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What type of printing options are best for your CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disc face?

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At Advanced Media Integration, we utilize the latest CD, DVD, and Blu-ray disc face printing techniques including silk screen, offset, and inkjet. Depending on factors such as cost, turnaround time, artwork setup, and quantity, each of these methods offers its own advantages and disadvantages. Finding out which printing process works best for you before you start your next audio or video project can save you time and money as well as ensure your discs turn out just as you envisioned.

Silk Screen

Silk-screen

Silk screen printing is the most common process used for printing on replicated discs. This technique is ideal for irregular surfaces such as CDs, DVDs, and blu-rays or cloth products such as t-shirts and table cloths. Utilizing the CMYK color model, silk screen printing offers a full range of color as well as white. Your disc face artwork is used to print negative films, one for each color used. These films are then used to transfer the image to screens that will be mounted to the press. As the screens are covered with ink, a rubber squeegee pushes color through onto the disc surface. This process is then repeated for each individual color.

Advantages of silk screen are that it is printed at 120 lpi (lines per inch) on a typical CD, DVD, and Blu-ray. Additionally, silk screen prints are both scratch and water resistant and has a benefit of increased turnaround time compared to offset printing. Two of the limitations of silk screen printing is that is does require a minimum of 500-1000 piece order. Additionally, while silk screen looks great on art work with solid backgrounds or colors, highly detailed prints such as photos and images look washed out and slightly blurry.

Color Guide

 Offset

Offset printing uses a different method than silk screen printing. A set of plates are created, either using films as described in silk screen printing or etched directly from the artwork. Once attached to the press, these plates roll over an inkpad picking up the proper color. These plates then roll over the disc to apply the ink.

With offset printing, there is more control over color and detail. A huge advantage is that the image can be printed up to 175 lpi; this allows for much more detailed prints. Plus, the ink can be applied at a much thinner coat which gives the disc a smoother feel. Offset printed discs are also scratch and water resistant. Three disadvantages with offset printing are that you can only use 4 color process artwork, the turnaround time is more than silk-screen, and they also require a 500-1000 piece order. However, if you have detailed artwork and can spare additional turnaround time, offset printing is the way to go.

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Inkjet

Inkjet printing uses a standalone printer to provide 2400-4800 dpi resolution on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray discs. Discs are individually direct to disc printed and dried in a matter of 20 seconds to 2 minutes. While inkjet printing does not provide the same look and feel of offset or silk screen printing, inkjet does offer quantity, turnaround time, and cost flexibility. Regardless of the quantity of discs you need, inkjet printing can provide 1000-2000 discs in less than 24 hours. Both white and silver discs are available for duplication orders, as well as hub and non-hub printable discs. Inkjet printing does suffer some slight shifting and color variation, plus the discs are not waterproof.    

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