10 Creative Ways to Go In-line
In-line finishing is like in-line skating in that it satisfies a primal urge: the need for speed. In-line finishing also has the “cool factor,” like in-line skating. And in-line printers get to wear those cool clothes, too. But what is in-line finishing exactly, and what are the best ways to use it?
In-line finishing condenses the web printing process, the bindery process and the lettershop process into one continuous operation. One or more webs—or rolls of paper—are printed, cut, folded and addressed in a single step. And a wide variety of creative options are available to embellish the printed piece, as I’ll mention later.
The advantages of in-line finishing are its low cost, speed-to-market and numerous creative options. First, in-line finishing generally is more cost-effective than other production methods when running large quantities. The higher the quantity, the more advantageous in-line production. Depending on the print format, quantities of 250,000 or more pieces can be most cost-effectively produced in-line. The in-line process also provides speed-to-market advantages over conventional methods. Since there usually are no post-press operations, shipping or mailing can begin as soon as print production begins, and production quantities of 1 million or more pieces per day are common.
But creative options are what really drive in-line finishing’s effectiveness in direct marketing. Here are today’s top 10 creative ways for marketers to use this tool:
1. Add variable imaging. Variable imaging is printed copy that varies continuously from one piece to the next. It allows the marketer wide latitude in personalizing direct mail, catalogs and other publications. Variable imaging also allows the marketer to create multiple versions on the fly by imaging the changes between versions. Besides saving time and money by running multiple versions as one, this technique allows multiple versions of a direct mail piece to be run as a single mailstream, thereby reducing postage costs. Variable imaging is available today in any and all locations on the printed piece.