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By: Angela Cook on August 4, 2021

Variable Data Printing: What Is It, Benefits, & How Does It Work?

Print | Production Print | Variable Data Printing | VDP

Gone are the days where printing promotional items for your business such as brochures, flyers, and collateral need to be a pain. Any user can produce uniquely personalized media with variable data printing software and a digital press.

With promotional items requiring a specific design and the human resources to print several documents, wasting time printing out several copies of one promotional item at a time is no longer necessary. That’s where the streamlined printing of variable data comes into play.

LDI Connect’s Production Print Workflow Solutions team has helped several clients integrate production print solutions into their current print environment. After working closely with your company to understand what you wish to achieve with your current environment, we then provide print recommendations that offer high-quality media versatility and productivity. 

This article will define what variable data printing (VDP) is, how it works, and four significant benefits that come from using it. By the end of this article, you will better understand how to use variable data printing to help your business in more ways than one.


What Is Variable Data Printing (VDP)? 

Variable Data Printing (VDP), also known as variable printing, variable information printing (VIP), or variable imaging, is an advanced form of digital printing.

Variable data printing allows users to create customized printed media by changing and replacing particular elements such as the image, text, name, color, or headline by using a database or an external file. The content being printed can be modified from one printed document to the next.

Several promotions can come out of just one designed document at a time. While variable data printing can go by many names, there are also a variety of types.

Types of variable data printing include:

Additional Versioning

Additional versioning means that each printed piece contains elements that are variable and personalized. One example of additional versioning is the particular textual parts of an offer letter or sales letter that can be replaced for every printed piece.

Name and Address Variability

Name and Address Variability refers to when you are printing several documents with different contact details and another name for each. An example of this would be direct mailers sending bills and utilizing the name and address variability to streamline their process.

Image Personalization

Image personalization involves customizing images in a database for printing purposes. A great example of this type of printing would be personalizing contact details with an image for a marketing campaign.

Transactional Information

Transactional information involves graphically variable figures such as a QR code, barcode, or information specific to the document’s recipient. This type of printing is excellent for when printing charts or number-based information is required.


How Does Variable Data Printing (VDP) Work?

Variable data printing utilizes variable data software, a digital press, and saved data. This data can come from a spreadsheet or other file format of your choice and consists of various elements, such as colors, graphics, text, and other features.

Once you have selected the data, you can create a set of rules within the variable data printing software that determines how the element is modified and controlled. 

This process involves software that communicates to your digital press what should be printed. It enables users to create several personalized printed pieces from a single design.

For example, suppose you’re the owner of a successful brewery that makes several seasonal craft beers on-premises. Every type of craft beer bottle requires a label for a customer to be able to identify the type it is.

VDP enables you to print the different names of each beer on top of the pre-existing label created for that brewery’s brand. The same concept can be applied to a wide range of other markets.


4 Benefits To Consider When Variable Data Printing?

Variable data printing can be hugely beneficial to your business if you are looking to personalize high-quality print materials at a rapid rate. By simply leasing or owning your own digital press and VDP software, you can easily accomplish production printing in-house.

Let’s dive into the four key benefits of using variable data printing.

1. Restrict Color Usage

Digitally printing variable data is an excellent choice for companies looking to get the most out of their time spent printing. 

Variable data is stored digitally, allowing your digital press to create a wide array of labels or documents with no need for stopping the device during the process. This allows for variable labels and documents to be printed faster than if they were done traditionally.

Think about it; if you can print addresses directly on top of existing materials without labels or needing to stop the digital press from starting again, this will ultimately reduce the time it takes to complete a sizable print job.

2. Increases Engagement 

Variable data printing allows for consistently targeted advertising. Seeing as targeted advertising is shown to be far more effective than traditional methods, VDP combined with targeted mailing lists will enable your marketing efforts to go far.

VDP acts as more of a direct mailing tool than the general postal mailers we have all received. When potential customers see their name, text, and images that they can relate to on a printed direct mail piece, they tend to be more engaged and more likely to respond.

Combined with online tools like customer surveys and email subscriptions, VDP acts as a helpful asset to your business due to the valuable data you are gathering about your customers.

3. Personalization of Label Art & Design 

Having the ability to personalize your creation is a powerful tool for promoting products and intriguing potential customers.

With VDP, you can print several labels featuring user-submitted images, local artwork, and other designs from various marketing campaigns. Having the ability to personalize label art and design will provide your business with the opportunity to take on higher-value orders.

The sky’s the limit on how your business can customize a label for your promotional product of choice. For example, let’s say your company has a specific slogan. You can easily showcase that slogan through variable data printing on a printed label.

The true beauty of variable data printing is that you can accomplish a range of variations. Once you have selected the design and textual elements, you can print your desired number of documents.

4. Makes Tracking Easier 

Variable data printing allows you to track your audience. VDP provides you with the option of taking your data segmentation and applying it to various marketing strategies.

With the use of bar codes and identification numbers placed on marketing platforms, marketers can have a convenient and reliable way of tracking results and gathering helpful information. 

VDP allows companies to use these tracking mechanisms to tell where a potential customer is in their buying journey. This data will enable businesses to apply the information they capture to the new promotional content being printed.

Custom QR codes and personalized URLs can also be included in the final printed media to bring users to custom-tailored landing pages, contact forms, and more.


Ready To Use Variable Data Printing For Your Business? 

Variable data printing requires a digital press for you to get started. If your business is looking to optimize the way documents are being printed while staying innovative and personalizing each piece of content being printed, then VDP could be helpful to your business.

However, suppose your business does not print much or does not distribute printed media to prospects and customers. In that case, variable data printing may not be suitable for your business.

At LDI Connect, we understand how stressful it can be to manage a wide range of print jobs being displayed or distributed to potential customers. Our production print team works closely with clients to assess their current print environment and recommend solutions.

To learn more about production printing, read about how production print can help your business post-pandemic.

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