In part three of my interview with Mary Ellen Johnson, McCallum Print Group sales rep, she offers tips on using variable data effectively and sums up the advantages of digital printing.


NP:  How are your customers using variable data most effectively?

MEJ: A very common variable data project for us is to print 1,000 postcards with address and postal barcode included, all in one run through the press. Variable data printing really streamlines the process of printing, addressing, barcoding, cutting and mailing.

One of our customers takes photos of people participating in athletic events, such as marathons. For example, they  match the runner’s number that shows in each photo against the database, then merge the variable data to print, address and mail a postcard to each participant. The postcard shows thumbnail photos of the runner and includes a personalized URL where they can order photos from a website.

NP: Are people missing opportunities with variable data?

MEJ:  I think so. To take full advantage of VDP, clients need a database person who’s on the ball. Without adequate database resources, opportunities are missed.

NP:  What do you tell your customers to avoid with variable data?

MEJ:  I tell them to be very careful of how they use someone’s name. Two first names or hyphenated last names can be problematic. “Data hygiene” is important, along with knowing your customer. Beware of over-using people names. I like to see a designs that have a seamless relationship of the variable data to the rest of the text.


NP:  Thank you for telling me all about digital printing, Mary Ellen. Do you have any final words of wisdom?

MEJ:  Digital printing is an amazing technology when paired with projects that fit it well. It’s environmentally friendly, projects can be turned quickly, and on appropriate projects, you won’t see any degradation of quality compared to offset printing.

Go to Part One of interview…

Go to Part Two of interview…