Lightscribe Direct Disc Labeling was launched by HP in 2004 as an alternative to labelling optical discs with stick on labels or direct printing on the surface. The Lightscribe Direct Disc Labeling system allows users to laser etch text and graphics onto compatible optical discs which can be supplied to clients.
The special discs have a coating of a light sensitive dye on the label side of the disc and the laser from a CD or DVD burner causes a reaction in the dye that makes it change colour. The resulting image will be monochromatic, but the new range of disc colours allows users to produce different results.
Graphic Designers often need to supply files to their customers and so can use this technology to produce highly professional looking discs. While it is very easy for a Designer to hand write onto optical discs with a suitable pen, professionally labelling discs is one small thing that can go a long way to make customers view a Designer as being a professional who can be trusted to produce good results.
Designers can use Lightscribe to brand all their discs with their own logo or, alternatively, label discs with the logo of the customer or some aspect of the design included on the disc.
There is now a range of different colours available and the disc colour can be chosen to complement the design that is to be etched. The colour range currently available for Lightscribe CDs and DVDs is red, blue, green, orange and yellow. CDs are also available in gold.
What is Needed to Produce Lightscribe Discs
The most important point to make is that Lightscribe discs cannot be produced in any old CD or DVD burning drive. Suitable drives will usually be marked with the Lightscribe logo, though on laptops, it maybe necessary to look in the disc tray for the extra sensor.
This extra sensor keeps track of the position of the disc as it rotates to ensure that the image is etched accurately. Some new computers are supplied with a suitable drive already fitted, but it is possible to buy replacement internal drives or external drives that just plug into a spare port.
Lightscribe enabled drives need special software in order to take advantage of their abilities. This includes driver software and a labelling application.
Both types of software will usually be bundled with a drive, but there are a number of other options available for labelling software. This includes the free Lightscribe Template Labeler that is available from the downloads section of the Lightscribe website. Labelling software allows users to set up their own designs for etching.
The final required piece is a Lightscribe CD or DVD. As said earlier, these discs have a special coating that reacts to the action of the drive’s laser. Normal discs cannot be etched in a Lightscribe enabled drive. There is more information on all aspects of the system at the Lightscribe website.
If a Graphic Designer has the necessary equipment and discs, Lightscribe can be used to produce materials that will appear highly professional and offer customers a feeling of quality.