Recall that in our last edition when we began this series, we understand that digital press technologies can print different version of every page in a print run. On this edition, we will continue the discussion considering Custom Colour and Techno Choices.

Custom colour

Complex variable data colour print is commonly used for one –to-one marketing or for bespoke print. Promotional printing and marketing materials of all sorts can be designed to carry customized messages including brochures, catalogues, inserts in magazines, direct mail and even press releases. Such projects require careful and thorough data preparation; however they can yield extremely high response rates. Response rates for variable data print can be as high as 80%, for very targeted work, and this is much higher than the 2% expected for static direct mail or promotional and product collateral print. Bespoke print, often initiated from a website, is increasingly attractive for consumers, especially for photobooks. The use of the web to order print is creating new markets for variable data print, provided directly to the end users.

Variable data content requires considerable investment into information technology (IT) and the resources, especially human, to manage knowledge of customers, their buying habits and patterns and their interests, and a mechanism for developing this information over time. The value of a fully variable  publication is in its value to the end user or in the increased likelihood of a positive response, factors  which can only be assured if the customer data is accurate. Because of the high response rates and relevancy to readers, print buyers are willing to pay substantially higher unit costs for variable data output, particularly for very short run high quality jobs produced on demand.

Techno choices

All major developers of digital presses offer solutions for variable data output, either their own or something developed elsewhere and optimized for a manufacturers press. Canon and Ricoh, for example, work closely with developers such as objectif Lune to provide variable data tools to manage variable pages output on their devices including the Imagepress 7000 from Canon and the ProC900 from Ricoh. As part of a full suite, Objectif Lune offer Printshop Mail, which is a tool for customizing document layout. It includes tools for varying a document’s text and images and can generate barcodes and numbering. In addition, there is also planetpress for variable data printing and forms creation for print, archive, e-mail and fax output.