Illustrator Jen Leem-Bruggen on her experience of showcasing her work in the One Year On section of New Designers 2017.


If I had to sum up my experience of showing at New Designers in three words I’d say it was fantastic, collaborative and insightful. Exhibiting at New Designers was an amazing learning experience. I had some great conversations with clients who admired my illustration work and purchased prints, so hopefully interesting collaborations will come from it. Even amongst my fellow exhibitors it sparked ides of how we could collaborate together on fun projects, whether that was my illustration on textiles or even on a sofa covering! For anyone who is thinking of applying to One Year On, you have time now to start crafting a considered portfolio of your work and a brand around it. Once that’s in place, it’s best to read the guidelines carefully, plan your application and then take the plunge and apply! We all doubt ourselves at times but if you are confident in your brand or product then One Year On is an amazing showcase to be part of.



If you are lucky enough to be part of next year’s One Year On my main advice would be to plan much as you can before the show and always be friendly and approachable. Be open minded and chat to people, as you never know who might be a potential client, and always follow up with people you have spoken to after the show. That not only shows initiative but could possibly land you your next commission. Clients love to hear about your journey and the background behind your work, so think about how you want to be known and the unique traits of your product. If I could go back and do one thing differently I wouldn’t have worried as much. The One Year On team are very supportive and believe in your work so don’t be worried, be excited!



Now the show is over, the next step for me is to keep in touch with the contacts I made and continue to promote my work to clients. I have planned a few portfolio viewings with clients, which is always great to keep the creative relationships going, and have a few projects coming up. I work a full time job alongside being an illustrator, so my future goal is to transition into a full time freelance illustrator and be able to support myself doing that. Friends of mine who have already taken the leap into freelance say it is hard work but ultimately very rewarding, and they haven’t looked back since. Overall I’m very happy to have been apart of the show. You gain enormous amounts of confidence talking about your work and the opportunity to meet your desired clients all in one place is invaluable.

Instagram – @jenleembruggen


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