Bridging the Gap Between Pimcore and InDesign With PimPrint

With PimPrint, we have developed a solution that takes print production to a new level: by connecting InDesign with the Pimcore platform – directly, without export or middleware.
Bridging the Gap Between Pimcore and InDesign With PimPrint - Impression #1

Print Is Still Relevant In Marketing

The digitization of marketing and sales continues to advance with great strides. But this does not mean that analog communication media such as printed catalogs, brochures, or flyers have become obsolete. Print still has its place in the communications mix: as an impulse generator, for creating purchase incentives, and as a reliable source of information.
However, the general conditions have changed massively: This affects both the way print products are produced and how they are used. Print no longer works on its own. Today, printed product communication needs to be embedded in cross-media and multichannel campaigns to achieve its full effect. 
For this to succeed, print must be integrated into digital data management. In other words, product information must be fed directly from the PIM system into print-ready documents in the same way as it is fed into the web store, for example. This is exactly where our PimPrint solution comes in, closing the gap between PIM and InDesign.

See introduction video 

What’s Important In Database Publishing With InDesign

PimPrint is a very sophisticated web-to-print solution. For such a solution to offer real added value to a company, several conditions must be met:

  • Native integration into the PIM system: This is the only way to achieve direct and automatic data extraction.
  • Efficiency: The solution must be powerful and easy to use simultaneously so that any number of print products can be created without disruption and little effort.
  • Flexibility and updatability: It must be possible at every stage to make manual adjustments to the layouts to be printed without affecting the automation process. This ensures that data updates are possible at any time and can also be applied to manually changed documents.
  • Future-proof: This means that the solution is open and adaptable for future developments of the existing corporate IT infrastructure.

How PimPrint Works

PimPrint establishes a direct connection between the Pimcore database and InDesign. This means that no export or middleware is required to export data directly from Pimcore to InDesign. PimPrint is natively integrated into Pimcore and consists of three components: the PimPrint CoreBundle, the InDesign plugin and the InDesign templates.

Component 1 – PimPrint CoreBundle

The first component, the PimPrint CoreBundle, is available as an Open Source Extension. PimPrint CoreBundle is a framework with a PHP API to establish communication with the plugin. PimPrint does not impose any requirements for existing data models or uses its own data model. Therefore, PimPrint can use any data from any Pimcore and create any data interpretation logic to build the print product in InDesign.

Component 2 – InDesign Plugin

The second component of our solution is the InDesign plugin. It is subject to licensing and serves as an interface between Pimcore and InDesign, making all print projects that have been previously implemented with the PimPrint CoreBundle visible in a tree structure. Within the interface, the individual projects and hierarchy levels such as catalogs, publications, or chapters can be accessed to start the InDesign generation.

The plugin is also used to specify the desired automation process, for example:

  • Generating new content from the Pimcore data source
  • Updating of already exported content
  • Changing the placement of certain placeholder elements

Component 3 – InDesign Templates

The third component of PimPrint, the InDesign templates, anchors our solution in InDesign. The InDesign templates are nothing more than design templates into which the content previously selected in Pimcore is inserted according to the defined rules. The trick is that PimPrint uses InDesign elements such as text or image boxes during the automation process. Character and paragraph formatting, fonts, or image properties can thus be changed as desired in the template or after the data extraction without making any changes to the programming of the automation.

PimPrint Is a Natural Fit

PimPrint meets all of the above requirements for a web-to-print solution. Our solution brings together the best of both worlds: the power of Pimcore - as a digital experience platform - with our experience in optimizing and automating print processes. Thanks to PimPrint, the full strengths that Pimcore offers in managing, storing, and preparing data can be directly integrated into a print automation solution.

The Main Features of PimPrint

PimPrint has extensive features and functions that ensure our solution can adapt to different challenges and provide the best value.

Native Pimcore Integration

PimPrint is natively integrated into Pimcore and enables a seamless connection to InDesign via a plugin. Data and assets can thus be exported directly from Pimcore into print-ready InDesign documents. There is no need for export or middleware.

Relying On the Pimcore Data Model

Our solution uses existing Pimcore elements, including all documents, assets and objects. We have deliberately designed the PimPrint CoreBundle as a framework to make no specifications to the data model or the asset structure in the Pimcore backend. In other words, PimPrint is built directly on top of your existing Pimcore data model, so you can use it without having to make any changes to your data model.

Unlimited InDesign Creativity

On the other hand, all layout specifications take place entirely in InDesign: Character, paragraph, and table formatting. And even after importing the desired data, corrections can be made manually as desired without changing the automation programming. 

High Performance and Ease of Use

PimPrint is a compelling solution that allows several employees to work simultaneously on different print products via an intuitive user interface. It is also ideal for multilingual documents: Product information held in different languages can be automatically routed to corresponding language levels in InDesign. And if there are any changes in your central database, all created print projects can be automatically synchronized with the latest data status through a simple update. At the same time, all changes can be tracked via InDesign layers.

Rights and Roles Structure

While developing print projects, the respective Pimcore rights and roles structure can be used to implement the role-based export of data.

Attractive Licensing Model

Our user-friendly licensing model offers a fixed price for an unlimited number of InDesign users within a project. The price includes support and updates for all products.

Generate and Update Documents With PimPrint

PimPrint can be used to create entirely new print projects and adapt and update existing print products.

Create New Documents

PimPrint’s InDesign plugin includes a user interface through which the desired type of print product – catalog, brochure, datasheet, etc. – can be selected. Then, the content previously sorted and classified in Pimcore can be exported directly to the InDesign document. Once the data has been imported, the graphic designer can apply the finishing touches and make manual corrections to the layout. That’s it, your print product is ready: guaranteed with the latest data.


Update Existing Documents

PimPrint offers three different, complementary update modes for your print products, allowing you to update and edit them according to your needs flexibly:

  • Complete update of documents with new content and new positioning
  • Complete update of content, preserving manual positioning and changes to layout elements in InDesign
  • Update of the content of selected elements

Option 1, for example, makes it easy to reprint last year's product catalog. All changes remain fully traceable by moving the modified elements to separate layers in InDesign. 

Option 2 is suitable if you have made many manual adjustments to the layout of last year's catalog after the data was imported and would like to retain these for the new catalog. Of course, all changes remain traceable with this option as well.

Option 3 makes specific editing of existing documents possible: if, for example, only individual images are to be exchanged in an image brochure or only the prices and selected technical product details are to be updated in datasheets. 

How to Get Started With PimPrint

PimPrint can be deployed in three different ways:

  1. We implement your Pimcore project, including PimPrint.
  2. We implement PimPrint into your existing Pimcore project.
  3. Autonomous use of PimPrint by a Pimcore partner of your choice.

More details about the PimPrint solution, including detailed documentation, can be found on our website. To install the PimPrint CoreBundle, Pimcore version 5.x or 6.x is required.

To illustrate what can be realized with our solution, we have also made a PimPrint demo available. Or you can take a look at how Axel Johnson International has made PimPrint productive for their purposes. For the PimPrint InDesign plugin deployment, please contact us directly.

mds – Your Partner for Data-driven Communication

The mds. Agenturgruppe GmbH is a digital agency based in Munich. We are experts in data-driven communication. For over 20 years and in more than 1,000 projects, we have also been particularly committed to optimizing processes in creating printed product communication. As a Pimcore Gold Partner, it was a priority for us to make full use of the Pimcore platform's power, specifically in the area of web-to-print. And with our PimPrint solution, we have succeeded 100 percent. See for yourself!

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Author:Philip Wiemer
Pimcore Gold Partner
Philip Wiemer
  • CDO
2 articles by this author

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