When I merge my document using DesignMerge, my line breaks disappear between variable text links. Why?

December 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: FAQ's 

If a line-ending character is included inside a text link, the line-ending character will be removed when you merge the document because incoming variable data will replace all of the characters that are inside the text link, including the line-ending character.

There are several ways to move a line-ending character to the outside of a text link. For example, use your Type/Text tool to click inside the text link and click the “Remove” button on the DesignMerge palette. Then, carefully select only the characters that you wish to have replaced by variable data, confirm you have not selected the line-ending character, and re-assign the variable link to the selected text.

TIP: DesignMerge will automatically exclude non-printing characters, such as a line-ending character, that are at the end of your selected text from being placed inside a text link if you turn on the “Smart Tags” preference (open the DesignMerge menu and select Preferences to access this preference).

3 Steps Forward with DesignMerge Variable Data Software!

December 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

Ok, so you want to start offering variable data printing to your customers who are asking about one-to-one personalization for their marketing campaigns, right? …

But you’re too busy and you don’t think you have the time to learn something new, (even though it’s means big profits to your bottom line)! WHAT? Excusez-moi!

Take 3 steps forward and don’t look back!

1) Identify your market

* How much are your customers talking about VDP?
* Are they getting their personalized marketing materials from
you or your competition?

2) Call us to schedule a DesignMerge demo at 888-983-6746.

3) Try DesignMerge Starter for an entry level solution!

Now, wasn’t that easy?

What is the DesignMerge “Quick Setup” button in the Database Definitions Window?

December 27, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: FAQ's 

A “Database Definition” (or DDF) describes the layout of a database file, letting DesignMerge know such things as how many fields are in the database file and whether the database file is tab-delimited or comma-separated. To determine the appropriate settings for a new DDF, DesignMerge provides a “Quick Setup” feature, which is available on the “Database Definitions” dialog, as described in the first tutorial in the DesignMerge Tutorial Manual.

Generally, Quick Setup will only be used once on a DDF, unless you wish to reset all of the DDF settings, including its list of Variable Links. Otherwise, to make changes in the DDF, you can simply click the “Edit” button on the “Database Definitions” dialog, and then change the one or two settings that you wish to change.

Use Quick Setup on an existing DDF only when you wish to reset the DDF settings to default selections. This includes resetting the DDF’s list of Variable Links. Quick Setup always builds a new list of Variable Links, removing all of the DDF’s previous Variable Links, including any you added by using the “New” or “Save As” button on the “Variable Links” dialog.

If the new list of Variable Links does not include a Variable Link that you have assigned to content in a document, that document will encounter a “Bad Tag!” error when you start a merge session. The names of the Variable Links that are assigned to content in a document must match the names of the Variable Links that are available in a DDF. If you should encounter a “Bad Tag” error when merging a document, you may resolve this error either by replacing the erroneous DesignMerge Link in the document or by adding the missing Variable Link to the DDF.

Multi Packaging Solutions and DesignMerge Makes Digital Variable Signage a Top Customer Offering!

December 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, Testimonial 

Multi Packaging Solutions (MPS) has its heritage in the healthcare, media, and consumer goods markets, with a proven track record of customer focus, creative ideas, technical innovation, and manufacturing excellence. Recognizing industry trends toward more frequent, smaller-sized orders, MPS has developed a hybrid approach to manufacturing which combines flexographic, digital, offset, and rotary letterpress printing to achieve the desired graphic results for any given project. Success is derived from listening to customer needs and combining talent with capabilities to achieve superior results in print and packaging.

When MPS began building a network of leading print and packaging companies in January 2005, it included a division in Indianapolis, Indiana, formerly known as Hilltop Press. MPS-IN houses a digital, on-demand department known as “EXPRESS.” The department name says it all – they specialize in on-demand, fast-turn digital and variable print. Beth Coleman-Valdettaro, Director of Digital Technology at MPS-IN recently provided insight into how DesignMerge has helped them to meet client challenges while expanding their business opportunities.

What business challenges have you faced in the VDP market?

While the graphic arts industry has been singing praises of variable data printing for years, few printers have been able to take their customers beyond the basic typographical mail merge, direct mail application. Because many customers fail to grasp the concept and value without visuals, MPS was challenged to develop a variable customer offering that could be easily presented and understood by non-data-oriented clients. Using DesignMerge to create interesting variable graphic images in QuarkXPress files, helped to sell the concept, employing big impact messages to a specific customer audience.

One customer had been struggling with the need for customized signage featuring a variety of products and pricing in more than 2000 sales locations. MPS designed a customer-specific solution using the client’s data to create consistent artwork templates, variable signage and digital prints, customized down to the location level. The original application in 2004 was designed to do 16 different signs for multiple locations daily. The scenario today includes more than 100 different product signs in various sizes and materials, all customized and shipping to dozens of markets weekly.

Why did you choose DesignMerge for your VDP implementation?

We chose DesignMerge because it fit our customer’s application perfectly. There was a need to interface with QuarkXPress artwork, and be compatible with Xerox DocuColor printers. Much of the graphic content of each sign was photographic or contained design elements, as well as type. The application had to interface well with customer provided data, as well as the Fiery RIP on the digital printing devices. Over the last several years, DesignMerge has retained its strength and flexibility in an ever changing world of technology offerings. It was, and continues to be, the ideal variable solution for this complex customer application.

What were the results of your DesignMerge implementation?

The success of the display and signage program led to variable sales binders and promotional materials, all customized to the individual location’s pricing and product offering. Many products have transitioned from large conventional press runs to print-on-demand orders. Currently, 80% of the digital work printed at MPS-IN is variable.

