Data-driven print and personalization are super-hot capabilities that power higher engagement and response.
No matter what print press you have, you can use XMPie to integrate your data with your design right through to production, with zero compromises. Every sheet coming off your press can be both unique and personalized to each recipient.
In this recording of a recent webinar with the team at Fujifilm, we demonstrated how a data-driven print design can be printed on a Fujifilm JetPress 720S. It’s the same workflow regardless of your print press. Let’s look at how it’s done.
The XMPie platform has a plugin to Adobe InDesign for creating advanced data-driven documents directly inside the InDesign application. It supports the complete InDesign workflow from set-up through preview and composition, so personalized design effects can be the same as design effects on static documents. The only constraint is the limits of your imagination.
The Dynamic Design
For this project, we’ve designed a double-sided A5 postcard template to demonstrate the personalization process.
We are setting the logic to generate random variability and demonstrate the surprising visual effects that can be made with a data-driven design. Usually, your variability would be determined by particular campaign rules or business logic. For instance, you might choose to display different messages to your diverse audiences depending on age, membership levels, discount types, languages, location, buying history, etc.
The front page of the template includes a large grey box filled with personalized data-driven messaging and 24 smaller images. Since we’re generating the layout based on random logic, for each version this grey box can appear on any one of six locations and the remaining space will be filled with the 24 images in a random pattern of tiles across the page. The text (messaging) and the graphics (the grey box and the 24 images) are called ‘dynamic objects’, also known in ‘XMPie-speak’ as ADORs.
To transform the design from a blank template into a series of personalized documents, the designer uses the XMPie plugin to connect each row of data (in this case, contained in a .csv file) to each dynamic object. Once connected, the dynamic objects will appear differently depending on the set logic.
Complex in its construction but simple in its design, each recipient receives a postcard unlike any other (Since you asked – there are 5170403347776995328000 different possible layout combinations!).
XMPie controls every element of the piece. For instance, using copyfitting to ensure the personalized text isn’t too long or too short to fit the space allotted for it in the design.
To check the variability has been inserted correctly, the designer can scroll through the documents to view each version, even jumping to the person with the longest surname to check the copyfitting function.
Even after the data has been merged with the design, the designer can still make any late changes or amend the data or logic. This feature’s usefulness cannot be understated, especially when real-time data is fed into a live campaign. The print piece must reflect the latest information in the recipients’ customer journey.
XMPie takes care of composition and imposition by creating and rendering the PDF/VT file (other supported output formats include PDF, PostScript, PPML, VIPP, and more). It maximizes the number of pages per impression, to minimize printing time, before dropping the file straight into the prepress workflow.
Here, XMPie’s heritage in print is evident. Its wizardry (that’s the technical term, I promise) behind the scenes to optimize the file will dramatically cut down the rendering time. For instance, the shared dynamic objects don’t need to be re-rendered.
As to how long it all takes – this comes down to the resources that you have available to you. Our server-based solution will leverage a high degree of concurrent parallel processing across all cores of a given server, so it’s much faster than our entry-level desktop solution.
You can also work with print sets, so you don’t need to wait for all 10,000 versions to arrive to the print press. The operator can set it so that once a group of documents, say 500, are ready, the printer will send it to RIP as different job batches, without waiting for the rest to render.
Order the Personalized Postcard from a Web-to-Print Store
In this example, the designer connects the data to the design and sends the final personalized PDF/VT file to the print press. But there is another option.
Instead, the designer could lock down the design and upload it to a web-to-print store, along with other products. In this scenario, the Print Buyer, not the designer, connects the data to the design before sending the personalized file automatically to the print press.
Find out how XMPie’s advanced personalization capabilities and fast variable content rendering can be accessed from a Web-to-Print storefront workflow in our next blog post.