CD LABEL PRINTING 101
The CD label is equally important as your album’s booklet and packaging. It makes your CD look professional because people would know you really had your album manufactured in a professional CD manufacturing house. Besides, the CD is your main product so you should make the CD label look great.
Printing the CD label is a very different story from printing the rest of your artwork. It is much different because you’ll be printing on plastic- and not on paper like digipaks and booklets. Paper is printed in standard CMYK while CDs are printed using spot colors. Printing CMYK on discs doesn’t work partly because ink is not absorbed into the plastic.
What is a spot color?
A spot color is a color produced by a single, individual ink and is printed using a single run. This means each color is not a combination of individual inks (not like CMYK) and that each spot color needs its own lithographic film during printing.
Advantages of spot color printing
One great advantage of spot colors to CMYK is that it can make metallic and fluorescent colors. The UV coating is another advantage. It creates the illusion of different textures to your disc surface. That’s the rough layer when you touch your CDs.
Challenges of spot color printing
Because spot color printing is more complicated and expensive, it is advisable that you only use a few colors (3-4) and your go for simpler designs. That artwork of a colorful garden of roses would work with paper but it might look ugly when printed directly to the plastic disc.
Using only 3 to 4 colors may be a disadvantage but that’s where your creativity is tested. Work around it and create something just as striking without using 25 thousand colors.
Since the discs are shiny silver, you can incorporate this to your design by leaving spaces with no ink. Isn’t that just clever? It would save you a few dollars, too. Just play with it and don’t make it look too generic. Here’s a very easy Photoshop tutorial on how to make CD labels.
Here are some creative CD labels that might inspire you.
You do not have to put any text in your CD label if it would lessen the overall appeal.
Look how they extended the artwork to the CD label so it results in one solid concept.
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