• Lithographic offset print
The industry standard for labelling and printing on high volumes of discs, lithographic printing is an innovative printing method involving the creation of what is known as printing plates. These plates can be made from photographic negatives, which are processed using a traditional photo production method where the negatives are bathed in chemicals. Images can likewise be processed directly from a computer to a plating machine in a procedure known as the CTP or computer to plate process. The plates are imposed onto rubber blanket cylinders within a specialised printing machine (thus the term offsetting, as plate imagery are offset onto the cylinders). The cylinders then apply the appropriate colours onto the disc’s printing side.
• Silk screen print
Silk screen printing uses the basic principle of traditional screen printing where ink is passed through a mesh or screen. The mesh is stretched on a frame together with an outline or stencil of the image to be printed. The open areas of the stencil allow the ink to flow through, leaving a nice, clean print on the disc. A four-color process, screen printing on CDs, much like screen printing on garments and fabrics is more suited for designs that use solid colours rather than those with colour gradients.
• Inkjet print
Inkjet printing is a cost-efficient option for those with low-volume printing requirements. The great thing about inkjet is that it can be used to produce a wide range of design styles, including solid colour and photographic images. This type of CD printing uses principles and technologies similar to home inkjet colour printers.
• Thermal print
In thermal printing, images are sent directly from the computer to the print machinery. The machine uses transfer ribbons that pass below a heated printing head, thus enabling ink transfer. Thermal outputs are waterproof and don’t require additional procedures to keep the print intact, unlike inkjet prints.