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The constant pioneer

Many of the concepts in today’s business world were realized early at Jack Yan & Associates, including virtual companies (1987), digital magazines (1990) which we then took online (1994), moral global brands (2000), which have led on to the push for corporate social responsibility today. We were a pioneer in taking a web title, Lucire, into print, showing how brand extensions can go from the virtual world to the real one (2004). We then licensed it internationally (2005), again a first. Not only were we the first digital typefoundry in New Zealand in the 1980s, we were the first to incorporate the rupee symbol across our entire range (2011).

The company has been ahead of corporate developments. It believes that organizations do not only have to be financially secure, but must be completely moral, honourable and accountable to the publics they serve, in a transparent fashion.

We have managed, through hard work and good luck, to create real change agents and, sometimes, industry leaders, in every field we’ve entered. We would like to share that same formula with our clients, our allies and our partners.


Jack Yan & Associates’ culture is akin to a laissez-faire start-up—even though we’ve been going for over three decades. Jack Yan himself believes in Confucian concepts where there’s an exchange of duties between parties—and it also means self-regulation, awareness of personal reputation and responsibility, and freedom of speech.

This “do unto others” approach has served us well, minimizing bureaucracy. It hasn’t always been easy, but we try to keep things in that entrepreneurial mood. Part of this is in our history: this company was around when some of us were teenagers and suffered ageism and prejudice in the industry. We avoid these, helping those in the positions we were in when we started in business.

There’s an informal and sometimes humorous tone within the company. Everyone is addressed by their first names. Titles are largely to help customers understand roles. However, accurate written communication is encouraged and the company is a strict guardian of its brands.

Pro bono work is undertaken, too, and discounts commonly and frequently given to non-profit organizations and approved educational institutions.