As the April issue of ELLE lands in mailboxes this week, subscribers may find themselves doing a double take as they glance at the cover of Kim Kardashian West. In addition to an image of the TV personality and entrepreneur, the cover also offers a greeting — personalized for more than 50,000 lucky readers. “Hi [reader’s name], Love you! XOXO Kim.”
Beyond the surface, the legacy magazine used a combination of creativity and digital printing to reinvent the style icon’s autograph on each of the specialized covers.
Printed digitally on the covers of the April issue are one of two messages in Kardashian West’s handwriting: “Love you” or “This is major.” HP’s Indigo 10000 printer, along with Sappi paper, provided the color quality required to print a fashion magazine cover. Then, using ELLE’s subscriber database, a technique called variable-data printing personalized each cover with the recipient’s name.
Jenna Blaha, ELLE’s technology editor, says imbuing this technology into a 72-year-old magazine was a perfect storm of opportunity: a combination of the right celebrity, the right cover shot — because it feels aesthetically fresh — and the right technology to do something new.