Hi there – welcome aboard!
The labels on retail DVDs are silk screened prints. The closest you can get to creating a label with similar durability is to use a thermal printer, but the lower priced ones are limited to a few lines of text in a single color – usually black. Commercial thermal disc printers may be able to print images in several colors, but start at several thousands of dollars.
You can’t buy the retail type of DVDs as blanks because they are actually created by pressing the DVD image onto a metal layer inside the disc – much like vinyl records used to be made – with the groves pressed in. Very expensive equipment is required to do that and it is only financially feasable in large batches like the release of a hollywood movie. The blank DVD discs consumers buy use a laser-reactive dye layer inside the disc to record (write) the video or data info that would otherise be pressed onto a retail movie or data disc’s metal layer.
You are wise to avoid the use of adhesive labels – nothing but trouble…
Most CD Freaks members prefer to use direct-to-disc (DTD) capable consumer grade inkjet printers to print on inkjet printable discs. This way you get affordable full color labels that rival commercial silk screen prints – except they are not water-proof. You can’t use this type of printer to print on regular or thermal printer type discs, either.
So Inkjet DTD labels are not water-proof or very smudge-proof, but it’s not an issue for most of us; it is generally bad to get DVDs wet anyway. If you need a somewhat water-proof inkjet disc print you can either carefully spray a clear water-proof sealer over it or buy a Taiyo Yuden Aquashield printable disc.