84-86 Herald Street, Cheltenham VIC 3192 03 9585 7788

We live in combustible, unpredictable times, and at Complete we are aware that individuals, families and businesses are facing big challenges, even if restrictions have eased.

But WOW! What a time to be alive! 

Every day that we print in Melbourne, we are learning more than ever before.

From funding a credit line for our team at the local coffee roaster, to driving across the city to personally hand over proofs, we’re discovering and rediscovering ways to retain the human touch while continuing to deliver the level of service, quality and value that we know our clients deserve and are accustomed to.

This, in the face of turbulent times, with pressure all the way along the supply chain. The Australian print market faces energy surcharges on Aluminum print plates and paper, transportation bottlenecks and severely under-resourced courier companies. 

What are some of the key challenges facing Australian printers?

Aluminum alone has increased in price more than 40% since the first quarter of 2021. The entire print industry is facing unsustainable costs for aluminum, energy, packaging materials and transportation. In order to continue producing world-class products such as print plates, businesses such as Kodak have had to increase surcharges.

Unfortunately, there are less and less businesses operating in this incredible and historic print industry. For example, there is only one business left in Australia that has the capability to operate large scale case binding; binding beautiful hard-back books.

When the pandemic first broke out, there was a mass return to Australian on-shore printing, but now the Australian print market itself is being squeezed to its limits.

And the most important of resource of all – human resource – is under strain as we adjust to a new chapter. As Australia Post has very publicly communicated, between vaccine mandates and state regulations around isolation, businesses small, medium and large can be seriously impacted with covid-impacted resourcing issues, and we are not immune to this.

As a proud Melbourne printer, this is what we’re doing about the challenges we face

At Complete, we see opportunities to continue learning and improving our service every day. We see opportunities to better understand the pain points of businesses out there – and to offer better solutions. We’re extremely proud of our processes and practises that have come to the fore during the most challenging times faced by businesses for decades. 

And we continue to support our local suppliers, partners, communities and charities where possible, and we remain environmentally responsible right across the business. 

We achieve all of the above thanks to individual accountability from every member of our team. It’s not just senior management or production that are responsible for delivering on our four pillars – service, quality, value and trust – it’s the whole team. And this is a team that has become particularly close with one another over the last two years.

As has been the case for 30 years, Complete staff have been the number one focus since the beginning of the pandemic. We know that with the right tools, our team can deliver a level of service, quality and value that continues to grow our relationships and reputation. 

Over the last two years, we’ve invested in the following to make sure that our tools match the hunger of our staff:

Industry leading print technology

In 2020, we invested in a top of class digital printer, the Xerox iGen 5 Digital Printing Press.

The machine provides us with the ability to deliver higher volume digital print runs to customers, which enables more economic pricing that we pass on. It also presents greater security in assurity of supply in these uncertain times. We know we can deliver large volumes in very competitive turnaround times.

Every week, we print 45,000 menus for the Marley Spoon (Recipe & Meal Box Delivery) Melbourne site. Everything is done within a 24-hour window; from receiving the file (with 30 variants) to delivering the menus.

Environmentally Responsible Printing

Since 1 January 2021, our print headquarters have been 100% powered by renewable energy sources.

This is achieved in two ways:

  • by consuming power generated by our 200Kw LGC* (728-panel) rooftop solar power plant
  • drawing additional power in our peak periods from Environmental Resources Management (ERM) Power that is 100% GreenPower** Certified – providing comfort to us and our clients that the energy we consume from the grid has no impact on the environment 

In addition, we send excess energy generated from our solar power plant back to the grid for others to utilise. 

Data Secure Printing

From September this year, we started rolling a new online web to print portal across clients. This enables a seamless user experience for existing clients to upload digital content and track their job.

The portal goes hand-in-glove with our Heidelberg Image Control, which we also upgraded from Series 1 to Series 2, with a lot more features and functionality. The new prepress software provides us with online and interactive proofing functionally. 

We also upgraded our proofing technology to include the latest Spectrophotometer, enabling us to continuously monitor our proofing devices so they do not go out of Colour Management Specifications.

Data-driven delivery

Due to the challenges listed above, we have started using our own vehicles again. And with the support of data driven technology, we’re on top of just-in-time delivery.

*LGC is the acronym for Large-scale Generation Certificate from a Certified Power Plant. Certificates are generated for every MegaWatt of Power Generated (whether consumed or returned to the grid).

