With an eye towards simplifying the process of variable-data printing,
Banta Integrated Media
is showing off DesignMerge Web at the Seybold Seminars trade show in Boston, Mass. this week. Banta says that DesignMerge Web enables designers to use the tools they’re used to, while providing marketing and staff that need to customize documents with a user-friendly Web-based interface.
DesignMerge Web enables QuarkXpress users to create templates for customized print materials that can then be accessed and modified by Web users. DesignMerge Web consists of a QuarkXpress plug-in and a server module that runs on Mac OS X.
Don’t confuse this with another Banta offering, DesignMerge Pro. That product is a single-user, single-machine offering, and it has been around for a while — in fact, it’s in its 4.0 version release. This new product adds the ability for QuarkXpress users to share content with others that can be accessed and edited via any Web browser. Both DesignMerge Pro and DesignMerge Web share the same user interface and almost all of the same features — so if you’re already using the Pro software, it should be an easy transition.
DesignMerge Web is targeted to companies that want to control the way content is presented, but want to make it possible for non-designers to customize design templates with textual and graphical content suited to specific needs.
Designers do all their layout work using QuarkXpress, and define specific fields that can contain variable data — text, graphics, or other content. The variable data design templates themselves can be multiple pages long and can have more than 500 different variable slots.
CopyFit, a Quark XTension that works with DesignMerge Web, also enables template designers to exercise precise copy control, with fine adjustments to kerning, leading, and other textual elements. Designers can create up to ten different style sets to the content.
Once collected and uploaded to the server, the document itself is available for editing by users through a Web browser. Users can input predefined options for how the template is to be laid out, can merge customer lists or other content, and then can sample the proofs in real-time.
Once the DesignMerge Web documents are finished, the software provides the ability to output a high-res PDF file for printing, a low-res PDF for review, a customized QuarkXpress file, or a PostScript file. Product manager Katherine Reisz said that the Web interface of DesignMerge Web could also be customized, to be integrated into existing Web-based workflows.
DesignMerge Web was awarded as a “Hot Pick” by the editorial staff of Seybold Publications for this year’s Boston show.