Here you'll find illustrations and explanations of many of our most popular CD- and DVD- related products.  if you aren't that familiar with the products you're looking to make, this section will hopefully help explain the terminology in a way that will make the process easier and error-free.  it also includes examples of various cd replication packagingupgrades that you might be wondering about–some of these can be done at no charge, while others will require custom quotes.  If there's a custom item you may want to add, include a note about it when you save your estimate or place your order.  from there we can tell you what it will add to your order and set up the customization if you decide to proceed with it. 

CDs & DVDs: Production & Printing Processes, Packaging Styles, & Add-ons

CD Replication / DVD Replication
In the CD replication and DVD replication process, we create a "glass master" with a laser beam recorder.  From that master, we create the "glass master stamper," which we use to "stamp" the information onto raw polycarbonate material, which gets  formed into round discs.  Directly after making the discs, we print the artwork right onto the surface of the CD or DVD, using either offset printing or silkscreen printing.  

CD Duplication / DVD Duplication
Also called CD-R Duplication or DVD-R Duplication, this process happens a lot differently. In duplication, we start by printing onto the CD-R and DVD-R media using a high resolution print method.  We use specially formulated blank discs (AKA blank CD-R media and DVD-R media).  These are similar to what you might find in an office supply store, except they have a white surface to enhance the printed look of the finished product...and of course no branding info pre-printed on them.

Once we've printed enough discs for the run (including extras in case some of the printing doesn't pass our strict quality control standards), we "burn" the info (music, movies, videos, etc.) onto the pre-printed discs, which have a specially formulated material embedded on the underside of the disc which allows information to be stored. Similar to the process used by someone sitting at their computer and making a single disc, except we use machines specifically designed to do many of them at a time.  We also perform quality control on each disc made, verifying that it's a match for the master supplied. 

Silkscreen Printing
Silkscreen printing is a process often used for printing "spot colors", areas where a design uses primarily solid colors.  Most typically, silkscreen printing is used for printing t-shirts and other garments with uncomplicated designs.  Silkscreen printing is also used as a primary print method on replicated disc surfaces.  It is particularly effective when a design does not contain extensive halftoning with fine detail or photographic images.

Offset Printing   
Offset printing is a high definition process, which is typically used for all sorts of printing, including books and magazines, and many other items.  For the music and multimedia industry, this is frequently the method used to print the paper inserts that go in jewel cases, the thicker cardboard material that gets formed into wallets, sleeves, and digipaks, and for poster printing.  It is also used to print on replicated discs.  Most commonly, offset printing uses the colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black to generate the full color spectrum.  People call this "CMYK printing" for short. 

Certain quantity configurations include an automatic upgrade to full color offset printing, or the use of silkscreen printing where it will be most effective for the disc design.  You will be notified of our recommendation for the printing on your disc if we believe that an upgrade will be beneficial to the printed results

Pantone & Spot Colors
When additional colors need to be added to the CMYK spectrum, specifically metallics & pastel colors (as well as certain solid colors that cover substantial areas or require exact matching), a 5th or 6th color is sometimes added using a colors from the Pantone Matching System, a worldwide standard offering printed swatches and standardized ink mixes to help facilitate consistency



 Inserts, Tray Cards, & Download Cards

For many years, the most typical packaging style for audio CDs was the jewel case, which is inexpensive and allows for the insertion of a folder, booklet or single page insert.  The first page of this item contains the "front cover," which is almost always the image used for all marketing efforts, on digital download and streaming media.  The "back cover" of the jewel case when closed or sealed is formed by another piece of paper which gets inserted underneath the tray that the disc sits on.  For that reason it is called the "tray card" (or sometime an "inlay card").


Printed Sleeves, Eco-Wallets & Cardboard Jackets

more about these soon

Single CD Sleeve.  This is the most frequently seen type of record jacket.  The record slides in on the right side, the front and back panels are printed edge-to-edge, and there is a little quarter inch spine for you to include the band/artist name, the title of the release, and then typically a catalog number and/or record label name.

Eco-Wallet (AKA Gatefold Wallet).  This has become one of the most frequently used types of packaging for audio CDs, and occasionally for DVDs.  There are many variations of this type of packaging.  With some of them, the disc slides into a pocket created on the right inside panel.  Others allow the disc to be slid in from the outside.  We offer multi-disc configurations of these wallets that allow for a disc to be inserted on both sides, as well as tri-fold wallets (wallets with 6 panels).  Most of these configurations have a small spine, allowing the artist to include the band/artist name, title of the release, and then typically a catalog number and/or record label name/logo.

Digipak (sometimes also spelled Digi-pack) 
Previously a somewhat expensive item, the digipak has gradually become a more popular types of packaging for audio CDs, with a slightly different size digipak available for DVDs.  The digipak is similar to the gatefold jacket and eco-wallet packaging, except that the disc sits on top of a plastic tray (typically clear, but also sometimes black or white).  Certain digipak configurations also include a pocket, but the pockets are most often used for paper inserts rather than discs.  There are many variations of this type of packaging as well..

Regardless of which of these options you pick, we print on the same high quality premium "board product" (that's the term industry printers use for cardboard sheets that we use to make the jackets).

Full Color Printing is the default option used to print on the these wallets, sleeves, eco-wallets, digipaks, and other gatefold jackets.