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Company history

Our warehouse, TalybontOur 5-colour press

Y Lolfa was established in the mid-sixties, a period of fun and protest when a new generation of Welsh youth were demanding both official and unofficial status for their language. Welsh books, at the time, were pretty dull and it was Y Lolfa’s vision to create a new kind of publishing that would be lively, colourful and provocative, while taking advantage of the artistic freedom provided by the new, small offset litho printing process.

The company’s name, Y Lolfa (‘The Lounge’ or ‘fun-place’), derives from Lol (meaning ‘fun’ or ‘nonsense’, the satirical magazine it published) but the company gradually expanded from funny cards and political posters into more popular publishing, including light Welsh-language tutors (Welsh is Fun has sold over 250,000 copies!). It then ventured into contemporary novels, sports and factual books, and children’s books by original Welsh artists and authors.

From the beginning, it was the company’s policy has been to do all its printing in-house at Talybont, leading to continuous investment in offset litho presses, bookbinding machinery and pre-press systems. In the nineties it embraced the digital revolution and was the first Welsh publishing company to have a website. It now has two Komori B2 presses – one 5-colour and a 2-colour for bookwork – and has recently invested in Xerox digital presses.

Y Lolfa is a family-owned limited company employing 22 full-time staff in Talybont, a village centrally located near the Cardiganshire coast and just 10 minutes from the Welsh Books Council, their book distributors. Y Lolfa celebrated half a century in business four years ago, establishing it as a leading Welsh publishing and printing company. Just under half of the company’s turnover comes from its commercial print work.