There are four different methods to choose from when it comes to producing your labels, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
The first option available is Lithographic Printing. In this process the design would be transferred onto a processing plate, this is done through the application of chemicals. The offset plate is then imposed onto a rubber cylinder and finally the image is transferred onto the CD (or other substrate).
There are many benefits to lithographic printing. It produces a high quality finish along with visibly sharper text. It can create very clear impressions thanks to the use of the soft rubber cylinders and can also print onto a variety of different substrates such as cloth, metal, plastic and wood. It has great versatility enabling it to do short, medium and long print runs both cheaply and quickly. This method of printing is regularly used for magazines, newspapers and books.
In relation to printing CD labels, the disadvantage of Lithographic printing is it’s only designed to replicate discs and not duplicate them.
Next is Thermal Transfer Printing. This is great for printing onto any substrate that may endure a more demanding environment as they can be produced onto highly durable materials. This form of printing involves each individual colour being transferred onto a ribbon where the colours are then applied under heated print heads. This creates a seal which gives you a finished product which is both waterproof and smudge proof.
Thermal transfer printing is highly reliable and is produced through the use of a printer. Its fast, creates a good quality finish and is also cost effective for smaller print runs. The disadvantage of this method is its inability to print right up to the edge of a substrate and may require a white base layer before the application of colour.
Another alternative is Silkscreen Printing. The ink here is transferred through a monofilament screen and each colour is then applied separately. It is the cheapest option for large batches and has the ability to produce interesting and unique effects. The colours produced are vivid and the ink used is very durable. It can create heavy layers of ink which can make it ideal for braille labelling and outdoor use. It also benefits from being abrasion and fade resistant.
Unfortunately for this method of printing it does tend to create grainy effects on its finished products, mainly around the colour gradients and text. It’s not the best option for multiple colours as it then creates lower quality finishes. It is also not suited for anything containing very fine lines.
Your final option is that of the Inkjet Printer. This method works by directly printing onto prepared discs which are then covered in a UV resistant lacquer. This means that the finished CD would be fade and scratch resistant. It can print fine and smooth details through the use of the higher print head resolution and also benefits from a high finish quality, high speed printing and is cost effective.
The only disadvantage to Inkjet Printing is unfortunately the cost, because print runs are charged at a fixed rate it’s likely to be a more expensive option for larger batches.
Labelservice is a leading label supplier in the UK. For more information about which printing process is best for your print needs please contact us today.