What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is a collection of your work, which shows how your skills and ideas have developed over a period of time. It demonstrates your creativity, personality, abilities and commitment, and helps us to evaluate your potential.
When we assess a portfolio, the research and processes you have used to develop your work are as important as the final work itself. We are particularly interested in your most recent work, even if it is unfinished.
Portfolios for different levels of studyPortfolio requirements differ for Foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Make sure your portfolio is appropriate to the level you are applying for.
Postgraduate portfolios should demonstrate your ability to research through meaningful investigation, include reference materials and show your arguments to justify the result.
What should it contain?
The portfolio should contain examples of research, development of your ideas and final pieces. It might include drawings, paintings, sketchbooks, colour studies, materials investigation, design development (2D and 3D), construction, consumer and market information, written notes, design presentation sheets, or any other types of work you choose.
If you have 3D pieces you should photograph and present these within the portfolio and bring one or two physical examples with you if you have a face-to-face interview/portfolio review.
Should you include sketchbooks?
Yes. Sketchbooks show your research and help us to understand how you think. They form the background to the more finished work in your portfolio and, together, these tell the whole story of your creative journey.
How many pieces of work should it include?There is no limit, but you might need to transport the portfolio to an interview (if selected), so be practical. Five projects, plus sketchbook plans, is a manageable amount of content.
Do not include too many examples of one 'type' of work (for example, life drawing or painting); one or two of your best examples of each type is a good amount.
What size should it be and how should it be presented?
A portfolio can be of any size, dependant on what works for the content – A4, A3, etc. You should edit the work and compile the portfolio as a series of projects or studies. Keep the presentation format uncluttered and relevant. Avoid over decorating your portfolio as this can detract from the content.
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