DesignMerge Technical Support … Why are there quotes bracketing data in merged text links?

December 21, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: FAQ's 

If you are seeing quotes bracketing data that is merged into a DesignMerge Text Link, then your database file is using the quote character as a Text Qualifier. If you would like to confirm your database file is using a quote mark as a Text Qualifier, you can open the database text file in a plain text editing application, such as TextEdit or Notepad, and search for a double quote to see if a double quote character is bracketing any field data. If not, then search for a single quote to see if a single quote character is bracketing any field data. When done, remember to close the database file without saving any changes to it.

To set up your DesignMerge job to hide the Text Qualifier (double quote or single quote) so it will not be displayed by any merged Text Links, simply change your DDF’s “Text Qualifier” setting from “None” to the appropriate quote character (single quote or double quote). Then, the next time you merge the document, DesignMerge will hide any quotes that are bracketing the data in your database text file.

Who’s Your VDP Daddy?

December 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

DesignMerge is the only plug-in based product on the market today that directly supports both Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress, the most powerful and popular page layout programs on the planet!

And it’s so easy to use – just open an existing QuarkXPress or InDesign document and use the DesignMerge menu-driven interface to quickly define variable elements anywhere on the page. Variables can include Text, Picture, Multi-line Article, or even Full Page information, and all styling is fully supported.

All that is left is to feed DesignMerge a data file. The data is merged directly into QuarkXPress or InDesign layouts to produce unique, personalized output in a variety of file and VDP formats, including PostScript, PDF, and PPML. DesignMerge output is fast, reliable, and most importantly, predictable!

Now, how’s that for a Daddy!

JakPrints Jumps Ahead with DesignMerge!

December 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, Testimonial 

JakPrints, Inc. prides itself on being a quality-driven, ecologically-friendly printer. They create products such as postcards, stickers, t-shirts, banners and more, through a variety of techniques which include offset printing and screen printing, as well as digital and wide format printing.

Following is a short interview with Tim Shoda, Pre-press Manager of Jakprints, discussing how DesignMerge has helped meet their unique challenges with a solution that has resulted in increased profits and expanding business opportunities.

What business challenges have you faced in the VDP market?

We noticed an increase in requests for same-day variable data and digital printing jobs, which we were not able to handle with our offset presses. Instead of outsourcing these jobs, we decided to handle them in-house. This would allow us to have greater flexibility and control over our business, specifically with variable data, numbering, and addressing jobs. Our goals were to offer our customers faster turn-around on smaller quantity runs, improve our efficiency, increase flexibility, and increase cost-effectiveness.

Why did you choose DesignMerge for your VDP implementation?

To help meet our challenges and attain the goals that we had set, we chose to run DesignMerge on a Xerox 5000 press. We looked into a variety of options, but one of the key factors in our decision was the level of support offered through DesignMerge. Add to that its functionality, ease of use, and seamless integration, and it was a no brainer. DesignMerge is working very well for us as we continue to promote variable data printing to our customers and offer a web-to-print option. In addition, we’re promoting our company and services through custom mailing & newsletters, through which we keep in touch with our customers, while highlighting our capabilities. We want to drive home the idea that we can fulfill any idea and marketing campaign, because we have the capabilities to handle any job.

What were the results of your DesignMerge implementation?

We have seen an increased interest in personalized marketing campaigns, as well as an increase in individual bar-coding for tickets and coupons. The key is that we no longer have to turn away work because of a small quantity or same day turn-around. Variable data and digital printing have proven to be the perfect complement to our offset printing department. We see our variable data business continuing to grow, and we are confident that DesignMerge will continue to meet our needs.

Make the Move to VDP Now!

December 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

What’s holding you back?

With DesignMerge variable data software it’s never been easier to become thee commercial printer that offers what your customers really want … personalized marketing materials!

If that doesn’t get you moving forward, here’s a few more reasons.

* Gain new customers, increase profitability
* Differentiate your business from the competition.
* Charge more for VDP marketing materials.
* No more outsourcing … you become the “go-to” printer
* Keep your loyal customers happy!

You Can’t Hit Your Variable Data Target If You Don’t Aim!

December 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

There’s a world of difference between direct mail and traditional advertising. The point to remember is, while traditional advertising, TV and radio, can reach an audience of millions per day … you really have no way of knowing if you’re reaching the people who are interested in your products and services.

With direct mail, the old way was running 100k pieces, ink jetting a name and address on the back and hoping for a 1% return … the “Spray and Pray” method.

In contrast, today’s direct mail can be very cost-effective and very well targeted, especially when you take advantage of the specialized and targeted mail lists that are available. With these demographically targeted lists you can personalize messages to potential customers, customize with coupon offerings and custom website landing pages. Your message can be targeted to each individual based on age, gender, income, region or whatever you like. This means that when a person gets a direct mail piece in their hands, it stays there longer than a second, enough time to consider taking action.

Top 5 Performance Tips for Variable Data Printing Jobs!

December 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: FAQ's 

DesignMerge performance is primarily determined by the capabilities of your system (faster computer, faster hard disk drive, etc.). However, here are a few things you can do when designing a document for variable data printing that can also improve its performance. These are not requirements in order to use DesignMerge on a document, but can definitely enhance performance:

1. Move the job’s files to your local system (not your file server system) before merging.

2. For variable picture links, use EPS graphic files that contain previews.

3. Remove all non-printing content from the document.

4. Unlock all objects in the document.

5. Move variable content to the front of the page.

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