Variable Print Programming

Variable printing by definition is where either image or text changes from one impression to the next in digital printing. It is not available in offset printing in line. Variable printing varies in difficulty from a simple name change on the low end to full text and image changes on the more difficult end.

For the most part the variable print programming comes from applying a database to artwork that has been modified to show where the variable part comes in. This is done by digital printing company that takes your artwork and will apply your database to the cell or area that you designate.

Factors that need to be considered are length or size of the variable part. Since it is software that is applying these rules it does not know the difference between say 2 lines or 3 where the text can be wrapped wierd or dropped. All picture sizes would need to be the same as that could also affect your piece from one impression to the next.

The best rule of thumb is to involve your printer early in the design process when he/she can still help guide you on what would be successful and what would not.

The variable print programming is actually done in a different software that helps marry your database and the software that the design is done in(Quark, InDesign, etc.) then when the file is ripped it prepares the job to change the variable cells on each copy.

It is a very effective way to market your company and has a historically much higher rate of return than static direct mail.

Written by Buzz Tatom

See also:
Job Requirements of Digital Printing
Variable Data Printing
Demo Variable Data Printing