A History Of Innovation
Leach has a long history of innovating in the industry. When it comes to graphic display and printing, Leach is one of the most celebrated and recognised names in the field. With a reputation for continued invention and producing imaginative, cutting-edge products and technologies, Leach will help drive the industry towards new ground for years to come.
Leach celebrated our 125th anniversary in 2016. To have continued to innovate in the field of graphic display design and production for so long would seem difficult. But that’s exactly what Leach have done, carving a proud history for consistently taking bold new steps in product innovation. Here’s a quick timeline of Leach’s history in innovation:
1895 – Early into Leach’s existence our founder, Arthur Leach, proved his capacity for invention. In 1895 he made Leach the first company in the world to offer full life size enlargements, printed in one single piece. Over 100 years ago, Leach were already making the most of bold new technologies.
1919 – In the wake of the First World War, the modern advertising industry came to life. Leach were among the first to jump aboard, and in 1919 Leach Photowork was established. Leach Photowork is the forerunner for what Leach is today, and laid the groundworks for a century of product innovation in the graphic display business.
1952 – Leach was actually responsible for retouching and printing the very first official portrait images of Queen Elizabeth II. By 1952 our reputation had grown and we were trusted with producing the images to be used on the first line of stamps to feature the Queen’s head.
1960 – In 1960, Leach’s reputation opened a huge opportunity to produce some of the most iconic images of the world’s most iconic band – the Beatles. Leach produced the very first run of publicity images for the Beatles – a line of business that continued to grow in the years following.
1974 – Leach entered the Guinness World Book of Records in 1974 when we produced the world’s largest jigsaw! There’s always time for fun and games, and we love to produce displays and graphics that delight and amuse.
1991 – Leach became one of the first businesses in the industry to go digital when we embraced the new technology in 1991. We first purchased a room sized Dianippon scanner, followed by two Durst lambdas. We’ve always looked for new trends and exciting ways of developing our business for the future, so early adoption of digital imaging was an absolute must.
2008 – Leach has continued to innovate over the years, and in 2008 we were awarded the Queen’s Award for Innovation. Receiving this award was a huge honour, recognising over a century of pioneering, ground-breaking work within the graphic production display. Of particular note was Stik, our innovative wallcovering solution that continues to receive recognition and find popular use across a number of different sectors.
‘We’ve continued to come up with new and unexpected graphic displays that get the industry talking. I love being able to think creatively and invent solutions that offer stronger commercial benefits for our clients’ design problems. The landscape is constantly changing, but thanks to close continued dialogue with our customers, I think we’re one step ahead.’
Mike Willshaw, Head of Innovation at Leach
Case Study: Sports Direct HQ
Here at Leach we had an amazing opportunity to show our innovative spirit again recently. Leach used cutting edge technology to help manufacture a huge 40m illuminated display at Sports Direct’s headquarters in Nottinghamshire. This incredible display features ultra bright lighting and striking visuals that are sure to capture the attention and imagination of anyone who sees it – an excellent case study for Leach’s continued innovation in the industry.
Working alongside shopfitting specialist Replan, Leach helped bring this industry-first installation to life. We transformed an otherwise non captivating part of the building into a chance to make a statement to all the headquarter’s visitors. The industry has never seen a graphic display quite like this ambitious and innovate installation.
‘I don’t like to be bound by the restrictions of how something has been done previously – I love cultivating an idea and letting it flourish to its full potential.’
Martin Burton, Product Development Designer at Leach
The display features a cascading waterfall and gorgeous sky, bringing a touch of nature’s beauty to Sports Direct’s interior visitor space. The display was only possible due to Leach’s ingenuity – Leach combined a 4m x 11m curved lightbox suspended above the space with 30 different 1m² lightboxes descending in a staggered cascade to display the enormous digital water feature.
Manufactured using Leach’s cutting edge new Lightwave technology, the result is a graphic display that resembles a giant wall video. However, Leach also found a way to use dynamic LED integrated into the lightbox technology to deliver a captivating sense of motion. For only 20% of the cost of a video wall alternative, Leach was able to produce an enormous flowing water spectacle.
“We’ve combined dynamic, ultra-bright, programmable LEDs with HD quality graphics. This digital hybrid is one of the most exciting uses of lightboxes that we’re seeing in the retail space at present, without any need for a single screen.”
Daniel Deakin, Sales Account Manager at Leach
Despite the scope and magnitude of the project, Leach maintain excellent flexibility in all our installations. Despite the size, the display is designed so that the fabric graphics are interchangeable and can be refitted to create an entirely new display, yet again changing the atmosphere of the interior space. We recognise that brands need to stay on their toes, so we create flexible designs that can suit any client’s evolving business. The magnetised LEDs that create the flowing water effect can even be moved to produce entirely new movement effects.
As the case study shows, Leach were able to deliver an entirely new and innovative kind of display for Sports Direct. Leach’s brand new Lightwave product was crucial to the installation. This cutting edge technology is gaining popularity across a wide variety of sectors including sports, exhibitions, retail, and museums and heritage. Leach continues to innovate new products that influence and change the industry around them.
Get In Touch
If you’d like a more in depth look at Leach’s history, visit our timeline to follow the 125 year long story. If you’re interested in our process, how we continue to innovate, and what we can do for your business, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re always looking for opportunities to break new ground, solve challenging problems, and make great strides in our field.