We hope the following notes will be helpful in the preparation of your portfolio.

Because you may not be present to steer us through the portfolio it is essential that the work should speak for itself and be presented as clearly (but inexpensively!) as possible. However the following advice should not be seen as prescriptive or rule out anyone with either a different type of work or a more limited experience, particularly if you are a mature applicant.


Preparing your folder with care so that your work looks its best in a form that is easy to assimilate, gives you an advantage and does wonders for your confidence and the way you see your work. You should be able to do this at little or no cost by simply making it clean and presentable.

If you wish to mount work that is smaller than your folder size it ideally should be mounted on white paper or thin card. This ensures each piece is seen in isolation with a minimum of distraction and gives a uniformity of size that allows easy handling. Avoid multicoloured mounting – simplicity is more effective. Lots of small sketches can be illuminating as background material, but are best mounted in a simple display on a single sheet of A1 paper or in a sketchbook, rather than left loose in your folder.

What we like to see in a portfolio

  • Most of all we enjoy seeing personality in a portfolio emerging from work pursued out of personal interest
  • Objective drawing is essential, that is, drawings that are made from actual situations. They should demonstrate your ability to observe the structure of what you see, to think about and organise what you see effectively, and to select appropriate materials and use them with confidence
  • Colour work, which may be observed colour, paintings, collage, or colour analysis which indicates confident handling of materials and a sensitivity to, and knowledge of colour behaviour
  • Any photography, video, three-dimensional design, sculpture or textile work you may have done. Photographs are fine if your work is too bulky to fit in your folder
  • Notebooks or sketchbooks, which should show an active, interest in visual investigation and be a personal record of your work and of things around you
  • Work that is done outside of school out of personal interest on ideas that you have generated yourself. It may be clothes, collections, furniture made or bedrooms decorated, writing, photography etc.
  • Some written work connected with art and design history or appreciation

Things to be careful of

  • Folders entirely devoted to cartoon or fantasy images unless it is used imaginatively to demonstrate drawing and problem solving skills, or shows a breadth of visual thinking
  • A large proportion of work that is copied from illustrations or photographs. If you think about it most of the work (selection and presentation or image, tone and composition etc.) has been done for you – we would prefer you to tackle that yourself from ‘live’ situations
  • You must be prepared to talk about a contemporary artist or designer that interests you

International applicants
International applicants will be invited to submit their portfolio by email. We accept a range of formats including PDF, PowerPoint and url links to online portfolios. Please click here for more information or contact the International Office if you have any questions about the application process.