UPB Graduate Interview: Inge Van Bruggen


Inge van Bruggen

Today we are delighted to share with you an interview with Inge Van Bruggen a designer based in the Netherlands who is a graduate of The Ultimate Portfolio Builder from September 2015.


When did your interest in design first start and how did that come about?

I have always loved drawing and creative projects. When looking for what to study after high school I decided to go for applied arts such as products and interior. I went to the Design Academy in Eindhoven. (in the Netherlands). From there I landed in interior design and specifically retail design. Later on, via evening education, I acquired the title of interior architect. In 2015 I decided I couldn’t get enough creative expression out of what I did. So I went back to my first love, drawing, and to something I always wanted to try (ever since I first saw Marimekko fabrics) which is patterns.



What steps did you take to get to where you are now as a designer?

I just started drawing again. I had been drawing and sketching a lot for work but free drawing is very different. I became much more enthusiastic and inspired than I had been in years. After a lot of Googling I found Make it in Design. I decided to skip ahead and start in module 4. For me that was perfect. After though, I decided to also do module 3 which I will start in April.


How would you describe your style?

I have many different styles and interests. I still am an architect at heart and I love three dimensionality and space. I have lots of experience in 3D software which is surprisingly useful in patternmaking. This style is very geometric and computer made. I also have a fascination for under water life. For this subjects and others I use my love for free pen drawing and ink. Sometimes I try and combine the two.

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What kind of designer do you want to be known as?

I want to be known for my ability to think in creative solutions. I love doing freestyle work but my strength also lies in reacting to spaces, interiors and specific needs and doing tailor made designs that fit somebodies interior or a brand identity.


What are you working on currently?

I love translating my patterns into tangible things. I have just put a line of products into a store in my hometown of Haarlem. The store is called ‘this is gather’ and they gather different artists and other makers and give them a place to promote themselves. I want to get more into products and the production so I am also taking a new course which is all about sustainable and fair trade production.

Pillow pile 01


What advice would you give emerging designers wanting to build their portfolios?

Find a subject that fascinates you and translate that into a drawing or a painting or anything else that makes you enthusiastic. When you love what you do and every day you can’t wait to get back to it you are on the right path.


What would be your dream design gig?

I can think of so many things from fashion to interiors. One thing I thought of is being able to do an identity layer for an office or a workplace that consist of carpets, wall tapestries, furniture upholstery and other interior surfaces. I love combining surface design with functionality like acoustics. A wall tapestry can really make a difference in the comfort of a space.

And of course I would very much love to do a pattern collection for the company that started all this for me, Marimekko.

wall tapestry 02

wall tapestry 01


Looking ahead what are your major goals for the next couple of years?

I want to build a network so that I have work coming into my studio. And then next to that I want to develop my own pattern and product lines and put that into stores.

Crab pillow01


If you were a pattern what kind of a pattern would you be and why?

I would be like one of my three dimensional patterns. Light areas, shadow areas places in front and niches to hide.

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What was the most important lesson you took away from UPB?

That when you do what you love things start falling into place.


What difference did it make to have a supportive community of fellow students and how important do you think that will be going forward?

It’s very helpful having a place to share your work and get feedback. It’s motivating. I know now that I also need to look for more of a likeminded community in my daily work life.


Please tell us about your experience of the live briefs and student work reviews.

The life briefs were very helpful in doing work that was perhaps a little out of my comfort zone but led to new things I otherwise might not have done. I learned a lot from the comments afterwards given by the companies that set the briefs.

Inge_van Bruggen_Whale shark_05


I grew up in a small town not far from Amsterdam. After high school I went to the Design Academy in Eindhoven where I got more and more into interior design. Starting with trade fair booths I went on to retail design working for a big sports brand. I worked mainly in retail design and sporadically office and other interior design for 14 years. Last year I steered my career back to my first loves; drawing and design.

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MIID_UPB_150PX_LRAmazed by what you see above from our talented students? Join our latest class of The Ultimate Portfolio Builder registration closes March 24, 2016.

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