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What Is Variable Data Printing?


What Is Variable Data Printing?

Variable data printing is a commonly used term in the printing industry, one that is becoming increasingly popular as businesses move away from static “marketing speak” in favor of more personable ways to connect with consumers.

While you may have heard of variable data printing, there’s a good chance you’re not fully aware of what this technology is, how it works and how vast its capabilities are. So, let’s take a closer look:

Defining Variable Data Printing

Variable data printing is a form of digital printing that allows for certain elements of a document to be customized from one piece to the next, without the printer stopping or slowing down during the production process.

How Does Variable Data Printing Work?

Generally, variable data printing starts with creating a basic design template (typically in InDesign) accompanied by a separate Excel spreadsheet of “variable data,” such as names or addresses. The data is linked to a software program that tells the printer which areas of the layout are to be customized, along with the actual information that will appear on each page. The printer then produces page by page at its normal speed while reading and applying the variable data. Even better, variable data doesn’t just apply to text; you can swap graphics and images as well.

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Why Use Variable Data Printing?

Variable data printing offers unmatched efficiency when it comes to any project that requires customization – envelopes, postcards, badges, presentations, invitations, business cards, direct mail, marketing collateral and things of that nature.

If you’re a photographer, you may want to send out invitations to your next exhibition. With variable data, the printer can run through your entire contact list at full speed, without you having to create and save a different document for each invitation. Obviously this can save both you and your printing consultant hours of extra work managing potentially large files.

Let’s say you also want to send thank you notes after the opening reception. You can quickly comb through your list and separate who attended. Then, if you took pictures with each guest, variable data printing can drop in an image of you and a given recipient in addition to their personal mailing information – again, all automated through printing software.

Big brands, on the other hand, can use variable data to create more engaging advertisements tailored to different audiences. Consumers in Florida won’t identify with a snow-themed winter display like those in New York will, so why not adjust the imagery accordingly?

Variable data can be used with large format and mass volume printing, making it an extremely valuable tool for creative professionals, small businesses and corporations alike.


Power in Personalization

If you’re thinking of personalization as a crafty extra touch rather than a strategic business decision, consider these stats:

  • According to Infosys, 86% of consumers say personalization plays a role in their purchasing decisions.
  • Digital Trends found that 73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant.

Variable data printing makes it easy for you to capitalize on the clear consumer preference for personalized advertising.

Getting Started

If you’re ready to take your marketing and advertising efforts to the next level through automated customization, stop by Duggal Visual Solutions at 29 W 23rd St. in NYC or give us a call at 212-242-7000. A Duggal expert will be happy to lead you through the process of setting up your template and spreadsheet so you can make the most of variable data printing.

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