15th May 2016

1986 - was it REALLY 30 years ago? Blimey!

1986. I was celebrating my first anniversary of being married to my second husband, although with hindsight “celebrating” is probably not the most appropriate word. As he was a very talented artist and graphic designer and I had the secretarial/admin skills, we decided to try our hand at running our own design/typesetting business. I had no idea what “typesetting” was and to start this off we had to invest in an EditWriter which was a large blue “computer” with a very tiny screen and keyboard. This was a huge step up from the hot metal typesetting which printers had been using for decades. It was quite a learning curve for me as not only did I have to learn how to use this monstrosity but I had to earn money from it. I did feel very much like the Phantom of the Opera sat in front of it, the only thing missing was the organ music! Anyway, I cracked it and, if I say so myself, became quite the expert.

Of course, technology moves on apace and it wasn’t too long before we offloaded the dear old EditWriter and invested in Apple Macs. We were the first studio in Leeds to use these and we were met with derision and such comments as “It won’t take off” and “It’s Mickey Mouse technology”. NOW we were a design and DTP studio! I know my friends and colleagues today will laugh at the very idea that there was a time when I was at the cutting edge of technology!

The Apple Macs were a revelation as they were completely WYSIWYG (for the uninitiated, and not meaning to sound patronising, that is What You See Is What You Get). It was like being in another world! I then went on to become a whizz at Adobe Photoshop and Quark Express and got involved in the production and page design of newspapers, magazines, bespoke ads and all things print oriented. Happy days.

What Mickey Mouse technology! How wrong these people were all these years ago. DTP was quite controversial when we started. Some of you out there will remember Eddie Shah and his big run in with the Unions when he started his newspaper Today in 1986. We did have our own run in with the Unions but that, as they say, is another story for another day.

It all seems so long ago and yet like yesterday at the same time.

Now look where we are with Smart Phones, Microsoft, social media, etc. And all this within my living memory. Of course technology is changing all the time, it seems like every day there is something new out there – I wonder where technology will take us in another 30 years?

Back to the present day. I have been part of the Berwins team for well over 13 years and here again have seen huge steps forward in ways of working in that short time. Nowadays I am a bit of a Luddite when it comes to new technology and it takes me longer to grasp than in my younger days – I have had my ups and downs in this respect but through it all it would be fair to say (to paraphrase JFK) Ich Bin Ein Berwinner!!

Written by Agnes Quinn of Berwins Solicitors.

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