Meet our Aberdeen based Lead Graphic Designer who celebrates her 21st working anniversary with the company.
AGR celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Our Lead Graphic Designer, Fiona Swapp who has witnessed a large part of the company’s history, holds her 21st working anniversary this year. We sat down with Fiona to talk about her time at AGR.
The early career
Fiona joined the TRACS International Consultancy team (now part of our Reservoir Management
and TRACS Training
divisions) back in January 1996 to manage the development and production of graphics for Reservoir project work and our training courses. As the company grew, she began to design the marketing materials and became involved with the webpage.
Fiona now works daily developing designs and course materials for our Training division. She is also a member of our Communications team and designs much of AGR’s marketing materials, still contributing to our website.
Fiona’s career spans over 30 years in Graphic Design, Multimedia and Photography. She started in photography as Photographers Assistant in 1981 - a role found by her career's advisor after a conversation that she would be interested in photography or art as a career. From there she experienced all facets of photography, from studio, wedding, darkroom work, photo retouching and framing. She moved from this role to working for Kodak and from there she set up her own darkroom at home, and after travelling three months around India between jobs, Fiona secured a role at a busy photography business in Aberdeen, where she was quickly promoted to Manager running the camera shop and photo-lab.
In 1988 Fiona decided to change careers and go into the arts by studying Graphic Art and Design at Aberdeen College. She taught herself computer design and desktop publishing skills at a time when the industry was transitioning between the drawing board and the computer age.
Hobby becomes Bread
In 2011, through distance learning, she graduated from the Society of Botanical Artists as Botanical Illustrator DipSBA, and now dedicates a full working day and her spare time to painting for exhibition and commissions. She teaches new talents through local art classes and workshops.
Last year, Fiona was asked to teach the first-year biology students at the University of Aberdeen on how to draw invertebrates and botanical elements helping them later to pass the subjects in the curricula where scientific drawing is a compulsory part of the studies.
Several times, Fiona has been invited to contribute as artist to charity projects, with the Cat Parade
as the latest.
Fiona has set up a small studio at her home and one in the centre of Aberdeen where she paints and is occasionally involved with Open Studios events, opening her doors for the public to come and view her art practice. She will be opening her doors for NEOS (North East Open Studios) in September 2017.
Colleagues who inspire
21 years is a serious milestone. So when we asked what Fiona has been enjoying the most through her long career at AGR she says that:
“As they say…time flies when you are having fun! It also flies when you are working with many dedicated colleagues who are an inspiration on many levels through work and play helping you keep a ‘can-do attitude’ in daily tasks.
From initially creating technical illustrations for reports as a freelance designer to joining AGR TRACS as their first employee in 1996 to building on the training course materials
to working on our website and branding and now our eLearning
portfolio, it has been an interesting, enjoyable and ever-changing 21 years.”
Fiona’s Manager, Mark Bentley, adds:
“Through graphical design, Fiona has had a hand in nearly all the courses run under the TRACS Training banner over the last 21 years. This now adds up to many hundreds of events. Add to that the design work for the TRACS Training books and various technical conferences and publications this amounts to quite a portfolio. It’s easy to take this for granted, and we must not – Fiona’s loyalty to our venture and her consistently high quality work are a great credit to her and are much appreciated”.