Personalised & Variable Data
Variable-data printing (VDP) is a form of digital printing, including on-demand printing. Elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next.
Using information from a database or external file for example, a set of personalised leaflets, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address. Variable data printing is mainly used for direct marketing, customer relationship management, advertising, invoicing and addressing self-mailers, brochures or postcard campaigns.
VDP is a direct outgrowth of digital printing. Variable data printing enables the mass customisation of documents via digital print technology, as opposed to the 'mass-production' of a single document using offset lithography. Instead of producing 10,000 copies of a single document, delivering a single message to 10,000 customers, variable data printing could print 10,000 unique documents with personalised messages for each customer.
There are several levels of variable printing. The most basic level involves changing the salutation or name on each copy, much like mail merge. More complicated variable data printing uses 'versioning', where there may be differing amounts of customisation for different markets, with text and images changing for groups of addresses based upon which segment of the market is being addressed.
Finally, there is full variability printing, where the text and images can be altered for each individual address. All variable data printing begins with a basic design that defines static elements and variable fields for the pieces to be printed. While the static elements appear exactly the same on each piece, the variable fields are filled in with text or images as dictated by a set of application and style rules and the information contained in the database.