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VDP (also known as Variable Information Printing, or VIP) is a form of on-demand printing in which elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next without stopping or slowing down the press, using information from a database or external file. For example, a set of personalized letters, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each letter. Variable data printing is mainly used for direct marketing, customer relationship management and advertising.
The technique is a direct outgrowth of digital printing, which harnesses computer databases and digital presses to create high-quality, full color documents, with a look and feel comparable to conventional offset printing.
Mass Customization vs. Mass Production
Variable data printing enables the mass customization of documents via digital print technology, as opposed to the 'mass-production' of a single document using offset lithography. Instead of producing 10,000 copies of a single document, delivering a single message to 10,000 customers, variable data printing could print 10,000 unique documents with customized messages for each customer.