Personalization is the printing of variable data
on one sheet to the next. It is used in direct mail pieces to attract the prospects
attention by making the offer seem more personal. You can personalize with the
use of names and address but personal messages or graphics related to the prospects
interests and other available history data can also be used.
Personalization uses a computer-to-print
process that combines the use of laser or ink jet printing with database technology.
There are many methods used to do personalization. Some of the common methods
are shown below.
Inline personalization is when the printing of the
product and personalization is accomplished in a single pass through
the press. The personalization is generally accomplished with the
use of an ink jet printer. Inline personalization may have some limitations
on how much of an area can be imprinted due to the head sizes of the
ink jet printer. The use of additional heads can eliminate some of
these limitations. Check with your manufacturer if you have any concerns
about what imprinting limitations they may have.
Offline personalization is performed as a separate
operation once the piece has been printed. Personalized areas are
left blank when the piece is printed on the press and then imprinted
with the personalized information on a separate printer. Offline personalization
can be performed on impact, laser or ink jet printers. The printed
pieces can be personalized offline as a continuous form, on a roll,
as a single sheet or as an envelope. The method used for personalizing
offline will depend on the manufacturers capabilities.
Fully Digital Presses
Fully digital presses generally use a laser or ink
jet technology. Each page can be fully printed with static and variable
images. Each page can consist of entirely different copy than the
previous page. Fully digital presses can print on continuous forms,
rolls (pinfed and pinless), single sheets and envelopes. Some have
the capability to print in black and white only and some print in
full color. The quality and speed of the presses will vary from one
type to the next. For more details on digital presses, see Print
The personalization can be performed by a variety of service providers. It could
be accomplished by the printer, the lettershop, a mail house or a facility that
is a complete provider of direct mail services. The method used to personalize
your direct mail pieces will vary according to your needs and the providers
capabilities. Some of the information that your should furnish in regard to
your personalization is listed below.
- Furnish form size and number up per form.
- If it fits with a window envelope, provide a sample envelope.
- Provide a sample showing exactly where it will be personalized.
- Indicate if typeface must match preprinted copy.
- Are there any special fonts required, such as MICR, OCR or handwritten?
- If a signature has to be imprinted, has a scannable sample been
- Are samples required?
- Is proof approval necessary before proceeding?
- Are there any sorting requirements?
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