Interview: Sanne Wijbenga — IXDS

Sanne Wijbenga
Aug 25, 2017 · 6 min read

This interview with me first appeared on (

Sanne Wijbenga worked for many years at Studio Dumbar and Fabrique in the Netherlands, before deciding to move to Germany in 2014. He is currently Director of Connected Living at IXDS, a service design agency that is difficult to pigeonhole — like Sanne himself. We spoke to Sanne about his career path, his growth as an all-round creative, and the reasons for his move to Germany.

Could you briefly take us through your career, Sanne?

Before that you had studied illustration at HKU University of the Arts in Utrecht. How did you end up at the digital team of a branding agency?

Illustration felt very old fashioned and flat. Telling stories through metaphors in an image was a little different to what I had initially imagined. The focus in the education was very much turned inward and basically excluded the outside world and the exciting things that were going on at the time.

Concept and Art Direction for the Rijksmuseum website / Agency Fabrique

And then you were able to develop yourself further at Dumbar?

I no longer have to be able to do everything myself, but I find it incredibly fascinating to learn from others and to see what I can add to my skill set.

After six and a half years at Fabrique you moved to Germany. Why Germany? Was that a logical step?

Concept and strategie for the Allerhande Cooking app and website / Agency Fabrique

Lots of people in the Netherlands want to work abroad and have a kind of cosmopolitan dream that that is very easy to do in Europe. Is that idea correct?

How did you resume your career in Germany?

When you understood that you thought: it’s time for something new.

I always try to tell young creatives that want to do too much at the same time that they first and foremost have to choose one thing to focus on..

How would you characterize yourself in the IXDS team, now you work with so many people, all with different knowledge and skills?

Is it important that young creatives start developing their breadth of knowledge at the beginning of their career?

If you get down to work, do your job well and you continue to grow, at some point it is obvious to you what you are good at, what you like and how you can develop this further. You just have to keep at it. In my career I have done plenty of projects that were not always great fun, but that taught me a lot.

No single step needs to be perfect. If you know that something will give you a lot, than that is enough.

Perhaps we are now afraid to commit ourselves, with the dread that it is for ever.

Sanne Wijbenga

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Independent Designer & Creative Director. I help companies be successful by creating meaningful digital experiences for their customers.