DesignMerge Helps Automate Identification Services’ Badge Release Program

September 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge 

Originally founded in 1971 as a retail provider of engraved products, Identification Services has grown into a full-line manufacturer of promotional products for an international market. Located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, Identification Services uses the latest technology for both customer service and manufacturing, and the DesignMerge Variable Data Software is an integral part of that offering. DesignMerge allows Identification Services to easily and quickly merge multiple fields of variable data into predefined templates to create custom products of varying complexity.

Following is a short interview with Jillisa Kraetz, Identification Services production artist, who discusses how DesignMerge has helped Identification Services expand its offerings and improve its bottom line.

What type of work do you do with DesignMerge?

As a supplier to the promotional products industry, we use DesignMerge to merge variable data when creating name badges, promotional magnets, and event bag tags. We also print consecutive numbering for products such as parking passes and employee ID badges.

What kind of challenges have you faced in the Variable Data Printing (VDP) market?

Our main product line is comprised of custom name badges. Customers may want names, logos, photos and bar codes on their badges. We needed a program that allows us to merge all of these fields at once, no matter how many options the customer wants printed on the badge. We also have customers who do short runs (often only one or two badges at a time) and we had to find a way to do this economically.

Why did you choose DesignMerge?

The built-in Group Picture feature in DesignMerge allows us to easily populate templates with “pre- formatted” badges and then merge the unique fields of data onto each badge, all in one step. We also like how DesignMerge allows us to easily merge single badges from multiple customers onto one template that can be printed and die-cut at the same time.

DesignMerge is also the only program we have found that has built-in copyfitting. This feature automatically adjusts both letter spacing and word spacing in order to fit the merged data into the layout without manual intervention.

And for those jobs that require consecutive numbering, DesignMerge tackles this requirement without issue.

What have been the results of implementing DesignMerge in your workflow?

DesignMerge has been a big time-saver for us. It allows us the capability of merging multiple layouts (with numerous variable fields) for various customers into a single file, which also results in a materials savings because we are able to “gang” jobs up.

Having DesignMerge has allowed us to more fully automate our popular “Prepaid Badge Release Program,” which makes it easy for customers to order the small quantities of products that may arise after placing their initial order. On the initial order, extra product is paid for and placed in our online inventory system for later release. When customers are ready to order more personalized product, they simply go to our website and enter the required names into predefined fields and submit their order. We can then gang hundreds of small orders together saving materials, time, and finishing costs.

Do you see this aspect of your business growing?

Yes, as the economy continues to grow we expect to see an increase in badge and ID requirements, as well as other personalized marketing and promotional materials.

To read this case study online and see sample output from their “Prepaid Badge Release Program” please click here.

HR Graphics Uses DesignMerge

September 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, General 

“DesignMerge is great software! We only use it for numbering and it’s worth every penny. It allows us to take on more work and not be afraid of meeting deadlines. It’s a must for any digital printing outfit. We can’t wait to explore what else it can do for us!”

HR Graphics

AutoPrice & PDF Exporter Customer Testimonial

August 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AutoPrice, General, Testimonial 

“I have been using AutoPrice for Adobe InDesign for a number of years. AutoPrice helps us update the pricing on each page of our 3,000+ page catalog much faster than trying to update each price individually, and the reporting features help to catch any errors. We also use the AutoPrice reporting features to let us know what part number is on a particular page. In addition, we recently started to use the new PDF Exporter feature which is a very helpful tool that works with AutoPrice. Using this feature, we are able to link the part numbers in AutoPrice, and then use PDF Exporter to automatically export individual PDF files with hyperlinks in place for every single part number. This is a much faster process than using the linking feature in InDesign, and the fact that it is integrated with AutoPrice makes document setup very easy to manage. I have been working with Meadows for several years, and they are very easy to work with and have excellent technical support.”

Vanita Ellis
Catalog Manager
Mouser Electronics


DesignMerge Customer Testimonial

August 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, General, Testimonial 

“The DesignMerge Software has far exceeded our expectations, as well as expanded our capabilities in the realm of variable data production. The easy-to-navigate interface, combined with its robust functionality make it user-friendly and very much capable of processing practically all document types and layouts that contain multiple variable components.

We have used DesignMerge to create new templates for all of our outgoing mail applications. We also use it on a weekly basis for all of our internal correspondence to over 300,000 members and partners. DesignMerge, in my opinion, far surpasses all other software applications that offer similar functionality. I highly recommend DesignMerge for any and all companies that require variable data production.”

