Variable Data Printing

Variable Data Printing (VDP) is a printing method which allows the printed content to change within a single press run. In other words, each impression can be printed differently from one piece to the next without having to stop or slow down the press.

Variable Data Printing is performed with digital printing equipment. An excel file, provided by the customer, contains the variable data in each column that is used to personalize each printed piece. Then special software extracts this data from the excel file and merges it with design to create the individual pieces all in one printable file. These are then printed on a digital press. Just about any design element can be created as a variable, from text and headlines to photos and colors. The most common customization is to print an address directly onto the postcard, newsletter, etc.

Variable Data projects will need to designed in Adobe InDesign. If you are unfamiliar with InDesign, our prepress graphic designers are able to set that up for you. If you have any questions please contact customer service.

How do I obtain a list for mailing or for my variable data pieces?

Departments and organizations may request email and/or campus addresses of faculty and staff that are in the current ISU Campus Directory. HRS charges a fee for these lists. There may be additional charges for ITS to process. Email must be processed in accordance with ITS mass communication procedures. Campus mail must be processed in accordance with Postal and Parcel regulations. Download the request form from Iowa State University HR.