Variable Data Printing in Layman’s Terms

If  you have seen or heard about Variable Data Printing (VDP) recently and aren’t sure what it is, maybe an example will help. We recently created a Variable Data post card for a self promotion mailing to our current customers that works like this:

First we created a data base in an Excel spreadsheet of all of our customers with the following fields:

  • Company name
  • Contact first name
  • Contact last name
  • Mailing address
  • Annual $ of printing purchased from Pinnacle Graphics
  • Annual $ of promotional products purchased from Pinnacle Graphics
  • Annual $ of large format graphics purchased from Pinnacle Graphics
  • Annual $ of trade show exhibits and accessories purchased from Pinnacle Graphics
  • Annual $ of signs purchased from Pinnacle Graphics
  • Annual $ of graphic design services purchased from Pinnacle Graphics

We then created an 8.5 x 5.5 postcard to accept variable images and and variable data from a single print run.

Here’s how it works:  Most of the post card is the same for every customer. However, there are variable fields on the front side for First Name, Company Name, what product (or products) a specific customer has purchased from us, and images of our other products and services which they have not purchased. There are also variable fields on the back side for these same  products that they have not purchased. And finally, a field for the outgoing mailing address. When the job is sent to our digital press, the variable data printing software reads each record in the file and does the following:

  • Takes the First Name from the first name field and prints it in the opening line as  “Hi Jane” or “Hi John”.
  • Takes the Company Name (The ABC Company) from the company name field and prints it as part of a thank you line.
  • Searches the products purchased fields to determine what products “Jane” or “John” already buy from us.
  • If the products purchased field has a $ amount in it, we thank “The ABC Company” for their purchases of these products.
  • If a product field is empty, the program places an image of these products on the front of the card and generates a discount offer on the back side of the card.  In that way we offer  “Jane” or “John” at “The ABC Company” an incentive to purchase products they haven’t purchased from us in the past.
  • Prints the mailing address in the proper area.

This powerful software allows us to print 500, or 5,000, or 50,000 postcards customized to each targeted recipient with a message like the following. The variable text  shown in red, and the variable images circled in red on the example below will be be printed in white like all the other text on the live postcards:

Variable Data Post Card

The net result is a postcard mailing to any number of recipients, printed and processed as a bulk print run, but customized to each individual based on whatever criteria you want. Give us a call at 973-984-8444 if you would like find out how this might work for your business.

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One Comment on “Variable Data Printing in Layman’s Terms”


  1. […] Variable Data Printing in Layman’s Terms [Pinnacle Graphic Communications] 0 Comments […]


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