**GreenPower is a government-managed program that enables businesses to support renewable energy generation. Our partnership with ERM Power ensures Complete is purchasing energy that comes from genuinely renewable sources, with our fees going towards funding renewable energy projects and jobs. Without GreenPower, we could not guarantee that the energy we purchase from the grid is responsibly generated.


As an environmentally responsible Melbourne printer, we were careful to build Complete’s 200Kw roof-top solar farm to match the usage we needed without wasting materials. And that means for certain periods of the year, we need to buy extra energy. Now, thanks to the top-up power we source from government-accredited renewable energy provider GreenPower, we can be 100% confident that any energy we use is also responsibly generated – Tim Michaelides, Complete Managing Director. 

10 Environmentally responsible and secure print processes to save resources, time and money.

Planet Earth’s systems, processes and cycles never stop showing up. From daylight and photosynthesis to seasons and tidal energy; rhythms may alter over time, but nature delivers 365 days a year. As a global community, we must show up for this planet too.

For many businesses, the task of managing print and collateral for stock inventory, and advertising and marketing campaigns, is both daunting and time consuming. Where possible, it’s best to choose environmentally responsible print processes to save resources, time and money with seamless and secure strategies. 

Savings can be passed on from printer to client, and everybody can be assured that final print assets are produced in a safe manner with the lightest footprint possible, without compromise to quality.

Here are 10 sustainable habits to consider if your business requires small or large-scale print:

  1. Tailor a logistical solution to your budget, deadlines and distribution needs by taking a systematic approach, which includes a print partner working to measure, monitor and manage your collateral usage requirements, and developing strategically sound print solutions, e.g. product rationalisation may give greater control over your inventory levels and reduce associated costs.
  2. Partner with an Australian printer that has third party ISO Accreditation (International Organization for Standardisation) for renewable energy, waste reduction, responsible paper purchasing, and reducing raw material inputs and outputs. The end result will be cleaner production and lower greenhouse gas emissions. A commitment to an extensive recycling program leads to increased efficiency in materials usage and these savings can be passed on to your business without compromising projects.
  3. Consider print technology available for a quality and seamless service. There are different cost-effective print approaches (offset and digital for example) for small and large-scale, static and variable, printing. Again, top-of-the-range print technology provides the ability to deliver higher volume print runs in competitive turnaround times, which enables more economic pricing and greater security in assuring supply. 
  4. It’s not just about the print process itself – don’t forget pre-press and post-press. Online web to print portals are now very sophisticated, enabling a seamless user experience to upload digital content and track a job with interactive proofing functionality. When the job is printed and it looks great – now how do you get it from the printer to multiple sites or thousands of doorsteps across the country? Most printers should offer environmentally responsible and seamless logistics chains, including personalised variable data direct mail and delivery.
  5. How do you know your data and information is secure? Sending valuable, confidential and sensitive data and information outside of your business can be worrying, but strict protocols such as secure upload portals, download restrictions and job tracking can enable security-sensitive production from briefing to delivery.    
  6. Trust your instinct on quality. You don’t have to have 30 years experience in the print industry to know whether a job looks and feels good. It may be a complicated process, but touch and feel the end product, look closely at the colour and quality of images and the enhancements used for protection and aesthetics. Trust your judgment.
  7. Get return on investment. It’s true that you can never have cheap, fast and good at the same time, but you can have value, service and quality – and working with a well-processed, system-orientated business means savings can be passed on without compromising quality.
  8. Like everything, choose good people to work with. Printing can be stressful; you’re converting a changeable digital document into (potentially) tens of thousands of hard copies, sometimes on a weekly basis. There are going to be pressure points, but choose the right print partner with responsible systems and processes, and you’ll learn that printing does not have to be stressful.
  9. Minimise waste across every facet of your business. Printers can only be responsible for the planning, production and delivery of printed material. After that, it’s down to the client to practice, enable and promote sustainable processes in their own businesses and on their own printed assets (i.e. choice of recycled and recyclable raw materials and recycling instructions on packaging).
  10. Enable your sustainable systems to drive your performance. Print has to be efficient, whether it’s small or large scale. Take your safe, seamless and sustainable print practices into other areas of your business to drive performance.

Build on your business reputation with an environmentally responsible, secure and seamless print partnership. Complete doesn’t waste non-renewable energy sources, because we know we can generate our own and responsibly purchase any top-up we might require.

