In the past four decades, Colorcraft's Hong Kong base has been subject to many business cycles, from its role as an entrepot for the world in accessing China, to being one of the PRC's principal cities, and an international entity firmly integrated with and connected to the global village. Throughout the many phases of the city's development and the challenges and opportunities these have presented, Colorcraft has adapted to the prevailing circumstances and continues to thrive as a solid commercial presence within the industry and the community.
Colorcraft was founded by Barry Walker, the present honorary chairman's father. With a background in advertising, he came to Hong Kong to launch the campaign to promote Ford Motors, and thereafter he joined IPC. Barry was responsible for setting up Far East Trade Press at a time when there were no local trade journals; everything was sourced from elsewhere in Southeast Asia. At FETP, he ran the advertising division for all the published journals under the imprint, which also led him into experience in book production.
He went on to set up the first Hong Kong office of publishing icon Paul Hamlyn. When the office closed, it proved the catalyst for establishing Colorcraft. With a stable of trusted print and production suppliers in Hong Kong, Barry set about launching the business.
From the perspective of being a start-up himself, Barry well understood the challenges facing small publishers in the same position. A core objective of Colorcraft became the nurturing of independents, a practice that still continues.
Today's small business becomes tomorrow's medium to large operation. There is no better example of this than the Lonely Planet travel guides. Starting with an idea and one guide in 1973,this series has become an enormously successful global brand in the travel guide sector; Colorcraft is proud to have played a its part in that growth.
In the early years, the business was drawn mainly from book publishers. Spotting a niche in the education sector, however, Barry branched out by setting up a subsidiary, Edukits, which produced multi-component packages for the primary school market, adding expertise in plastics and assembly line logistics to the company's skills on offer.
By 1981, when Barry's daughter, Bundy, returned to Hong Kong and joined the company, it was time for the next generation of the Walker family to take the helm. Clients like management continuity and all had known Bundy from her early years, when she often helped Barry in her school holidays.
In her nearly 30 years at the helm, Bundy presided over a period when the advances in technology changed the face of the print industry almost beyond recognition. They demanded that Colorcraft's staff have expertise in today's sophisticated techniques the better to advise clients and liaise properly with vendors.
The scope of work also changed and diversified from books and educational kits into many different areas as outlined in the Products section. E-books are shaping up to form the next leap forward in the industry's development.
Another shift in the commercial wind was the move to mainland China of Hong Kong printers, pressed for adequate space to expand, and subject to high rental and labour costs. Colorcraft's familiarity with the printers, proximity to their mainland bases and knowledge of the working practices in the PRC continue to provide clients with the perfect overseas office-away-from-the-office without incurring overheads or committing time and effort to the steep learning curve needed to deal direct.
With his ownership of the company, Fraser McFadzean inherited a commercial landscape that is at once familiar and challenging; familiar insofar as he knows his customers, suppliers and the industry, challenging in the face of global economic shifts and technological advances. Plus ca change....
For more information about the types of business undertaken by the company, go to Products.