 mm (5.39″ x 4.73″). They aren’t only designed to hold art, but also to display art! Fold the front panel back to display the top card like a picture frame.

We’re fully equipped to print your artwork for you. We use a 12pt cardstock with digital print, so your artwork will feel durable and look vibrant. Calendar Cards are traditionally used for monthly calendars to be placed on your desk or in your office, so let us know if you need to help designing your inserts or are in need of a calendar template! They’re also great for storage of recipes, index cards, and more.

Calendar Cases from Duplication.ca

You no longer need to deal with the logistics of safely mailing art prints. Using our Calendar Cases avoids the risk of a postal sorting machine or mail carrier bending and tearing your work. Sending out your prints is now as easy as shipping a CD!

Order Calendar Cases from the online store

Also available with 12 professionally printed images

We have special deals for those who wish to order wholesale. Get in contact with us!

Silkscreen Disc Printing for CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray

Silkscreen disc printing is not only the standard approach to CD graphics, but the best quality print you can get for your album. Compared to inkjet print you’ll see better colour accuracy, waterproof protection so the ink won’t run when wet, and no risk of bleeding or banding. At Duplication.ca we offer a number of silkscreen disc printing options, starting at 1-colour print all the way to full CMYK printing. Have trouble visualizing it? Let’s break it down for you!

1 color silkscreen disc printing

1-Colour Silkscreen

The simplest and most affordable option, ideal for when you’re only interested in text (artist title, album title, tracklisting, whatever you have in mind!) We can print any colour on silver disc, or use a one-colour flood with a silver disc knockout like pictured above.

2 color silkscreen disc printing

2-Colour Silkscreen

This is a good option if you want text or an illustration with a solid colour background. With 2-colour silkscreen you immediately see the advantage over inkjet printing. Solid colour floods without any streaks, and only for pennies more than 1-colour silkscreen. This is the best value silkscreen print option.

3 color silkscreen disc printing

3-Colour Silkscreen

With 3-colour silkscreen you can begin designing much more complex images and illustrations for your CD artwork, without the bleeding you may find with inkjet print.

CMYK + White silkscreen disc printing

CMYK + White Silkscreen

If you want to print a photo image, CMYK is the way to go. First thing we do is add a white flood so every colour can pop off the disc. From there we have no limitations, we can print press photos or any design you’d like, just like a major label release.

Now that you know more about the silkscreen process, we leave the choice to you. No matter which option you choose you will receive professional quality silkscreen printing from our dedicated and eagle-eyed technicians. For designing tips you can check out our silkscreen tutorial page. If you have further questions simply email us, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

Click here to view our CD replication calculator and receive an instant quote on your order

Country of Origin labels for cassettes, CDs, vinyl, and print

Duplication.ca Canadian cassette manufacturing

If you are an American artist or label ordering media from Duplication.ca, you need to know about Country of Origin regulations! It can save you a lot of time, stress, and even money.

In short, manufactured media and print exported to the United States need to have the Country of Origin clearly marked on the packaging. This covers cassettes, CDs, vinyl, books, and more. Duplication.ca is a Canadian manufacturer, thus we highly recommend that “Manufactured in Canada” or “Made in Canada” appear on the artwork.

Noise Drone Repeat - Made in Canada

Typically this is placed on the back of the package, but it can be anywhere on the case as long as it’s visible from the outside. Please note that the Country of Origin has to appear on each individual unit, not the shipping container or box.

The country of origin is required not only when we ship to you, it is also required when you ship to distributors, and especially if you try to cross a border with the product in your vehicle. If you don’t put the country of origin, your product could be stopped at the border and you would be responsible for all transport and labelling expenses to apply labels to the product.

One could make the argument with American customs that an order of 25 cassettes is not for resale. However, if you’re ordering hundreds of CDs or vinyl, we strongly urge you to add “Made in Canada” to the artwork. These are not shipping fees you will want to pay for twice.

We also offer “Manufactured in Canada” stickers to place on the cases.

Girls Like Gum - Made in Canada

The United Kingdom does not require a Country of Origin, but some countries other than the United States may. We recommend you do your research if you are ordering from overseas, and see what your country of residence requires when importing media and printed goods.

That’s all you need to do to make sure there are no surprises from the border. As always, shipping to the United States is FREE when you order cassette duplication. Click here for more info and an instant quote!

 

Audio cassette sticker label guide

Sticker labels are an excellent choice for audio cassettes if you want to show off a killer design in vivid colours. Something to keep in mind when graphic designing is that our stickers aren’t one size fits all, we actually have a few models to choose from. Some mesh better with certain cassette shells than others. Here’s an overview of our different cassette label templates to make your next cassette duplication order even easier!

STANDARD WHITE

These smooth labels have diagonal corners on the top with rounded corners on the bottom. In addition to the regular matte stock is a high gloss version which gives your colours an extra shine. Our 12-up sheets (which is to say 12 labels per page) allow for full bleed, so you can make your images extra large to ensure no artwork will be cut off at the printers.

SQUARE BOTTOM CORNERS

These are similar to the Standard White labels, but instead of rounded corners they have square corners at the bottom. These do not allow for full bleed, so if you’re not careful with your home printing you may find that some of the artwork at the bottom of the label may appear at the top due to a shaky printer. For this reason we suggest using solid colour backgrounds, like the Mothra Stewart tape above (great band name.)

We have a variety of Square Bottom Corner labels! All of them are available on the cassette duplication calculator:
Glossy White Square Bottom
Brown Kraft
Clear Labels
Solid Colour labels

Ezekiel Tha Prophet

FOUR ROUNDED CORNERS (CL4RC)

Pretty self-explanatory, all four of the corners are rounded! They’re printed on matte paper, giving a visceral texture to your cassette. The labels are full bleed, so you need not worry when designing your artwork!

Visit our website to download sticker label templates and get designing!


Which label is right for your cassette?

Chum Out

All you have to do is look at the cassette shell! For example, the Chum Out cassette above is using our ‘Old Computer’ shell, which has beveled style frame. The frame cuts diagonally on the top corners, meaning that you will want to use either our Standard White or Square Bottom Corner style labels.

CL4RC02 Concrete Coloured Paint

Meanwhile, our black cassette shells have rounded corners across the edges, so you’re safe to use the Four Rounded Corners sticker labels without worrying about overlap! Of course, you could use the Standard White labels with this style of shell as well, it’s just a matter of personal preference.


If you have questions about particular shells, don’t hesitate to send us an email, we want to make cassette duplication as smooth of an experience as possible for you. Make sure to check out the cassette selection guide for high-res pictures of our cassette shells.

Order cassette duplication with sticker labels and receive FREE SHIPPING to the United States and Canada

Want to print them yourself? Buy blank sticker labels through the online store

Creating Pad-Print and Laser Engraving Art Using Canva

If you need to create artwork using an online design service like Canva, here’s how you can go about it.

Our platemaker and Laser engraver operates at 1000 pixels per inch so we’ve created the pad print and laser engraving template as 5 x 5 inches with 1000 ppi resolution (5000 x 5000 pixels). The template files are found on our template page. For Canva you will need the JPG template like this one.

​In Canva you can create a document of 5000 x 5000 pixels, then import this template image and resize it to fill the entire canvas. Your cassette art must be done only in BLACK, no colors. Change the transparency of the template to see what you’re doing.

When you’re done, delete the template image, and then download the art.