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We're more than just ink on paper

We're more than just ink on paper

About Variable Data Printing (VDP)

What is VDP?

Variable data printing (VDP) is a powerful technology through which individual printed pieces are customized according to the needs and interests of each recipient. Information can be as simple as name badges or certificates where variable data is printed in-line as text, or as complex as a direct mail campaign using personal data to tailor the text, imagery, color and overall design to each recipient’s interests.

You can also integrate cross-media tools such as a personal URL (PURL), an automatically-generated link to a personalized web page created for each recipient, to give him or her an easy and immediate way to respond to your message online.

Why use VDP?

Studies show that this “one-to-one” approach can dramatically strengthen the impact of your materials because it enables a more personal and engaging relationship than a “one-to-many” approach. At that critical moment in a direct mail campaign—that .002 seconds when the recipient decides whether to read or discard—an image of interest or a URL featuring the recipient’s own name has proven to increase the likelihood of a response by an exponential margin.

VDP is most often used in personalized letters for direct marketing materials, but it can also involve changing design elements such as images, colors or layouts on each piece depending on the recipient data you provide electronically in spreadsheet or database format along with your design files.

How is each piece customized?

When you print a VDP piece, our software program synchronizes the variable information (data) from your spreadsheet or database file with specific fields in the design document. Each data field in the design document matches a field in the database, which tells the program to insert a record from the database into the appropriate field until each record has been applied. Our HP Indigo 5000 then prints each unique piece with all of the personalized elements in place.

What is the typical process for a VDP project?

Variable Data Printing jobs typically follow a specific workflow, or process:

  • The graphic designer and the designer’s client communicate with the Goetz team to discuss the campaign goals and strategy, as well as the equipment and software that will be used to produce the VDP materials.
  • The designer creates a page layout, working with the marketing manager to select any variable images needed for the layout based on the data available on each recipient and the goals of the campaign.
  • The designer inserts placeholders for the variable data, which involves creating multiple options (e.g., images or text) for each variable design element. This layout is tested using sample recipient data obtained from the database and the variable design elements selected by the designer. The designer creates proofs of the sample pages to be approved by the client.
  • The designer transfers the layout and database files to Goetz via FTP or on disk. A laser proof or folding dummy of the layout noting any fold, trim, or binding is also included for reference.
  • The Goetz prepress department checks to make sure all necessary elements are included and the job is set up properly for the HP Indigo press.
  • A digital press operator creates a proof of the base document and submits it for client approval. Once the proof is approved, the VDP job is set up with our specialized VDP software, sent to the RIP (Raster Image Processor) and then on to the HP Indigo 5000 press.
  • Once printed, the job is sent to our finishing department to be cut, folded and bound as needed.
  • The finished pieces are delivered according to the client’s instructions.

Typical VDP Projects

Use variable data printing to increase your response rates on projects such as:

  • Direct mail campaigns
  • Cross-media campaigns
  • Donor and member outreach
  • Conferences and events
  • Sales and promotions
  • Surveys

…and more!