Variable-data printing (VDP) is a form of digital printing, including on-demand printing, in which elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the printing process and using information from a database or external file. For example, a set of personalised letters, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each letter. Variable data printing is mainly used for direct marketing, customer relationship management, advertising, and applying addressing on direct mailers, forms, brochures and on any digital campaigns.

VDP is a direct outgrowth of digital printing, which harnesses computer databases and digital print devices and highly effective software to create high-quality, full colour documents, with a look and feel comparable to conventional offset 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 customised messages for each customer or consumer.

The returns for variable printing vary from double the normal return at the basic level to 10–15 times the return for fully variable jobs. This naturally depends on content and the relevancy of that content, but the technique presents an effective tool for increasing ROI on any marketing campaign our clients produce.

The difference between variable data printing and traditional printing is the personalisation that is involved. Personalisation allows our clients to connect to its customers and consumers in new ways. Variable data printing is more than a variable name or address on a printed piece of paper; in the past, a variable name would have been effective, because it was a new concept at the time. In today’s world, personalisation has to reflect what the customer values, what is true and personal to them. Brands & businesses want to create loyal customers, and variable data printing can help gain these types of customers, along with delivering quality work and exceptional service.

Personalisation through VDP sees increase in the response rate and response time. Because personalisation catches the attention of the consumer, the response rate of a campaign increases.

Variable Data Printing (2018)
(Accessed March 2018)