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It’s international print day on 20th October – yes, even printing has an international day! So we’ve started celebrations with a deep dive into what makes the Complete team tick!

October 20th might be International Print Day, but every day is print day for us at Complete – and no day is more important than the present day, when we print with trust and deliver the very best quality, service and value possible.

We’re also proud to be a truly international business every day, with clients in New Zealand, the UK and Canada, and staff from all over the world.

And while we try to celebrate those brilliant staff every day, the International Print Day milestone does provide us with an opportunity to pause and take stock of the fact that our business is nothing without the people who make it tick every day. It also provides us with another opportunity to look at the amazing world of print and how it actually works.

Ever wondered how printing actually works?

Right through the spectrum, from the simplest household inkjet printer, to the most complex industry-leading machine, printing is a quite remarkable feat of engineering; across a range of different printing processes. It’s certainly moved a long way since first being documented almost 2,000 years ago in China.

Offset Printing

In Offset Lithography printing, digital images are transferred to plates using laser technology (chemical free); Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, plus any bespoke colour. Rollers then transfer vegetable based ink to the ‘image areas’ of each plate, while a water-based film is applied to ‘non image areas’ before the inked plates hit paper. 

Offset was first invented in 1875 by Robert Barclay; an Englishman who originally used this method to print on tin, but we don’t just continue with this traditional printing method for nostalgic reasons. 

Because Offset presses run so efficiently once they are set up, this process is the best choice for larger quantities (generally 500 or more copies), and provides accurate color reproduction, and crisp, clean professional looking printing. 

It’s also more economical for the client – the larger the print run, the more economical the cost of each print. The Lithographic principle was first introduced in 1796 by German author and actor Alois Senefelder as a method to publish theatrical works cheaply, but today it works in unison with Offset as the preeminent print process.

The October 2021 image in our 16-month calendar is a great example to showcase the versatility of offset printing. The page is produced using a Drip-Off Coating technique where we applied a special-effect Matt Varnish to selected areas (the ocean), before flooding the stock with a high-gloss water-based coating. The coating repels from the areas printed with the matt varnish, maintaining the matt effect in the ocean, and giving the remaining surface (the rocks) a premium high-gloss finish. It brings the rocks to life with great definition and contrast to the texture of the ocean.

Digital Printing

First introduced in 1991, digital printing uses alternatives to plates, such as toner (similar to laser printers) or liquid ink, which is perfect for variable data capability. If the client needs a unique code, name or address on each print, digital is the only option, as Offset would require different plates to be set up for each print. 

For one client, Complete prints 45,000 brochures with 30 variants within a 24-hour window (from receiving file to delivering brochures) every week. Digital Printing is also great for smaller runs on invitations, greeting cards, business cards or flyers.

“Our systems drive performance,” says Director Geoff Lawyer.

“And our clients have evolved with us over the years. Almost 30 years since the business was founded, we still work with some of the same clients. They, like us, have morphed into other areas, or moved to other industries, but they keep coming back to what they know and trust.”

“Our clients are the lifeblood of our print community. They are the passion, drive and knowledge behind how we operate. We are externally certified to ISO Standards to operate sustainably and responsibly, and to ensure our systems avoid errors.”

We were an early adopter in the digital print space, moving across with our first digital press from Fuji-Xerox in 2006, but Complete’s principles around service, quality, value and trust have never changed. And we’ve now added a top of the class model with the new Xerox iGen 5 Digital Printing Press.

This press together with our iGen150 Digital printing press provides us with the ability to deliver higher volume digital print runs to customers, which enables more economic pricing. It also presents greater security in assurity of supply. We know we can deliver large volumes in very competitive turnaround times.

Just as important as the press processes is pre-press and post-press 

Our process through prepress and postpress are just as rigorous as the print itself, from selection of stock to colour control.

We now have a new online web to print portal*, which enables a seamless user experience for existing clients to upload digital content and track their job.

We recently upgraded our Heidelberg Image Control from Series 1 to Series 2, with a lot more features and functionality. This goes hand-in-glove with our new prepress software, *Prinect Production Manager. It provides us with online and interactive proofing functionally, and a production module.

We’ve also upgraded our proofing technology to include the latest state-of-the-art Spectrophotometer, which enables us to continuously monitor our proofing devices so they do not go out of Colour Management Specifications.

Whether we’re printing magazines, brochures, packaging or menus, Complete always uses full process across whichever method of print is more appropriate.

External Audits in ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environment), FSC (mark of responsible forestry) and PEFC (promoting responsible forest management) – certify us as a trusted manufacturer.

*Rolled out to clients progressively commencing September 2021


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