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From Graphic Design Apprentice to Platform founder

As part of National Apprenticeship Week here’s Ryan’s story…

On the 2nd of January 2024, Swwwift’s founder, Ryan Grist celebrated 21 years since embarking on his graphic design journey at the age of 16 — an ambition nurtured since he was 12.

Understanding the challenges faced by 16-year-olds opting out of higher education due to various reasons, Ryan empathises with the stigma and the abrupt transition into the adult world, presenting the stark reality of work life. It’s no longer child’s play!

Ryan’s Educational Odyssey…

Despite struggling academically, especially with a lack of encouragement to pursue his artistic talents, Ryan excelled in art, graphics, and technical drawing. However, University wasn’t on the cards due to insufficient grades. Undeterred, he embraced the resurgence of modern apprenticeships, securing a Graphic Design Apprenticeship after a successful work experience. This marked the beginning of his dream and the path to becoming Managing Director and then Tech Founder.

Defying the notion that apprenticeships lack worth, Ryan’s self-confidence flourished as he gained people skills, workplace ethics, and commercial expertise. Surpassing the experience of university-goers, Ryan’s journey continued at Herefordshire Art College, where he completed NVQ Levels 3 and 4 in two years (rather than 4), earning accolades such as Part-time Student of the Year, also coming first in a competition set by an outside agency

Look Beyond Initial Challenges…

Post-apprenticeship, Ryan’s career soared with a position at the global advertising agency, McCann Erickson, working on prestigious accounts like Harley Davidson, Argos, and Vauxhall. Subsequently, he ventured into freelancing, overcoming challenges, and even turning redundancy into an opportunity to expand his clientele.

Apprentice to Self-employed in 7 Years…

Taking initiative after redundancy, Ryan returned to freelancing, maintaining connections with past agencies. Eventually, he secured private clients, including Town & Country Housing Group, Kent Police, House of Lords, Savoy Hotel, leading to Angle Studios (freelance trading name) to evolve into an agency in 2013. The current branding has been in place since 2016.

Below you can see how the Angle brand has evolved. I evolved to a script to evoke more of a personal feel, bold colour and a shape that offers space wherever it sits. The strapline, ‘Get Spotted’ through a different Angle.


From solo freelancer to Boss…

In May 2013, Ryan hired his first staff member and, by March 2015, Angle Studios expanded to a team of nine. The company continued to grow, hiring creative talents and gaining notable clients.

A Success Story for All…

Ryan’s journey highlights that academic setbacks don’t hinder success. For school leavers, apprenticeships offer a viable path. Angle Studios actively supports apprenticeships, aiming to give credibility to a system often overlooked by many. Angle has given opportunities to 3 apprentices, numerous work experiences and further jobs to young people who haven’t been given opportunities elsewhere.

Ryan says,

“It’s important to repay the system that helps you so many others can benefit as I did”.


Moving onto the now…


In 2024, Ryan’s vision extends beyond personal success, aiming to collaborate with graphic designers, by sharing knowledge and assisting those venturing into website sales. As a side project, Ryan is the founder of, a revolutionary platform designed to simplify website sales for graphic designers. This platform allows designers to order fully developed WordPress sites in minutes for just £35 per month per website, offering unlimited, personal support.


Ryan’s Swwwift Story…

Let’s delve into the narrative behind Swwwift—a platform redefining the landscape of website design and sales. Ryan initiated Swwwift in 2017, inspired by clients unable to afford agency-built websites. Focused on empowering graphic designers, Swwwift emerged as a solution for those seeking a built-for-you service with on-demand tech support.


The Idea and Its Audience…

Ryan, originally a graphic designer turned web agency owner, recognised the limitations faced by using freelancers, online builders, and agencies. Swwwwift is tailored for graphic designers engaged in or aspiring to sell websites. It caters to those aiming to establish a new revenue stream, facing budget constraints, lacking time for traditional web builders, seeking a built-for-you service, desiring tech support, favouring WordPress over ‘lock-in’ online builders, or avoiding dependence on freelance developers.

Founding and Team Behind Swwwift…

In 2019, Swwwift evolved from an idea to a tangible platform. Initially driven by Ryan, developers, and trusted collaborators, the Swwwift team expanded to include experts in development, design, tech, support, and marketing, utilising the sister company’s staff Swwwift was built with intent and a purpose.

Beta Testing and Feedback…

Embarking on a beta testing phase in 2020, Swwwift received overwhelming support with just under 1000 designers and marketers participating (996 to be exact!). Users had six months to explore Swwwift’s capabilities, receiving continuous support from the Swwwift team. The feedback echoed positivity, emphasising Swwwift’s user-friendly approach and its ability to streamline website sales for startups and small businesses.




Development and Continued Growth…

Swwwift underwent continuous development, incorporating fully customisable themes for service and e-commerce websites. The platform’s emphasis on ongoing and unlimited personal tech support, access to WordPress plugins, and flexible hosting options distinguishes it from competitors. Despite facing challenges, including a WordPress editor update, Swwwift officially soft launched in November 2020, already contributing to professionals’ success with its recurring revenue model.

Covid hit!
Just like many others, Covid put Swwwift into a spin and focus had to turn on the sister web agency business is this was paying the bills. Ryan took the tough decision to ‘park’ Swwwift so the team could focus on one business through such turbulent times.


Similar to many businesses, the challenges brought about by Covid significantly impacted Swwwift. In response to the shifting landscape, attention had to shift towards sustaining the sister web agency business, which was crucial for financial stability. Ryan, faced with difficult choices, decided to temporarily ‘park’ Swwwift, allowing the team to channel their efforts into navigating the uncertainties during these tumultuous times.

Ryan’s Advice…

To school leavers and young adults, Ryan recommends showcasing creativity, work ethics, and presentation skills when meeting potential employers. With preparation and determination, success is achievable. Angle Studios, committed to the apprenticeship cause, strives to empower and repay the system’s credibility.

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