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  • Writer's pictureRhys

A word from the director as we celebrate our 39th Birthday!

Go back to early 1979, John Joyce and I were working together at a company called Speedpress in Hebburn. We used to produce Technical Journals for Butterworth Scientific on IBM Composers and also the local Chester-le-Street and Durham ‘Trader’ one of the first freesheets produced in the country. John readily admits that he was not a ‘Keyboard Operator’ but we got on extremely well.

So well in fact that we started a conversation about starting up in business ourselves. The months leading up to September 1979 were spent researching costs, equipment, customers and eventually making the decision to start Tech-Set Ltd. Our Logo at that time was a combination of mathematical signs and symbols which we thought appropriate.

We were waiting for premises from Tyne and Wear Development Corporation and so we commenced work in our back bedroom which had just been converted to a Nursery as my wife Pauline and I were expecting our first son, Daniel, who was born in December of that year. Imagine the conversations Pauline and I had when her brand newly decorated and furnished Nursery was taken over with an IBM Composter and all the ancillary equipment for paper make-up of pages of artwork.

Tech-Set office circa 1986

When we moved into Brewery Lane, Felling in November 1979 we had no desks, no heating, no telephone, in fact very little. However we had enough work to pay our bills and this gave us the platform to move forward positively and look for new customers. Our big break came in 1980 when we contacted Stanley Thornes Publishers in Cheltenham, who just happened to be looking for a new supplier. The first book we produced was Maths for Building Technicians and they seemed to like working with us. This started a fantastic working relationship resulting in the production of many good books, making Stanley Thornes, and then Nelson Thornes, the marketing leader in Maths and Sciences.

New customers came along including most of the UK’s leading Publishers, Macmillan, OUP, CUP, Hodder, the Open University, Elsevier, Harcourt, Heinemann, Pearson, Which? to name just a few and firm relationships were established.

In the 1980’s the company invested heavily in its equipment firstly purchasing Itek and Agfa Phototypesetting equipment, then moved on to 3B2 on PC’s and now use cloud based InDesign on large screen iMacs. Training has always been a huge part of our success and making sure our standards and consistency of product is paramount to this same success.

John Joyce and I always said we wanted to create a business that we would like to work in and this is still the case. We employ the highest skilled Designers and Illustrators, we have a network of outsource individuals that comply with our quality and standards and form an important extension to the extended services we now have to offer customers. However quality and standards will not be compromised and it a fundamental principal in the business that they must be maintained. Look at our Website for the range of services we can offer and then give us a call should they be of interest to you.

John Joyce’s retirement in 2015 saw the introduction of his son David into the business and with the enthusiasm of youth and 20 years working in the company, Tech-Set can look forward to a bright future.

Our success is based on employing and working with good people; addressing the changes that our industry has seen; adopting and adjusting to new hardware and technology and yet still offering that personal service that we enjoy with customers both existing and new.

The past 39 years have been a labour of love for me and the future looks bright for the new generation to take the business forward. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our success, we could not have done it without you.

We feel we are still the UK’s premier Designers and Illustrators.

Bill Baty

Managing Director

Tech-Set Ltd

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