How to Design for Inkjet Web Production

Digital printing technologies have changed a lot over the last decade, and variable data printing (VDP) has influenced customer engagement strategies by opening the door to personalized, one-to-one conversations between brands and consumers.

In retail marketing, we’ve seen the rise of personalized content – including coupons driven by buying history. Automotive brands are engaging their audiences with timely oil change reminders and creative upsells related to the recipient’s current vehicle.

As VDP technology has evolved, so has the need to fully understand the best practices on how to design for one-to-one technologies. What are some of the most crucial items to consider?

Project Size 

As you may know, digital printing comes with some paper size limitations. While our HP T230 inkjet web press is capable of feeding a 22” roll of paper, we highly recommend keeping your image size area no wider than 20.5” so that the inkjet heads can make a high quality print.


Paper choice for any printing method is important, but it’s perhaps one of the most important when working in inkjet web production. We recommend using a treated stock to help minimize potential drying issues and to ensure oversaturation does not occur.

Inkjet web paper selection is much different than the selection available for traditional offset, or even digital printing. For example, a coated 9 pt sheet is the maximum weight we can pass through the HP T230.

We’ve put together a complete guide to our digital inkjet web paper swatch list. Get your FREE copy.

Ink Coverage

Finding the perfect balance of ink on paper is a critical element that can make or break your message. Too much ink, and we have a drying nightmare. We work extremely close with paper manufacturers, HP, and inkjet guru Mary Schilling on fine-tuning our formulas for various substrates and ink densities.

If you’re planning an inkjet project, we’ll work closely with you to help keep ink coverage within the tolerances we’ve tested and approved to ensure the best quality print.

Project Volume

Several variables come to mind when trying to decide whether a project makes sense for high-speed inkjet web production.

Depending on the page count and ink coverage, a book might make sense for short-run volumes of 50 to 2000 units. On the other hand, highly variable self-mailers, newsletters, inserts, personalized magazines and catalogs, and even statements make perfect sense for the inkjet web up to volumes of 450,000 units a mailing.

If you’re tossing around the idea of utilizing inkjet web to create compelling one-to-one mail pieces, it’s always best to bring us in as early in your design process as possible. We’ll work closely with you to help determine which stock is right for your needs and provide our expertise in ensuring ink coverage is ideal for smooth sailing.

Have any additional design questions for inkjet web production?

Let us know! We’re eager to help you implement a one-to-one marketing campaign that delivers results.

Documation LLC is a 20-year old commercial printing company with clients all over the Unites States and Canada. We specialize in large volume printing for associations, publishers, and agencies in the direct mail and one-to-one communication market as well. Our staff includes creative designers and list management experts, and our capabilities include print on demand, mailing solutions, high-speed production inkjet printing, and variable data printing.


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