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:

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 ( 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.


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.

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


DesignMerge FAQ: Variable Link is Empty

May 31, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: FAQ's 

A DesignMerge Variable Link is Empty when a record does not contain any data for that Link.  DesignMerge provides several options for Empty Links.  Here is a description of each of these “If Link is Empty” options:

* Flag as Error

A merge session will fill the Link with the global No Data Error, which is specified on the DesignMerge “Preferences” window (you may access the “Preferences” window by selecting “Preferences” from the “DesignMerge” menu).  By default, the No Data Error is “Empty Field!” Please note that if you select this option for a Variable Link and a record does not have data for the Link, then the No Data Error (by default, “Empty Field!”) is what will be printed for that merged Link.

* Ignore

Will not merge the Link; the Link will continue to display what it contained before that record was merged into the document.  For example, if the Link was displaying “Address_2” before merging this record, the Link will display “Address _2” after the record is merged into the document.

* Delete

Will completely remove the Link from the merged page.  In the case of a Picture Link, the entire box will be deleted.

Please note that during a File or Print merge session, which merges each step of records into their own copy of the original page(s), DesignMerge will delete the Link without displaying any warnings.  Deleting the Link on one of these copies will not delete it on the original page so the Link will still be present for later records.

However, during a Test merge session, which operates on the original document instead of a copy, DesignMerge will by default prompt you to choose whether you wish to “Skip”, “Delete”, or “Flag & Continue” the Empty Link.  Normally, you will prefer to “Flag & Continue” so the Empty Link will remain on the page for later records to use.  If you choose to Delete the Empty Link during a Test merge session, the Link will no longer be present for other records, even if those records have data for that Link.

* Substitute

Will use the data entered here. For Text Links, the text that is entered here will be merged into the Link.  For Picture, Article, or GroupPicture Links, DesignMerge, will assume the text entered here is the file name or full path name of an external file that DesignMerge will attempt to locate and import.

* Remove Empty Links

If you have chosen “Delete” for the “If Link is Empty” setting, then you may also wish to enable “Remove Empty Lines”.  When this option is on, DesignMerge will remove the line that the Empty Link was on if there are no printable characters on the line (the line is blank). The other lines in the box will move either up or down, according to the formatting that you have applied to that text.

The Variable Data Printing Choice: DesignMerge Plug-in Solution vs. Stand Alone’s

February 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

Where are you at with variable data printing these days … stuck in Standaloneville or ready to move up to plug-in technology? Keep in mind your investment, both in terms of time and money, and that will lead you to the best overall decision.

Let’s look closely at some facts. Many of the desktop variable data printing products on the market today all share a common flaw, they utilize their own composition engines.

What does that mean? Well, the way that most of these packages work is to separate the “fixed” portion of a document from the “variable” portion of the document. Typically, the user is instructed to save the fixed portion of the job as a “background form” in PDF or some other format. If they are working in QuarkXPress or InDesign, it is up to them to delete or suppress the variable portion of the document, then save what’s left out as a PDF file. Humm…

Once the fixed file is created, the user then runs a completely separate variable data printing application. Most of the standalone VDP applications are themselves page layout applications, and they provide tools that are very similar to QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign. The user places the background form onto the page in the VDP page layout software, and this becomes the fixed portion of the document.

Next, using the tools provided by the variable program, they create and “overlay” the variable portion of the document on top of the fixed graphic, being careful to properly align the variable data so that when everything is printed, the composite piece is properly aligned. Even if you are careful, the final document will still look pieced together! UGH! Let’s stop here and review…

If you’re really interested in professional quality output, easy-to-use plug-in technology for all your marketing campaigns, an excellent return on your investment, expandable to meet your variable needs now and in the future, then join us for a free demonstration of DesignMerge, the best VDP plug-in solution on the market today.

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 VDP Training Tip: “Mark Items as Variable”

November 30, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: FAQ's 

Use the “Mark As Variable” DesignMerge feature if your Adobe InDesign document contains any fixed (static or non-variable) content that is interacting in a text wrap with variable data content AND you would also like to take advantage of the exclusive DesignMerge variable data printing capabilities that optimize the performance of the DesignMerge variable data print drivers.

When a fixed page item is ‘marked as variable’, the VDP Optimization feature of the DesignMerge print drivers (for example: PPML or Creo VPS) will optimize that fixed object in a specialized manner to allow it to continue interacting with variable content in the optimized variable data print output. Examples include:

* Fixed content that wraps around variable content
* Fixed content that has variable content wrapping around it

To use this feature, simply select the frame of the fixed content that you wish to mark as variable, and then select “Mark Item as Variable” from the “DesignMerge> Utilities> Print Driver” menu. The frame edge will then display a visual indicator.

For an example, please see DesignMerge Tutorial #2 (the Postcard tutorial) where a fixed image has been marked as variable.

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