You should always have labels on your CDs.
For professionalism and so people know which way the disc should be facing when putting it in a CD player.
However, there are four methods for printing labels on your CDs. Which one is best for you?
Let’s review the four options and decide:
Lithographic (offset) printing
Lithographic printing is where your artwork is placed on a processing plate using a chemical treatment. The plate is then ‘offset’, or imposed onto a rubber blanket cylinder. This is then pressed onto the surface of the CD to create the print.
- Pros: It looks great, provides high-quality photographic printing and sharp text.
- Cons: It is only possible when replicating discs, not while duplicating.
Overall, this process is great if you need more than 1000 discs, however it typically isn’t the cheapest option.
Thermal transfer printing
Thermal transfer printing is when each colour is set onto a transfer ribbon and then applied beneath a heated print head. This creates a seal, making the disc waterproof and smudge free.
- Pros: Taken directly from the computer, fast, cost-effective in small runs and it looks great.
- Cons: You can’t print right up to the edge of the disc and you may need a white base to print other colours on it.
This process passes ink through a monofilament screen, where each colour is applied separately.
- Pros: It is the cheapest option for large batches and great for simple designs with minimal colours.
- Cons: Grainy effects often occur around the colour gradients and text. Also, the more colours you use, the lower quality it will look.
Inkjet printing entails printing directly onto a specially prepared disc. After that, the disc is covered with a UV-resistant lacquer to prevent fading and scratches.
- Pros: Very high-quality finish.
- Cons: Pricier for large batches (since the price is fixed).
Overall, each one of these four CD label printing techniques is a viable option, but hopefully with the guidance above you can narrow down which printing option works best for your project. We understand that price and quality are usually the determining factors for printing on CDs so we tried to focus primarily on that.