Do you know of any suppliers that offer template-based printing?

I am at a loss, searching for the correct terminology of a fairly new technology. I would like to find a Print House or better yet, Print Network, that would allow my Franchisees to access via a website, pre-selected, customizable (only certain "fields") templates of corporate designed marketing materials (brochures, mailers, sell sheets) that can be customized for local use. The ideal print house or network would then produce this "customized" product and either ship directly to Franchisee for cold calling handouts OR provide a mailing service to this specific territory. My assumption was that this was a digital e-solution but unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case. What am I looking for and do any of your print providers offer such a service?

K. B.

There are lots of people doing what I would call template-based printing. A web site is set up and populated with templates for anything from letterheads to business cards or brochures or posters. The clients add their personalization information, upload their custom logo or other artwork, and a file is created for print production.

One of the biggest purveyors of such technology is Vista Print ( which is most well known for printing millions of full color customized business cards based on hundreds of different templates. They also do postcards, brochures and more. Touring their site can give you a good idea of what template-based printing is capable of doing these days. They are essentially a printer, so you are pretty well tied to their templates and having them do the printing.

Another source is, which is more of a systems integrator. They help their customers set up their own templates and supply the web-based technology to make the whole thing work. Printable provides the expertise and servers for dozens of printers who use their technology. Printers can create custom web sites with their own branding, which would seem to be more what you are looking for.

FedEx Kinkos is also getting heavily into web-based template-driven custom printing ( Because of the nationwide locations, Kinkos can add the ability to print the item in the recipient’s locality to speed delivery.

There are many other sources available, and the list is growing daily. Many printers have set up their own custom order systems with varying degrees of sophistication. While it's essentially a simple concept, it's not any easy task to set up the infrastructure for such a system, so you will find a wide variety of capabilities in "homemade" systems.

What you seek is definitely available today.

Stephen Beals is a digital pre-press manager and has been writing for major print publications for many years. He is the author of A Practical Primer for Painless Print Production. He can be reached at
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