WAM Print|Mail|Fulfillment Uses DesignMerge Software to Build on Their Reputation For the Finest in Print and Mail Services

May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, General, Testimonial 

For more than 50 years, the professionals at WAM Print|Mail|Fulfillment have provided their customers with design, printing and mailing services with a focus on superior service and quality. Their goal is to combine current technology, talented employees and team effort to provide efficient, on-target mailing, printing and data services. WAM offers a wide array of services, including everything from mail piece design and digital printing, all the way to pickup and delivery to the post office. A large part of their business also includes variable data printing services with output on a variety of digital color presses, including the Konica Minolta C8000. WAM’s commitment to customer service and quality ensures that they will continue to be a leader in the industry for many years to come.

Following is a brief interview with Graphic Designer and IT Specialist, Janessa Stam, of WAM. Janessa shares a few details about WAM’s implementation of DesignMerge software in conjunction with the Konica Minolta C8000 and other digital color presses.

arrowbulletWhat type of work do you do with DesignMerge?

We do quite a bit of Variable Data Print, primarily for producing direct mail pieces, personalized postcards, and the like. Many of our designs require real-time data and layout processing features, which allow us to craft our direct mail pieces for a particular client or audience. The Rules engine that DesignMerge offers has been instrumental in the success of our targeted mailings.

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

Our primary challenge was to find a software program that was both well supported, and also able to handle highly variable pieces. In addition to variable text and images, we wanted to be able to vary document layouts and other styling features to potentially achieve a different look and feel for each piece. We also have a number of specialty data situations such as complicated Title Case and data manipulation requirements that we needed to address.

arrowbulletWhy did you choose DesignMerge?

DesignMerge offered the capabilities we required to meet our customers needs at an affordable price while giving us options to expand our variable data capabilities. Additionally, DesignMerge offered quick and thorough responses to our questions, and assistance with any problems we had. Beyond that we have been able to use the DesignMerge scripting capability to address a number of sophisticated data processing challenges.

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

We love the ability to merge to a variety of output types, and our customers have been very happy with the new capabilities that DesignMerge offers. Because DesignMerge is based on Adobe InDesign, we have complete freedom over our designs, and this has really helped us to think outside the box when it comes to VDP applications. We have used DesignMerge software on jobs as large as 800,000+ records, and the “job chunking” feature of DesignMerge means that we can just set it up and let it run with no need for any manual intervention.

arrowbulletYou mentioned using the DesignMerge Scripting features for a couple of projects. How did that work out?

For one mailer, we were in need of a solution to handle title case switching of first and last names. The data provided by the client contained all caps, and we needed to convert those into proper case without having to edit the database information. In addition, we needed a solution to handle more complicated title case conversions, for names like MACDONALD or ONEILL, where there is more to it than just capitalizing the first letter. The DesignMerge team provided us with their MPS Title Case script that handled all of our requirements, and it was incredibly easy to implement. Here are a few examples of the title case conversions the script can handle:

Table

On another job, we needed to be able to strip out partial pricing information from full price values that were being imported from the database. For example, we needed to import only the dollar portion of a price, so if the data contained “10.00”, we only wanted to merge the “10” portion of the price. Meadows provided us with another script called the MPS Price Parser which easily handled this condition. The script also provided other features for stripping cents and percentage values from pricing data, which we may use on future projects. Implementation of the script for this project was fast and very easy to do.

WAM-logo

DesignMerge Helps Yorke Increase Productivity and Grow Their Business

April 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, General, Testimonial 

Yorke is right-sized by design – small enough to give each job close attention, big enough to respond quickly and effectively. Offset printing is where they earned their reputation. On the digital side, they can handle anything you can throw at them – black& white, color, variable data, digital storefront development, you name it! Their pricing is competitive and their streamlined digital work-flow means turn-around times are insanely fast. The real advantage to using Yorke for digital printing jobs is that they apply the same quality control and attention to detail that they would on an offset job.

Following is a short interview with Yorke discussing how the DesignMerge software has helped them to increase productivity while offering new services to their clients. The result has been a steady growth in business that they see continuing into the future.

 

arrowbulletWhat type of work do you do with DesignMerge?

We use DesignMerge for both offset and digital printing. We apply DesignMerge variable data techniques for business cards, name tags, labels, mass appeal letters, reply cards and postcards, as well as self promotion mailings for our business. We also reprogram client data to match preprinted materials.

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

Previously when we received an Excel file with data, we would copy the information from the Excel file and paste the information directly into the application file. Now, we make an InDesign file of the base art and a layer with the variable information and DesignMerge does the rest, merging the files together. We can choose to create a variety of file types for the end result, including an InDesign file. Recently we have been reprogramming the data files from clients to match or change character size and/or style in order to maintain their corporate graphic standards.

The Meadows support team has been very responsive to our needs; helping us along the way to fulfill each client request and working with our prepress department until all issues are resolved. The support team often gives us step-by-step instructions which is extremely useful. The Meadows website contains an extensive Knowledge Base along with training videos and webinars that we can access anytime they are needed, giving us multiple ways to find the answers we need to service our clients.

arrowbulletWhy did you choose DesignMerge?

We chose DesignMerge because we felt the price was right, the interface was user friendly, the capabilities were wide ranging, and the level of technical support provided was expansive. After reading other testimonials, we felt Meadows was a company that mirrored our own philosophy on customer service.

arrowbulletWhat have been the results of implementing DesignMerge in your workflow

Using DesignMerge has increased our productivity and allowed us to offer new services to our clients, which positively impacts our customer relationships and revenue.

arrowbulletDo you see this aspect of your business growing?

