Direct MailPrinting

What Is Variable Data Printing?

In a nutshell, variable data printing, or VDP for short, is a technique used in digital printing where some components like text, photographs, images, and other items change for each print.

If your business or organisation frequently sends out marketing literature to its customers or members, variable data printing is something you should seriously consider. Here’s what you need to know about VDP and how this innovative type of printing can benefit you:

What Is Variable Data Printing?

Variable data printing is a form of digital printing where each of the tens, hundreds, or thousands of printed materials are unique. That’s because they contain personalised information, such as names and addresses.

The process for printing each item is similar to that of printing a mail merge document from your computer with customer information for things like letters, invoices, and envelopes. However, there are some subtle differences between that and variable data printing.

For example, variable data printing is more suited to large print jobs using state-of-the-art digital printers. That means it is suitable for printing marketing publications like flyers and brochures in large volumes.

Another advantage is how VDP can change more than just text for each printed item. You can have images changed according to different demographics. The only dynamic element of a mail merge document is text like names and addresses.

Variable data printing obtains the dynamic elements of a print job from a database. It could be something as simple as a spreadsheet, or it might be information from a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database.

What Is Variable Data Printing Used For?

As you can imagine, variable data printing offers a whole host of opportunities for all businesses and organisations, irrespective of their size or what they do. Here are a few examples of how you could use variable data printing to your advantage:

Marketing Literature

Your business could have marketing literature printed out that might have text or graphics specific to each customer or prospect.

QR Codes

An advantage of QR codes is they are easily scannable by smartphone apps. You could have QR codes generated that send recipients to specific landing pages on your website.

Personalised URL

Do you want your mailing recipients to visit a unique website address? If so, you could have a unique, personalised URL printed for each recipient instead of a QR code.

Personalised Envelopes

Finally, variable data printing can be helpful for creating eye-catching personalised envelopes.

Is Variable Data Printing Effective?

There’s no denying that variable data printing offers businesses and organisations so many possibilities. You might be wondering, is it effective? In short, the answer is yes. Here’s why that’s the case:

Cost Savings

Variable data printing will save you money because you don’t need to organise different print campaigns. You can simply have one print job that does them all.

High Impact

If you want to attract the attention of your mailing recipient, you should avoid sending out leaflets, flyers, documents, and brochures that are generic and don’t address the recipient’s individual concerns or requirements.


With variable data printing, you aren’t just limited to generating dynamic text such as address details. You can be creative with your print jobs and change virtually any text or graphic element to accommodate your needs.

The Importance of Quality Data

Variable data printing makes it simple to create bespoke printed items in a single print job without stopping or delaying the print run to make any changes. However, the things you get printed out are only as good as the data you put into them.

You don’t want to work with data that has duplicate or incorrect entries, as you’ll just be wasting your time and money. That’s why it makes sense to have your data cleansed and enhanced, ready for your next print campaign.

Another point to consider is your data should also be relevant. For example, suppose you want to send a mailing out to customers who have bought a specific product combination. You want to avoid sending that mailing out to customers that only bought one of those items.


Variable data printing allows all businesses and organisations to send the right message across to their recipients. It also enables them to make their print runs more personal and directly address their audience.