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Fiona Buszard retires as long-serving Simon Elvin art director

After 40 years in greetings Fiona is off to enjoy retirement, as Sarah Vockins steps up to fill her shoes


Christmas in summer is no more for Fiona Buszard as Simon Elvin’s long-serving art director has laid down her paintbrush and is off to enjoy her well-deserved retirement.

After four decades in the greeting card industry Fiona has decided that reaching state pension age last week was a good time leave her desk in the studio at the publisher’s Wooburn Green HQ and enjoy the freedom.

“It’s time to sit back and let someone else take on the design side of Simon Elvin,” Fiona told PG Buzz. “I have had such great times but I’m looking forward to not having to think about Christmas in the middle of summer at last. We have had so great nights at The Henries, the studio walls of my office are decorated with photos of the many industry nights out!” she added.

Above: Happy handover – Sarah Vockins (right) is stepping up as Fiona retires
Above: Happy handover – Sarah Vockins (right) is stepping up as Fiona retires

Having started her career with card company Image Arts as a studio junior, Fiona met Simon as he was the company’s MD. When the business was bought by Fine Art Developments, Fiona then moved and spent 17 years at Kingsley Cards, becoming art director before rejoining Simon at his eponymous company back in 1999.

And she’s seen plenty of changes in the industry over the years: “We were talking about the old days of cards, the Picture Poppets and satin padded cards – I remember PG’s Jakki Brown made waistcoats from the printed satin. They were fabulous!

“There have been lots of changes, five-colour to four, everything now digital, three designs in a series – for baby congrats you did a pink, a blue, and a yellow neutral one, and now it’s one design. And, of course, the actual designs, the airbrushed cutes with huge eyes, teenage cards showing girls with ponies, drunken robins in brandy glasses for Christmas. Happy days!”

Simon, who founded the business with wife Janet in 1978, said: “Fiona has done a fantastic job for us over that time, and has a lifetime of experience. My thanks and very best wishes go out to her for a happy retirement.”

Coinciding with Fiona’s retirement, Sarah Vockins has taken over the role of art director. “Sarah, who started with us 30 years ago, has worked closely with Fiona over the past few years to ensure a smooth handover,” said Simon, who organised a fond farewell for Fiona a few days ago, attended by all the publisher’s staff.

Top: Thank you and goodbye – Fiona Buszard is retiring from Simon Elvin

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