We have seen steady growth in the use of VDP and expect that trend to continue. We are excited to offer this service to our customers and feel we will be very successful in doing so. Our responsiveness to client needs is a key differentiator for Yorke, and the addition of DesignMerge to our toolbox has definitely improved our capability in that area.

To see samples of a few of the variable data jobs that are produced by Yorke, please click here.

yorke

AutoPrice now available for Adobe InDesign CS7 Creative Cloud!

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

Meadows Publishing Solutions today announced the release of their award-winning AutoPrice software for Adobe InDesign CS7 Creative Cloud, for both the Macintosh and Windows platforms. AutoPrice is a powerful, yet easy-to-use, plug-in module that streamlines the updating of pricing, pictures, and other information in InDesign documents.

Click here to read the full press release.

Scripting & Print Automation Modules

February 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

For the ultimate in workflow automation, Meadows offers a Scripting Module that provides access to a very robust scripting library. This module allows several of the Meadows software modules (including DesignMerge, AutoPrice, and CopyFit) to be controlled and directed from within the AppleScript, JavaScript or VBScript environments. In addition, DesignMerge customers can create custom “actions” that can be attached to any DesignMerge rule.

For print-based workflows, the MPS Print Automation Module extends the Scripting Module capabilities by providing access to a set of scripting commands used to control full PPML output. This module is a must-have for any DesignMerge or AutoPrice power-user.

PDF Exporter Module Available for AutoPrice

February 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

If you are creating PDF versions of your Adobe InDesign catalog pages, and you need to embed hyperlinks for product information in those PDF files, then the Meadows PDF Exporter module is for you!

The PDF Exporter module can automatically convert your AutoPrice placeholders into fully customized and embedded hyperlinks. The module supports a robust set of replaceable parameters that can be used to customize each of the links as they are exported. Full control over link styling is also provided. This module is ideal if you are creating PDF Catalogs, or exporting PDF pages with embedded hyperlinks for use in an online page turning catalog.

  • Converts placeholders into PDF hyperlinks
  • Style each link during export process
  • Share URLs for hyperlinks across documents
  • Supports URL and relative document hyperlinks
  • Hyperlink URLs can also be imported from any external database field
  • Ideal for PDF catalogs, or embedding links in online page-turning catalogs
  • Full batch processing available – create hundred of PDF files in one session

Squinch (Square Inch) Reporter Now Available

February 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

The AutoPrice Squinch Reporter module produces comprehensive Square Inch Analysis reports from one or more catalog pages prepared using AutoPrice. Full SKU-level details about catalog square inch utilization is provided in a customized report format. Support for global, shared and combined square inch areas is also included as a standard feature. If you are tired of wearing a green eye shade and measuring your catalog pages with a ruler, then this plug-in is for you!

  • Calculates square inch values
  • Easily manage non-standard shapes
  • Combine multiple squinch areas into one
  • Track brand information along with Squinch area details
  • Preview Report & Squinch Scanner features make for easy setup
  • Full Batch processing-process hundreds of documents in one session!

DesignMerge is the Ideal Tool for Gifts For You Now Personalized Product Line

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

Gifts For You Now is a provider of personalized gifts for all occasions, with a mission to provide personalized gift solutions for everyone and every occasion. With a primary focus on creating highly personalized gifts, they offer many design options for creating truly unique products. DesignMerge is the perfect tool for helping them achieve that goal.

Following is a short interview with Jim Tuchler Owner and President of Gifts For You Now, discussing how the DesignMerge software has helped them to increase productivity and improve their bottom line.

arrowbulletWhat type of work do you do with DesignMerge?
We are a personalized gift company. Many of our products are sold with beautiful designs that can be personalized by adding names and/or photos to them. We use DesignMerge to facilitate the merging of customer expression data with the variable data fields in our InDesign layouts.

arrowbulletWhat kind of challenges have you faced in the Variable Data Printing (VDP) market?
Initially we were using QuarkXpress, and as legacy software, it had outlived its usefulness. Using the cominbation of Adobe InDesign and DesignMerge, we have the speed, product stability, and support that we were seeking in a new software solution.

arrowbulletWhy did you choose DesignMerge?
DesignMerge offered the best feature set for the price, and it met our specific needs with regards to merging both text and pictures. And it integrates well with InDesign, which is the primary layout tool that we use here at Gifts For You Now.

arrowbulletWhat have been the results of implementing DesignMerge in your workflow?
We have experienced faster merging of data, increased stability, and we have gained peace of mind knowing that we’re using contemporary, well-supported software that continues to evolve. All of this has helped us to improve our bottom line and subsequently grow our business.

arrowbulletYou use a combination of Pro and Starter. Can you elaborate on that a bit?
Absolutely. We use the DesignMerge Pro seats for our desktops that are dedicated to file merging, and we use the DesignMerge Starter seats in order to accommodate seasonal increases in orders. For example, to meet the demands of the holiday season, our staff will increase from about 35 employees to 100! The DesignMerge Pro and Starter packages is a good mix for our needs.

The following sample demonstrates a few of the personalized products that were created by Gifts For Your Now using the DesignMerge software:

 GFYN-sample
DesignMerge Pro Software

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

AutoPrice Speeds Catalog Production

October 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AutoPrice, General, Testimonial 

After years of manually updating our main 900-page catalog, along with numerous smaller ones we produce, we came across AutoPrice, and what a time saver it has been! We can now in a matter of minutes re-price, verify our data, and create our indexes, a job that in the past took weeks of tedious keying, and spot-check proofing. Being a very user-friendly, easy-to-learn add-on, we are looking ahead to other ways we can incorporate its functionality in our chart-heavy applications. I highly recommend Meadows Publishing Solutions; working with them has been nothing short of a positive experience.

Jodi Eyles
Catalog Manager
Nivel Parts & Manufacturing

 nivel_logo

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.

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