Complete Services:

Project Management Services:

  • Business to Business Online Ordering 
  • Marketing and Print Campaign Storage
  • Fulfilment, Distribution and Mailing (Including Variable Data)
  • Database Management and Reporting
  • Systems and Workflow Analysis

Complete’s Comprehensive Inventory Management and Reporting Services include:

  • Usage Analysis
  • Re-Order Levels
  • Stock Holding
  • Database Management and Reporting
  • Systems And Workflow Analysis

Specialist capabilities and expertise in confidential, security-sensitive work and secure data management 

Complete has 30 years experience producing highly confidential and security-sensitive items for corporate, government, institutional, retail and financial clients. We have developed a sophisticated bespoke online W2P Portal via secure 1to1 login (designed and built in-house). The business’s areas of expertise encompass:

Financial Institutions

  • IPO Prospectus
  • Annual Report production, where trust, accuracy and timing are critical
  • Brochures and printed documents
  • Secure data, from reports through to invitations
  • Enviro Catalogue with download restriction


  • Highly confidential documents relating to finance, policy and other collateral

Health Insurance

  • Secure document and brochure production


  • Secure multiple fields data merge and print


  • Monetary value items and data merge
  • Production of vouchers with coded data scannable at retail outlets across variable retailers for access to FMCGs
  • Complex variable data generation for gift cards etc.
  • Complex data merge of individual pricing matrix from store to store
  • Geo Data lock outs for segregation of pricing portals

Complete’s security systems, including our strict worker protocols, enable security-sensitive production from briefing to delivery.

Secure Systems

  • Secure FileDrop to safely send us your files
  • In-house IT infrastructure and architect experts
  • Version control
  • Secure Job Release based on approved access codes
  • Bespoke Management Information System built in-house

Site and Worker Security

  • Thermal imaging camera system (and other thorough Covid-safe practices)
  • Only authorised personnel work on security sensitive projects
  • Fully gated site
  • Key swipe access to manufacturing areas
  • Electronic movement access registers

Third Party Auditing

  • Auditing processes complying with ISO Quality Management Systems certification

Risk Assessment and Disaster Recovery

  • Secure multiple fields data merge and print

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


Leadership is a word that is regularly bandied about. After almost 30 years in business, here’s what it means to Complete Colour, across the three things that really matter to us:

  • People
  • Printing
  • Planet

Why Our People Are The No.1 Focus

When we talk about ‘our people’, internally or externally, we don’t just mean the Complete Colour team, or our clients, or our supply, logistics or charity partners. We consider all of the people that our work impacts. But when it comes to leadership, we direct our focus where we think we can have the biggest and most immediate impact:

  • Happiness
  • Health
  • Safety

The happiness of the people we work with; staff, clients and partners, is paramount. There is no doubt that the global pandemic, and other recent world events, have presented challenges to happiness – and mental and physical health – as we strive to acclimatise to a different way of living. 

But we can still easily check in on a colleague, on a supply or logistics partner, a client, a neighbouring business or the wider business community (which also helps us to stay connected to knowledge and networking outside of our own business bubble). A simple text message, phone call – or even a ‘like’ or comment on social media can go a long way.

Director Geoff Lawyer and Client Services Coordinator Adam Keating support National Red Nose Day with red and white polkadot socks

Complete Director Geoff Lawyer prioritises fresh air and conversation on a daily basis: “We’ve done plenty of walking client meetings,” he says.

“And I go on a socially distanced walk with one staff member every day I am at the office. It has been most valuable to me to find out how our staff are. Most are grateful to come to work and have an outlet to be a touch more social than in the confines of their home.”

The nature of an Australian print business is that most of the staff cannot work from home, so walking meetings have become part of the daily routine. We still conduct socially distanced face-to-face meetings, and communicate via in-person toolbox meetings or COVID Update meetings, which have become regular calendar appointments. 

Cutting Edge Print

Our Cheltenham print floor is a large, light space, with high ceilings and great airflow. And in July 2020 we installed thermal imaging and facial recognition cameras to monitor physical health, and to keep employees and guests safe. 

The thermal imaging camera is just one example of how we use technology to keep our staff safe. Cutting edge technology on the print floor not only means that we can ensure the very best output, it also keeps our staff as safe as possible. 

We prioritise new technology and machinery – and the rigorous training that goes with it. In 2020, we invested in the top of class Xerox iGen 5 Digital Printing Press. The machine provides us with the ability to deliver higher volume digital print runs to customers, so that we can pass on savings from economies of scale to the customer. It also presents greater security in assurity of supply in these uncertain times. And it enables us to deliver high quality, large volume output in very competitive turnaround times whether we’re printing books, manuals, magazines or menus.

More recently, we have upgraded our proofing devices 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.

We have also 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.

