A Guide to CD On-body Prints – Printing Techniques and Designs

monotypepressing cd on body printing

CD on-body prints, also called CD labels, refer in the CD production process to the designs, images, and text that are directly printed onto the surface of a CD or DVD. These prints serve as the visual representation of the content stored within the disc and play a crucial role in the aesthetic appeal of your CD release. CD on-body prints offer a unique opportunity for artists and musicians to leave a lasting impression on their audience. They serve as a canvas for creative expression, allowing you to integrate captivating visuals and compelling messaging. In today’s crowded marketplace where physical media competes with digital formats, well-executed on-body prints can differentiate your CD from other artists and musicians, capturing the attention of both existing and potential audiences. Whether through eye-catching graphics, memorable artwork, or informative text, CD on-body prints play an important role in communicating the essence of the content contained within while leaving a memorable impression on your audience. Now, let’s explore the various printing techniques and design options available!

Disc Perfection: Navigating CD On-Body Printing Techniques

When it comes to CD on-body printing, there are several techniques commonly employed in the CD pressing process, each with its own advantages and limitations. Let’s explore each method:

CD Screen Printing

Screen printing is a widely-used technique for CD on-body prints, especially for designs requiring large areas of colour, letters only, or vector shapes. The process involves pushing ink through a mesh screen onto the surface of the CD, creating a uniform and vibrant colour effect with sharp edges. However, one of the drawbacks of screen printing is that each colour in the design requires a separate matrix, which can significantly increase production costs, especially for designs with multiple colours.

Pantone Screen Printing

Good for: large areas of colour, letters only, vector shapes

File Preparation: Files for screen printing need to be prepared in vectors with colours set to 100%, without tonal transitions, to ensure optimal results.

CD Offset Printing

Offset printing is a traditional printing method commonly used for high-volume CD on-body prints. It involves transferring ink from a plate to a rubber blanket before applying it to the surface of the CD. Offset printing is well-suited for designs requiring high ink saturation, like photos or illustrations, and provides consistent and high-quality results. However, it may not be cost-effective for small print runs due to the setup costs involved in creating printing plates. Designs with low ink saturation or large areas of colour may result in unsightly stripes or inconsistencies in print quality.

Good for: photos, illustrations

File Preparation: Files for offset printing should also be prepared as regular PDFs for CMYK printing, with high ink saturations to ensure optimal results.

CMYK Offset Printing with White Base
CMYK Offset Printing with Partial White Base
CMYK Offest Printing with Silver Base

→Attention! We do not recommend using CMYK for large areas of single color with a white base in offset printing. Horizontal stripes might be visible.

CD Digital Printing

Digital printing is ideal for CD on-body prints with low print runs or designs featuring bright illustrations and low ink levels. Unlike offset printing, digital printing doesn’t require the creation of printing plates, making it more cost-effective for small quantities. It offers flexibility in handling various designs, including those with bright backgrounds or pastel colours. However, digital printing may not achieve the same level of colour saturation or vibrancy as offset printing, especially for large areas of colour.

Good for: low print runs, bright illustrations, low ink levels

File Preparation: Files for digital printing should be prepared as regular PDFs for CMYK printing to ensure accurate colour reproduction.

Digital Print with White Base
Digital Print with Silver Base

Regardless of the chosen CD printing technique, it’s important to note that white primer is required for digital and offset printing, as these inks are transparent. In contrast, screen printing inks are opaque and typically do not require a primer. Each printing method offers its own set of advantages and considerations, so selecting the most suitable technique depends on factors such as print quantity, design complexity, and budget constraints.

The Power of Contrast: White Backgrounds for Vibrant, High-Contrast Prints

In each of these cd printing techniques, whether screen, digital or offset printing, you can additionally opt for a white background. In our configurator you can therefore choose between four different CD on-body prints:

monotype monotypepressing cd audio dvd disc on body print cmyk white base
monotype monotypepressing cd audio dvd disc on body print cmyk silver base
monotype monotypepressing cd audio dvd disc on body print pantone white base
monotype monotypepressing cd audio dvd disc on body print pantone silver base

A white background in CD on-body printing refers to the layer of white ink that is applied beneath the other colours on the surface of the CD. This white layer acts as a base and can influence the appearance of the final print in various ways.

→ Note: Pantone CD On-body prints are screen-printed.

File Preparation: The file for a white base should be prepared as for screen printing – in vectors, colour set to 100%, without tonal transitions.

CMYK + Full White Base
CMYK + Silver with partially White Base
CMYK + Full Silver Base

When to Use a White Background:

For artworks that include lighter colours or pastel shades, a white background can prevent the underlying CD surface from showing through, ensuring that the colours remain opaque and vivid.

Using a white base can make colours appear more vibrant and true to their intended hue.

When you want elements of your design to pop or stand out more prominently, a white background can create contrast, making the colours and details appear sharper and more defined.

Examples of CD releases with white base:

When Not to Use a White Background:

If your design includes areas where you want the underlying CD surface to remain visible or if you’re aiming for a translucent effect, using a white background may not be suitable as it would obscure these areas.

For minimalist artworks or those with a focus on simplicity and negative space, adding a white background may detract from the intended aesthetic. In such cases, leaving parts of the CD surface bare can contribute to the overall design concept.

Examples of CD releases with silver base:

→Do’s and Don’ts: Keep in mind, that when using bright-coloured letters on the CD, they are less visible then dark-couloured letters.

Bright-coloured letters
Dark-coloured letters


In conclusion, mastering the art of CD on-body printing involves understanding the various techniques available and their respective strengths and limitations. Screen printing offers vibrant colours and sharp edges but may incur higher production costs for designs with multiple colours. Digital printing provides flexibility and cost-effectiveness for small print runs but may lack the saturation of offset printing for larger areas of colour. Offset printing, while traditional and capable of high-quality results, may pose challenges for low ink saturation designs or small print runs due to setup costs. Regardless of the chosen technique, the option to include a white background adds versatility to the design process, enhancing colour vibrancy, opacity, and contrast in the final print. However, careful consideration should be given to whether a white background is appropriate for the specific design aesthetic and requirements.

Check out our CD label template, our useful information section on how to prepare files for CD production, our FAQ section for printing, or feel free to contact us directly if you have any other questions.