60 years of Quality Design & Print in West Dorset

This year, marks the 60th anniversary of Creeds Design & Print, Bridport’s local print and design experts.

A lot has changed since the presses first started running. The business relocated to its current premises (Gore Cross Business Park in Bridport) nearly 3 years ago to benefit from high speed broadband and a more customer friendly location.

It really is a family affair, directors, Harry and Marilyn Harrison, along with their three daughters Rachel, Catherine and Laura and a super efficient and talented team, work very hard to ensure their customers receive the highest quality print and design and exceptional customer service.  As ever, they have continued to invest in the future. Since the move, Creeds have purchased a Heidelberg 5 colour perfecting press, new digital press, a PUR binder and new IT equipment. The key to their success is the vast range of work they produce, offering many recycled and specialist products and finishes, also working closely with and assisting customers every step of the way when producing artwork and design. Their print savvy and talented in-house designers have a wealth of experience and turn design ideas into reality.  Their main business is magazines, catalogues, event programmes, books, business stationery and personal stationery, but there is much more besides which keeps things interesting with plenty of variety.

Current Director and John Creed’s daughter, Marilyn Harrison, reflects on the momentous anniversary, stating ‘we are proud to think we have come this far and especially proud of our manufacturing capabilities, producing fine quality design, print and fulfilment in-house. The girls have the enthusiasm, creativity, skill set and work ethic to keep the business going well into the future.  It is good to know Creeds will be in safe hands and, all being well, will continue not just to survive, but thrive!  Who knows what the future holds further down the line? I sincerely hope there will always be a place for the printed page and not just a world where we are all going around with our heads in mobile devices.’

There is much to celebrate: boasting a vast range of equipment, Creeds are proud to produce litho, letterpress and digital print in-house.

A little bit of history…

A long time ago (well, 60 years in fact), there was a young farmer named John Creed who wanted to give up milking cows and muck spreading and turn his hobby and passion for print into his life’s work.

John’s passion for print began in the 1940s when he was given his first John Bull printing set. In his teens he quickly grasped the basics at after school printing lessons at Bridport Grammar and whilst still at school he was given a little Adana Press and produced stationery and cards for family and friends.

His parents encouraged his industrious sideline – he worked all day on the farm at Broadoak and spent his evenings printing. However, they were not so impressed when soon after he married Audrey, a trained secretary, he announced he would not be continuing to work on the family farm and intended to ‘live the dream!’ and start his own printing business.

In 1957 business was booming and whilst still working from an outhouse on the farm he invested in various other pieces of kit, the machines had to be petrol driven as there was no electricity in the Marshwood Vale until the early ‘60’s.

Marilyn and her two sisters were small when the business moved to the old carpenter’s premises which was adapted to the print works. From there it was all systems go, the business grew rapidly, John invested in the latest equipment and training for the staff and customers came from near and far. In 1973 the first computers were installed (photo typesetting) and in the 1990s desk-top publishing was introduced.  In 2005 the firm employed 20 and gained Investor in People status and was praised for business performance, customer satisfaction, development of its people, low staff turnover and a highly motivated and committed workforce.

Marilyn recalls that, ‘our parents instilled a strong work ethic within us girls and we helped in the works from an early age, composing type, stapling draw tickets, tidying the works, etc. When I went to school the teachers were puzzled when I started writing at the right hand side of the page and working backwards as we did when setting type on the composing stick!  Throughout the years the whole family have worked in the business, including our husbands, it has been a real family enterprise.’

Printing has changed dramatically over recent years with technology and the internet, and small individual print companies like Creeds are a rarity these days. Despite a very competitive marketplace (competition from copy shops and online portals without the overheads of a manufacturing business), Creeds have continued to keep investing and training and looking after their customers, both old and new. Many customers come to Creeds after first being disappointed with the quality of products they have received elsewhere, realising it is false economy to cut corners when you need a quality product.

Harry explains, ‘we are fortunate to have loyal customers both locally and nationwide and it is at milestones like this we extend our very grateful thanks to our wonderful customers for their continued support. Here’s to another 60 years!’

Is it 60 years or 420?

We came across an interesting illustration in a book on the Reformation of the UK and Ireland.

Featuring a leaflet from 1596, at the bottom was the name of the printer, a Mr Thomas Creede.
According to an article on Wikipedia, Thomas was a printer in London during the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras and was “rated as “one of the best of his time.””

His London based print works were responsible for printing editions of works in English Renaissance drama, especially for ten editions of six Shakespearean plays and three works in the Shakespeare Apocrypha

Claim to fame:

Aside from being the daughter of the maverick John Creed! We are distant relatives of Thomas Hardy, my great grandfather’s mother was his cousin.  Over the years we have printed many books on Hardy and William Barnes and to this day still continue to print the Thomas Hardy Year Book.