Heidelberg Image Control Series 2

We passed another audit with flying colours late last year – in ISO 9001 (Quality) and ISO 14001 (Environment) – certifying us as a trusted print manufacturer. 

Environmentally responsible printing

We’re proud to be a leading sustainable Victorian print company, with environmentally responsible policies and procedures that mean we always choose the path of lowest impact to outstanding quality. It also means that our offices and print floor are 100% powered by renewable energy sources – either from our own 200Kw LGC* (728-panel) rooftop solar farm, or from GreenPower on days when we can’t generate enough electricity. We run an eco-recycling solvent tank recovery system, we use vegetable-based ink and we only purchase paper that is sourced from well-managed forests certified to a credible standard.

As Complete Colour approaches 30 years in business, we are extremely proud to be positioned as a leader in those things that really matter to us; people, printing and the planet. Our systems and processes are all geared towards these considerations across everything we do – with quality, value, service and trust. 

This is what Complete leadership means to us.

Complete is part of the STK Business Club and we are a proud supporter of St Kilda Football Club.


The Milky Way Galaxy, which includes our solar system, is a series of relationships built on complex matter. Humans are complex matter – and we move in complex systems too. But ultimately, the most important thing to us is relationships; relationships with our planet and with other humans, built on trust. That is all we have when we are born – and all we need through life.

Relationships play a major role in printing; not only between the rosette palette of colours and our high-end machines, but also between people. When a print project is green-lighted, we take multiple steps to ensure the truest and highest-quality reproduction is achieved, with each of our specialists.

The process is complicated to the untrained eye, but years of human experience – combined with artificial intelligence and a structured process – ensures quality control. Clear communication is paramount in reaching the desired result, because no two jobs are the same.

Reproduction to actual ink on paper is all in the planning. It could be coated material (gloss, matt or satin), or uncoated offset – with different printing, lamination, embellishments and binding (PUR, Lock Binding, Perfect Binding or Saddle stitching). The entire job hinges on the print production relationship, and ultimately, TRUSTED skill sets and process designs.

All of the hard work mentioned above can be undone if the fulfilment, labelling, (item code, product number, barcode and logo) are not applied and delivered in line with our exacting standards. This is where relationships and trust really come into play; further enhanced by modern tracking technology so that we know the exact whereabouts of the end product.

The final piece in the Complete cycle is to check in on any feedback from the client (face-to-face where possible). ‘No news is good news’ might be enough for some businesses, but not us. We’re hungry to continue improving.

From vegetable-based inks to paper stocks, relationships with our supply partners are crucial.  We use cutting-edge multi-million dollar litho and digital presses and have 24/7 preventative service agreements in place with key supply partners such as Heidelberg (Litho Press and Fujifilm digital presses). Our immediate and extended office community (physical and virtual IT support, and third party specialists including our fleet of expert technicians) are all essential branches in the relationship tree.

The 724 rooftop solar panels that power up to 100% of the required energy consumed at the office (depending on time of year) – and the GreenEnergy we draw down from the grid to top up are testament to the weight Complete Colour places on our relationship with the planet.

Through our recycling and waste processes, and careful sourcing of environmentally responsible materials, we try to lighten our footprint on this planet in every way possible.

Like any service business, our former, current and future client relationships are key, and we definitely miss the valued face-to-face interactions during this covid-impacted period. It’s not just the businesses we work with that we love, but the people we speak to and meet along the way every day. And because we truly value those relationships, we have done more COVIDSafe outdoor walking meetings over the last two months than we have had in-office meetings.

Close to home, our charity partners and neighbouring businesses need our relationships more than ever in these challenging times, and we’ve been sure to keep an open dialogue with our communities, offering support where we can.

The touchpoints we have with people on our databases, and those we communicate with over email, telephone, Zoom, Teams or social media, are created through relationships we have built, nurtured and evolved over many years – some over almost 30 years.

Through those three decades this business has been running, the relationship between directors Tim Michaelides and Geoff Lawyer, their team members and all the families and friends behind those team members, have played integral roles.

And it’s during lockdown periods, our relationships with team members, clients and partners are all tested and stretched further than ever, but by ensuring our personal relationships (including the relationship with ourselves as individuals) are prioritised, we have the best chance of continuing to create the best outcomes and impacts.

Our relationship with you, dear reader, is infinitely valued. Through each of our business pillars (quality, value, service and trust) we harness relationships to achieve the best possible outcome for your business and for our business.

If you know of a business who needs a trusted relationship with a print company, please contact us directly or share this blog.



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