4 min read

A Guide to Different Types of Variable Data Printing

Featured Image

The goal of most marketing campaigns is to connect with individuals on a personal level. Marketing-savvy businesses have turned to variable data printing with unparalleled results. If you are unfamiliar with variable data printing, it is a digital printing technique that allows for the customization and personalization of printed materials. 

In variable data printing, elements such as text, images, and graphics can be varied from one printed piece to the next based on data from a database or an external source. There are several different types of VDP. Let’s explore these different types and highlight their unique features and applications.

What is Variable Data Printing (VDP)?

Variable Data Printing (VDP) is the foundational concept behind personalized printing. It integrates variable data, such as names, addresses, images, and other personalized information, into a print job. This is possible by leveraging data from a database (or external source), allowing for the creation of unique and customized prints for each recipient. 


  • Direct mail campaigns with personalized letters, offers, and/or images.
  • Customized marketing materials tailored to specific customer segments.
  • Personalized event invitations and announcements.

The Most Common Types of Variable Data Printing

Variable data printing creates an array of opportunities for businesses to personalize their marketing materials and brands to better align with the intended audience. Let’s explore the most common types of variable data printing, from personalized imagery to geo-targeted prints. 

types of variable data printing infographic

Variable Data Image Printing

Variable Image Printing takes personalization further by dynamically changing images based on data points. This technology allows the creation of visually engaging prints that resonate with each recipient. 


  • Personalized product catalogs with images matching customer preferences.
  • Variable image postcards showcasing different products based on customer’s known preferences or history.
  • Customized brochures with region-specific visuals for targeted marketing.

Variable Data Text Printing

Variable Text Printing focuses on the dynamic customization of text elements within a print job. This can include variations in messaging, fonts, and text sizes based on the recipient's profile or behavior.


  • Tailoring marketing messages to specific customer segments.
  • Creating personalized and variable text in educational materials.
  • Customizing text in direct mail pieces to match individual interests.

Variable Data Color Printing

Variable Color Printing introduces variability in color schemes, allowing businesses to create vibrant and eye-catching printed pieces. This type of variable data printing is most effective in capturing attention and conveying different moods or themes.


  • Personalized color schemes in promotional materials based on customer preferences.
  • Customized packaging with variable colors for different product lines.


Versioning in variable data printing involves creating multiple versions of a printed piece to cater to different target segments. This approach enables businesses to address diverse customer needs and preferences within a single print run.


  • Versioned catalogs with different product selections for various customer segments.
  • Regional versioning in marketing materials to account for cultural differences.

Sequential Numbering

Sequential numbering is commonly used to create unique identification or tracking of printed materials. This is especially valuable in applications where each printed piece requires a distinct identifier.


  • Variable numbering on event tickets for tracking and security purposes.
  • Unique identifiers on certificates, membership cards, or loyalty program materials.
  • This could include zip codes, VINs, part numbers & dates.

Barcode and QR Code Personalization

Variable data printing also includes barcodes and QR codes, allowing businesses to create unique codes for each printed piece. This is valuable for tracking, promotions, and enhancing the interactive elements of printed materials.


  • Personalized QR codes on direct mail pieces linking to individualized promotions.
  • Customized QR codes on event materials for personalized access or engagement.

Personalized Maps and Graphics

Personalized maps and graphics in variable data printing can have a high impact on businesses with location-based services or products. This involves incorporating individualized maps or graphics based on the recipient's location.


  • Customized maps on promotional materials highlighting nearby store locations.
  • Personalized event materials with venue maps tailored to attendee locations.
  • This could include charts, logos & graphs.

Geo-Targeted Variable Data Printing

Geo-targeted variable data printing incorporates location-based data to customize printed materials for specific regions or demographics. This approach is effective for businesses across different locations.


  • Regionalized promotions in direct mail campaigns based on recipient location.
  • Variable content in brochures or catalogs tailored to the preferences of different geographic areas.
  • Location-specific information in event materials for targeted audiences.

Partner With Hatteras for Expertise in Variable Data Printing and Personalization for Your Print Materials

Variable data printing is a powerful tool that allows businesses to connect with their audience on an individual level. Whether it is incorporating personalized text, images, colors, or sequential numbering, the possibilities are endless. Thinking through and planning a VDP campaign can seem like an overwhelming and complex process. That is why it is important to work with an expert in both print and data. Data experts can walk you through the process of creating a variable data print campaign. 

Partnering with a company like Hatteras can make all the difference. As the print industry's technology continues to advance, variable data printing will undoubtedly evolve, offering even more innovative ways to create impactful and memorable printed pieces. To learn more about VDP, browse our website at www.4hatteras.com or contact us today to talk to one of our variable data print experts. 

variable data printing request a quote