Variable data printing is a sort of on demand printing where all the documents included in the print run might not be identical, but they are similar. For instance, if you are printing personalized stuff that are to be mailed to your customers, each of the documents will probably have the same basic layout, although the name and address of the customer will be different for every letter. If you are using word processing software for doing a mail merge, you are actually practicing a simple form of VDP. Nowadays, it can go a lot more than printing a variety of names and addresses on a document.
There are systems that allow you to insert different kinds of graphics in a document, alter the layout and number of pages, use colors extensively, and print a specific bar code on every document and more. The process of creating variable data documents is possible for non-paper documents like PDF and HTML documents. VDP includes both online as well as paper documents. Variable data printing is known by other names such as the following:
- Personalized publishing
- Personalized printing
- Customized publishing
- Customized printing
- One-to-one (1:1) publishing
- One-to-one (1:1) communication
- Database publishing
Facts about Variable Data Printing and Publishing
People tend to think about variable data printing and postcard publishing in the context of marketing. This process is used for printing labels on retail products, license plates for vehicles, coupons and tickets, benefit booklets, policies and documents by insurance companies, and transaction statements by financial services. if you are planning to opt for variable data publishing, here are a few mistakes to avoid:
Do not purchase a new printer and then get the software after you have procured the printer already.
You must ensure that the software and printer are created to synchronize well together. Otherwise, you might have a system that is tough to use or prints slowly. The issues that create a good match between printer and software for a variable data printing system can be pretty complex. Choosing a reliable service can help you create the various types of documents that you want to print. However, there is no need to presume that you have to get a new printer to do variable data printing. Depending on your particular requirements, you should be able to create a lucrative variable data printing operation with the printer you already have.
Do not assume that inline finishing work similarly for static as well as variable data printing.
If you are printing non-variable or static documents and performing the finishing operations in line with folding and stapling, do not presume that things will fall in place once you get started with printing variable data documents. The procedures that take place when you are printing variable data documents in the RIP or printer are different from what happens behind the scenes when printing static documents. As a result of this, you need to choose the variable data printing software carefully to pursue the finishing operations inline. If the printer has experience with variable data printing, they can guide you through the process.
Do not buy or purchase printer or software without testing them in combination.
Reputed software companies and printer dealers can arrange for you to try both before you purchase. Hence, you need to test the software to ensure that things work the way they should. All this should be done before spending any money on software or printer. Be on your guard against any provider that is unwilling to make arrangements for you to test the equipment before payment.
Do not assume that the printer dealer understands variable data printing technology.
A lot of printer dealers do not understand VDP technology, but are very competent otherwise. If you are receiving advice from the printer dealer regarding which printer or software to purchase, it is important to get a second opinion before zeroing in on any particular provider. Be aware of printer dealers trying to convince you to purchase a certain VDP application just because it is the only application they sell.
Purchasing variable data printing software does not need highly skilled personnel.
You should know that your operation will be more lucrative by choosing VDP software which is easy to use. Various kinds of variable data printing solutions are available today. Some have an interface which is easy to use. All you need to do is point and click. Others might not have this feature, but require programming or scripting. Some of them have a point and click interface which can be used to carry out most of the tasks, but need some programming or scripting for doing other jobs. The relation between profit and software which is easy to use is simple.
You are required to hire someone having programming skills if the VDP software is heavily dependent on scripting and programming, but if the software allows you to do most of the things through a point and click of the mouse. All you are going to need is a person who knows about the basic computer skills and an understanding of the common document formats. As programmers demand more salaries that people having the basic computer skills, you will end up spending less in setting up new jobs in case you do not need to depend on a programmer.
Do not assume that easy to use software is less powerful.
This is a common error. Hence, you must not dismiss any variable data printing application because it appears too basic. Take your time to go through and understand the documentation which is a part of the software.
Make sure there is sufficient time to complete your first variable data printing project.
Do not assume that you can get the first variable data printing job completed the same day that your printer and variable data printing software arrive in your office. To preserve your sanity and make sure that you can meet the deadline, it is important to accept that you need to go through a learning curve with almost any VDP solution.