A person holding a sample next to a pile of printed folders.

What is Variable Data Printing

Read time: 5 minutes  |  Author: PRI Graphics  |  Posted: October 31st, 2022

Many companies need and utilize variable printing to help conduct their businesses successfully, but what exactly is variable data printing and how does it work?

In this blog post, our Phoenix printing experts at PRI Graphics will take a closer look at variable information printing (as it is also known) including how it works and how you can use it in your business.

How Variable Data Printing Works

For centuries after the invention of the printing press during the mid-1400s, printers could only mass-produce single documents that delivered a single message.

With variable information printing, we can now print thousands of unique documents without slowing, pausing, or stopping the print run. All of the documents can still have the same basic layout (including logos and branding). However, through the power of sophisticated software and a computer database, as the documents print certain elements such as text or graphics can be changed from one page to the next. This means that you can print customized messages on any sized printing run, from a few hundred to tens of thousands.

A person putting an elastic band around a stack of printed materials.
Color brochure for Boomerang Capital Partners

What is Variable Data Used For?

Digital printing provides businesses with a lot of flexibility when it comes to on-demand affordable printing options. Digital variable printing can range from just simple mail merging to more complicated “versioning” that allows you to customize your printing for the different markets you service.

Companies can now use this type of data printing to print a host of customized materials including:

  • Individualized postcard advertising
  • Customized direct marketing materials such as mailers, brochures, booklets, and more
  • Unique labels and tailored packaging materials
  • Personalized letters and correspondence (ideal for invoicing or for customer relationship management strategies)

Variable data printing also means that you can easily adjust your marketing campaigns on future print runs in order to improve ROI. See our post on Creating Print-Ready Files.

Sample of variable printing for Safety Orientation

Other Capabilities of Variable Data

As useful as variable data is to marketing collateral, it’s equally important in other printing requirements too. Construction companies often need hard hat decals printed off for new sites and projects. These decals require specific numbering, usually starting at 001 and going up from there.

Variable data printing allows for decals like this to be printed easily, without holding up the job queue in production. Along with decals, name tags or company invoices also utilize variable data printing. Either by quickly printing off a huge list of names from a database onto tags or by numbering invoices for accounting purposes. Benefits such as savings in production time and design costs can be gained by utilizing variable data printing.

Postcards for the turf company Grn 4 Evr displayed on a desk top surface.

About PRI Graphics

At PRI Graphics, our printing experts believe that for businesses to succeed in such a competitive marketplace it is vitally important to work with the right printing partner. We have specialized printing equipment, software technology, experience, and flexibility for variable data printing on multiple platforms.

PRI Graphics operates two printing locations including in Phoenix Arizona. For more information about variable data printing, or about our Phoenix printing company, PRI Graphics, please send us an email or call us toll-free at 1-877-409-8889.

Call us locally at 602-393-3131 to reach our in-house graphic design department.

EFI (Electronics for Imaging), an online resource for print businesses, offers more in-depth information in their excellent PDF file entitled, VDP-Variable Data Printing.

You might also be interested in this related blog article by PRI Graphics:

Difference In Printing Booklets, Brochures, Flyers, Etc.

About the Author

PRI Graphics headshot

PRI Graphics – Director, Marketing & Brand Management

PRI Graphics is a marketing and design expert who is passionate about new emerging trends in digital media and business strategy. A member of AMA with a PCM® in marketing management, he continues to strengthen his knowledge and skill sets in the marketing ecosystem. Prior to joining PRI, he pursued a career in filmmaking and carries on the passion for brand development.