Aaron Price
Print Center Supervisor
World Changers Church International


Minuteman Press in Lebanon OH Uses DesignMerge to Grow Their Business

August 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge 

Minuteman Press in Lebanon Ohio has been a community fixture for over 30 years. They pride themselves on being a complete source for all their clients’ printing needs and have always been on the leading edge of technology. They understand that investing in technology can actually save client costs and improve efficiencies. The DesignMerge Variable Data Software helps them to do just that!

Following is a short interview with Matt McGrew, the Prepress/Graphic Designer at Minuteman discussing how the DesignMerge software has helped them to improve their bottom line by bringing more jobs in-house, and offering expanded design options to their clients.

What business challenges have you faced in the Variable Data Printing (VDP) market?

Some of the challenges we face in the VDP market are getting clients involved in the process of creating databases, seeing the value of personalized pieces and that VDP is not a difficult process and can have a positive effect on ROI.

Why did you choose DesignMerge for your VDP implementation?

We chose DesignMerge because of the ease of integration into our workflow. We mainly use the Adobe Creative Suite and having a VDP product that works with InDesign makes for a comfortable and familiar learning process.

What were the results of your DesignMerge implementation?

DesignMerge has allowed us to bring many jobs in-house that we would have previously sent to a mail house. We have also found that printing variable data info directly on a piece saves time and lessens the amount of handwork. For instance we have some forms that would be printed, cut down, then taken to be numbered an our numbering machine. Now we just print the numbers as we print the form. As you know any way time can be saved helps

What types of jobs do you do with DesignMerge?

We do addressing of postcards, envelopes and other mail pieces, letters with as many as 25 different pieces of personalized info, numbering of forms and raffle tickets.

Do you see this aspect of your business growing in the near future?

We definitely see the growth potential of VDP. The personalization of printed materials, advertising, and the convenience of having a one-stop place for all of your direct marketing needs should only increase with many clients needing to be more conservative with their budgets.

To read this case study online and view a sample VDP job from Minuteman Press, please click here.

Graceland University Relies on DesignMerge to Target Student Recruitment and More!

June 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, Testimonial 

Graceland University is a private, liberal arts university with 2,300 students and 150 faculty members located on a residential campus in Lamoni, Iowa and an urban campus in Independence, Missouri. The sponsoring church is the Community of Christ, though Graceland celebrates its non-sectarian heritage dating back to 1895 when the university was founded. Students enjoy more than 50 academic majors and programs, a 15:1 student/faculty ratio and 19 varsity and 10 junior-varsity sports.

Following is an interview with Steve Edwards, Director of Creative Services at Graceland, discussing how DesignMerge has helped tto arget student recruitment efforts, while also providing for an increase in general marketing efforts to current students, their parents, alumni and more.

What VDP challenges have you faced in the Education market?

Our most significant business challenge was to cost effectively market to high school students interested in a liberal arts university for higher education. As with most colleges and universities, there is a lot of competition with student recruitment, and the process has become more competitive over the years as universities have implemented variable data technology to personalize their message and target interests directly to prospective students. While we recognized the need to implement variable data printing into our marketing campaigns, each time that we looked at doing variable postcards through an outside service, it was decided that the cost was just too high.

Why did you choose DesignMerge for your VDP implementation?

Graceland was looking at doing variable data brochures and postcards. And at the same time we were also evaluating several new digital presses. We purchased a Canon C6000 and were thrilled that DesignMerge was part of the purchase! We were immediately pleased with the DesignMerge software.

How important do you feel it is to create personalized marketing materials for the purpose of student recruitment/retainment?

The studies all say that you get an increased rate of return when personalizing. I think it’s similar to when main-stream printing moved from black-and-white to all color. Personalization has become so widely adapted that I think it really stands out in a negative way when a piece, especially a postcard, doesn’t have it. It would be along the lines of not placing the recipients name on a letter.

What type of variables are considered in a recruitment piece?

We use VDP for addressing, personalizing names, event-based text (i.e. if a student hasn’t yet paid their deposit, we include a sentence encouraging them to do so), photos based on gender of recipient, entire pages based on academic and sport interest. The simple fact is, if we can imagine a way to segment a population by data, we can use VDP to reach them.

In what other ways have you utilized DesignMerge?

We use DesignMerge in our Annual Fund program (again, a postcard). The VDP on these range from a simple name and address to changing out the entire card face based on academic major or graduation date. We’ve also used it in our homecoming mailing packet, printing multiple letters, pre-filling registration forms with name and address information, and swapping out entire letters based on graduation year. Nametags for various events are extremely easy to produce with DesignMerge. And we’ve also seen an uptick in campus offices having us merge their letters since we can do it faster with DesignMerge than they can through MS Office.

