Image personalisation adds attention value
Images that touch the recipient are an important element of communications, and target-group-specific modifications of these images one of the advantages offered by digital printing technology. In place of traditional texts and address fields, database printing can be used to personalise messages in even more diverse ways.
Image personalisation can be divided into three categories. The first includes 'layer formatting', i.e. things like transparency or drop shadows.
A step in a more complicated direction is clip fonts. With these, for instance, a personalised text made out of flower petals is constructed on a computer screen by rotating a single petal. Almost any object could be used instead of a flower.
Picture-font-personalisation produces extremely impressive end results, and hence is ideally suited for advanced printed products. We could have a greeting made out of gingerbread letters to match the Christmas mood, with each letter photographed separately and embedded in the selected background. Current technology makes it easy to create unique messages.
The limitations tend to be associated with the design or with developing innovative ideas for personalisation.
Hansaprint Marketing Manager Minna Aaltonen believes cards and other equivalent marketing messages using image personalisation are just the tip of the iceberg. But she also the thinks simply using the technology in communications is not an end in itself.
"Effective marketing communications requires that the sender approach the recipient at the right time, with the right message. Information has to provide a service, and the product on offer has to match to the customer's immediate needs. Otherwise, the message is easily labelled junk mail."
Once these criteria have been met, the attention-value of the message can be honed using image-personalisation-type effects. In the design it is worth starting from the need for attention value. Even though image personalisation is just arriving on the scene, it is certain that, over the next few years, people will be become anaesthetised to the different variations on name visualisations used previously. For example, reminding someone about a meeting with a personalised image of a calendar is already a step in a more innovative direction. This being the case, a good idea can raise the message's emotional level and increase the probability of a reaction.
"Interesting focuses of development in the future will include joint subscriber-marketing campaigns by different magazines, plus image-personalised magazines, in which what is on the printed surface is varied according to the interests of the specific target group," is how Aaltonen assesses the long-term potential of this technology.