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

Minuteman Press is a Winner!

August 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Events, General 

Congratulations to Bill Lynch of Minuteman Press in Ft. Worth, Texas. Bill is the lucky recipient of a DesignMerge Starter software package, one year of technical support, and his choice of training packages! This door prize was given out at the Minuteman Press 2013 World Expo in Chicago August 9. Meadows reported a steady flow of Minuteman Press owners and operators in their booth during the three day expo. They are currently promoting a special offer just for Minuteman Press shops to help them get the DesignMerge variable data software up and running in their locations. For more information, please contact the Meadows sales department. And once again, congratulations to Bill!

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

WCCHURCH_LOGO

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.

DesignMerge at Minuteman Press 2013 World Expo

July 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Events 

We will be showing DesignMerge at the upcoming Minuteman Press World Expo in Chicago. The dates are August 7-9 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. If you will be attending the Expo, please be sure to drop by booth 417 to see DesignMerge in action!

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.

Are You Ready for Intelligent Bar Codes?

January 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, Video 

Intelligent Mail is Here!

On January 28, 2013, the Postal Service will require the use of the Intelligent Mail barcodes to qualify for automation prices. Say goodbye to PostNet!

All Mailers and Printers will need to be able to create and print Intelligent Mail barcodes. Luckily, our DesignMerge software for InDesign and QuarkXPress is ready to go, providing built-in support for fully variable Intelligent Mail barcodes.

To see DesignMerge in action, please click the link below to view a movie of this process, or visit http://www.meadowsps.com/usps/ for more information.

video re: Creating Variable Intelligent Mail Bar Codes with Designmerge

Why Should You Buy DesignMerge Training?

August 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

Why Should You Buy DesignMerge Training?

There are tutorial suites that are included with DesignMerge to assist in your learning curve.  But, when you need to jump start the learning process, living training is the answer. Our trainers can either do the training online or onsite one-on-one training! A DesignMerge expert leads an online training session that covers common features while offering insights and tips for the selected output driver. The trainee actually “drives” the software while the instructor guides the process (the online meeting software provides this capability). A single trainee receives the focus of the training, thereby creating an “in-house” DesignMerge expert. The training is based on the tutorials that are included in the DesignMerge software package.

Onsite Training …

Instruction is held on-site at the client’s office with particular emphasis on integrating DesignMerge into the client’s production workflow. A DesignMerge expert leads a training session that covers all available features while offering insights and tips for the selected output driver. This training has been designed to create one or two “in-house” DesignMerge experts.  The training is based on the DesignMerge tutorials and manuals, with a maximum instruction time of eight hours.  Time remaining past the standard training can be dedicated to customer job preparation and related questions.

Job set-up can be added to either onsite or online training …

To add a measure of confidence for the client’s first application of the DesignMerge software.  Following initial training, the client provides Meadows Publishing Solutions all of the elements for a variable data printing job. (These files can be uploaded to the Meadows FTP site.) Within a minimum of two business days of receiving the required files, Meadows will return the document, linked and processed by DesignMerge, along with the DesignMerge DDF (Database Definition) for the database file and a PDF proof of 25 merged data records. The final merge will be executed by the client.  Additionally, a DesignMerge expert will schedule a second online training session based upon this job. The scope of training is defined by the job, with a maximum online instruction time of two hours.

Jupiter Minuteman Press and DesignMerge Party Like Rock Stars!

June 7, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: DesignMerge, General, Testimonial 

Jupiter Minuteman Press is “the little print shop that could!” They are a small quick-print shop in southeast Florida, and have a wide spectrum of clients.  Their specialty is customer service.  By understanding their client’s job from start to finish, they help prevent their clients from having to do a job twice! Their motto is “Powerfully Positive Efficient Production”.  Following is a short interview with Barb Watson, owner of Jupiter Minuteman Press, discussing how DesignMerge has helped meet their unique challenges with a solution that has resulted in increased profits and an expanded customer base.

“We started using DesignMerge about three years ago for a specific job with a national financial institution.  The project was a double-sided, 8.5 x 11 letter with 26 fields of variable data for 300,000 of their clients.  We worked with a local mail house using text fields, bar codes, and numeric fields. This project came to us at a time when we were searching for a variable data printing solution and talking with several VDP companies about their products and services. Needless to say, we were very surprised with what we learned! One company allowed us to use their software for a three week trial, but refused technical support because we had not made a purchase yet. Guess why we chose not to purchase? Two other VDP companies never returned phone calls or email! So imagine how delighted we were with DesignMerge, a superior product and company that provided us with a Web Ex demo, free trial software and excellent technical guidance.  The choice was clear: DesignMerge was the perfect product, with outstanding technical support, to enable this “little print shop” to stay ahead of the big dog printers all around us!”

What business challenges have you faced in the VDP market?

Our biggest challenge is pricing out our jobs.  Most of our clients are still trying to understand the value of variable data printing as it relates to their ROI.  This concept is a lot more sophisticated than just applying labels to a direct mail piece.  Much of our job is educating customers, showing them that their profit will increase with one-to-one personalized campaigns.  Additionally, DesignMerge enables us to seamlessly create superior design work that just a few years ago was unimaginable.

Why did you choose DesignMerge for your VDP implementation?

We chose DesignMerge for two reasons.  First and foremost is their outstanding technical support and customer service.  DesignMerge technical support has returned my calls after hours simply because they knew we were working overtime to get jobs finished. If the solution isn’t readily available, their support team always gets back to us within 24 hours. The second reason is that DesignMerge is completely American-made and supported software product.  Every line of code was written in the USA. We know that when we have questions they’ll be answered, and we won’t be routed to another country or logged into a queue for a call back … maybe, whenever! We’re also confident in our investment with DesignMerge, that as our variable data business grows, DesignMerge will continue to meet our needs.

What were the results of your DesignMerge implementation?

Results with DesignMerge have been fantastic! We are now able to offer and do more for our clients with personalized design and marketing.  Recently, we printed name badges for a major baseball tournament for all players, their respective teams, their stats and coaches — adding a level of accountability and security to the event. This wasn’t even something we thought of during our variable data printing research!

Additionally, we’ve personalized many events by adding the year to the sequential numbering on raffle tickets. i.e. 2010-0001 through 2010-6000. We’ve personalized school events with name tags that include department and grade levels. Stadiums have contracted with us to create parking passes for press agents, sports players, managers and team executives. We even had the occasion to create press badges for a well known rock band this summer. With DesignMerge, we are all partying like rock stars!

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