The VDP can be treated in different ways; it is usually a plug-in that, if associated with graphic design software such as Adobe® Illustrator®, allows you to create the database association to the various elements of the graphic file.
First of all, in the print “model” file, all elements of our design that we have meant as variables must be defined and “marked” with a placeholder. Now, it is necessary to associate the variable database to the graphic file. Thanks to the software, through the association, more or less automatically, the elements marked with the placeholder will be filled with the variable components of the database.
At this point of the process, the plug-in begins to "calculate" the variables, allowing you to see a preview of the results and browse the various versions obtained from the database association.
This crucial step is tricky since every single typo will block the flow of computation and reveal problems. I'll explain. We are still talking about computers, you know, they do not miss anything. For this reason, it is essential to pay attention to how, for example, the colours are named in the database; if there is no correspondence within the graphic file, the process of the association will hang.
Once this sweaty step has been completed, we just have to expand the work to create the variable instances to print. The PDF file will then be sent to a digital printing system, which depends on the type of machine and workflow system you have, and therefore we will not deal with it.