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RPI, a digital-image printing company in Seattle, is announcing Wednesday its purchase of DPI in Atlanta for an undisclosed amount.

DPI specializes in personalized Web-to-print products for large companies and has 27 employees. RPI chief executive Rick Bellamy said the purchase will expand RPI’s reach to the East Coast, reduce shipping costs and waits and expand its personalized-print products.

Started as a family-owned commercial printer in 1979, RPI creates the personalized-photo books and greeting cards consumers order online from photo sharing and printing companies, such as Snapfish and Blurb.

The small but rapidly growing market for digital-photo merchandise is worth an estimated $2 billion, RPI said in a statement. While print revenue in general fell at an average rate of 6.2 percent per year from 2007 to 2012, the digital-printing market continued to climb, according to the most recent report by IBISWorld, a Los Angeles-based market-research firm. The report credits this to growth in outsourcing and rising computer usage.

With this deal, RPI will be able to offer more marketing services to larger businesses.

“Traditional marketing, in dramatic terms, is dying,” Bellamy said. As consumers increasingly make choices based on social media, recommendations from peers and mobile platforms, businesses are forced to turn to more creative-marketing strategies, he said.

For example, DPI worked in 2008 with Nestle to create a seasonal-sports promotion. Each box of vanilla Drumsticks ice cream offered instructions to create customizable youth-league baseball cards online at a DPI-developed website, and each card was marked with the Drumstick logo in high-definition DPI ink.

This type of marketing is what Bellamy calls “co-creation,” or creating physical products for brands. Other DPI clients include CB Richard Ellis and Johnson Controls.

DPI’s 27 employees, including its management team, will be blended into RPI’s 225 full-time employees. Bellamy declined to disclose revenues.

Bellamy said he sees opportunity to expand into the booming markets of stationary, yearbooks, home décor and pet merchandise. Due to technological development, “We have entered a new age of personalization,” Bellamy said in a statement.

Alysa Hullett: 206-464-2718 or ahullett@seattletimes.com