Neptune Printing has evolved over 34 years. It is the current business moniker for owner Dean Kennedy.
The Early Years (from 1989)
Dean’s graphic design skills date back to 1989. He created voluntary design projects at university, and later for his work at a public hospital. His job from 1992 focused on public relations, marketing and design. In June 1993, Dean officially launched his own part-time graphic design business. Most of this work was artwork for clients of commercial printer in outer metropolitan Melbourne, Speedex Printing. They approached Dean after he provided them with artwork for one of his own jobs.
Voluntary design work was always part of Dean’s contribution. His earliest work included redesigning a complex form for St Vincent’s Hospital. This was while he was still a hospital Orderly. Another early project was to redesign the brochure for a community services agency in Broadmeadows, Victoria. Since 1989, he has also assisted many candidates and politicians with election marketing.
By the mid-1990s, Dean launched his brandmark Wisebiz. He also launched Deaken Creative (August 1994) and Terrabyte Communications in July 1997. The name “Deaken” was a blended word of Dean’s first and last names (it was somewhat of a family tradition to invent a portmanteau from family names).
Dean then invented the portmanteau/compound word Terrabyte: “Terra” to represent “earth” and “byte” for “digital”.
But being clever can be confusing
Clever business names unfortunately caused confusion and common misspellings. Deaken was too similar to Deakin, well-known as the Australian university named after Sir Alfred Deakin, Australia’s second Prime Minister and the founding father of Australia’s Federation. Terrabyte was similar to terabyte (even though at the time, public knowledge of the word terabyte as a unit of storage was still rare). And “Communications” lost its PR meaning: people thought of telecommunications (phone calls were sometimes received for enquiries about setting up internet modems!). But the Terrabyte name prevailed until the mid-2000s.
Terrabyte Communications became Dean’s full-time business in November 1998. The business focused on printing, marketing and design.
Printing from the very start
Printing was always a key part of Dean’s businesses. He combined printing, graphic design and marketing. Trade printing partners have been a part of the business from the very start. They are now a core part of Neptune Printing. Dean has had a keen interest in the printing industry since first attending a printing expo at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building in the early 1990s, before it later moved to Jeff’s Shed.
Marketing, design and printing for the retail travel industry
An unexpected and valuable short domain name helped evolve the business. Combined with a growing focus on the travel industry, a new name was born: DMK Business Systems. Travel agents often work with acronyms. So Dean’s initials “DMK” were a great fit. And the dmk.com.au domain was available. Dean started helping one travel agent in 1999, but that number grew fast.
By the time DMK launched in November 2005, over 150 travel agents were clients, along with state-based offices and, while they didn’t have an in-house agency, the national office for Harvey World Travel. Agents sought local marketing help from all over Australia. As well, Dean spoke on marketing at state conferences and provided agent training. Most agents were part of Harvey World Travel (now Helloworld Travel). Other travel industry clients traded under a range of retail and wholesale brands. These included Jetset Travel, Escape Travel, travel key, Andrew Jones Travel, Qantas Holidays and P&O Cruises.
Expanding print capability
Multiple printing jobs were now a daily occurrence. Several trade partners were in play. We printed smaller jobs digitally in-house. This included smaller flyers and similar sized printing, as well as posters. A light digital production press expanded in-house printing. This also helped speed up production and accommodate small quantities.
The business continued to grow beyond the travel industry. Thus the DMK name again became confusing. “What’s DMK?” was a common question. So another change was on the cards!
Dean then launched Complete Business Printing Pty Ltd on 31 May 2010. This ended any confusion about the business.
He also upgraded both the digital production press and wide format printer. This allowed more in-house printing. At the same time, with a big focus on print, trade printing also continued to grow. He engaged more trade printers to expand the range of affordable printing options.
Launching As Neptune Printing
Dean founded Neptune Printing on 27 May 2015.
By now Dean was living in a coastal town on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. The name “Neptune” was a link to coastal life, as a reference to the Roman God of the seas, Neptune.
Dean intended to run Neptune alongside Complete Business Printing. It would be a specialised, stand alone print business. The plan was to make it an online “web to print” service.
After some unexpected personal challenges in 2016, Dean decided to sell Complete Business Printing. He still provides design advice as required to the company. This presented the perfect time for Neptune Printing to become Dean’s main business. Beyond its original plan, Neptune Printing is now a “business printing concierge”. This gives customers access to a stable of expert trade print partners. These partners have expanded over 26 years. They allow Neptune Printing to offer business printing at super affordable prices.
Neptune Printing is more than “just another printer”. Dean’s expertise covers graphic design, copywriting, public relations and local marketing. These skills help clients create effective and responsive local marketing.
And you don’t have to take Dean’s word for the work that he does: find out too what others say.
PS: We’ve got 34 years of experience, but we weren’t established in 1753!
We had a bit of a chuckle when preparing this Neptune Printing history page. A search of ASIC produced a now-cancelled business name “Neptune Printing Service”. This NSW name isn’t related to or connected to our business. It was fascinating though: ASIC shows a registration date of the 1st of January 1753! That’s impressive… the colony of New South Wales was only established decades later! While Neptune Printing’s origins go back to the late 1980s, they don’t quite stretch to the 1750s!