I'm preparing album cover artwork -- I'm going to print some vinyl. The mfr recommends a disco jacket as the inner sleeve for 180g vinyl because it resists the vinyl tearing a hole over time. Their description says these disco jackets are printed on 12 pt board stock. I'd like to use their upgrade option and print the uncoated side because I want the inner sleeve to truly feel like a relic from a century ago. The mfr has a strong warning about dot gain when printing uncoated stock:
Unfinished / Uncoated stock is what you are looking for if you want no trace of gloss whatsoever. Your design is printed straight onto uncoated paper stock – no gloss, no finishing coat – just ink and paper. Unfinished stock creates very different results than coated stock due to how the ink is absorbed into the paper during the printing process. If you would like to work with unfinished stock, make sure you or your designer has experience designing for uncoated print as there will be “dot gain” that darkens up the design and makes proofing totally unpredictable. Most newbies are disappointed with the look of their graphics when printed on uncoated stock because they don’t properly compensate for this dot-gain-darkening phenomenon. We warn you now, you are responsible for knowing how to design for uncoated and we can’t credit you or redo your print if you are unhappy with the outcome so ask a lot of questions and plan for the worse.
My design will have a ww1 trench map like this one or perhaps this french one on the front and I plan to print lyrics and credits in a plain font (like garamond) on the back with perhaps some simple vector graphics.
My question is this: How should I prepare my artwork to avoid dot gain problems when printing on uncoated stock? I'd like to print the disco jackets on the 12 pt board stock, but may opt for the uncoated 70lb paper sleeve. I want the uncoated stock because I expect it will have that vintage old-book feeling. I would point out that my lyrics and credits text will probably just be laid out with Adobe Garamond as a font, presumably on a white background, but the trench maps from wikipedia appear to already have a yellowed patina coloring. I'd like my lyrics/credits to match the 'yellowness' of the trench map. Should I add yellowed paper backgrounds to my designs? I fear that adding some scanned parchment pattern as background image could easily result in a very artificial-looking result. I guess I could stain some watercolor paper with tea or coffee and scan it, but worry that the CMYK printing might easily look very fake. This brings up another question: What is a good method for matching my new lyrics/credits text match the yellowed look of the original map, and look authentically old? Keep in mind I'm dealing with a) uncoated stock and b) concerned about it looking fake -- e.g., using some small tiled parchment image seems like a bad idea.
Most critically, I'd like to make sure the credits are legible and the trench map looks authentic. I understand that rich blacks reduce clarity and I should probably color text with C/M/Y/K plain black of 0/0/0/100. I also have noticed that when I open those images from wikipedia in photoshop that they are RGB. If I open the document in PS and use the eyedropper tool to sample one of the trench map blacks, I see C/M/Y/K values for a couple of black pixels of 22/22/0/96 or 23/27/0/88, which appears to be some kind of 'rich black' rather than a 'plain black'. Mfr says artwork should be provided as CMYK, not RGB, so I'm wondering what steps I should take to convert the image.
EDIT: Rafael asked if this would be offset or digital job. The mfr's FAQ suggests that they use offset printing for jackets (presumably including disco jackets or printed sleeves):
Jackets, booklets, inserts, vinyl record labels, etc are all printed using the offset process. We can even print full-color images onto CDs and DVDs using offset. Sometime, short run inserts and fold-overs covers can be printed using a high quality digital press because they now offer the same great look and quality of offset at a lower price point.