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Digital Printing at UNT

By Jimmy Friend, Director of Printing Services

Printing Services has entered the era of digital printing, with the hp indigo 3000 press. The indigo is a six color (4-color process plus PMS 349 and PMS 655) state of the art press that creates an image directly from digital data.  Unlike the traditional printing processes, there is a limited prepress process between the digital document file and the final print. No film, no imagesetter, no plates and little to no waste, means a reduced cost to the customer. Since it is fully digital, every image can be a new one so print quantity can be as few as one. Digital printing on the indigo also allows us the option of using variable data within a document.

HP indigo 300 press

 hp indigo 3000 press

Variable data uses a database to produce printed documents that are customized to individuals. By using the applications QuarkXpress with the Xtension Yours Truly Designer to design the layout and a Microsoft Excel database, variable data can be accomplished on a number of different levels. On the most basic level, the design remains constant and the name and address change from piece to piece in black ink. In the most complex, every full color document has variable text and images, with variable lengths and sizes. Each finished piece will look as if it was printed specifically for one person, because it was.

Sample of personalized mailing

Sample of personalized mailing

The Xtension Yours Truly Designer provides the direct link between the variable elements in the database and the page layout. All variable elements (pieces of text or links to a graphic file) are placed within a database. Each column represents a different variable field in the document. The first row should be used to title the columns e.g. Lname, Fname, Address, City, State, Zip, Front Photo, Logo. Each row after the title row represents one unique document. Once the two are linked the variable fields are placed by menu selection, then typographical attributes can be assigned to the variable text.

Sample form set up for personalized mailing

Sample form set up for personalized mailing

After the two files are linked and all attributes are assigned, Quark and Yours Truly Designer allow you the unique feature of previewing your job. It will preview each entry in the database both text and graphics, this gives the opportunity to eliminate mistakes making sure that all variable elements are changing. After checking the document and making sure all data is changing the document is saved through Yours Truly Designer. This creates a jlt (j-layout file) document, a file that is in the native language of the indigo. This file is then transferred to the template folder on the press; the database file name is changed to match the jlt file. The database file then is transferred to the press hot folder, when the press reads the file it determines it is a data file, it then searches the template folder to find a jlt with the same name. The two files then combine on the press and are ready for printing.

Sample of personalized mailing

Sample of personalized mailing

For more information on digital printing and the variable data option contact, Printing Services at 565-2005.