CD/DVD Printing - FAQ

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Digital Printing

What is digitally printed optical media?

Digital printing is a new service offered by Diversified Systems for custom labeling optical media (CD-R and DVD-R).  Employing a thermal transfer process, a high resolution (600+ dpi), digitally prepared, full color image is directly adhered to the surface of the optical disc. The resulting print is magazine quality, can have either a high gloss or matte appearance, is water proof, scratch resistant and meets all industry standards for optical disc labeling.

When should I consider digital printing for optical disc labeling?

If you are printing full color images (CMYK) or photographs, images that have a high degree of graduated half-tones, or smaller volume runs of spot color artwork and you are not concerned about PMS color matching, digital printing may be just the ticket for you.  The digital process produces the highest resolution image available for optical media printing and it is very cost effective for smaller volume printing requirements.

When should I consider other methods of printing rather than digital printing?

If you are printing line artwork, are looking for exact PMS color matching, or are printing larger volume runs you may want to consider silk-screening.  Silk-screening uses pre-mixed inks to achieve exact pantone color matching, works well with basic line art and can be more cost effective for printing larger runs than digital printing.

What is Variable Data Printing?

Variable data printing is a unique feature of digital printing that allows users to customize each and every disc.  With variable data printing users can serialize each disc, change text on each disc, or even print different graphic images on each disc without incurring significant cost increases.  Ask your customer service representative for more information on variable data printing services and how they can help you save time and money.

How long will it take to print my discs using the digital process?

Please allow 4-5 working days to process your order from the time we have received proof approval on your disc artwork.  Shipping time can add from 1-5 days depending on your proximity to our Redmond, Washington facility.

How can I send artwork to Diversified Systems for custom printed optical media?

You may send your artwork electronically via our website  In the upper right hand corner of the website is a link to Upload Files.  Clicking on this link you will be asked several basic questions about your application and then for the file name to be uploaded.  The file(s) will be directly sent to our graphic arts production center for review and pre-flighting.  A copy of the file upload information is also sent to the sales person responsible for handling your order.  You may also send your artwork to us on a CD-R, DVD-R, or floppy diskette.  Send your artwork to Diversified Systems, 8700 148th Avenue NE, Redmond, Washington, 98052.  Please send artwork to your sales person responsible for handling your order.

How should I prepare my artwork?

You must supply us with artwork for the disc placed in our template. You can download the templates here or by clicking on the templates link at the top of the page. The template should not be flattened..  If you need additional help or have questions, our graphics department is ready, willing and able to provide assistance.  We also can provide full artwork design for all printing services offered by Diversified Systems.

What is your process for proofing the artwork?

Artwork supplied by clients will be pre-flighted and proofed via email within 24-48 hours of receipt by the Diversified Systems graphics department.  Email proofs should be checked for proper design and text layout, spelling, and correct color separations where provided.  Clients need to provide written approval for all projects prior to production commencing.  Whenever possible, please use the proofing links provided in your emailed PDF proofs for communicating your approval or corrections to the graphics department.

Can you do the artwork for me?

Yes! We have a fully-staffed art department available. Please call us at 800-255-3142 or email us at to discuss your project.

Silk Screen Printing

How long does it take to custom screen-print optical media?

The length of time it takes to run your custom screen-print project can vary depending on many things. After your artwork is submitted, it must be proofed by the art department and a copy will be sent to you for final approval. When we receive final approval, it takes approximately a day to receive films and burn screens, and then 4-5 days to run your order. Ask your customer service representative if you require expedited delivery and we will make every effort to accommodate your deadline.

What are Diversified Systems capabilities for screen-printing optical media?

Diversified Systems has some of the most reliable and consistent production and turn times in the industry, due in part to our ability to print large quantities daily without sacrificing print quality. With Autotec and Dubuit presses in house, our capacity for screen printed media can easily exceed 75,000 discs per day. These presses are recognized for their ability to deliver exceptional throughput as well as remarkable registration and print quality.

What is a film and why do I need it for screen-printing?

Film is what helps us create your final project. Similar to film used in a camera, it “captures” the image of your artwork. This film is then applied to a special fabric. An emulsion is applied and the film burns your image onto a screen.

What is a screen?

This is where the term “silk screen” comes from. Although we no longer use silk, a special fabric is mounted on a metal frame and a photosensitive emulsion is applied. It is exposed to light with your film in place and then it is developed. This “screen” is then mounted on the printing press and will only allow ink through in the areas designated by your artwork. Without the screen there would be no print.

What is a PMS color?

PMS stands for Pantone Matching System. This is the international authority on color standards for printing. When you ask us to print a particular PMS color, we will refer to this standard to make sure we are printing the color correctly.

What do you mean by CMYK?

A CMYK print is a four-color process job that allows for full-color printing on your disc. The CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, respectively.

Should I use a white flood when printing a CMYK job?

This is generally a good idea. CMYK images are made to print on a white background; however the reflective surface of the media may provide a different, desirable effect for certain images.

What level of resolution can I expect with screen-printing?

Our film is output at 2400 DPI and halftone images are at 150 lines per inch unless requested at a lower resolution.

How do you know exactly what color to use on my order?

A PMS color is selected (for example, PMS 185 red), or you can provide a sample of the color you want.

Can you match a special color?

Yes, we can. We take your color sample and send it to our ink supplier to be matched. This process can take a little longer, as we need to supply you with a proof of the color to approve, so please keep that in mind when planning your order.

Why does my disc have a different appearance than my brochure?

Screen print inks use different pigments than offset inks. Our colors are actually a simulation of the PMS color. Also, offset inks are truly transparent and blend together on the sheets of paper. Screen inks are fairly opaque and print one on top of the other, creating a three dimensional image.

Why does the color change on different brands of CD and DVD media?

Manufacturers use various colored dyes that cause the background and sometimes the ink to take on a slightly different cast.

Why does the color change under different lighting?

Any color you see is actually reflected light. If you are in full sunlight you will see what is called full spectrum. If you are in subdued or artificial lighting you will see only the colors that are available through this more limited spectrum of light waves.

Why does a half-tone image appear so light on a silver lacquer disc?

This is due to the lack of contrast. The disc is about 20% darker then a white sheet of paper, therefore the picture appears flat. The increased reflectivity of the disc can also affect the appearance of half-tone printing. If this is a concern to you, but you still wish to use a silver lacquer disc, consider a white flood or a clear coat matte flood prior to printing your job.

Should I have a proof disc done first?

This can be a very good idea, especially if the appearance of the final product is critical and/or you are ordering in large quantities. A proof disc is really the only way for you to see exactly what your finished job will look like.

Does the print process affect duplication?

No, it does not. The inks and UV driers are made to work with CD and DVD media. The handling systems on the press protect the recording surface during the printing process to ensure you can still record on your media.

Can you do the artwork for me?

Yes! We have a fully-staffed art department available. Please call us at 800-255-3142 or email us at to discuss your project.