DesignMerge and AutoPrice for Creative Cloud 2014

September 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

Meadows Publishing Solutions today announced the release of DesignMerge Pro and AutoPrice for Adobe® Creative Cloud 2014, supporting both Macintosh and Windows-based platforms.

DesignMerge® Pro provides users with sophisticated variable data publishing, personalized printing, and document automation features. The module works within the InDesign® application, enabling professional mail-merge, variable data printing, and document automation features. The entire process is database-driven, completely flexible, and very easy to use.

DesignMerge can easily support variable text, picture, article, and even complete InDesign layouts and master pages. All of the features of Adobe InDesign are available when using DesignMerge software, so advanced features such as variable type-on-a-curve are easily supported. DesignMerge also outputs the most popular variable data printing formats including PostScript, PPML, Creo VPS and PDF/VT. The product is fully compatible with systems offered by Konica Minolta, Canon, Creo, EFI, Fujifilm, HP and Ricoh, among others. For more information about DesignMerge technology, please visit www.designmerge.com.

AutoPrice is a powerful, yet easy to use, tool for linking text and graphics in any type of database to Adobe InDesign documents, vastly streamlining production. Proven over 20 years by many of the largest catalog and financial publishers throughout the world, AutoPrice has set the standard for plug-in based data connectivity software.

As the name implies, AutoPrice is engineered to automate the process of inserting, updating and versioning prices for catalogs, retail flyers and similar publications. It is also ideal for updating timetables, phone lists or any other type of information that can be referenced from a database or spreadsheet file. For more information about MPS software, please visit http://www.meadowsps.com.

Adventure Life Wins Big with Custom Travel Brochures Created Using DesignMerge!

November 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, General, Testimonial 

Adventure Life (www.adventure-life.com) is an adventure travel company that provides custom and small group tours in Latin America and Africa, and small-ship cruises throughout the world. They offer over 100 different itineraries in South & Central America and Africa, as well as hundreds of small-ship cruises to less conventional destinations such as the Arctic, Antarctica and Alaska.

Custom catalogs are tailored to an individual’s interests. Data captured online is processed through the DesignMerge software using a system developed by Meadows Publishing Solutions. The end-result is a fully personalized travel guide and brochure complete with variable text, articles and graphics, all based on the visitor’s trip selections. Final PDF files are automatically produced and made available for electronic delivery, and are also printed digitally. The results of this software solution have been so successful that Adventure Life was recently named a gold winner for their customized trip catalogs by Travel Weekly’s 2013 Magellan Awards!

Following is a short interview with Aaron Conway, Chief Technology Officer at Adventure Life, discussing how the DesignMerge software has allowed them to create a custom solution for their unique marketing requirements.

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

Our initial challenge was finding a solution that could not only handle variable data in a document, but would also allow a variable number of pages and variable page order. We were not able to find a prepackaged solution, but Meadows was able to work with our requirements and modify DesignMerge to fit our needs.

arrowbulletWhy did you choose DesignMerge for your VDP implementation?

We chose DesignMerge because of the confidence that the Meadows staff gave us. They assured us that what we were trying to accomplish with our project was attainable and could be customized within a reasonable time frame.

arrowbulletWhat were the results of your DesignMerge implementation?

We have had a very positive response to the custom catalogs. Each traveler’s needs are unique for every trip they go on and since information is constantly changing, and we are always adding and updating trips, providing custom catalogs gets the latest and most relevant information out to our customers. They see that we are able to meet their individual needs at a very customized level. The tailor-made catalog is the first step in ensuring that we offer experiences that are inspiring, authentic and unique.

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

We are constantly adding to our catalog, so our presentation materials will continue to expand. We have been very pleased with the results of our custom catalogs and plan to continue to use DesignMerge to produce each one individually. It seems like DesignMerge is a very flexible tool and there is great potential to use it in other aspects of variable data printing.

arrowbulletCan you provide any examples of your work?

Sure! To see an example of some of the variable pages in an Adventure Life brochure, please click here.

adventure-life

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.

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 sales@meadowsps.com 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 www.meadowsps.com.

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.

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.

How To Turn Off “Prompt for Database Each Time”

November 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: FAQ's 

Why does DesignMerge prompt for my database file each time I do a merge?

By default, DesignMerge will prompt for the location of the database every time that you do a merge operation. However, the setting can be changed under the menu commands DesignMerge => Preferences, by unchecking “Prompt for Database Each Time”. Once this setting has been changed, you will have to use the “Select Database” command to choose a new database file manually should you get a new version of it. If you replace the old database file with a new file of the same name, then DesignMerge will automatically detect that change and use the new file.