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Unfortunately there is no ‘formula’ for what an entry portfolio might include. The suggestions below can apply to any course. We would not necessarily expect to see sketches and drawings from applicants who are interested in Photography, but if people do draw or sketch they should definitely show us some examples of this work.

We would not normally expect to see a portfolio that includes something from each of the categories below, but do ideally need to see evidence of creative work of some description for any course at degree level.


We’re always interested to see evidence of drawing ability. This does not have to be ‘traditional’ drawing and drawings don’t have to be ‘finished’. Drawing can be in the form of sketches, collage, mind maps, even doodled ideas on the back of envelopes. They can be in a variety of media including pencil, pen, crayon, marker, chalks… Digital drawing is also of interest. Wherever possible, sketches and drawings should be directly from the subject, not from the person’s imagination. Copying cartoons or ‘Manga’ drawing is not advisable.


We’re interested to see examples of painting. This could include paintings in watercolour, acrylics or oils.

Visual Journals or Visual Diaries

Some students keep ‘visual diaries’ which can consist of collected images, postcards, tickets, notes and photographs. Often these are annotated and sometimes they contain sketches, but they are not ‘sketchbooks’ as such. They show us the kind of thing a prospective student is looking at; what interests them and inspires them, what they like and don’t like. These can provide an insight to a student’s personality. They also help us get an idea of how a student expresses their opinions.

3D Work

We are happy to consider images of 3D work. This can include sculpture, model making, architectural models, furniture and products and images of interiors. Some people show us ‘scrap-books’. These are not ideal as a way or showing creativity as they are often assembled from existing images. An hour spent sketching is more useful.


We like to see photographs and we are as interested in what people choose to take photographs of as in the photographs themselves. Photographs don’t need to be taken with expensive or sophisticated cameras, however there is a big difference between the kind of ‘snaps’ taken on a mobile phone camera and photographs where the subject matter has been carefully chosen and the resulting image has been considered.

Digital design

We’re interested to see any examples of digital design. This does not have to be created using Adobe software. The types of design work we look at routinely are logos, business cards, corporate literature, posters, flyers, advertisements, packaging design, T shirt design, wedding invitations, menus, birthday cards. However as well as seeing ‘finished’ examples we are keen to see evidence of the process or any preparatory work, initial ideas or rejected ideas.

Articulating genuine interest in studying at degree level and showing interest in your chosen specialism.

If you are genuinely interested in studying for a degree then you will have given the decision to apply careful consideration. If you’ve done that then you should be able to express why that is your ambition. Ideally you should be able to name some photographers, artists or designers that you admire and/or refer to visual work that interests you and be able to describe why.

Happy Monday! Whether you have a bank holiday or not, we are here to get your week started! Let's get creative!

Contact us

Interactive Design Institute

Stuart House



East Lothian

EH21 7PB

Freephone: 0800 917 1118

International: +44(0) 131 777 9321

London: 0203 056 1098

From Mobile: 03303 320 030

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  ABC Awards
  University of Hertforshire
Reimagine Award 2015
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