For the first edition of our newly revamped Zest newsletter, we decided to go back to the beginning of our printing company.

Our printing company began 36 years ago in September 1981 and it’s safe to say we have come a long way since then. It was a different time in 1981 for music, fashion and definitely the print industry. The mullet was the height of men’s fashion, Adam and the Ants were topping the charts with “Prince Charming” and a small printing company business as part of the ‘Prontaprint’ franchise openned on Grove Road in the centre of Eastbourne.

Since then, there have been countless changes from the name of the business to the technology we use. However, one thing that has never been wavered is our service. In 36 years we have always made sure that the customer always gerts the best product on time, every time, whether they have a mullet or not.

printing company prontaprint

Before we were Zest, we were Prontaprint printing company

Above are pictures of some of the branding we have had over the years. We’re happy to have moved on from the orange and brown particular but they all hold some good memories!

printing company zest advert

Four decades of incredible change…

In this edition, we’re going on a journey through the thirty-six years of our business.

printing company zest old technologyIt’s amazing to see how far the print industry has come in this time and we’re excited to share this with you.

In 1981, when Zest started as a printing company we were branded as Prontaprint. We had two machines on site, a Multilith single colour litho printing press and a small Xerox Black and White Photocopier that was operated manually – no programming in those days! Artwork was produced using Letraset and Clip Art and there was a dark room for plate making. Unbelievably we had to estimate with a calculator and a shart pencil and write invoices long hand.

The Nineties saw some massive changes. In 1986 Julie and Chris Banks purchased the franchise and new technology markedly altered the way the business was run. The first proper photocopiers were installed in the Prontaprint office. They were weighed a ton, were the size of a bus and were black and white. They only accepted hard copy until the office introduced it’s first shiny new computer. With this, we could accept customer files on Floppy Disk(they didn’t last long did they!)

2000 arrives. Who remembers Y2K? The ‘millennium bug’ was supposed to be a crisis in the digital world. While it seems ridiculous now, businesses accross the planet were worried that all the information on computers would be wiped as the millennium came around. Needless to say we survived the bug and embraced the digital age. The introduction of email allowed the customers to send us their files electronically and we could do away with those darned floppy disks. We could now provide our service to anyone, anywhere with ease and we truly became fully digital business with the installation of our first digital colour machine. We could product short print runs, economically with quick turnaround times and we were on our way to becoming an on-demand print business. We could provide our customers with same high quality product quicker and easier. With all of these changes, the so called ‘Noughties‘ was the decade that saw our business become more efficient than every before.

And so, finally to the current decade, which after some debate in the office is simply called the ‘Tens’ and sadly, not the ‘teenies’. In 2011, we left the Prontaprint franchise, began trading independently and relaunched our printing company as Zest. This meant we could start doing things our way-free to invest and expand according to customer needs. We hit the ground running with a brand spanding new website and our customer told us they loved us even more for it. In the past five years, we have expanded our business by purchasing Prontaprint Hastings and opening a second premises in Eastbourne. In the thirty six years we have been trading, the print industry has changed immensely and the journey that Zest has come on has been both challenging and exciting. We’ve come a long way from having to cut out our arwork from a clip art folder and using a dial-up connection to access our emails. While information is increasingly read online, print is far from dead. Print’s durability and credibility can set it apart from the clutterred online world.

And what’s next?
There are many exciting developments within the print industry and Zest. We promise to keep you posted in furture editions of this newsletter. Have you got any stories to tell from the past? We’d love to hear about your dodgy tech and ‘flashy’ branding from over the years.

Julie Banks

I’m the business strategy person. I’ve worked in print for
almost 20 years so I know it inside out. For me, people
are the best thing about Zest, both my team and our
customers. I get a real buzz from helping customers to do
what they do even better.

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01323 638 838

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