Printing Industry Center at RIT Releases Findings on Variable Data Printing

Monograph investigates application of database and digital asset management for VDP job

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

A newly released research monograph from the Printing Industry Center at Rochester Institute of Technology ( investigates the application of database and digital asset management tools, techniques and skills as they are used to prepare content for variable data printing jobs. The monograph, titled “Upstream Database and Digital Asset Management in Variable Data Printing,” is co-authored by Franziska Frey, McGhee Distinguished Professor in RIT’s School of Print Media, and Nicholas Barzelay, adjunct professor in RIT’s School of Print Media.

The report details the theories and models behind database management, digital asset management (DAM) and variable data printing (VDP) and examines hands-on research trials conducted at RIT. The monograph concludes with a preliminary list of skills needed to successfully implement variable data printing.

Some of the key findings include:

  • VDP is very complex, requires sophisticated tools and professional skills, and is expensive and time-consuming to successfully establish and operate in order to produce effective quality communications with a production process that is documented, repeat¬able, predictable, measurable, traceable, and that results in outcomes that are reusable
  • A VDP solution requires the interplay of topical knowledge about business and market¬ing, information content (data and images), and printing applications across the entire print production workflow from inception to delivery
  • Most tools employed in VDP have some overlapping functionality. Therefore, it is important to choose the right tool for the given job. The decision to select one tool over another does not rest solely on the type of job to be performed, but also on the intent and functionality of each tool being considered

    The report is available for download as a PDF from under the 2007-2008 research heading.

    About the Printing Industry Center at RIT

    The Printing Industry Center is a joint program of the RIT School of Print Media in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences and RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business, and was established in 2001 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as one of the Sloan Industry Centers. The Center is dedicated to the study of major business environment influences in the printing industry brought on by new technologies and societal changes, creating a forum for printing companies and associations worldwide to access a neutral platform for the dissemination of knowledge, to share ideas, and to build the partnerships needed to sustain growth and profitability in a rapidly changing market. For more information, please visit