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Silkscreen Printing Without A White Flood 

This is a brief tutorial to help you get started with your graphic design for Silkscreen Printing your CD or DVD discs. The information provided here is based an assumption that you have a reasonable working knowledge of graphic design terminology as well as Adobe Illustrator or similar professional graphic design programs.

It's possible to use the shiny aluminum/silver disc surface colour in your design. Doing so can be very effective but it's important to understand how much room you actually have to work with. Regardless of whether you are creating a design with 'positive' print (solid lettering and/or graphics printing on the silver background) or a 'negative' print (printing a solid colour that utilizes the disc's surface as the colour for your lettering and/or graphics) be aware that there are actually three different parts of the disc that can be printed onto:

[A] The largest area is the aluminum/silver coloured area that holds the disc data/content.

[B] Closer to the middle there is the "mirror band" which is a very shiny/reflect silver colour.

[C] Surrounding the center hole there is an area which will either be clear plastic (as is generally the case with a CD disc) or additional shiny/reflective silver (which is generally the case with a DVD disc).

A replicated compact disc (CD) was used in the example shown above. In the left-hand column the example illustrates the process of printing a disc using a white flood (aka: white 'backprint') prior to printing the graphics. Most designers utilize the white flood print as it provides a clean white/neutral background for the graphics to be printed on as well as actually enhancing the colour of the printed graphics. This is much the same principle as painting the walls in your house... applying paint onto a white coloured wall provides a much better result than trying to apply paint to a dark coloured wall.

The example in the right-hand column shows what can happen if you create a design that utilizes the disc's surface as an element of your design (ie: no white flood) but not factoring in the three different components that make up the disc's surface. As you can see, the change in the background colour negatively affects the visual appeal and legibility of the design.

Avoiding The "Danger Area" In Your Disc Design

As noted above, there are actually three different parts of the disc that can be printed onto. If you'd like to utilize the aluminum/silver colour of the disc's surface in your design but avoid the hazards of any unsightly overlaps onto the mirror band and/or center section of the disc, the 'danger area' is within a 36mm diameter (18mm radius) of the center of the disc.

Important: By saying "center of the disc" it means measuring outward from the center of the center-hole in the middle of the disc... it does NOT mean measuring outward from the edge of the center-hole.

If you're creating a 'negative' print (printing a solid colour that utilizes the disc's surface as the colour for your lettering and/or graphics) the solid colour can still overlap the mirror band and center section of the disc... it's only the areas that knock-through to show the disc colouration that should be kept outside the 36mm diameter 'danger area'.

Getting The Best Of Both Worlds - Using A 'Custom' White Flood

It's possible to create a 'custom' white flood which allows you to be selective about what parts of your 'negative' print knock through to the silver of the disc and what parts knock through to the white flood. As shown in the example below, it doesn't matter that the "ABC123" lettering is inside the 'danger zone' because there's a white flood behind it, but the "@" symbol is well outside the danger zone so it can be knocked through to silver.

Depending on how many colours are in your design, your quoted price may not include a custom white flood should you require one. Please contact us to confirm.

Important: There are limitations to what can be effectively printed using a custom white flood. Small text/graphics, fine text/graphics, and very tight registration can pose problems and may not be printable. Additionally, when supplying your artwork that includes a custom white flood you must design the custom white as a distinctly separate colour (learn more about colour separations) and include a notation on your Order Forms that a custom white flood is required.

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