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CD Printing for Designers

We have worked with some wonderful CD designers over the years both in Australia and across the globe, and developed a technical knowledge base for CD printing to suit any project. If you are a designer seeking to produce an interesting design on the CD, Replicat, Australia, can provide expert technical print advice on the full range of different print methods available including:

  • Standard high resolution CMYK offset CD printing
  • Complex high resolution CMYK plus solid Pantone offset CD printing
  • Solid Pantone colour screen-printing
  • Special metallic and fluorescent Pantone inks
  • Full surface gloss and matt varnishes,
  • Detailed spot UV varnishes
  • Matt finish inks (which look fantastic combined with spot UV)
  • Custom white bases that leave part silver surface of the CD showing through the design
  • Special masks to leave the outer 79mm to 120mm surface of the CD completely clear
  • Full surface metallising to keep colour consistent in the centre even if you hold the disc up to light
  • Screen, offset, thermal and premium inkjet techniques for blank media.
 
The most common form of CD Printing is high resolution CMYK offset printing. This technique is typically used for intricate designs and colour photograph images. A white base is used to provide a neutral base layer for the print, since most CMYK designs will look faded if printed directly to the silver surface of the CD. We can also add a solid Pantone colour to the design if a combination of CMYK + solid colour is required.
 
CMYK offset is not suitable for some designs however. If you are preparing a design that is made up of text, logos and large blocks of solid colour, then we highly recommend Pantone screen-printing as an alternative for your CD printing.
 
Why? Pantone inks are mixed to an exact standard colour formula that allows designers to specify the exact colour they want to appear on the CD. The ink batch remains identical in colour throughout the run and between different batches if you are producing reruns. The colours are also more ‘vibrant’ than CMYK equivalents and it is possible to create a wide range of colours with Pantone (including metallic and fluorescent inks) that cannot be generated with CMYK or process inks.
 
CMYK offset printing, or process colour printing, is still the best alternative for printing CDs with high resolution colour photographs or intricate designs on a CD, but there are certain limits to the colours and designs that can be printed on a CD face using CMYK offset printing.
 
The #1 problem with CMYK or process offset printing is that it is very difficult to hold a consistent colour through the batch for various solid tertiary colours including browns, oranges and purples. All CMYK colours are actually made up of different sized cyan (C) magenta (M) yellow (Y) and black (K) dots on a surface. The size and position of the dots determines the colour that our human eye can see. CMYK printing is actually an optical illusion. If you look very closely (i.e. with a magnifying glass) you will be able to see the dot structure that makes up the image. Slight variations in printing plate pressure across the uneven surface of a CD will cause differences in dot size and composition and result in an inconsistent colour.
 
We can offer advice, based on your intended design, on the most appropriate type of printing for your CD. And if you would like to contact us before designing the disc to explore the full range of print options, we’d be delighted. We love projects that are a little different - and designers that are a little clever.