What are the differences in the various types of On Demand printing?

Answered by Larry Zusman, Workflow Marketing Manager, Production Systems Group, Xerox Corporation

What are the differences in the various types of On Demand printing such as versioning, variable data, etc.? I have projects that I think belong in these categories such as training manuals that are printed short run with data being updated fairly frequently, but there are so many terms thrown my way that I am getting more confused the deeper I look into it.

On Demand Printing--or Print on Demand as it is often referred to--represents those documents produced using digital workflows and systems. Essentially the characteristics of 'on demand' digital printing is that it can be produced very quickly, in very short runs, and can be easily distributed -- which is why it is often referred to as 'anytime, anywhere' printing.

Within the fast-growing on demand printing category (in fact, full color digital has a CAGR - compound annual growth rate -- of over 35%), there are sub-categories of digital printing, including versioning (customization by segment/group); personalized marketing communications (brochures, flyers, catalogs with variable information text, graphics and/or images); transactional documents (statements, invoices, etc.); promotional transactional communications (transactional documents with additional marketing content); and cross media, 1 to 1 publishing (print, web, email communications with rich variable data content).

Training manuals are typically produced in 'lots' and differ by segments or groups. They would therefore be thought of as versioned. If the versioning requires many different 'lots' then digital printing with versioned content may be the most efficient and cost-effective production approach. Personalization is often employed in the evaluation process, where OCR readers and other digitally-supported technologies come into play.
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