What are the results of your DesignMerge implementation?

We’ve found that DesignMerge’s seamless integration with Adobe InDesign has allowed our creative department to generate complex database-driven publications without having a database reporting specialist. Furthermore, since implementing DesignMerge we’ve been able to greatly reduce our inventory, save money on our overall mailing costs and reduce the number of printed pieces we send out since those that we do send are much more targeted.

AutoPrice for QuarkXPress 9

December 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AutoPrice, General 

Meadows Publishing Solutions is pleased to announce that AutoPrice is now available for QuarkXPress 9 for the Macintosh platform!

For purchase or upgrade information, please contact Mike Clancy at or by phone at 888-983-6746 (U.S. & Canada) or 847-882-8202.

AutoPrice is an easy-to-use plug-in module that greatly reduces production time when formatting, updating and manipulating pricing and product information within a QuarkXPress or InDesign document. AutoPrice has been used by hundreds of well-known catalogers and financial publishers in the U.S. and around the world. To find out more about AutoPrice, please visit our website at

AutoPrice Automates Catalog Production For Dultmeier Sales!

July 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AutoPrice, Testimonial 

Dultmeier Sales, LLC located in Omaha, Nebraska has been a distributor and supplier to the Car & Truck Wash industries for over 25 years, and a supplier of equipment to Industrial and Agri-Business customers for over 75 years. They are a small company with 70 employees and two locations, serving the Great Plains market in the U.S.

Dultmeier prides itself on attention to customer service. In fact their company motto is “To have the products and supplies you need, when you need them and to get them to you in a fast and courteous manner.”  Their customers know that they come first, and as a result Dultmeier enjoys a very loyal customer base.

Following is a short interview with Rich Long, Advertising Manager for Dultmeier Sales, discusing how AutoPrice software has helped meet their business challenges, resulting in increased profits and expanded business opportunities.  Rich states that, “AutoPrice has been a godsend!”  We produce four catalogs per year with over 400 pages each, representing 75,000 different products.”

What business challenges have you faced in the catalog production market?

Our catalog production department uses Adobe InDesign on Macintosh computers for layout work.  Our biggest challenge was how to efficiently price our catalogs.  Prior to AutoPrice, it took eight salespeople, two catalog production people, and about four weeks to price and proof just one catalog!

Before implementing AutoPrice, we had numerous discussions with our programmers on how to automate the pricing process of our catalogs. Their answer was always the same, “since our descriptions and pricing are not uniform, it is virtually impossible to do.” It was even suggested that we redo all of the pricing and part numbers in the catalogs to conform with a table format that InDesign could handle. Then, we were told, a program could be written that would transfer pricing from our mainframe to the catalog pages. However restricting the catalog layouts to the InDesign table format would not have allowed us the flexibility requires to design our pages.

Why did you choose AutoPrice to be a part of your catalog service offering?

I spoke to Meadows Publishing Solutions regarding their AutoPrice catalog software. Our Meadows representative explained that the AutoPrice solution was already fully integrated with InDesign.  Implementing it would completely automate our price updates accurately and efficiently while still allowing for complete flexibility in designing our pages.  He was right! After reviewing the AutoPrice software demonstration, we were convinced that it was the solution we had been seeking.

What were the results of your AutoPrice integration?

We easily integrated AutoPrice into our existing InDesign catalog pages. After receiving pricing from our mainframe we run the AutoPrice batch system. The built-in reporting feature provides immediate feedback, flagging any errors or missing data that it may encounter.  The only errors we find are ones attributed to human error and improper tagging, and not from the AutoPrice pricing procedures.  I can now price one of my 400 page catalogs in about 25 minutes instead of the three and a half weeks that it took previously.

C & A Marketing Empowers Their Clients With AutoPrice Expertise

July 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AutoPrice, General, Testimonial 

C & A Marketing  Corp. is a full-service studio in Elmhurst, IL providing creative and production services to national and multi-national clients for 15 years.  Their specialties include packaging, product manuals, catalogs, photography, retouching, illustration and production consulting. In 2006 C & A took a leap forward in serving their direct-marketing clients by adding catalog database technology to their suite of services.

Following is a short interview with Steve Bailey, Creative Partner for C & A Marketing, discussing how AutoPrice publishing software has helped meet their unique challenges and resulted in increased profits and expanded business opportunities.  Steve states that “With a solution using innovative mix of homegrown content management and AutoPrice catalog publishing software, C & A Marketing has found a profitable balance of supporting catalog production with AutoPrice catalog publishing integration services.”

