HP has announced the commercial availability of HP SmartStream Designer 4.0, a software solution that extends the variable data printing (VDP) capabilities already established in small-format printing to a wide range of large-format applications.
These new capabilities help print service providers (PSPs) create more innovative and better targeted campaigns with lower production costs and faster turnaround times.
HP SmartStream Designer 4.0 streamlines prepress processes and helps PSPs create, integrate and preview all versioned jobs with any combination of fixed data, variable text and image elements. It is also an easy-to-use impositioning tool for HP large-format printers, whether the job includes versioning or not.
"There is enormous opportunity for variable data printing," said Yariv Avisar, vice president and general manager, Scitex Large-format Solutions, HP. "HP SmartStream Designer 4.0 unlocks this opportunity in the large-format market and helps our customers grow their business by expanding their services and increasing the value of print jobs."
HP SmartStream Designer 4.0 is available as part of the HP SmartStream Solutions digital workflow portfolio, which enables graphic arts customers to create a variety of digital print applications using components developed by HP and its partners.
Graphic Tech, a leading graphic services and printing firm based in Fullerton, CA, implemented HP SmartStream Designer 4.0 to expand its capabilities and provide customers with effective localized campaigns.
"VDP and versioning are growing market trends but, until recently, it has been challenging and costly to manage for large-format printing," said Jim Blee, chief operating officer, Graphic Tech. "With HP SmartStream Designer, we have the added value of offering our customers, at very little additional cost or time, regionalized marketing materials—and not just geographical versioning, but also localization for highly specific elements, such as weather patterns. As a result, we have taken on bigger jobs than we could have previously."
Graphic Tech recently completed an urgent print job for a nationwide preschool chain approached that involved printing 460 large banners (96x35 inches / 244x89 cm) on vinyl and 243 yard signs (23.5x23.5 inches / 60x60 cm) on paper and self-adhesive vinyl, all with different phone numbers and each featuring one of three different logos. Without VDP capabilities, Graphic Tech would have to produce each file separately for each variation—requiring more than a month of work hours just for prepress. Instead, the designer built a single file and, using the VDP software, linked it to a database provided by the customer.
The PDF proofs were sent within two days—an approximate 93 percent reduction in prepress time. The banners and yard signs were printed on the HP Scitex TJ8500 Printer and drop-shipped to each individual location number on the file.
Foothill Ranch, CA-based Image Options uses HP SmartStream Designer 4.0 to produce more advanced campaigns for existing customers and offer unique capabilities to win new customers.
Recently, Image Options helped transform a quarterly employee recognition campaign for a major retailer. Using VDP capabilities for the first time, Image Options printed 3,600 banners of one size and 1,500 of another size. Each banner was unique, including district, department name and dates, printed on one of seven different background themes.
"We've produced similar campaigns for the past three years for the same retailer and it typically took in excess of 25 hours for layout and prepress. Using HP SmartStream Designer, reproducing the identical job required only about three hours," said Tim Bennett, chief executive officer, Image Options. "Having VDP capabilities is game changing. By being able to do more for our customers, we're seen as a better supplier, which means we'll get more sales and keep our existing clients loyal."
The HP SmartStream Designer solution can take targeted marketing campaigns far beyond the world of large-format. Using different media designed from the same SmartStream Designer files, PSPs can create multi-application campaigns ranging from large-format posters for point of sale to flyers and postcards for loyalty and special-offer campaigns.