VDP Examples


Examples of Variable Data Printing

We get regular requests for examples of variable data printing or VDP. Following is a collection of examples and samples of VDP pieces, special text effects and explanations of their creation/purpose. Too often, people associate variable data printing with dramatic text effects such as writing in the clouds or names in the sand. These can be interesting but an effective message, attention-grabbing images and simple, effective personalization will produce more positive and consistent results.

Simple & Effective Examples of Variable Data Printing

The following examples of variable data printing show just how easy to personalize a piece with little more than the recipients' first name. However, the point to notice is that these VDP pieces are effective because they start with attention-grabbing static images and messages. Take out the variable data first names and these are good, interesting static postcard pieces. The variable text with first names is simply the icing on the cake, so to speak.

Lesson #1: Variable data printing starts with good static ideas, messages and images. The variable data stuff just makes the static design much more interesting to the recipient.

Lesson #2: Variable data printing will not improve poor messages, boring images or horrible designs

People are driven by instincts and one of the most powerful instincts is the protection of the young and vulnerable - babies, toddlers, human or not. Toddlers, puppies and kittens are virtually irresistible. The human brain easily recognizes these types of figures and automatically demands that a mothering/protective instinct evaluate the situation. This variable data printing example uses that instinct for grabbing attention and getting the simple message read.

The second stage of VDP piece is that the message indirectly asks a simple question while subtlety issuing an instruction. By implication, the recipient understands she/he must see the back of the card to find the answer which somehow ties in to the senders' massages. The variable data printing of the first names makes the question very personal for recipients.. Sally probably has no idea why someone would send her a postcard with a toddler and a puppy. However, the cuteness of the image makes most recipients happy and willing to turn the card over expecting to get more happiness.

This example of variable data printing can be replicated in a variety of ways:


  • Find an interesting, attention-getting image that fits the purpose/message of the piece

  • Develop a simple question or statement that ties together the image and message

  • Deliver the primary message/offer on the back of the piece in a simple fashion

  • Add the variable data names/company/information to the front, back or both to make the message personal

This variable data printing example shows a very simple but effective application of variable text. The recipients' names, company names or other immediately recognizable text appears in an obvious but unusual place. Here the personalization, "Sally", appears in the thief's hand. Like many good marketing pieces, this variable data printing example uses an image that triggers a useful human instinct - fear! The name in the hand reinforces that instinct, but that's the point here...to raise a question (and offer a solution hopefully) about security.

As explained in variable data printing example #1, it's nearly impossible for people to ignore images with babies, toddlers, puppies and kittens. This example of variable data printing shows a slightly different, but subtle, element of personalization: dates, events, or occasions that are special to recipients. In this case, it's Sally's birthday.

What isn't obvious is that mailing list or data file for this VDP sample must have a date field for birthdays or other occasions. Birthday cards, "thank you" notes and other simple messages are a great customer retention tools. They say that you are think about and care about customers as more than impersonal numbers and statistics.

The Lady Golfer demonstrates another concept of variable data printing: gender. It is often easier to determine the gender of recipients than any other demographics.

This variable data printing example is typical of one used by print shops to promote their own services. It shows off the ability to use variable data/text while promoting other services: mailing and data management.

Variable data printing is also a very effective tool for tracking and analysis of response. Associate different promo codes or offer details with messages sent to various business types, locations, etc. and it becomes easy to track response to the message/offer.

Personalization is the purpose of variable data printing. Can you recognize all of the personalization in this VDP example? There's plenty!

Personalization in the above variable data printing example includes:

  • Recipients' first names

  • Picture of recipients' salespersons, agents, etc.

  • Salespersons' name, phone and signature


This variable data printing is frequently used to connect/familiarize company people to their customers/clients. Images, names and contact information are all variable data.