What business challenges have you faced in the Catalog Production market?

The biggest challenge in catalog production is, quite frankly, making a profit. Catalogers are always looking for faster, lower cost and better. This does not exactly meet the profit goals of an agency where faster means expensive technology and more employees, lower cost means lower margins, and better means hiring top talent. Fortunately C & A Marketing has found a way out of this conundrum.  By offering a catalog solution, rather than simply catalog production, we are able to compete on value, instead of racing for the lowest price. Our clients who purchase catalog solutions find that the service transforms their operations, simplifying their daily business and realizing a net ROI that is greatly in their favor.

For example: A client of ours was entering a new market and needed content collected and published quickly in both print and web channels.  After reviewing their business needs, we determined the best solution was a content portal combined with a method for publishing the content quickly and accurately.

C & A Marketing developed the portal, allowing their client’s 100+ vendors easy access to upload catalog content, images and choice of template. The online portal provides easy status reporting, registrant information and a convenient interface for managing content. Using a combination of proprietary methods, extraordinary service and AutoPrice catalog publishing software, C & A Marketing provided a turnkey solution. The portal provides cross-channel content for both print and web, and has now been in use for five years.

This complete solution includes Content Portal Development, Portal Hosting, Help Desk Support, Content Management, Production Management, Design, Catalog Production and Print Services.

Why did you choose AutoPrice to be a part of your catalog service offering?

AutoPrice catalog publishing software is extremely flexible, and the support from Meadows Publishing Solutions, Inc. is unequaled.  They offer world-class products with service typically reserved for software boutiques.  We were confident that purchasing AutoPrice would mean more than completing our suite of catalog services.  It would allow us to compete as a solution provider rather than just offering standard production services, and we could help clients integrate their own in-house solution.

Whether our client wants to outsource their catalog, or needs help integrating their own solution, C & A Marketing can help.  Our catalog solutions can provide a complete turnkey operation, consulting services for integrating AutoPrice internally, or any combination therein.

What were the results of your AutoPrice integration?

Implementing AutoPrice has improved our service offerings and expanded our business, enabling us to compete as a catalog solution provider rather than a run-of-the-mill production house. Our expanded catalog database capabilities have allowed us to compete with much larger production houses and our linear organization is known for flexibility that others just can not match.

In addition to rounding out our catalog database solutions, we have assisted numerous clients with in-house production departments, in integrating AutoPrice. Our production team has an incredible knowledge base in implementing AutoPrice solutions that empowers our clients with confidence and expertise.

OPMA Improves Efficiency And Increases Profits With AutoPrice

June 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AutoPrice, General, Testimonial 

OPMA is a full-service marketing and advertising agency based in Comstock Park, MI providing creative and production services to national and international clients for over 20 years. Their specialties include custom solutions for catalog companies, including sales flyers, web design, e-commerce, HTML e-mail, multimedia, product photography, image editing, photo-illustration, and B2B/B2C advertising.

Following is a short interview with Kurt Kemperman, Vice President of Design and Production, discussing how AutoPrice publishing software has helped meet the unique challenges of OPMA, resulting in increased profits and expanded business opportunities. Kurt says that, “When it comes to catalog production workflow, the speed and accuracy of AutoPrice is amazing!”

What business challenges have you faced in the catalog production market?

The catalog and flyer production services market has become more complex and sophisticated over the years.  Many campaigns require dealer customization, from unique imprints and custom covers to dealer-specific pricing.  An important service we provide our customers is multiple price-version catalogs that target specific sales territories, countries, and many other variables. Our challenge was to find a software solution that would help us automate the process of creating these unique versions, so we could focus on our core business, which is content design and creation.  We continue to look for ways to use technology to increase our efficiency without compromising the design, quality, or attention to detail that our clients have come to expect from OPMA.

Why did you choose AutoPrice to be a part of your catalog service offering?

We evaluate our production process every year in order to stay abreast of new technologies that could offer us a competitive advantage. We compared AutoPrice  to other competing products and have yet to find anything that comes close to its ease of use, flexibility, and value. AutoPrice adapts to our changing needs easily and the Meadows Support Team always delivers if we need assistance.  AutoPrice has been a part of our production process since 1994, and we can’t say that about any other software solution.

What were the results of your AutoPrice integration?

Implementing AutoPrice catalog publishing software has increased our pricing accuracy while reducing the amount of time needed to create multiple price-version catalogs.  This efficiency has enabled us to grow our business and become more profitable. As a result, OPMA can produce a priced product faster and more accurately than our competition.

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